Climate Change ☀️
A year after Australia’s wildfires, extinction threatens hundreds of species
A year after the last of the fires were doused, their toll on species is becoming increasingly clear. Flames devoured more than 20 percent of Australia’s entire forest cover, according to a February 2020 analysis in Nature Climate Change. Even if plants and animals survived the flames, their habitats may have been so changed that their survival is at risk (SN: 2/11/20). As a result of the scale of the disaster, experts say that more than 500 species of plants and animals may now be endangered — or even completely gone.

Australia’s iconic koala became the poster child of the crisis as images of rescuers carrying these singed marsupials out of the flames went global: As many as 60,000 of the nation’s estimated population of 330,000 koalas perished in the fires, ecologists concluded in December in a report for World Wildlife Fund Australia. While there’s no doubt that such charismatic megafauna suffered enormously, the greatest toll is likely to have been in other groups of species, such as invertebrates and plants, which often escape the public’s attention.

As Kingsley Dixon, an ecologist at Curtin University in Perth told the Associated Press last year: “I don’t think we’ve seen a single event in Australia that has destroyed so much habitat and pushed so many creatures to the very brink of extinction.”
Read the full article: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/australia-wildfires-extinction-threat-species-one-year-later

The world wasted nearly 1 billion metric tons of food in 2019
The world wasted about 931 million metric tons of food in 2019 — an average of 121 kilograms per person. That’s about 17 percent of all food that was available to consumers that year, a new United Nations report estimates.

“Throwing away food de facto means throwing away the resources that went into its production,” said Martina Otto, who leads the U.N. Environment Program’s work on cities, during a news conference. “If food waste ends up in landfills, it does not feed people, but it does feed climate change.”

... Researchers analyzed food waste data from 54 countries. Most waste — 61 percent — came from homes. Food services such as restaurants accounted for 26 percent of global food waste while retail outlets such as supermarkets contributed just 13 percent. Surprisingly, food waste was a substantial problem for nearly all countries regardless of their income level, the team found. “We thought waste was predominantly a problem in rich countries,” Otto said.

... Otto recommends that countries begin addressing food waste by integrating reduction into their climate strategies and COVID-19 recovery plans. “Food waste has been largely overlooked in national climate strategies,” Otto said. “We know what to do, and we can take action quickly — collectively and individually.”
Read the full article: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/food-waste-climate-world-united-nations-1-billion-metric-tons-2019

Ecosystem restoration is a pressing issue in fragmented rainforest
Results from Malaysian Borneo demonstrate that small, fragmented patches of regenerating logged forests left on hilltops will be slow to recover due to lower water availability, even more in the future as hotter and drier weather will be more common than now as a result of climate change.

In light of the United Nations (UN) declaration that 2021-2030 is the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a group of scientists voice concerns about restoration in heavily fragmented landscapes under a hotter and drier future scenario.

Poor recovery of small fragments will end up costing management and wider society later down the line. Millions are invested in setting aside patches, but management is then weak and costly.
Read the full article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210309114258.htm

Climate change, periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.

Source: Climate change - Evidence for climate change | Britannica
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Source: Climate Change | United Nations