• As a place of work or education, what can you do to promote healthier travel habits?
• What can cities do to promote active mobility to boost residents’ physical and mental health?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared July 2021 as the world's hottest month in the 142 years since it started keeping record. "This new record adds to the disturbing and disruptive path that climate change has set for the globe'. the NOAA Administrator said in a statement.
|(Photo: ABC Chicago)|
Northern Ireland: Broke all-time heat records twice in five days
Italy: Europe's new all-time record of 48.7°C in Siciliy, plus over 800 wildfires recorded nation-wide including the island of Sardinia
Germany: Massive floods, 180 dead + 150 missing and a Eur400 million recovery package
Belgium: Floods causing substantial damage and landslides, 50 dead
Switzerland, The Netherlands, Luxembourg: Floods causing substantial damage
Spain: Blazing countryside and record-braking snowfall and snowstorm
UK: wettest 3-day period on record, and extreme flash floods
France: Unusual, larger and faster spreading wildfires
Greece: More than 580 wildfires caused by heatwaves
|A firefighting helicopter flies in front of a thick cloud of smoke from a forest fire at Spathovouni village, Greece. The Mayor called the situation "an immense catastrophe". (Photo: Global Citizen)|
|Damaged houses are seen at the Ahr River, Germany. 148 litres of rain per m2 fell in 48 hours, compared to the 82 litres that are normally expected in the month of July. (Photo: Global Citizen)|
|Heavy downpours and thunderstorms have caused severe flash flooding in parts of London. Tube and rail networks suspended after a month's worth of rain in a day. (Photo: The Telegraph)|
California: Extreme heatwaves 53°C and devastating wildfires
Canada: Heat dome 50°C and wildfires
North America: Extreme heatwave, 840 dead and wildfires
Texas: Extreme low temperature of -13°C, 210 people dead
Oregon: One of the largest blazes in history, hundreds of homes consumed by the flames and thousands evacuated
Mexico: Heavy rains, severe flooding and a long-term drought
Saint Lucia, Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Jamaica, Cuba, Cayman Islands (Caribbean): Storm Elsa caused relentless storms and mass flooding
Brazil: Extremely rare snowfall with huge risks for crops
|The Andes Mountain range, in South America, is facing historically low snowfall during a decade-long drought that scientists link to global warming. (Photo: Reuters)|
|There are currently 86 active large fires across 12 U.S. states, as more than 22,000 firefighters are battling the blazes that have so far burned over 1.5 million acres. (Photo: Newsweek)|
|Disaster is brewing in Brazil as the world's coffee supply is at risk as temperature plunge and snow falls, also threatening sugarcane and orange cops with frost. (Photo: Gizmodo)|
Turkey: Record high temperatures, devastating wildfires and floods
Japan: Severe weather with torrential rains, strong winds, landslides and flooding
Russia: 1.5 million hectares of forest in Siberia on fire, and record temperatures in Moscow 34.8°C.
Nepal: Heavy rainfall triggering flooding and landslides
Oman: Heavy rains and severe floods
China: 60 dead and 1+ million evacuated due to deadly floods caused by a typhoon, and the worst sandstorm/duststorm in a decade
India: Extreme floods in various states, 200 dead
Iraq: Strong heatwave 50°C causing loss of electricity
Iran, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece: Floods causing substantial damage
|The National Disaster Response Force rescuing people in Maharashtra, India, where heavy monsoon downpours caused landslides, flooding and killed at least 180 people. (Photo: Global Citizen)|
|A huge search and rescue operation is underway in north of Turkey, after dramatic flash foods killed at least 77 people. The country is also battling huge wildfires in the south. (Photo: Global Citizen)|
Fiji: Two cyclones in a row
New Zealand: Floods causing substantial damage
New South Wales: Extreme flooding, thousands of evacuations
Australia: Coldest weather in 17 years in Queensland
|Major roads turned into lakes across Perth as they were deluged by flash flooding, leading to almost 700 calls to the State Emergency Service for help. (Photo: The West)|
Algeria - Forest fires killing at least 65 people
Nigeria: Floods causing substantial damage
Madagascar: Worst drought in 40 years; famine effecting 1+ million people
South Africa: Rare and unusual snowfall twice in a month
Ghana & Ethiopia: Below-average rainfall results in abnormal dryness
|Firefighters battle more than 30 blazes amid blistering temperatures in Algeria, killing at least 65 people including 28 soldiers deployed to help the firefighters. (Photo: News Central Africa)|
Meanwhile, in August 2021, rain fell for the first time on record on the snowy summit of Greenland, where tempreatures rose above freezing for the third time in less than a decade. The result was a loss of ice mass which is seven times higher than the daily average for this time of year.
According to Sir John Beddington, England's Chief Scientist Advisor and author of 'A Perfect Storm', by 2030, the world will be dealing with an increase of 33% in population (6bn to 8bn); a 30% demand for water, a 40% demand for energy, and a 50% demand for food; challenges which we will need to face and find a solution for, amidst natural disasters, 50 million climate change refugees, deadly diseases, failed states and economic instability.
The term collapsology refers to the collapse of societies and of industrial civilization; a likely consequence, unless drastic measures are implemented immediately to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change.
We were warned
"All of this was predicted in climate science decades ago" says John P. Holdren, a Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard's John F Kennedy School of Government. The reason why this alarming news went mostly unnoticed was because of the interference of the oil industry, that deliberately manipulated and distorted scientific evidence, and spent millions in climate hoax campaigns. Instilling doubt was enough to convince people that it might not be true. If you'd like to read more about this subject, we recommend this BBC article.
On the 10th of August, 2021, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued the 'Sixth Assessment Report'. In this landmark report, the world's top climate scientists are warning that Earth is headed toward unprecedented warming. They believe that in order to prevent the worst effects, the Earth needs a drastic U-turn away from the use of fossil fuels.
This report is accessible to the general public and it explains the science in plain language and you can read it here.
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we have used all the biological resources that the Earth can renew during the entire year.
This year, Earth Overshoot Day was on 29 July, meaning that between 1 January and 29 July our demand was equivalent to what the planet can regenerate until 31 December.
The world's population is using as much as 1.7 planets a year, a figure that is thought to increase to 2 planets by 2030. Yet, we only have one planet.
The past does not necessarily determine our future. Our current choices do. Through wise, forward-looking decisions, we can turn around natural resource consumption trends while improving the quality of life for all people. While our planet is finite, human possibilities are not. The transformation to a sustainable, carbon-neutral world will succeed if we apply humanity's greatest strengths: foresight, innovation and care for each other.
The Earth Overshoot Day Organisation has identified five key areas that are defining our long-term trends most forcefully. All of them are shaped by our individual and collective choices.
If the world's population lived like Indonesia, Earth Overshoot Day would fall on 18 December, a fantastic achievement, followed by Ecuador (7 Dec) and Nicaragua (2 Dec). On the other side of the spectrum, there is Qatar with a shocking Earth Overshoot Day falling on 9 February, followed by Luxembourg (15 Feb).
Let's have a look at the dates of the past 11 years:
2021 29 July 2015 6 August
2020 22 August 2014 5 August
2019 29 July 2013 3 August
2018 1 August 2012 4 August
2017 3 August 2011 4 August
2016 5 August 2010 8 August
Last year, the date was pushed back to where it stood some 15 years ago. This was due to the pandemic-induced lockdown measures around the world that slowed human activity down. Pandemics are not the solution to Earth Overshoot Day however - it came at a great cost and millions of lives.
The solution is when humans and nature learn to thrive together in equilibrium. This recipe can be found in the 17 Global Goals, for which 193 countries have signed their pledge to.
Earth Overshoot Day has been calculated since 1970. Note the advancement in a period of 10 years:
2000 23 September
1990 11 October
1980 4 November
1970 30 December
Humanity started to consume more than the planet produces and regenerates in the early 1970s, and since then the deadline has been brought forward every year, largely due to increased consumption and population growth.
What happened in the 70s? It was the decade when dependence on oil increased, and airlines (such as Boeing 747) started their commercial trips; it was the year of rockets and moon landings and later, the Industrial Revolution.
This movement helps eco-conscious individuals like you to explore and tackle solutions to contribute positively to move Earth Overshoot Date. Check out their website to learn how to help nature thrive, create a sustainable community, empower ourselves, feed ourselves and discuss population concerns. For instance, if every other family had one less child and parenthood was postponed by two years, by 2050 we would move Overshoot Day by 49 days.
Did you know that you can calculate and discover your ecological footprint? How many planets do we need if everybody lives like you? Find out your own personal Overshoot Day!
Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution - so we can have cleaner streets, oceans and beautiful communities.
Why is plastic bad?
Plastic is basically made from natural gas and crude oil, which are both fossil fuels, and its creation process significantly contributes to carbon emissions. Plastic bags pose a great threat to marine life and birds, as it is often mistaken for food, which leads to poisoning, choking, entanglement and blocked intestines - all of which usually result in death. Plastic does not biodegrade. Unless recycled properly, plastic will remain on our sideroads, beaches, and oceans for well over 500 years. Compare this with the average plastic bag use of 25 minutes. Not more than 9% of plastic is recycled globally. Malta has the lowest recycling rate in Europe, at 19% compared to 56% of Germany.
We need to move away from this throw-away society that we have sadly been accustomed to. It is killing the planted and killing us, too. Either through pollution, new diseases, or even by plastic consumption. Studies reveal that humans are consuming a horrifying amount of plastic. A 2019 joint study quantified that a human on average eats the equivalent of a Lego brick of plastic every year. Even scarier, microplastics, which are tiny plastic particles smaller than 5mm, are even present inside human placentas, which researchers say is a matter of great concern.
So what do we do?
It is not easy to live without plastic since it is the primary packaging for almost everything, but there are many different actions we can take to fight the plastic problem. Here are some ideas:
* Refuse plastic straws and plastic cutlery
* Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping
* Install a water filter at your home
* Pack your lunch in reusable food wraps and containers
* Choose return & refill schemes to buy food items such as nuts, pasta, and legumes, but also washing liquid, body wash, and shampoo
* Write to your favourite brand and ask them to ditch the plastic! You can find a sample letter here
* Support local businesses that are plastic-free
* Join the Wave of Change, a local non-profit organisation raising awareness about marine pollution. Last month, its founder Neil Agius broke a world record for the longest swim (124.4km) from Linosa to Malta, in 52 hours, in an attempt to encourage more people to take action. You'll need to pick up 6 pieces of plastic trash, snap a picture and post it on social, and ask 6 friends to do the same.
* Take the worldwide Plastic Free July challenge. Enter your details here to take the challenge and get inspired by the latest plastic-free ideas. Together we can make a difference and be a part of the solution. Join 326 million people worldwide!