• FutureTrack

This Week in Sustainability News – 19.08

This past week was filled with interesting sustainability and climate news, we’ve summarised the top stories below.


16 football pitches of trees lost to fires per minute in 2021

  • New research has found that, in 2021, over nine million hectares of trees were destroyed by fire, making 2021 the second worst year for forest fires ever recorded.

  • Warmer and drier conditions caused by climate change were found to be key factors.

  • Experts warn that forest fires lead to the carbon stored by trees, vegetation, and soil being released, and have significant impacts on biodiversity, water quality, and soil erosion.

  • The UN predict extreme fires to continue to worsen over the next century, with a 50% increase expected.


England’s drought could continue beyond 2022

  • Without substantial rainfall in the coming months, experts have warned that southeast England will face a severe and devastating drought that may continue into the new year.

  • Water restrictions are expected to continue for this period and may become stricter as the drought continues.

  • Bans on non-essential water usage may be introduced including bans on filling/maintaining swimming pools and cleaning windows.


Research shows cascading effects of climate change’s impact on food supply

  • New modelling has demonstrated the negative impact climate change and extreme weather could have on food supply chains and the cascading effects this may have on income, price increases, and nutrient availability.

  • The research showed that employment and income losses would be present not only in food supply chains, but also in service and transportation sectors.

  • Impacts on diet quality were also found due to the increasing price of healthy foods and reduced nutrient availability.

  • Vulnerable and lower-income groups were found to be the most negatively impacted.


Global warming may disrupt sleep and make it harder to fight infection

  • New research suggests that, on a warming planet, sleep disturbances could lead to poor immune responses and increased vulnerability to infectious disease.

  • Studies have shown that warmer temperatures contribute to sleep disturbances which can in turn impact immune system regulation and even the effectiveness of vaccines.

  • Experts warn of the implications this may have on low-income communities that lack access to expensive cooling technologies like air conditioning.


Climate change and “extreme” home insurance stress

  • Climate change is driving insurance stress for millions of households in Australia.

  • The most vulnerable households have been found to spend over 7 weeks’ worth of their income annually on insurance premiums already, with fears premiums will continue to increase under the worsening impacts of climate change.

  • Research suggests that, by 2030, more than 500,000 homes will be “uninsurable” due to increasing premiums.


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