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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Drought in Numbers 2022 – restoration for readiness and resilience

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification – Drought around the world (1900-2022)

  • “More than 10 million people lost their lives due to major drought events in the past century, causing several hundred billion USD in economic losses worldwide, and the numbers are rising (Guha-Sapir, D. et al., 2021)
  • Severe drought affects Africa more than any other continent, with more than 300 events recorded in the past 100 years, accounting for 44 percent of the global total. More recently, sub-Saharan Africa has experienced the dramatic consequences of climate disasters becoming more frequent and intense (Taylor et al., 2017; Guha-Sapir, D. et al., 2021)
  • In the past century, 45 major drought events occurred in Europe, affecting millions of people and resulting in more than USD 27.8 billion in economic losses. Today, an annual average of 15 percent of the land area and 17 percent of the population within the European Union is affected by drought (Guha-Sapir, D. et al., 2021; European Environment Agency, 2017)
  • In the U.S., crop failures and other economic losses due to drought have totaled several hundred billion USD over the last century – USD 249 billion alone since 1980 (NOAA-NCEI, 2021)
  • Over the past century, the highest total number of humans affected by drought were in Asia (Guha-Sapir, D. et al., 2021)..”

1 in 6 Americans live in areas with significant wildfire risk

Washington Post: “When a wildfire tore through drought-stricken towns near Boulder, Colo., late last year, it reminded Americans that fire risk is changing. It didn’t matter that it was winter. It didn’t matter that many of the more than 1,000 homes and other structures lost sat in suburban subdivisions, not forested enclaves. The old rules… Continue Reading

The Atlantic Introducing an Expanded Books Section

The Atlantic: “…That quality of literature—and the criticism that helps make sense of it—is a large part of why we’re excited to be expanding books coverage at The Atlantic. Since its founding in 1857, this magazine “of Literature, Art, and Politics” has been home to great writing about the momentous books and literary debates of… Continue Reading

Redefining Walkability Examining equity and creating safer streets for all in DC

The Urban Institute’s walkability report: “When the District of Columbia launched its Vision Zero initiative in 2015, a pedestrian or cyclist had been dying on the city’s streets every 21 days. Now, seven years into an initiative intended to eliminate traffic-related deaths by 2024, the District has gone backward: in 2021, a pedestrian or cyclist… Continue Reading

Revealed: the ‘carbon bombs’ set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown

The Guardian, Exclusive: “The world’s biggest fossil fuel firms are quietly planning scores of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits with catastrophic global impacts, a Guardian investigation shows. The exclusive data shows these firms are in effect placing multibillion-dollar bets against humanity halting global heating.… Continue Reading

62 world-changing ways companies are addressing the climate crisis

Fast Company: “The climate category of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards recognizes projects designed to mitigate the impacts of climate change, limit emissions, help build resiliency to climate disasters, or otherwise help solve issues of climate crisis. See the finalists and honorable mentions below, and read about the winner, a startup helping turn old… Continue Reading

The massive, unregulated source of plastic pollution you’ve probably never heard of

Recode: “We’re making these nurdles and basically spilling oil, just in a different form.” NEW ORLEANS — On an overcast day in April, on the edge of Chalmette Battlefield, a few miles outside the city, Liz Marchio examined a pile of broken twigs and tree branches on the bank of the Mississippi River. “Usually I… Continue Reading

Unchecked global emissions on track to initiate mass extinction of marine life

Princeton University: “As greenhouse gas emissions continue to warm the world’s oceans, marine biodiversity could be on track to plummet within the next few centuries to levels not seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs, according to a recent study in the journal Science by Princeton University researchers.  The paper’s authors modeled future marine biodiversity… Continue Reading

World’s reptiles comprehensively assessed – IUCN Red List

“Comprehensive Study of World’s Reptiles: More Than One in Five Reptile Species are Threatened with Extinction. Many Likely Benefit From Efforts to Save Other Animals:  Conservation efforts for other animals have likely helped protect many reptile species, according to a new study led by NatureServe, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Conservation… Continue Reading

Plastics Recycling ‘Does Not Work,’ Environmentalists Stress as U.S. Recycling Rates Drop to 5%

EcoWatch: “A new report shows that U.S. plastic recycling rates have declined from about 8.7% to between 5% and 6%, revealing the challenges and shortcomings of the country’s waste management infrastructure and policies. Environmental organizations Last Beach Clean Up and Beyond Plastics issued the report, which found a decline in recycling rates since 2018, the… Continue Reading

2022 World Changing Ideas Awards

“Every year, Fast Company’s World-Changing Ideas Awards honor the innovative ways businesses and organizations are tackling the biggest challenges of our time. Amid the seemingly endless stream of disastrous news, these awards provide more than 1,000 reasons to feel some hope. One thousand fifty-three, to be exact. That’s the total number of honorees that our… Continue Reading

The Power of Parks to Address Climate Change

“As a warming planet leads to worsening risks and impacts, American cities are taking matters into their own hands. Cities are not only pledging to slash carbon emissions in the coming decades. They are also figuring out how to be more resilient. Because one thing is clear: disadvantaged communities that have been historically neglected will… Continue Reading