TWITE 08.17.17

Posted August 16, 2017

The good people of the United States are fighting against the takeover of their country by the fossil fuel industry and white supremacists, but how is the rest of the world faring? In today’s This Week in the Environment, we’ll be looking at successes and failures from our international relatives, and perhaps we’ll find inspiration for ways in which we can do better for ourselves and our planet. I believe in the importance of looking beyond our own borders every so often to put our actions individually and as a nation into a broader context. With our legacy of isolationism, it can be too easy to forget that we are part of a global community—which in turn can lead to dangerously selfish and short-sighted behavior.

—Jon Conway, Ph.D., Greenpower Research Director

5. Australian Government ‘Can’t Be Trusted to Protect Great Barrier Reef’ Climate Change News

Australia is another ultra-partisan nation that, like the U.S. and U.K., has hemmed and hawed over climate action despite the huge national security and economic threats it promises. This makes a recent parliamentary bill amendment by the opposition party all the more surprising—especially since it was carried. The bill was part of the act establishing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and now includes language stating that “the Government is failing to protect Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef by failing to act on climate change,” and “this Government cannot be trusted to protect the Great Barrier Reef and fight for Australia’s unique environment.” This surprisingly honest addition was made following the lack of response by the Australian government to the worst coral bleaching event in Australian history, and driven by recent chaos and controversy over corruption charges and fossil fuel infiltration. This sounds all too familiar to Americans, with the noteworthy exception that it would be very unlikely for the GOP-controlled House to allow Democrats to pass a bill admonishing the Trump administration for failing to act on climate.

4. 12-Step Climate Change & Global Warming Action Plan For India CleanTechnica

As one of the most populated and impoverished nations in the world, India faces serious challenges from climate change. Record-breaking heat waves and expensive corporate seed stocks are already responsible for the suicides of tens of thousands of Indian farmers who can no longer provide for their families. India needs serious commitment to climate action, but the path to sustainability can be daunting. Perhaps by following a path similar to the one set out by energy expert Darshan Goswami in this article, which highlights the need for decentralized, renewable energy, India can become a more resilient and equitable country.

"India has the technical potential to meet its current power needs more than 10 times over with solar energy alone. There are no insurmountable technological or economic barriers to tapping India’s vast potential to achieve 100% renewable energy." Darshan Goswami

3. What Will Become of Bangladesh’s Climate Migrants? Climate Change News

People often talk about the impacts of climate change as something yet to come. While it’s true the worst is still looming over the horizon, those on the margins are already facing more than they can bear. Climate change acts like a lens, magnifying the struggles of those who do not have the means to adequately adapt. This is exactly what the people of Bangladesh are dealing with. Rocked by climate change-amplified storms and flooded by rising seas, Bangladesh is facing an existential crisis that is pushing many of its citizens to flee to nearby countries that face their own climate struggles. Will the countries actually responsible for this planetary disaster step up in time to save the world?

"It is very plausible that the amount of carbon we put in the atmosphere between today and 2050 will determine whether Bangladesh can even exist in the far future." Ben Strauss, Climate Central

2. One Billion Trees Planted in Pakistan’s NW Province VOA

No, that’s not a typo. One billion trees—that’s 1,000,000,000—have been planted in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KPK) in just over two years; more than one million every day. The provincial government launched the program in 2015 as part of the Bonn Challenge, which calls for nations of the world to reforest their lands. Pakistan will be one of the areas hardest hit by climate change, and has already suffered some of the worst deforestation in Asia—which is exactly why KPK made the commitment to reverse it. By boosting crop yields, increasing rainfall, generating jobs, and helping combat climate change, KPK’s program has been a huge success for people and planet and can serve as a template for other countries in the years to come.

1. Chile’s Energy Transformation Is Powered by Wind, Sun and Volcanoes The New York Times

Light, air, earth, and water. These are what Chile is using to grow its economy, clean its land, preserve its culture, and revitalize its indigenous communities. The Chilean people have accepted the reality of climate change and the reality that continuing to use fossil fuels is something they and the world cannot afford. They’re quickly and purposefully moving away from the exploitative smash-and-grab extraction of coal, gas, and oil toward the sustainable acceptance of the massive amounts of power the Earth and Sun offer us every day. Not only that, they are using it to illuminate their homes and villages at night to help educate even the poorest among them. This is the power of renewable energy. This is the power of choosing to embrace the truth and act bravely.

"I am convinced that climate change is a reality, a complete and absolute reality. We think it’s essential for our economic development to have cleaner energy because we want this planet to last." Chilean President Michelle Bachelet

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