Category: The Planet

Why action on climate change gets stuck and what to do about it

The Garzweiler surface mine produced 35 million tonnes of brown coal (lignite) in 2017. Germany plans to phase-out coal-fired power by 2038. (Shutterstock)Work crews descended on 12 commuter parking lots in Toronto in late November 2018, and headed to the...

/ January 16, 2020

In defence of Michael McCain: Speaking out is what strong leaders do

Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leafs Foods, speaks during the company's annual general meeting in Toronto in April 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren CalabreseWhile leaders often take pains to avoid controversial topics and the glare of hostile publicity, it...

/ January 16, 2020

The devil is in the detail when it comes to responsible investing

Civil society groups are flagging the risk of 'greenwashing' by companies ShutterstockWith the recent flood of pledges by investors to “turn up the heat” on climate action, one might think that the investment industry was in the midst of a...

/ January 16, 2020

5 ways families can help tackle climate change

Household actions lead to changes in collective behaviour and are an essential part of social movements. (Pexels)Hidden among all of the troubling environmental headlines from 2019 — and let’s face it, there were plenty — was one encouraging sign: the...

/ January 15, 2020

In this new world of bushfire terror, I question whether I want to have kids

As fires continue to burn along Australia’s south-east, it’s impossible to ignore how climate change can wreak devastation and disrupt lives. Australia has always experienced bushfires. However, climate change means this year’s bushfires were so extreme in their ferocity and...

/ January 14, 2020

Some say we’ve seen bushfires worse than this before. But they’re ignoring a few key facts

Australia is a bushfire-prone nation. But several factors make this fire season worse than those past. Victorian GovernmentEvery time a weather extreme occurs, some people quickly jump in to say we’ve been through it all before: that worse events have...

/ January 13, 2020

Can an underwater soundtrack really bring coral reefs back to life?

A coral reef in the Similan Islands, Thailand. (Shutterstock)The ocean is a vast, quiet place, right? Vast, yes; quiet, not so much. As a researcher who studies coral reefs, I’ve floated above many and, when I listen closely, my ears...

/ January 12, 2020

Australia, your country is burning – dangerous climate change is here with you now

‘In Australia, beds are burning. So are entire towns, irreplaceable forests and endangered and precious animal species such as the koala.’ State Government Of Victoria Handout/EPAAfter years studying the climate, my work has brought me to Sydney where I’m studying...

/ January 10, 2020

Rising eco-anxiety means we should address mental health alongside food security

Worrying about climate change has an adverse effect on our health and addressing this has to be part of the fight. (Shutterstock)For over a quarter of a century, United Nations climate negotiations have failed to reach a legally binding treaty....

/ January 9, 2020

Weather bureau says hottest, driest year on record led to extreme bushfire season

It's the first time since overlapping records began that Australia experienced both its lowest rainfall and highest temperatures in the same year. dan HIMBRECHTS/AAPThe Bureau of Meteorology’s annual climate statement released today confirms 2019 was the nation’s warmest and driest...

/ January 8, 2020

What if storing CO₂ would also allow us to heat our homes?

Industrial activity is a major emitter of CO₂. ShutterstockRecognized by the scientific community as the main cause of global warming, CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to soar, as confirmed by the November 2019 report of the World Meteorological Organization....

/ January 8, 2020

Australia can expect far more fire catastrophes. A proper disaster plan is worth paying for

Australia is in the midst of inconceivably bad bushfires. The death toll is rising, thousands of buildings have been destroyed and whole communities displaced. This scale is like nothing before, and our national response must be like nothing that has...

/ January 6, 2020

Ontario can phase out nuclear and avoid increased carbon emissions

New research shows Ontario doesn't really need nuclear energy, and its absence would not have an impact on emissions in the province's energy sector. (Ferdinand Stohr/Unsplash) As wind and solar energy have become cheaper, they’ve become a more prominent and...

/ January 5, 2020

Hot and bothered: heat affects all of us, but older people face the highest health risks

Older people's bodies can't regulate their temperature as well as younger people's. From shutterstock.comAustralian summer temperatures have risen by 1.66℃ over the past 20 years. In the past century we’ve seen a significant increase in the number, intensity and duration...

/ December 30, 2019

Climate change: six positive news stories from 2019

Hydroelectric power has helped Costa Rica ditch fossil fuels. John E Anderson / shutterstockThe climate breakdown continues. Over the past year, The Conversation has covered fires in the Amazon, melting glaciers in the Andes and Greenland, record CO₂ emissions, and...

/ December 28, 2019

Hunter, hunted: when the world catches on fire, how do predators respond?

Some predators, including red foxes, move into burnt areas after fires pass through. Alexandre Roux/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA2019 might well be remembered as the year the world caught fire. Some 2.9 million hectares of eastern Australia have been incinerated in the...

/ December 26, 2019

Nine things you love that are being wrecked by climate change

If coffee and wine are things you love, then you need to pay attention to climate change. Shutterstock/Ekaterina PokrovskyThere are so many stories flying around about the horrors already being wrought by climate change, you’re probably struggling to keep up....

/ December 24, 2019

Great Lakes waters at risk from buried contaminants and new threats

A harmful algal bloom in the western basin of Lake Erie in August 2017. (NOAA/Aerial Associates Photography, Inc. by Zachary Haslick/flickr)Nickle Beach, Copper Harbor, Silver Bay. These places, all situated on the shores of the Laurentian Great Lakes, evoke the...

/ December 22, 2019

A year of resistance: How youth protests shaped the discussion on climate change

Millions of youth have participated in climate strikes, negotiations, press conferences and events, demanding urgent climate action this year. (Shutterstock)Greta Thunberg made history again this month when she was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. The 16-year-old has become...

/ December 19, 2019

Finding opportunity in crisis: 3 essential reads about environmental solutions

Big challenges call for big responses. Brian S./Shutterstock.comFrom climate change to omnipresent plastic waste, 2019 delivered a lot of discouraging environmental news. Several special reports this year from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change documented how global warming is altering...

/ December 19, 2019