Rising Anxiety

bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change with millions expected to be displaced in the next 40 years. PHOTO: Probal Rashid

Developing countries are the most hit by climate change. Its effects—higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and more frequent weather-related disasters—pose risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies. At stake are recent gains in the fight against poverty, hunger and disease, and the lives and livelihoods of billions of people in these countries. Bangladesh is one of them, with a rapidly increasing number of ‘climate refugees’.

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What Warm Temperatures in the Sub-Arctic Mean

A field near harvest time at Meyers Farm in Bethel, Alaska, can now grow crops like cabbage outside in the ground, due to rising temperatures. PHOTO: Daysha Eaton/KYUK

A field near harvest time at Meyers Farm in Bethel, Alaska, can now grow crops like cabbage outside in the ground, due to rising temperatures. PHOTO: Daysha Eaton/KYUK

Farming in the Arctic? Well, it can be done. The reasons are many. For one, the climate is changing: Arctic temperatures over the past 100 years have increased at almost twice the global average.

On a misty fjord in Greenland, just miles from the planet’s second largest body of ice, Sten Pedersen is growing strawberries. Yellowknife, a Canadian city 320 miles below the Arctic Circle, hosted a farmers market this summer. And a greenhouse in Iqaluit, the capital of the vast Canadian Inuit territory of Nunavut, is producing spinach, kale, peppers and tomatoes. The frozen tundra of the Arctic is experiencing something of an agriculture boom. More

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Design Lessons from History

Masdar city in the United Arab Emirates has attempted to combine some of the lessons learned from the past with modern technologies by increasing shaded areas, creating narrow streets and constructing a wind tower.

Masdar city in the United Arab Emirates has attempted to combine some of the lessons learned from the past with modern technologies by increasing shaded areas, creating narrow streets and constructing a wind tower.

Oil heartlands of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Iran’s coast will experience higher temperatures and humidity than ever before on Earth if the world fails to cut carbon emissions, according to a recent study. While air-conditioned homes and offices provide respite from the heat, architects are looking to history to find how civilizations battled the hostile conditions.

Historically, the inhabitants of the Gulf were either farmers living near oases in agricultural villages, Bedouins living in tents in the desert, or urban dwellers living in cities. Given the global trend toward urbanisation, it makes sense to take a closer look at how the latter group coped with the heat. Traditional buildings in the gulf’s cities and villages are designed to maximise shading, reduce thermal gain of the sun radiation, regulate building temperature and enhance air circulation. These effects are achieved through a clever combination of building materials, placement and design.

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When a Way of Life Melts With the Ice

Albert Lukassen’s world is melting around him. When the 64-year-old Inuit man was young, he could hunt by dogsled on the frozen Uummannaq Fjord, on Greenland’s west coast, until June. This photo shows him there in April. PHOTO:  Ciril Jazbec

Albert Lukassen’s world is melting around him. When the 64-year-old Inuit man was young, he could hunt by dogsled on the frozen Uummannaq Fjord, on Greenland’s west coast, until June. This photo shows him there in April. PHOTO: Ciril Jazbec

Climate change – a situation that choices can better, but circumstances see it go from bad to worse. Much talk, much less done. Temperatures rise, glaciers melt, and seas begin to usurp shores. Also, people like the natives of Kiribati and now the Inuit are forced to rethink ways to survive on their lands which once provided for all. And did not threaten their lives. National Geographic reports from the North:

Something else is vanishing here too: a way of life. Young people are fleeing small hunting villages like Niaqornat. Some of the villages struggle to support themselves. And now a culture that has evolved here over many centuries, adapting to the seasonal advance and retreat of sea ice, is facing the prospect that the ice will retreat for good. Can such a culture survive? What will be lost if it can’t?

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Wedded to Their Land Despite the Tides

 Kiribati—33 coral islands in an expanse of the central Pacific larger than India—is “among the most vulnerable of the vulnerable” to climate change. PHOTO: Kadir Van Lohuizen

Kiribati—33 coral islands in an expanse of the central Pacific larger than India—is “among the most vulnerable of the vulnerable” to climate change. PHOTO: Kadir Van Lohuizen

They do not think of themselves as “sinking islanders,” rather as descendants of voyagers, inheritors of a proud tradition of endurance and survival.

That’s how National Geographic captures the spirit of the people of Kiribati, a spirit that forgives the seas despite the threats that its warming, rising, acidifying waters pose to their native islands. A people who believe that planting mangroves will stop the encroaching sea in its tracks, a people whose lives are centered on the seas that without it, they maybe forced to question who they are. This is their story then, from “the front line of the climate-change crisis.”

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Where Are the Colors?

These images, taken in American Samoa, show the devastation caused by coral bleaching between December 2014 and February 2015. PHOTO: BBC

These images, taken in American Samoa, show the devastation caused by coral bleaching between December 2014 and February 2015. PHOTO: BBC

Yet another effect of global warming and changing ecosystems. Corals worldwide are at risk from a major episode of bleaching which turns reefs white.Although reefs represent less than 0,1% of the world’s ocean floor, they help support about a quarter of all marine species. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the livelihoods of 500 million people and income worth over $30bn (£19,6bn) are at stake.

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What’s the Tree Population?

Three trillion trees, mapped to the square kilometre.  Source: Crowther et al / Nature

Three trillion trees, mapped to the square kilometre. Source: Crowther et al / Nature

Three trillion trees live on Earth, but there would be twice as many without humans. Each year more than 15 billion trees are lost worldwide, according to a major new study. Previous estimates for the total number of trees on Earth have been much lower. The new study is important not only because it gives a higher number, but how it was produced. As well as using remote sensing data such as images taken by satellites that can classify land type, the research also integrated 429,775 ground-based assessments of tree density.

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Watching the Waters

 Scientists believe ocean currents and natural cycles are temporarily offsetting a sea level rise in the Pacific Ocean. Photograph: Ray Collins/Barcroft Media

Scientists believe ocean currents and natural cycles are temporarily offsetting a sea level rise in the Pacific Ocean. Photograph: Ray Collins/Barcroft Media

Over the past century, the burning of fossil fuels and other human and natural activities has released enormous amounts of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. These emissions have caused the Earth’s surface temperature to rise, and the oceans absorb about 80 percent of this additional heat. As per a recent update from a panel of NASA scientists, sea levels worldwide rose an average of nearly 3 inches (8 cm) since 1992, the result of warming waters and melting ice.

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