Author: Isabelle Gerretsen

Meanwhile, some have resorted to covering glaciers in protective blankets to stop them from melting in the summer. Made out of white UV-resistant synthetic material, the blankets shield the thick winter snow from the Sun’s rays during the warmer summer months. According to a 2021 study, the technique can reduce the melting of snow and ice by 50-70%, compared to unprotected surfaces. But it is a costly process, the study’s authors warn. Covering all of Switzerland’s 1,000 largest glaciers would cost about 1.4bn Swiss Francs ($1.5bn; £1.2bn) annually, they estimate. There are also negative environmental consequences associated with this adaptation…

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A report by the UK’s Environment Agency, which was subsequently revealed by the environmental campaign group Greenpeace, found that sewage waste destined for English farmland was contaminated with pollutants including dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at “levels that may present a risk to human health”. A 2020 experiment by Kansas University agronomist Mary Beth Kirkham found that plastic serves as a vector for plant uptake of toxic chemicals such as cadmium. “In the plants where cadmium was in the soil with plastic, the wheat leaves had much, much more cadmium than in the plants that grew without plastic in the…

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“There are around 120 ‘eco-labels’ on the market, from Fair Trade to organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified,” he says. “Until we have a single, unified metric, it is really difficult for consumers to make those food judgments themselves.” Clark says it is important that carbon doesn’t become the only measure used to determine food’s environmental impact. “We need to take a holistic perspective,” he says. Besides carbon, we should consider how the food we eat impacts water, land and biodiversity, he says, noting that foods with a high carbon footprint often require a large amount of land for production. This…

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But currently less than 1% of the world’s solar installations are floating, says Michael Walls, a professor at the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology at Loughborough University, in the UK. This is partly due to technical and financial constraints – saltwater causes corrosion and positioning panels at an angle is tricky and expensive on a floating platform, Walls says. Installations on freshwater bodies may also face opposition if they compete with other activities, such as swimming, boating or angling, he adds. You might also like: Still, floating sun-powered farms also solve another problem plaguing conventional solar energy: inefficiency when…

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