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Thanks to a camera trap, a polar bear unwittingly makes a self-portrait in Svalbard. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NICKLEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Lack of sea ice is making it more difficult for polar bears to find food.

When photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy arrived on Baffin Island in late summer, they came across a heartbreaking sight: a starving polar bear on its deathbed.

Nicklen is no stranger to bears. From the time he was a child growing up in Canada’s far north the biologist turned wildlife photographer has seen over 3,000 bears in the wild. But the emaciated polar bear, featured in videos Nicklen published to social media on December 5, was one of the most gut-wrenching sights he’s ever seen.

“We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said.

Read the full article and watch the video here.

By Sarah Gibbens for The National Geographic.

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Oceans under greatest threat in history, warns Sir David Attenborough

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The leatherback turtle is the largest turtle on the planet. David Attenborough travels to Trinidad to meet a community trying to save these giants. Photograph: Gavin Thurston

Blue Planet 2 producers say final episode lays bare shocking damage humanity is wreaking in the seas, from climate change to plastic pollution to noise

The world’s oceans are under the greatest threat in history, according to Sir David Attenborough. The seas are a vital part of the global ecosystem, leaving the future of all life on Earth dependent on humanity’s actions, he says.

Attenborough will issue the warning in the final episode of the Blue Planet 2 series, which details the damage being wreaked in seas around the globe by climate change, plastic pollution, overfishing and even noise.

Previous BBC nature series presented by Attenborough have sometimes been criticised for treading too lightly around humanity’s damage to the planet. But the final episode of the latest series is entirely dedicated to the issue.

“For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong,” says Attenborough. “It is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans. [They] are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point.”

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian.

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Credit: Nick Cote for The New York Times

Even casual readers of the news know that the earth is probably going to look very different in 2100, and not in a good way.

The real culprit of the climate crisis is not any particular form of consumption, production or regulation but rather the very way in which we globally produce, which is for profit rather than for sustainability. So long as this order is in place, the crisis will continue and, given its progressive nature, worsen. This is a hard fact to confront. But averting our eyes from a seemingly intractable problem does not make it any less a problem. It should be stated plainly: It’s capitalism that is at fault.

Read the full article talking about the climate crisis in a different way here.

By Benjamin Y. Fong for The New York Times.

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WTMvideopanel (Credit: Griffith Institute for Tourism Insights)

 

When reflecting on the last decade of work on climate change and tourism, I can make three observations:

1. The climate is changing faster than predicted

Every year we are witnessing new records in climate extremes. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains several websites to report and visualise climate extremes and anomalies. The Figure on the right, for example, shows a long term trends. Not only are temperatures increasing faster than expected, but  so do the rise in sea levels, the intensity of storms, and the retreat of Arctic sea ice.

What does this means for tourism? Very clearly operating in – often vulnerable – locations becomes more costly and riskier. Thus, tourism industry and Government are now forced to get much more involved (and invest!) in adapting to changing conditions. In many cases, adaptation has to respond to negative impacts on assets and attractions. The Great Barrier Reef and recent coral bleaching events is a prominent example.

 

Read the full blog entry to find out more about the other two observations made as well as suggested action points here. 

The blog accompanies a video presentation recorded for the World Travel Market Responsible Tourism Day, 6 November 2017. The panel to which the video contributed was entitled: The Major Environmental Challenges: Carbon & Water RTT, and chaired by Mr Christopher Warren, Crystal Creek Meadows, NSW, Australia.

By Susanne Becken for Griffith Institute for Tourism Insights.

 

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

A sustainable trip starts at home. When preparing for your next trip, keep these basic travel tips in mind.

 

Flying

Pay attention to your carbon footprint when booking your flight. Some airlines emit more carbon dioxide than others. It’s possible for you to pay a little more to ‘offset’ the carbon dioxide or simply select the trip with the shortest flight time. The less time spent in the air improves your personal contribution to a cleaner environment.  

 

Pack light

Only pack the essentials. Do you really need that extra pair of shoes? More weight means more carbon emissions – and possible excess baggage charges that hit you where it really hurts.

 

Travel closer to home

Remember that there are places closer to home that are just as beautiful and interesting. Staying local benefits your local community and environment. Travelling by train or bus instead of a plane means you are emitting up to 50 percent less carbon dioxide in some cases.

 

Accommodation

Check for evidence of sustainability or eco-certification when making your reservation(s). When hotels or resorts have a proven track record in terms of environmental care and eco-management they will likely promote these features to catch your eye.

Here is a link to help you find some green hotels.

 

Products

Take your own toiletries and avoid using the in-room shampoos and shower gels provided in miniature plastic containers.

Some sunscreens may be harmful to people and the planet.

 

EQ offers organic lifestyle products including sunscreen that are respectful to marine life.

 

Smart Girls Who Surf  offers a line of sunscreen products for body, face and lips. Take your own reusable products, such as bags, tumblers and even chopsticks.

 

Read more about being a responsible traveller in the PATA s Responsible Business Travel Guidelines.

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

In April of this year, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading over 410 parts per million (ppm). This is a brand-new state of affairs, as humans have never existed on Earth with CO2 levels over 300 ppm. If carbon emissions continue their current trend, our atmosphere could get to a point it hasn’t been at in 50 million years—when temperatures were 18°F (10°C) higher and there was almost no ice on the planet (meaning there was a lot more water and a lot less land).

There’s long been a consensus between multiple countries to try to limit the temperature change from global warming to two degrees Celsius. This is critical for many reasons, not least the effect hotter temperatures will have (and have already had) on food production.

But author and activist Paul Hawken says two degrees isn’t enough—not nearly enough, in fact. In a moving presentation at Singularity University’s Global Summit last week in San Francisco, Hawken shared details from his recently-released book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

 

Read the full article here and be surprised by at least one of the top solutions from Drawdown’s model.

 

By Vanessa Bates Ramirez for SingularityHub

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From New York’s High Line park to new affordable housing in Oakland, a debate over the accessibility of green design has taken root. Credit: Shutterstock/Stuart Monk

 

In East Oakland, a few blocks from the home of the champion Golden State Warriors basketball team, a series of geometric buildings and well-tended green spaces cut a striking contrast to the overgrown vacant lots, industrial equipment yards and aging corner stores that dot the neighborhood.

Tassafaronga Village, a six-year-old, $52.8 million LEED Gold housing redevelopment project, is also an example of the tradeoffs that can emerge in the push to make cities more sustainable — not just environmentally, but also socially and economically.

From Miami to New York, Houston to Oakland, the term “climate gentrification” is on the rise.

 

Learn about climate gentrification here:

 

By Lauren Hepler on GreenBiz

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

Restaurants, campuses, and farmers are battling food waste in their industries. Here’s how you can join the effort.

 

America is one of the largest offenders of food waste in the world, according to a recent survey. Every year, roughly 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown out worldwide, a considerable problem given that agriculture contributes about 22 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions and 12.7 million people go hungry in America alone.

Entrepreneurs across several sectors have created ways to re-purpose food. Their efforts are admirable and economical, but the biggest difference will be if you make food waste reduction a daily habit.

 

 

Read more about how you can give food a new purpose here.

 

By Joseph Jaafari from NationSwell

 

 

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

Excess heat in Phoenix grounded more than 40 flights in recent days, and
scientists say a warming climate could also mean more turbulent rides.

In recent days, American Airlines has been forced to cancel more than 40 flights in Phoenix. The reason: With daytime highs hovering around 120 degrees, it was simply too hot for some smaller jets to take off. Hotter air is thinner air, which makes it more difficult — and sometimes impossible — for planes to generate enough lift.

As the global climate changes, disruptions like these are likely to become more frequent, researchers say, potentially making air travel costlier and less predictable with a greater risk of injury to travelers from increased turbulence.

Read more about climate change affects air travel here.

From Zach Wichter from The New York Times

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