Sat 8 July 10-12pm - Join us for this free online workshop to discover how your stories could help tackle the nature and climate emergencies.
Your stories about caring for Planet Earth could help tackle the nature and climate emergencies. Authentic communication and creativity are among the most important tools we all have.
Join our FREE workshop between 10am-12noon on Saturday 8 July to take the time to put into words your love, fear, anger and hope for our Planet.
BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE HERE >>
Authentic life stories are powerful and there so are many ways to tell them. If more of us tell our stories about our connections to nature, more people will hear us and some will start to explore their own connections.
This workshop is a tool for you to find or to support your voice – what resonates with you is important when you express yourself in writing. With pen and paper, you will be guided through various writing exercises, followed by the opportunity, if you wish, to share some of your writings with the group.
At the end of the workshop we will focus on ‘How to keep well in an age of climate and nature emergencies.' This might inspire you to write a short piece for the Daily Reading for Earth after the workshop.
In offering this workshop, we wish to support your personal writing as well as potentially the creation of more short pieces for our Daily Readings for Earth with the aim of supporting those struggling with eco-sorrow and climate anxiety. The workshop will be led by Surefoot associate and published writer Gazelle Buchholtz.
Eco Anxious Resilient Peer Support is a new and developing project from The Surefoot Effect focussed on creating and sharing mental wellbeing resilience tools for people who strive for enlightened and just societies that respect Earth and all life. Have a look at our self care planning tool.
BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE HERE >>
Find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The planet looks very different today than it did ten thousand years ago when humans first started changing the ecosystem by farming; it even looks different from one hundred years ago or fifty years ago. Humans have developed the land like never before, which has had a huge impact on climate and biodiversity.
Land System Change
Land system change is a key metric in the nine planetary boundaries model. Land system change refers to the way humans have adapted the land for agriculture, urbanisation, and developments over the centuries. The changes impact local and global systems and habitats.
The planet's natural forests, wetlands, and grasslands have been adapted to accommodate human habitats like cities and urban areas; they have also been adapted to support the human population with food and other resources. Land use changes must be closely monitored.
Local Effects of Land Use Change
At a local level, land use changes support the human population with houses, infrastructure, and developments that meet the needs of local communities. Local grasslands, wetlands, and forests are developed or modified to meet the needs of people, but there are consequences.
The loss of local habitats and ecosystems due to urban and agricultural expansion has an impact on human health, as well as animal and plant life. Biodiversity, including water systems and local plant life, underpins human health, and changes can have far-reaching effects.
Global Effects of Land Change
It is unclear how much of the planet has been developed for human habitation and resources; estimates vary. However, it is clear that well-over one-quarter of the land has been changed, including rainforests and rivers. These changes can have a profound impact on natural systems.
Reducing the rainforests and creating agricultural land increases CO2 in the atmosphere by curbing absorption and releasing more carbon at the same time. Changing river flows also impact natural habitats affecting wildlife and human health in local areas and on a global scale.
The Planetary Boundary
Land system change is a key metric in the planetary boundary model because it has such far-reaching impacts. Land use changes occur at a local level and are designed to meet the needs of local communities, but these changes influence global systems and climate change.
When measuring the impact of land system change as a planetary boundary, it is necessary to consider the quantity of land being developed along with its function, spatial distribution, and natural resources like forests. Land is too often developed for short-term gains to local areas.
In many parts of the world, the damage has been done already. Habitats have been destroyed for towns and cities, river flows have been redirected, and forests have been cleared for agriculture. These changes have had a profound impact and contribution to climate change.
It’s clear that future land use should be developed with sustainability in mind, but current land use must also be considered. Reforestation, rewilding, and local sustainability efforts can be employed to support local ecosystems and biodiversity and to control this planetary boundary.
Climate change has accelerated in the past 30 years, and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has effectively doubled. This is not without consequence. We are already seeing the impact of climate change on temperatures, weather patterns, agriculture, and ocean acidification. Managing the challenges is the task of individuals, businesses, and governments.
Key Takeaways: Climate Change Impacts
As more greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere, the world heats up (GHG). Warmer parts of the planet are the first to suffer the effects of extreme heat. There are also high rates of heat-related mortality, especially in older people unable to regulate temperatures when asleep.
As well as causing droughts and putting pressure on water supplies, extreme heat also causes a range of health conditions, such as migraines, arthritis, asthma, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Extreme heat is happening in most places with more intense summers.
Droughts are also occurring more frequently in many places, including the UK; they are a symptom of extreme heat. Droughts happen when areas receive insufficient precipitation due to extreme heat and evaporation; this affects local ecosystems: agriculture, and food resources.
Some droughts last for years and have a substantial impact on crops, animal life, and humans, but even short droughts can have a big impact on local economies. According to the Red Cross, 40°C temperatures would have been unlikely in the UK without human-caused climate change.
Wildfires are devastating to local ecosystems, animals, and the human population, and some places are more prone to them than others. In 2019-20, Australia had what is now called the Black Summer, a summer season with hundreds of wildfires in the southeast of the country.
Wildfires can be started spontaneously due to the sun’s heat or artificially from campfires and discarded cigarettes; when the land is dry due to extreme heat, it increases the chances of wildfires starting. The black summer is thought to have killed 450 people and 1 billion animals.
Storms and Floods
Storms and floods have always been natural hazards, but their frequency and intensity are increasing in unpredictable ways, especially in sub-tropical areas that receive monsoon rains. Storms and floods can devastate communities, causing billions in damage and loss of life.
As global temperatures rise, island nations like the UK and Ireland will experience more storms and floods. Rising sea levels, changes in Gulf Stream temperature, and low-lying land in the south make the UK particularly vulnerable to these forms of extreme weather in coming years.
Sea levels are rising due to the melting of glaciers and land ice making its way into the ocean; it is also caused by the expansion of seawater when it warms. The IPCC reports that sea levels could rise by between 50 cm and 130 cm by the year 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels.
Coastal cities and regions will be severely impacted by sea level rises. In poorer regions, displacement will be common, while established global cities like New York and London will experience financial losses unless infrastructure can be quickly adapted to the water levels.
Agriculture is both crucial and controversial in the global economy, and as global temperatures continue to rise, the question of whether the world can sustain a further 2 billion people by 2050 needs to be addressed. Extreme weather can increase yields, but it’s offset by damaged crops.
Agriculture is more related to trade and economics than to feeding the world, which is why the EU has stockpiles of food. Benin, an African state, produces 4 to 8 times as much cotton than Texan farmers, but Texan farmers receive $4 billion in subsidies, distorting global trade practice.
Ph levels are used to measure the acidification of water. Ph stands for “potential of hydrogen” since the inclusion of hydrogen influences the levels of acidity. Ph is measured on a scale between 0-14 - current ocean levels measure 8. The number decreases as hydrogen rises.
As more carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, its Ph levels become lower, meaning the water is more acidic due to increases in hydrogen. There are several concerns about it. Ocean acidification affects habitats, alters nutrients, and causes misshapen shells in sea creatures.
Biodiversity changes will lead to the extinction of animals such as the African mountain gorilla, neo-tropic amphibians, a bear found in the Andes, forest birds in Tanzania, the Bengal tiger, as well as polar bears, penguins, and a wide range of plants and animal species in the UK as well.
Many species under threat can’t migrate when ecosystems change due to weather patterns, extreme heat, and ocean acidification. Currently, the UK has below half its biodiversity left, and although levels are stable; the figure is worrying since nature is at the base of our supply chains.
Death rates are likely to increase as climate change worsens this century. Increased death rates will result from heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods. Higher temperatures will also impact food production and increase vector-borne diseases like malaria due to moisture levels.
According to a 2009 report in the Lancet by University College London, the two major threats to human health from climate change are food and water. Water shortages will put a strain on food production and health, especially in regions vulnerable to droughts like North and South Africa.
Between 1850 and 2020, global temperatures increased by 1.2 °C, which has caused the climate issues we have today. In a high climate change scenario, temperatures would rise by a further 1.1 °C to 5.7 °C by the end of the century, putting human survival on the planet at risk.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which have been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.