Category Archives: protection

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Coding for Climate initiative launched

Teaching the Future aims to use data and technology to help teach/learn about the climate crisis.  This interesting new initiative came to our attention.coding logo

A new activity called Coding for Climate has been launched by Take Action Global (TAG), an NGO with formal association with the United Nations.

Teachers and their students will seek to find a solution for climate change through their preferred ICT-tools: Minecraft, Scratch, Micro:bit, AI, App prototyping, web, etc. The sky is the limit!coding community image

Participants can even join without computers as they are provided with activities which allow them to code without technology (unplugged coding).

This is a free initiative open to all teachers. Find more information here:

So far more than 1200 teachers across more than 45 countries have joined. Feel free to register (free).

When is this initiative starting?

Launch: March 11 2024
End: April 22 2024

Why join?coging image

The initiative provides engaging activities for students: using ICT for good.
Teachers will become part of a global community of like-minded educators
Teachers are in charge and they decide how much time students can spend on the project.
The initiative involves problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration on global scale
All participants will receive an individualised diploma.

Coding for Climate will provide lesson plans, guidelines and help
In partnership with Earth Day

Find out more

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Climate Activists Take Countries to Court

Young Portuguese Climate Activists Take 32 Countries to Court Over Inadequate Climate Action

This month six young individuals from Portugal are taking legal action against 32 countries through the European Court of Human Rights.

They accuse these nations of failing to adequately address the urgent issue of climate change. The basis of their argument lies in the assertion that the climate crisis directly violates several fundamental rights safeguarded by the European Convention on Human Rights. activists-photo

These rights include the right to life, the right to privacy, protection from inhumane or degrading treatment, and the right not to be subjected to discrimination.

The origins of this case can be traced back to a devastating wildfire that ravaged Portugal in 2017, resulting in a significant loss of life. However, the lawsuit goes beyond this particular event, highlighting the broader and ongoing consequences of climate change, which are already affecting people’s lives in numerous ways.

The accused countries encompass all the members of the European Union, along with Norway, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. The sheer scale of this legal battle is unprecedented and is being closely watched by legal experts and environmental activists alike.

The countries facing these allegations argue that the young plaintiffs cannot be considered unique victims of the climate crisis and question the extent of the harm experienced or anticipated by them. If the court rules in favour of the plaintiffs, it could set a crucial legal precedent linking climate change and human rights.court photo

Such a ruling might empower climate activists to seek legal remedies in their respective national courts, compelling their governments to take more substantial actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This legal case follows previous efforts by environmental organisations, including Greenpeace, to hold governments accountable for their commitments to combat climate change through legal channels, with outcomes that have varied. The European Court of Human Rights is expected to render a judgment on this case within a timeframe of nine to eighteen months.

Find out more about the case

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Coping with the Scorching Heatwave: How Communities Are Adapting

As the planet grapples with the escalating effects of climate change, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense. Heatwaves, in particular, are posing a significant threat to human health, the environment, and daily life. These events have resulted in death tolls, with last summer’s heatwave killing more than 61,000 people across Europe. Heat-related illnesses, particularly among vulnerable populations, are escalating concerns. temperature map

Governments and communities worldwide are mobilising to combat the heatwave menace. Europe, in particular, is taking proactive measures. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidance to support national and local authorities in preparing for extreme heat events. Various cities have implemented heat action plans, established cooling centres, and educated residents on the risks associated with heatwaves.

Spain and Greece have enforced bans on outdoor work during the hottest hours of the day, responding to previous fatalities caused by heat-related illnesses. France’s heat watch warning system, launched after a deadly heatwave in 2003, sets an example for public announcements urging people to stay hydrated during such events. Germany has followed France’s lead and launched a campaign to address heatwave deaths.

Innovative initiatives are emerging to tackle the extreme heat, especially in urban areas where heat island effects are most significant.

Barcelona, Spain, proposes painting rooftops white to reflect the sun’s rays. Meanwhile, London’s historic buildings are showing signs of damage due to prolonged drought and heat, calling for modernisation that considers extreme temperatures.

At the individual level, people are adopting lifestyle changes to minimise heatwave impact, such as staying hydrated, avoiding outdoor activities during peak heat hours, and using energy-efficient appliances.

heat island imageCommunities are embracing tree planting and green space creation to combat the urban heat island effect and provide much-needed shade and cooling. Additionally, the advocacy for clean energy sources and stringent climate policies is gaining momentum to address the long-term effects of heatwaves.

Despite the ongoing threat, the collective efforts of society offer hope for a more resilient and sustainable future. With continued proactive measures and heightened environmental consciousness, individuals and communities strive to adapt and thrive in the face of heatwaves, forging a path towards a cooler, healthier planet.

The Teaching the Future project team believes school education is essential in dealing with these issues. It has published a report that reviewed and analysed education initiatives to improve teaching about climate change and its impacts and will create a training course for teachers to introduce data-driven science into the classroom.

Download the full report

Climate games and simulations for education

The Teaching the Future project has identified different interesting visualisations that help present climate change issues and a created a gallery of innovative games and simulations related to climate change and teaching the future. games image

Recent research by Imperial College, London has shown that young people aged 16-24 are most likely to be particularly concerned about the impacts of climate change. This is partly because climate information is often hard to understand and follow, especially when suggested actions require changes in lifestyle.

study on climate change anxiety published in the Lancet found that children and young people demonstrated climate anxiety and widespread dissatisfaction with government responses in countries across the world. This is partly because because the climate crisis is so complex and lacks a clear solution. Education clearly has a role to play in dealing with this.

Games on the subject of climate change are well-suited to address the challenge of dealing with the complex issues involved, engaging people in the challenges involved.

Games can help communicate climate change in a manner that spurs involvement and motivates participants to take action. This is partly because many innovative design features of games can be integrated to blur the boundaries between reality and the virtual world.

The integration of game thinking and game mechanics in education has been described as gamification. One of the central advantages of gamification is the enjoyment created by making tasks more engaging, fun and interesting to complete. In turn, that increases people’s motivation to complete them.

Research carried out by Yee (2016) identified six different game elements that motivate gamers and encourage participation.

Action (e.g., objectives)
Social (e.g., competition)
Mastery (e.g., scoring)
Achievement (e.g., awards, rewards)
Immersion (e.g., role playing) and
Creativity (e.g., customisation)

It is important to realise therefore that games and game-based learning are valuable approaches to teaching the complexity of addressing climate change and part of the toolbox that educators can use to engage young people.

Visit the TTF gallery to try out the innovative simulations and games.

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IPCC Climate report focuses on science for citizens

The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report from the climate scientists has given a ‘final warning’ to policy makers on the crucial need for action on climate change. It clearly says we must fast-track climate efforts across every country.UN image

The report states that “attention to equity and broad and meaningful participation” can build “social trust” and so “deepen and widen support for transformative changes.”. The  radical social changes encouraged by this report won’t happen without the consent and participation of citizens around the world.

For many years, this critical part of the climate change response has been ignored. Socially marginalised and economically vulnerable citizens, and those who are more impacted by changing temperatures, remain excluded from the conversation.

According to Climate Home News, Governments have a duty – embedded in article 6 of the Paris Agreementto educate their citizens on climate change, involve them in policymaking and ensure they have all the necessary information.

The UNFCCC’s Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) is made up of six elements: education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and international cooperation. ACE image

These six principles are all core to public engagement, and most importantly to holding governments accountable.

Scientists providing even more frightening information about future impacts of climate change can be overwhelming and not helpful.

Positive campaigns are needed, involving education, that give people the feeling that it is possible to do something about climate change, they can be involved and that that something has the potential to make a difference.

The IPCC report highlights bringing people together to take action on climate change requires a bottom up,  participatory approach engaging and involving people. Climate education is one clear step we can and should take to inform and advise Governments and citizens to do more.

Find out more about Action for Climate Empowerment

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Dealing with climate refugia

refugia diagramA ‘climate refugia’ is an area that might act as a refuge for biodiversity in case of climate change; a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ is an area with a higher than average level of biodiversity. The latter term is sometimes used for areas that host particular concentrations of rare or endemic species (without necessarily being specific in terms of total number of species).

Climate refugia are areas that remain relatively buffered from the effects of climate change over time, enabling them to play a vital role in safeguarding biodiversity. New research by Doxia et al. (2022) has identified sites that may serve as climate refugia in Mediterranean Europe over the next 50 years.

Why are climate refugia important?

In times of dramatic ecological upheaval, like that caused by climate change, identifying and protecting climate change refugia — areas relatively buffered from climate change over time — can help protect species from the negative effects of climate change in the short-term as well as provide longer-term protection for biodiversity and ecosystem function.

Climate refugia, represents an area that increases chances of adaption and conservation in a changing climate. The key attribute of refugia is their relative persistence, despite changes in the climate in the surrounding landscape. Most refugia are located outside existing national protected areas, highlighting substantial protection gaps relevant to conservation planning.

climate refugia diagram

Reference: Doxa, A., Kamarianakis, Y. and Mazaris, A. D. (2022) Spatial heterogeneity and temporal stability characterize future climatic refugia in Mediterranean Europe. Global Change Biology: 1–12.

Find out more

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Visualising The Earth’s Ice Loss

Visualising Earth’s Global Ice Loss Between 1994-2017

Visualising the amount of ice that is being lost from the Earth is very difficult to consider. Especially when it is estimated that nearly 70% of the Earth’s freshwater is locked up in glaciers and ice caps, ground ice, and permafrost. This ice is melting at an unprecedented rate.

This news item looks at different forms of visualisation to help improve our understanding of the significance of these changes.ice loss graph

Based on data from a new scientific survey (slater et al., 2021), this visualisation shows that 28 trillion tonnes of Earth’s ice has been lost between 1994 and 2017.

Over half (58%) of the ice loss occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, from Arctic sea ice and also grounded ice previously trapped in the Greenland ice sheet.

While rising temperatures lies behind most of this historical global ice loss, it’s worth being aware that lower levels of ice results in a positive feedback loop. Less ice means less of the sun’s heat is reflected away from the Earth, instead being absorbed back and further amplifying the global warming effect.

How does a glacier melt?

Change in the Arctic (European Space Agency

Global Ice Loss Visualised Over Paris -a visualisation of one year’s global ice loss 

Reference: Slater, T., Lawrence, I.R., Otosaka, I.N., Shepherd, A., Gourmelen, N., Jakob, L., Tepes, P., Gilbert, L. and Nienow, P., 2021. Earth’s ice imbalance. The Cryosphere15(1), 233-246. https://tc.copernicus.org/articles/15/233/2021/

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Heading towards a UN Plastics Treaty?

Following on from the international climate change agreement, United Nations member states have agreed to start international negotiations on drawing up a global plastics treaty that could set rules for production, use and disposal of plastics. The decision was made at a meeting of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi. Representatives from 175 countries endorsed an historic resolution to forge a legally binding agreement by 2024 to “end plastic pollutionplastic to ocean image

This is the first steps towards the approval of a plan to create the world’s first global plastic pollution treaty in Nairobi. The member states have held talks to agree on the outline of a pact about the soaring plastic pollution, one of today’s greatest environmental crisis widespread all around the globe.

World leaders have until 2024 to agree the plastic pollution treaty, including which elements will be legally binding and how the deal will be financed.

Environmental groups are calling for clear and strong global standards that incentivise nations to stick to common rules and regulations over plastics, while penalising harmful products and practices.

The partners of the Teaching the Future project, as agents preoccupied with the environmental repercussions of today’s behaviour towards our planet, want to show our support and enthusiasm on this important achievement. All efforts on the promotion of a more sustainable design on plastic packaging would imply a change in the creation and consumption of any product.

Inger Anderson (Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme) stated, “this is a historic moment” that we must celebrate and emphasise.

Find out more about the new global treaty