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Green Globe

| March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

A simple way to go wild

In 2020, you can combine technology use with environmental protection teaching and learning by accessing a very simple tool: At the time of writing, this author (editor Fiona de Villiers) was also watching, in real time, the Gorilla Forest Corridor in the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Centre (GRACE) Centre in Kasugho, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. GRACE is located near the Tayna Nature Reserve, and its mission is to care for gorillas rescued from poachers and to promote the conservation of wild gorillas and their habitat by working with Congolese communities. On the website, you will see a map of the area, as well as accurate, monitored weather conditions. This means that teachers and students can blur the lines of traditional subjects and can immerse themselves simultaneously in geography, history, biology and more.

A poor prognosis

On 16 November 2019, British health journal, The Lancet, released a report entitled ‘The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: ensuring that the health of a child born today is not defined by a changing climate’. Some 120 climate and health experts from 35 institutions around the globe collaborated to produce the report. One of the report authors, Dr Nick Watts, stated: ‘Children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of a changing climate.’ Watts and colleagues have warned that if countries do not address climate changes urgently, then children born in 2020 will grow up in a world that will be seven degrees warmer by their 71st birthdays. One of the key issues that governments must address is the threat of food scarcity. Harvests may shrink as temperatures rise. Food prices will rise in turn, and those children born in the poorest parts of the world will be affected by malnutrition and related health problems. Uncertain weather patterns will also create the conditions for the spread of opportunistic disease, say climate experts. Watts says that 2018 was the second-most climatically suitable year on record for the spread of bacteria that caused much of the diarrhoeal disease and wound infections that occurred around the world. On 28 February 2020, news source Al Jazeera reported that the first case of coronavirus 2019-nCoV had been diagnosed in Nigeria. At this time, ‘In China – the epicentre of the deadly disease – the National Health Commission reported … at least 44 new coronavirus deaths, bringing to 2 788 the number of fatalities nationwide. Coronavirus has killed more than 2 800 people and infected about 83 000 worldwide,’ said Al Jazeera. Hugh Montgomery, co-chair of ‘The Lancet Countdown’ and a professor from University College, London, has said: ‘The highest recorded temperatures in western Europe and wildfires in Siberia, Queensland and California triggered asthma, respiratory infections and heat stroke. Sea levels are now rising at an ever-concerning rate. Our children recognise this climate emergency and demand action to protect them. We must listen, and respond.’ As children born in 2020 grow into adulthood, they will be caught up in the chaos of violent tropical storms, intense wildfires, heatwaves, water shortages and extreme winter weather. Study co-author, Dr Stella Hartinger from Cayetano Heredia University in Peru, has warned: ‘It will take the work of 7.5 billion people currently alive to ensure that the health of a child born today isn’t defined by a changing climate.’

Category: Autumn 2020

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