Children can foster climate change concern among their parents

The collective action that is required to mitigate and adapt to climate change is extremely difficult to achieve, largely due to socio-ideological biases that perpetuate polarization over climate change1,2. Because climate change perceptions in children seem less susceptible to the influence of worldview or political context3, it may be possible for them to inspire adults towards higher levels of climate concern, and in turn, collective action4. Child-to-parent intergenerational learning—that is, the transfer of knowledge, attitudes or behaviors from children to parents5—may be a promising pathway to overcoming socio-ideological barriers to climate concern5. Here we present an experimental evaluation of an educational intervention designed to build climate change concern among parents indirectly through their middle school-aged children in North Carolina, USA. Parents of children in the treatment group expressed higher levels of climate change concern than parents in the control group. The effects were strongest among male parents and conservative parents, who, consistent with the previous research1, displayed the lowest levels of climate concern before the intervention. Daughters appeared to be especially effective in influencing parents. Our results suggest that intergenerational learning may overcome barriers to building climate concern.

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Posted in Children, Climate change | Tagged ,

Indigenous knowledge networks in the face of global change

Indigenous communities rely extensively on plants for food, shelter, and medicine. It is still unknown, however, to what degree their survival is jeopardized by the loss of either plant species or knowledge about their services. To fill this gap, here we introduce indigenous knowledge networks describing the wisdom of indigenous people on plant species and the services they provide. Our results across 57 Neotropical communities show that cultural heritage is as important as plants for preserving indigenous knowledge both locally and regionally. Indeed, knowledge networks collapse as fast when plant species are driven extinct as when cultural diffusion, either within or among communities, is lost. But it is the joint loss of plant species and knowledge that erodes these networks at a much higher rate. Our findings pave the road toward integrative policies that recognize more explicitly the inseparable links between cultural and biological heritage.

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Posted in Climate change, Indigenous communities, Indigenous knowledge, Sustainability | Tagged , , ,

Untapped potential of collective intelligence in conservation and environmental decision making

Environmental decisions are often deferred to groups of experts, committees, or panels to develop climate policy, plan protected areas, or negotiate trade‐offs for biodiversity conservation. There is, however, surprisingly little empirical research on the performance of group decision making related to the environment. We examined examples from a range of different disciplines, demonstrating the emergence of collective intelligence (CI) in the elicitation of quantitative estimates, crowdsourcing applications, and small‐group problem-solving. We explored the extent to which similar tools are used in environmental decision making. This revealed important gaps (e.g., a lack of integration of fundamental research in decision‐making practice, absence of systematic evaluation frameworks) that obstruct mainstreaming of CI. By making judicious use of interdisciplinary learning opportunities, CI can be harnessed effectively to improve decision making in conservation and environmental management. To elicit reliable quantitative estimates an understanding of cognitive psychology and to optimize crowdsourcing artificial intelligence tools may need to be incorporated. The business literature offers insights into the importance of soft skills and diversity in team effectiveness. Environmental problems set a challenging and rich testing ground for collective‐intelligence tools and frameworks. We argue this creates an opportunity for significant advancement in decision‐making research and practice.

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Posted in collective intelligence, Conservation, Environment | Tagged , ,

Why some conservatives are blind to climate change

Imagine this: A young professional couple at a party mentions they’re thinking of buying a home in a popular waterfront neighborhood that scientists have found is vulnerable to coastal flooding.

That flood risk is made extra clear by murals in the neighborhood marking the predicted water level rise. What’s more, media headlines have warned about sea level rise daily during the past week.

So, what gives? Can the young couple just not see the evidence in front of them?

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Posted in Climate change | Tagged

Biodiversity loss is more than an environmental problem, it is a development, economic, social and moral issue

The IPBES recently published four landmark regional assessment reports of biodiversity (ie genes, species and ecosystems). There is one each for the Americas, Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Asia and the Pacific, and an assessment of land degradation and restoration. The findings of these assessments are based on thousands of scientific reports, as well as indigenous and local knowledge. They clearly demonstrate that biodiversity is as much development, economic, social and moral issue as an environmental issue

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Posted in Biodiversity | Tagged

What can a Green New Deal learn from other countries?

From net-zero carbon emissions to transportation fixes, some ideas in the Green New Deal have been tested abroad.

A Green New Deal is far from a sure thing. Political challenges are already growing tendrils around the proposal, and it’s not clear how its roughly-outlined plans will coalesce into specific policies. But surveys show that American voters are more concerned about climate change than ever before and that a majority of voters on both sides of the aisle support the idea of a comprehensive plan to address it.

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Posted in Green economy, Green Knowledge | Tagged ,

Growing up in dirty air ‘quadruples chances of developing depression’

Children who lived in areas with higher air pollution when younger are significantly more likely to have developed major depression by the age of 18, according to research.

In the first analysis of how common air pollutants affect teenage mental health, researchers found young people were three to four times more likely to have depression at 18 if they had been exposed to dirtier air at age 12. Comparison with earlier work indicates that air pollution is a greater risk factor than physical abuse in raising the risk of teenage depression.

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Read also: Research Paper

Posted in Air pollution, Depression | Tagged ,

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’

Insects could vanish within a century at the current rate of decline, says global review.

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds, and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

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Posted in Insect, Nature | Tagged ,

Forest soil needs decades or centuries to recover from fires and logging

The 2009 Black Saturday fires burned 437,000 hectares of Victoria, including tens of thousands of hectares of Mountain Ash forest.

As we approach the tenth anniversary of these fires, we are reminded of their legacy by the thousands of tall Mountain ash “skeletons” still standing across the landscape. Most of them are scattered amid a mosaic of regenerating forest, including areas regrowing after logging.

But while we can track the obvious visible destruction of fire and logging, we know very little about what’s happening beneath the ground.

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Posted in Forest, Soil | Tagged ,

Climate Change is changing wind patterns and making Ocean waves stronger

Climate change is changing our wind patterns, which is strengthening waves traveling across the earth’s surface.

As climate change has gradually heated oceans around the globe, it’s also been making ocean waves stronger and more deadly, according to a new study published in Nature Monday.

Upper-ocean waves are driven by local wind patterns, which are driven by temperature differences between different layers of the air. So as we pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and heat up the air, we’re also strengthening certain wind patterns and weakening others. The net effect on our oceans is stronger winds making stronger waves.

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Posted in Climate change, Ocean | Tagged ,