Since 2009, scientists and conservationists from around the world have come together under the leadership of researchers from the University of Cambridge, to raise the main environmental issues ecology, biodiversity, conservation, climate crisis, etc., to help society and politicians take action and make decisions that contribute to environmental sustainability by mitigating climate threats.
Well, this year the band presented 15 questions divided into four main categories :
- resource usage
- Disturbance of organisms and habitats.
- Technological innovations
- policies and laws.
Here are the top 15 things to consider in 2023 for Earth conservation. This is a summary of the points taken from The Guardian.
chitin extracted from shellfish
To replace plastic and other environmentally problematic items, the search for chitin, a molecule present in molluscs, insects and fungi, and which threatens biodiversity by increasing the harvesting of marine organisms. Proactive strategies, such as collecting chitin from insects fed organic waste, could help maximize benefits and minimize harm.
The demand for lithium, a metal used in the manufacture of electric car batteries and electronic devices, may increase mining or even more dangerous forms of extraction, as we have seen, deep sea mining .
But there are long-lasting solutions, the revolutionary super cheap sea salt batteries.
Production and disposal of cells and batteries.
The production and disposal of batteries generate environmental impacts as they involve toxic metals and this is a problem to be solved. There are alternatives, for example, it is possible to create bio-based batteries that generate electricity by using biological molecules to break apart other biological molecules, releasing electrons in the process.
Urine can reduce the need to produce and transport artificial fertilizers, which require energy throughout the production process and leave residues in the environment.
Artificial fertilizers are essential in large-scale agriculture but have their environmental costs: they require fossil fuels to manufacture, they produce greenhouse gases that warm the planet, and they pollute water and air. , harming plants and wildlife.
The do-it-yourself solution is to plant crops that get nitrogen from bacteria living in or near their roots, which can literally pull the stuff out of the air, a process known as ” Nitrogen fixation “. With a higher investment, this technology can be scaled up for wider application.
sea water heating
Water from the seas and oceans helps balance the Earth’s climate in addition to distributing nutrients to the ecosystem itself. But as the atmosphere and the surface of the ocean warm, the natural cycle of salt water through its upper layer to achieve this balance is compromised.
the use of artificial light for deep sea fishing has increased, and risks endangering a fragile biodiversity, which has adapted to the darkness of the depths.
Los wetlands that encuentran a lo largo de las costas oceánicas, como mangroves, lagunas, etc., además de albergar una gran variedad de plants y animaux, también benefician a los humanos al proteger la tierra de las tormentas y evitar el aumento del nivel sea. Wetlands are under constant threat, so it may be too late to rely on this natural help . Conservation is for yesterday.
Biodiversity is not limited to plants and animals. Invisible micro-organisms are also part of it and are also modified by man, with all the scientific and political implications that this may have.
Perkinsea, a tadpole-killing protist, appears to be spreading from North America to other parts of the world. The amphibian trade and climate change they promote the emergence of diseases that can spread rapidly and endanger biodiversity, with big problems for everyone. Remembering that amphibians are insect eaters…did you think?
Just as medicines can be personalized, whether in terms of cure or adverse effects, a similar approach could be explored by conservationists, in order to reduce the damage and threats to species and ecosystems caused. by chemicals like pesticides, before they are approved for use.
Store energy in the form of heat.
Scientists are working to create a new type of battery that uses heat to generate electricity. These are the calls thermophotovoltaic systems , and can help reduce the need for today’s fossil fuels, conventional batteries and other power generation systems, which cause environmental damage. Is 100% clean energy possible?
Plastic rich in microorganisms
The plastic that accumulates in large clumps in the seas and oceans is called “garbage patches”. Although harmful to marine life, they are rich in organisms They live at the interface of air and water. Although not naturally occurring, these organisms can serve as food for fish, turtles and other animals. Conservationists say efforts to remove debris from the ocean must consider how to protect these organisms from the process.
Plant trees yes, but…
To sequester carbon and produce biomass for fuel, governments are planting large tracts of single-species trees on non-forest land . This is obviously dangerous as there is a risk of invasive and non-native species spreading into native forests, destroying local ecosystems. Modifying the genome of these trees to sterilize them and prevent invasions is not a trivial action either. Planting trees is good, but it’s not always great or the best solution.
Conservation on the rise
More and more people and governments want to invest in environmental conservation. It’s a 2023 trend that tends to increase, for the good of all. Hope and Happy New Year!
By Daya Florios. Article in Portuguese