Every year on June 5th the world celebrates World Environment Day. This year the theme is biodiversity, which is a core piece of any healthy environment. Currently we are losing species at the fastest rate ever in human history. The following is a useful resource explaining what biodiversity is, why it is under threat, and what are the direct actions you and I can take to help protect biodiversity.
Scientists for Global Responsibility and Declassified UK have published a report which assesses the key environmental impacts of the UK military, arms industry and related sectors. It provides a detailed assessment of UK military greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – arguably, more in-depth than previously provided in a report in the public domain. It also gives an overview of other related environmental issues, especially those of particular concern, such as impacts resulting from weapons-use, the management of military nuclear waste, and the environmental impacts should nuclear weapons ever be used in war.
The Earth School is a collection of videos exploring and explaining the environment through quests running from Earth Day (April 22nd) to World Environment Day (June 5th). Each quest encourages young people to learn more about our planet, how all of its different moving parts work, and why it is important to take good care of our shared home. For example Quest 12 delves into biodiversity, provides an introductory video, engaging questions, and further resources. The project is supported by the United Nations Environmental Program, National Geographic, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Geoff Tansey lives in the UK and curates the open education on-line resource the Food Systems Academy and is a member of the Food Ethics Council. In this article he explains how COVID-19 has made it clear that military spending will not keep us safe, which also highlights the impending dangers and impacts of climate change. Tansey calls for a shift from military spending to investments in the resilience of our food systems, biodiversity, and climate.
Geoff Tansey’s books include The Food System: a guide (with Tony Worsley) and co-editorship (with Tasmin Rajotte) of The future control of food – A guide to international negotiations and rules on intellectual property, biodiversity and food security. This latter book came out of work he did as a consultant with QUNO Geneva the Quaker International Affairs Programme of Canadian Quakers. He is an honorary visiting fellow at the Universities of Cardiff, Lancaster and Newcastle and a member of Brighouse West Yorkshire Area Meeting.
George Rhee, Associate Director NASA Spacegrant Nevada and Physics and Astronomy Professor at University of Nevada Las Vegas and with childhood connections with Geneva Monthly Meeting, has shared a brief video exploring the parallels between responses to climate change and COVID-19, the roles we have in our local communities, and what it would take to transition away from fossil fuels. Rhee has also devised a calculator to assist in what energy transitions might look like.
A large coalition led by the Rainforest Action Network, and endorsed by Indigenous peoples, and environmental, human rights, and interfaith groups from around the world, have released a comprehensive report tracking the investments of banks in fossil fuels. The research contains data indicating JP Morgan Chase, closely followed by Wells Fargo and Citi, invest the most in fossil fuels. The report further presents different personal stories and different areas where banks specifically invest their fossil fuel money in, such as the Arctic or tar sands.
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has joined an interfaith coalition to draft a set of principles regarding the possible implementation of carbon pricing. These principles, which aim to assist policy makers when drafting carbon pricing mechanisms, focus on stewardship, sustainability, dialogue, and justice and human dignity. More information about carbon pricing, and FCNL’s particular work on it, can be found here.
For the next session of the Human Rights Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has released a report on the rights of the child through a healthy environment. This report details the obligations of states and the responsibilities of states regarding the enjoyment of children’s rights and the environment. It includes climate change child activists, environmental health impacts of child labor, and best practices from international, regional, and national governments.
Friends World Committee for Consultation has created a Sustainability Resources list on their website, which includes reports from different meetings around the world, personal testimonies from Friends, and links to publications and podcasts from FWCC as well as other Quaker organizations such as QUNO and Quakers in Britain. FWCC also has an Instagram page where more information and narrative is shared.