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Good morning curious.friends,

Feeling the heat this morning? 

This week we find out more about London's new #NationalParkCity status and what it means for nature (and other UK cities). We also deliver the bad news that Earth Overshoot Day is 3 days earlier than last year, and that we have just 18 months to save the planet... but it's not all doom and gloom, we promise!

Reading time is 3:27 minutes.
Enjoy, team curious
Climate Change

Heatwaves, Earth Overshoot Day and 18 months to save the world

by Abi Aldridge

What's Going On Here?

It’s getting difficult for even the strongest sceptics to deny that the planet is in serious trouble. Global temperatures have reached record highs, Earth Overshoot Day is set to fall 3 days earlier than last year and experts have said we have just 18 months to save the planet.

What Does This Mean?

This week, it was announced that Earth Overshoot Day will fall on Monday 29 July - the earliest it’s ever been. This day marks the point at which we’ve used a year’s worth of resources; meaning that in 2019 the world’s population has used a year’s worth of carbon, crops, food, water and forests in just seven months. I wrote a piece on Earth Overshoot Day last year for any of you keen beans who want to know more.

In the same week, experts have warned that we only have 18 months to save the world - what?! This stems from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommendations which state we must cut global carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. Experts are now warning that the political steps needed to enable those carbon cuts have to happen before the end of 2020. With a new Prime Minister, cabinet and Brexit to deal with; we wonder how much of a priority the climate crisis is to the UK government?

Why Should We Care?

You’re probably reading this whilst drinking your morning coffee and bracing yourself for the heat today. Temperatures have reached record highs this week in Belgium and the Netherlands, and could reach 39C in London today (which will be the hottest on record). It’s no longer a case of ‘the climate crisis will impact future generations’; it’s happening and it’s impacting us now. In 2003, a heatwave like this hit Europe and killed 20,000 people (this week’s temperatures could exceed those in 2003!)

It’s all connected. While Earth Overshoot Day is demonstrating that we’re consuming far too much, these heatwaves are showing us just how real (and terrifying!) the climate crisis is, and how urgently we need to take action.

Be Curious!

This news can easily get you down but we don’t want everyone to panic -  especially in this weather. 
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Ecology

London not just a concrete jungle & crowned first National Park City

by Helen Steiger

What's Going On Here?

Believe it or not, the UK’s capital city, although a bit smoggy and polluted, has officially been crowned as the world’s first National Park City!

What Does This Mean?

London has become the first city to sign up to the International Charter for National Park Cities (NPC), an initiative set up by the National Park City Foundation (NPCF - so many acronyms right?!). It's not quite the same as National Park status, but follows the same ethos - recognising the value of the local habitat, people, culture and landscape. 

London launched a campaign in a bid for National Park status and it is hoped it will encourage more cities to campaign for the status and value the importance of nature within the urban environment. Specifically, the three aims of London’s status are:

  1. Enjoy London’s great outdoors more
  2. Make the city greener, healthier and wilder
  3. Promote London’s identity as a National Park City

Why Should We Care?

Because it shows how nature and wildlife need not be confined to the country and how important it is for creating a happy and healthy society! With more and more of us choosing to live in the city, London’s new status highlights how the urban environment need not be a concrete jungle. 

London may be seen to be polluted, noisy and smelly, but it actually has a large network of 3,000 green spaces covering 18% of the city. The city is actually one of the greenest cities in the world, home to 8m trees and 15,000 species of wildlife

London’s new status will help to encourage London to protect and create more wildlife and green spaces within the capital. It will also help to address problems such as air pollution, increase resilience to heatwaves and improve biodiversity - a positive for the planet as well as the local urban area! 

Be Curious!

  • Celebrate London’s new status by attending one of the celebration festival events this week (20-28th July). There are events being hosted in Epping Forest, rooftop gardens, swimmings pools/ponds, as well as mini-opening ceremonies all around the city! 
  • Discover nature in your urban area - Newcastle and Glasgow look set to achieve National Park City Status in the near future and many other towns and cities have hidden pockets of nature and wildlife - seek them out (treating them with care and respect of course!)...it’s as good for you as it is for the planet! Check out this nice little compilation about urban habitats by RSPB - some top tips for discovering nature within your local urban jungle! 
  • Encourage nature within your local area - grow plants and flowers on your balcony or in your garden, don’t use pesticides and put out birdfeed...and keep control of your cat! Little changes will help local wildlife to flourish....
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From the blog...

5 things you never knew about Sir David Attenborough - Curious.earth

Other news we found curious...

Boris Johnson's car blocked by climate protesters during journey to meet Queen to become prime minister - Independent
For the First Time Ever, Germany Provides Most Electricity from Renewables - InterestingEngineering
Air travellers may have to pay carbon charge to offset emissions - Guardian
We Went to the Moon. Why Can’t We Solve Climate Change? - NYTimes
Huge swathes of the Arctic on fire, ‘unprecedented’ satellite images show - Independent
Hot weather: How to sleep in a heatwave - BBC
Cigarette butts in soil hamper plant growth, study suggests - BBC
Abi Aldridge
NEWS WRITER
Helen Steiger
NEWS WRITER
THANKS FOR READING

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