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What researchers are learning about climate change

September 29, 2021

As the climate crisis continues, the world needs access to the latest research now. That's why early-stage research is so important. We need to know what scientists are debating and exploring at conferences to accelerate change. That's why we've collected some of the latest research on climate change, climate migration, global warming, deforestation, and more.

What are researchers discovering about our planet right now? Read on.


Addressing issues in science communication

The fact of climate change often becomes muddled through social media, politics, and the spread of misinformation. How can we change this by making climate science more accessible and engaging? 

This presentation, first seen at the American Chemical Society’s 2020 Meeting, explores entertainment-education (EE) as a way to promote environmental activism. According to this communication theory, when climate science is conveyed in a more entertaining way, people will be more willing to consume it and stay informed. This can break down misconceptions promoted by climate deniers and other groups, and create space for interesting dialogues between the public, climate researchers, and political representatives. The presentation also encourages the public to support social change by examining the way we talk about this crisis, even down to our word choice between “global warming” and “climate change.”


Climate migration: Human rights crisis in the making

In response to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2019, this presentation explores the role of climate migration in international environmental negotiations. Many nations have failed to meet their goal of greenhouse gas emission reductions, which has caused global warming to intensify. This warming has caused sea levels to rise, changing the chemical makeup of ocean waters and damaging the aquatic life that many communities depend on. This, along with other ecological phenomena such as flooding and extreme weather has forced residents to relocate either domestically and internationally. Researchers state that climate migrants fall largely outside traditional legal definitions of refugees, and in order to prevent this widespread human dislocation, much work needs to be done by governments to expand protection for displaced populations and reduce emissions.


The importance of educating the next generation on sustainability

Should sustainability become a part of educational curricula?

In this presentation, researchers explore how chemistry will need to engage with sustainability in the future. In academic contexts, the authors note that children should be taught about climate change and what decisions are being made to ensure they have a sustainable future in a way that will not frighten them. They envision sustainability education integrated with  environmental science courses at the university level. These practices will help to prepare the next generation for making important sustainability decisions that will impact our society and planet.


Sustainable recycling of rare earth elements

Your mobile phone, your laptop, your electric vehicle, and more all  depend on rare earth elements (REEs) to function. But it’s hard to recycle these materials. In order to recover these elements, recycling processes usually require strong mineral acids to dissolve the electronic components. This results in acid contaminated wastes, which can negatively affect our environment. In order to address this issue, researchers supported by the Critical Materials Institute of the US Department of Energy have created a new technological alternative to acid-dissolution that is more efficient, faster and more environmentally friendly. With innovations like these, we can avoid technological limitations while also being kinder to our planet!


Saving our forests one step at a time

Home to over 3 million species, the Amazon is the world’s largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest. However, due to deforestation, climate change, and fires, we run the risk of damaging the forest past the point of no repair. But the authors of this ePoster, presented through the XXV IUFRO World Congress suggest that we shouldn’t lose hope just yet. Researchers tested the efficacy of forest restoration stands in Rondônia, one of the Brazilian states with the highest rates of deforestation in the country. They found that, although they are young, these restoration stands help to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation. These stands store large amounts of carbon, helping to recover both the biodiverse wildlife in the region as well as the forest itself.

 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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