British Medical Journal Praised for New Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign
By Andrea Germanos
"Thank you for your leadership," pediatrician and child psychiatrist Elizabeth Pinsky wrote Friday on Twitter.
The case for divestment from fossil fuels is clear. We call on health professionals and medical organisations to ac… https://t.co/0e2vJVuPZf— The BMJ (@The BMJ)1579800462.0
In an editorial published Jan. 23 titled "Investing in Humanity: The BMJ's divestment campaign," the journal's executive editor Kamran Abbasi and editor in chief Fiona Godlee explained how fossil fuel divestment can restore hope that's "not yet abandoned in our world today" but "merely besieged" and exert pressure on politicians and the industry putting the planet's — and therefore humanity's — health in peril.
The publication will not accept funding or advertising from the industry, Abbasi and Godlee wrote. "We will also explore how else our business might be dependent on fossil fuel companies and take steps to end any such reliance. The BMA [the journal's owner] has no direct holdings in tobacco or fossil fuel companies."
"We are clear that income from companies that produce fossil fuels is revenue that The BMJ does not want now or in the future," they added.
The editorial praised other medical organizations like the AMA who have already pledged to divest from fossil fuels. "Health professionals and medical organizations should not accept the world as it is," wrote Abbasi and Godlee. "Taking action is a duty to the people we serve and to future generations."
The piece was also a call to action.
Abbasi and Godlee encouraged other medical professionals and health organizations to sign an online declaration of intent to divest from fossil fuels and to back that action up with divestment in personal finances.
"Divestment offers us an opportunity to end despair and disempowerment, to begin to reclaim our world from misguided political and commercial agendas," the editorial said. "By divesting now we wish to restore hope for the future wellbeing of our planet and for human health."
Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, shared the editorial on social media, writing, "Fossil fuels are the new tobacco."
"The footnotes alone are devastating to the climate delayers' case," he added.
Others welcomed the new campaign as well:
Bravo, @bmj_company! #Divest to #ProtectHealth. It is time healthcare organizations across the globe… https://t.co/EfuLTf2t95— Naperville Environmentalist (@Naperville Environmentalist)1580084719.0
Son of a gun, the British Medical Journal launches a campaign for fossil fuel divestment, also announces will no lo… https://t.co/oUWifyuiTn— Bill McKibben (@Bill McKibben)1580080898.0
The BMJ launches a fossil fuel divestment campaign! A stellar set of ambitions: - encourage medical organisations… https://t.co/tAhvku91n5— Divest Parliament (@Divest Parliament)1580132302.0
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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