The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
60,000 Suicides in India 'Linked to Climate Change'
By Andy Rowell
Three studies published Monday on climate change paint a bleak picture on how global warming is already affecting us now, how it could affect us in the future and how the window for action is seriously running out.
The first academic paper estimated that rising temperatures in India linked to climate change may have contributed to the deaths of 60,000 people over the last three decades.
As temperatures warm, crops then fail, which in turn pushes farmers into a deadly spiral of poverty and debt. Eventually, they can take no more.
This is vitally important research. We often forget that more than three quarters of the world's suicides occur in developing countries. Despite thousands needlessly dying every year, little is known about the drivers of suicidal behavior in poor populations.
India alone is responsible for one fifth of global suicides, and suicide rates have doubled in the country since 1980.
But now this academic study, published by a scientist from the University of Berkeley in California in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has concluded that "fluctuations in climate, particularly temperature, significantly influence suicide rates." It warns of a "suicide epidemic."
The study argued that "for temperatures above 20°C, a 1°C increase in a single day's temperature causes 70 suicides, on average. This effect occurs only during India's agricultural growing season, when heat also lowers crop yields."
In total, "warming over the last 30 years is responsible for 59,300 suicides in India, accounting for 6.8 percent of the total upward trend."
The study concluded, "These results deliver large-scale quantitative evidence linking climate and agricultural income to self-harm in a developing country."
The author of the paper, Tamma Carleton argued, "Without interventions that help families adapt to a warmer climate, it's likely we will see a rising number of lives lost to suicide as climate change worsens in India."
"The tragedy is unfolding today," added Carleton. "This is not a problem for future generations. This is our problem, right now."
And the situation is set to get worse not just in India, but globally. Another study, published by academics from the University of North Carolina, predicted that unabated climate change will cause some 60,000 deaths globally a year by 2030, rising to 230,000 a year by 2100. The study concluded that rising air temperatures will exacerbate air pollution, leading to further deaths.
These two shocking studies come as it has also been revealed that the chances that we will avoid dangerous climate change by the end of the century, where temperatures are kept below two degrees warming, has fallen to just five percent.
This final research was published in the journal Nature Climate Change. "We're closer to the margin than we think," said the lead author, Adrian Raftery from the University of Washington.
"If we want to avoid 2°C, we have very little time left. The public should be very concerned."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Sierra Searcy
This week, progressive Democrats and youth advocates are launching a nationwide tour to win support for the Green New Deal. Though popular, the ambitious plan to tackle climate change has struggled to earn the endorsement of centrist Democrats in Rust Belt states like Michigan, the second stop on the tour.
Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd. The official theme of Earth Day 2019 is 'Protect Our Species.' In honor of Earth Day, EcoWatch has kicked off a second photo contest. Show us what 'Protect Our Species' means to you. Maybe there's a tree you've always loved, or perhaps it's a photo of the bird you adore that always visits your yard. We're excited to see what species means a lot to you. Capture a moment and send it our way!
It's heartening, in the midst of the human-caused sixth mass extinction, to find good wildlife recovery news. As plant and animal species disappear faster than they have for millions of years, Russia's Siberian, or Amur, tigers are making a comeback. After falling to a low of just a few dozen in the mid-20th century, the tigers now number around 500, with close to 100 cubs — thanks to conservation measures that include habitat restoration and an illegal hunting crackdown.
By Jordan Davidson
The climate crisis humanity has caused has us spiraling towards higher temperatures while also knocking out marine life and insect species at an alarming rate that continues to accelerate. But, just how long will it take Earth to recover? A new study offers a sobering answer: millions of years.
By Jeremy Lent
Facing oncoming climate disaster, some argue for "Deep Adaptation" — that we must prepare for inevitable collapse. However, this orientation is dangerously flawed. It threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy by diluting the efforts toward positive change. What we really need right now is Deep Transformation. There is still time to act: we must acknowledge this moral imperative.
By Julia Conley
The equipment was towed across millions of miles of ocean for six decades by marine scientists, meant to collect plankton — but its journeys have also given researchers a treasure trove of data on plastic pollution.
The continuous plankton reporter (CPR) was first deployed in 1931 to analyze the presence of plankton near the surface of the world's oceans. In recent decades, however, its travels have increasingly been disrupted by entanglements with plastic, according to a study published in Nature Communications on Tuesday.