Shifting people to a new diet that is healthier for both the planet and for our bodies will require radical changes in the way food is grown, sold and eaten, including possibly adding a tax on meat and dairy products.
Lining rundown historic areas of cities with plant life and smart sensors and reusing old buildings for new purposes are helping to breathe new life into Europe’s decaying urban spaces.
Cities across Europe are trialling schemes such as roof gardens and ‘mobile forests’ to embed more nature into urban areas in an effort to protect their citizens from climate change events like heatwaves, floods and droughts.
Rivers in Europe are so congested with concrete obstructions like weirs, bridges and other man-made barriers that they no longer flow freely, which harms the wider environment. Removing these blockages could restore these vital aquatic ecosystems to their former glory.
As the world moves towards a carbon neutral future, many different areas from industry to manufacturing are working to reduce their emissions. But scientists are beginning to look at a different area – houses – to work out if it’s possible to reduce emissions from Europe’s homes to zero by retrofitting on a mass scale. And the early signs are promising.
Tapping into the genetic diversity contained within the seeds of wild relatives and forgotten crop plants could help farmers decrease their dependency on global agribusiness and grow food better suited to local conditions.
Cities have a critical role to play in fighting climate change but hard conversations lie ahead about the best way to achieve the transition to sustainability, according to Harriet Bulkeley, professor of geography at Durham University, UK.
A raft of strategies is being trialled in Europe to turn nutrient-rich farm waste such as chicken feathers, cow dung and plant stalks into green fertiliser. Full of phosphorus and nitrogen, recycled products could help reduce intensive agriculture’s emissions and reliance on fertiliser imports.
Raising children can be a tough job, especially when doing it alone, but some animals like meerkats and mongooses work together to raise their young. Studies of these cooperative creatures are revealing how this highly social behaviour evolved and is shedding light on the roots of our own species’ collaborative abilities.
From a chemical-free spray that turns sand into lush green land, to a caterer who serves planet-friendly dishes, and from technology that makes stronger concrete with less cement, to insect farms that produce fish food and fertilisers, there is no shortage of ideas to reduce emissions. But which ones work best?
Virtual simulations can also help build aeroplane wings more efficiently.
Understanding consciousness in healthy people could help when things go wrong.
Dr Michaël Gillon on what's next for exoplanet science.