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“Climate change poses an immediate and grave threat, driving ill health and increasing the risk of conflict, such that each feeds on the other.” asserts a new report in the British Medical Journal by a group of UK defense, medical and public health officials.*

The somewhat unusual collaborative report draws upon several previous studies’ findings (in the U.S. and UK) to make its case. In particular, a recent report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is quoted at length, citing “the effects of climate change will present a threat to collective security and global order in the first half of the 21st century. This will limit access to food, safe water, power, sanitation, and health services and drive mass migration and competition for remaining resources.”

Read more: Climate Change, Conflict & Ill Health Linked, Pose ‘Grave Threat’

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Rainforest leaves in Uganda. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler. By Jeremy Hance

There is no question that Earth has been a giving planet. Everything humans have needed to survive, and thrive, was provided by the natural world around us: food, water, medicine, materials for shelter, and even natural cycles such as climate and nutrients. Scientists have come to term such gifts 'ecosystem services', however the recognition of such services goes back thousands of years, and perhaps even farther if one accepts the caves paintings at Lascaux as evidence. Yet we have so disconnected ourselves from the natural world that it is easy—and often convenient—to forget that nature remains as giving as ever, even as it vanishes bit-by-bit. The rise of technology and industry may have distanced us superficially from nature, but it has not changed our reliance on the natural world: most of what we use and consume on a daily basis remains the product of multitudes of interactions within nature, and many of those interactions are imperiled. Beyond such physical goods, the natural world provides less tangible, but just as important, gifts in terms of beauty, art, and spirituality. 

Read more: What does Nature give us? A special Earth Day article

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BOGOR, Indonesia (April 5, 2011)--New research shows that mangroves store exceptionally more carbon than most tropical forests, but they are being destroyed from coastlines at a rapid rate causing significant emissions of greenhouse gases. The findings from the study, which was carried out by scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the USDA Forest Service, underscore a call by scientists for mangroves to be protected as part of global efforts to combat climate change.

"Mangroves are being destroyed at an alarming rate. This needs to stop. Our research shows that mangroves play a key role in climate change mitigation strategies," said Daniel Murdiyarso, Senior Scientist at CIFOR, a co-author of the paper, entitled Mangroves among the most carbon-rich forests in the topics.

Read more: New research finds mangroves key to climate change

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