Ecosystems the size of Amazon can vanish within decades

Research has shown that large ecosystems can collapse like a pack of cards once the tipping point is reached. Large biomes the size of the Amazon rainforest can collapse in a few decades. The research pointed out that bigger biomes collapse relatively faster than the small ones. According to the research, once a tipping point is reached, break up does not happen gradually. It occurs rapidly like a stack of Jenga bricks when you dislodge a keystone. Now is the time for all of us to rise to the challenge and act as planet saviours all for our sakes.

The research which was published in the Nature Communications journal alerted policymakers that they have less time than they think to deal with the looming and multiple biodiversities and climate crisis facing the planet. The authors compared 42 previous cases of “regime shift” to examine the relationship between the size of an ecosystem and the speed of its collapse. A regime shift is a term used to describe a change from one state to another. A good example is the collapse of fisheries in Newfoundland, the death of vegetation in the Sahel, desertification of agricultural lands in Niger, bleaching of coral reefs in Jamaica, and also the eutrophication of Lake Erhai in China.

The researchers found that bigger and more complex ecosystems were initially more resilient than small biologically simpler systems. However, once the larger biomes hit a tipping point, they collapse faster because the failures reverberate throughout their modular structure. This tells us that the bigger the ecosystem, the harder it is likely to fall. Now is the time for policymakers to rise to the occasion and do the needful to protect our planet. Not just the policymakers, we all are planet saviours in different ways. You can decide to help by personally adopting a means to reduce your daily carbon footprint.

From the statistical analysis made available in the paper, the authors estimated that an ecosystem the size of the Amazon rainforest could collapse in approximately 50 years upon attaining a tipping point. A system as large as the Caribbean coral reefs (about 20,000 mk2) could fall apart within 15 years once it is triggered.

The paper warns that we must all prepare for regime shifts in any natural system over the human timescale of years and decades. If we think it will happen in multigenerational timescales of centuries and millennia. It is our duty to preserve our planet as planet saviours. All hands must be on deck to save our planet and ensure its survival. We need to prepare for changes in ecosystems that are faster than we previously thought and envisaged through our linear view of the world.

The paper also pointed out that it could be the case in Australia where the recent Australian bushfires proceeded periods of drought. This may indicate a shift to a drier ecosystem. Although scientists were already aware that systems tended to decline faster, they grew, this research now explains the trend. “It is established that the larger the ecosystem, the greater the fragility and its propensity to collapse.” This is according to John Dearing, a professor in physical geography at the University of Southampton and lead author of the research paper.

Professor John warned that we shouldn’t be taken in by the longevity of these ecosystems, simply because they may have been in existence for millions of years. He said they would most likely collapse much more rapidly than we envisaged. According to Professor Dearing, one of the possible implications of the study is that the complete destruction of the Amazon rainforest could occur within his grandchildren’s lifetimes. “This is a research that is satisfying from a scientific standpoint but worrying from a personal point of view.” You would rather not come up with such results, Dearing said.

Another separate study has also warned that Amazon could shift within the next decade into a source of carbon emission. This is against it being a sink because of the damage caused by loggers, farmers, and global heating. The world needs more planet saviours now than even in our history. Many experts have said that these new findings should be a call to action for world leaders and policymakers.

According to Georgina Mace, a professor of biodiversity and ecosystems at the University College London, the combination theory, modeling, and observation should alert us to the risks from human activities that disturb the large and stable ecosystem upon which we depend.

There are certain decisive and effective actions that we can take now, such as protecting the existing forests. We need to manage these forests to maintain their biodiversity, reducing direct pressures from logging, burning, and climate. Ima Viera, an ecologist at Emilio Goeldi in Belem in Brazil, also echoed these views. Vier said that for Brazil to avoid the ecosystem collapse modeled in this study, they will need to strengthen governance when it comes to imposing heavy fines on companies with dirty supply chains.

With the in-depth analysis carried out in this research, it is not universally accepted. Erika Berenguer, a senior research associate at the University of Oxford and Lancaster, opined that the paper relied too much on data from lakes and oceans, hence should not serve as an indicator of what would happen to rainforests. That notwithstanding, the authors said the paper was not a forecast about a particular region; rather, it is a guide to the speed at which change could occur.

The time for all of us to serve as planet saviors is now, and we must play our part no matter how it might seem insignificant.

Google incorporates Ecosia as default option on Chrome: Users can plant trees with their searches

Tech giant Google has taken a bold step in their role as one of the corporations playing the role of planet saviours. The Silicon Valley-based company has moved to add Ecosia as a default option on Chrome. Ecosia announced that it would be a default search engine option in the next Google Chrome release. This means that Ecosia will be among one of Chrome’s top 5 lists of search engines with Google Search, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo completing the list.

Ecosia was founded in 2019, and it is a “challenger” search engine disrupting the norm. It compels users to think about their daily actions can do good to our planet. The Berlin-based search engine found a way to make people to easily and comfortably act as planet saviours. When you use Ecosia as your search engine, it means trees are being planted all over the world. The big question is, how is Ecosia able to achieve this? By partnering with reforestation projects and using their ad revenue, they were able to plant more than 80 million trees by December 2019.

The new development means that you will no longer need to download an extension to search with Ecosia in your URL bar. Ecosia search engine will be added as a default option for users across 47 countries. The search engine user growth rose greatly in the last year, where it grew from 8 million to 15 million active users. As a result of the Amazon forest fire in Brazil last year, Ecosia witnessed a 1,150% increase in daily downloads. Ecosia’s tremendous growth shows how we all are keen to step as planet saviours. If we don’t care for our planet, then we must be ready to suffer the blowback.

According to the CEO of Ecosia, Christian Kroll said the search engine’s growth is evidence that users are well invested in the fight against the climate crisis. He said that people always weigh up the changes they can make to reduce their carbon footprint. That involves the use of technologies like Ecosia. Mr. Kroll said Ecosia’s addition to Chrome would make it easier for users to help reforest delicate and high-risk ecosystems. Users will help fight climate change simply by making use of the internet.

Aside from the fact that Ecosia encourages users to become planet saviours easily, it is also good news for user choice and fairness. According to recent research, providing a choice of search engines has the potential to increase the collective mobile market share of alternative search engines to Google by up to 800%. The CEO of Ecosia, Mr. Kroll, said that they don’t just exist for profits alone. The Company puts its profits into tree planting for the good of the planet. The Company is also focused on privacy to ensure users have a positive impact as planet saviours while also having greater control over their personal information.

Great LEGO news: Fully sustainable bricks to be available by 2030

The LEGO Corporation has been playing the role of planet saviours for a few years now, and they just made another great stride. For the past two years (2018), the LEGO Corporation has adopted more ways of producing their beloved. The Corporation released a statement that they will move away from fossil-based plastics entirely by 2030. The LEGO news was welcomed by brick fans and environmentalists around the world.

According to the latest LEGO press release, some parts of the production will be made from plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane. In other words, the new botanical elements of LEGO, such as leaves, bushes, trees, and plants, will be entirely made from plants.

The Vice President, Environmental Responsibility at LEGO, said, “At the LEGO Group, we want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and we are working hard to make great play products for children using sustainable materials.”

The extensive LEGO universe goes beyond the sphere of a kid’s room

As an adult, you remember your LEGO, or you currently have kids who enjoy playing with it. When you travel to the LEGO universe, you will likely get lost in its magnificent and fantastic realities. Lots of people presumably think that LEGO pieces stay around forever. These people believe it will still be in a basement, an attic, or their old room at mum’s or dad’s house. Well, to be sincere, who in their right mind would want to throw away those fantastic and beautiful bricks?

Those that would want to throw away these bricks are parents that stepped on them many times. If the parents in this category did not throw the bricks in the trash can, they would most likely discard them in all sets of environments, including the oceans. You all remember the LEGO spill of 1997 when about 5 million pieces of LEGO were lost overboard in a container. The incident happened when a strong wave hit the container ship “Tokyo Express” on its way to New York.

Now, almost 25 years after the Tokyo Express, the bricks still wash up at different beaches around Cornwall in Southwest England. As part of the planet
saviours, LEGO’s move to create environmentally friendly bricks will help curtail the issue of environmental pollution. When you consider the longevity of plastics, you will come to appreciate what LEGO is proposing for 2030. We all have to join hands together as planet saviours if we want to see a world with a minimal level of pollution.

How is LEGO produced and what is it made of?

Knowing that LEGO is resistant and long-lasting, we asked about the composition and how it is made. Every year, about 20 billion pieces of LEGO are produced. This is equivalent to 35.000 LEGO bricks every minute of the day. Yes! The number is very outrageous and mind-boggling. The LEGO bricks come in over 7000 active combinations of shapes and colors for various bricks and elements.

The LEGO bricks are made from acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene plastic, which makes the brick practically “immortal”. They are also designed in such a way that makes them almost indestructible. You ever wondered why it is always your foot that seems to “crack” and not the LEGO.

Well, the bricks are made to withstand a staggering 950Ibs.

Over the past decades, LEGO brick fans have played and had fun with the impressive brick. Although most of them do not pass these bricks down the generational ladder, we keep seeing more of the pieces in various aspects of the environment. Since LEGO is not biodegradable, it becomes a massive problem for the safety of the planet. As part of the planet saviours, the LEGO Corporation has risen to occasion to produce sustainable bricks.

Planet Saviours: Good LEGO news

The LEGO Corporation is working to see that they start the production of products that are sustainable and biodegradable as well. During the LEGO news statement, CEO Neils B. Christiansen announced that aside from working on plant-based plastic solutions, they are also considering several other suitable materials. The LEGO bricks made from sugarcane are also identical to the original types when it comes to quality and safety (they still hurt a lot). The reason is that these plant-based bricks have the same properties as the fossil-fuel-based ones. The only exception is that it is much safer for the environment.

What happens to the Legoland locations?

If LEGO is going to adopt a fully environmentally sustainable production by using plant-based bricks, they certainly need to rebuild all the Legoland locations. With LEGO rebuilding its Legoland locations, it will be seen as a 100% commitment to a better environment. If they fail to do, then it is not an all-encompassing approach.

Doctor’s prescription: Houseplants used for treating Anxiety and Depression

As we all serve as planet saviours, nature is also reciprocating by providing us with a wonder drug. All thanks to science, it is now evident to us that nature is a wonder drug. Research has confirmed that spending quality time outside helps hospital patients recover faster. It also boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure, eases depression and anxiety, and even increase happiness. The only challenge with trees is that doctors can’t prescribe them in pill form.

Although it is impossible to shrink a tree to the size of a prescription bottle, you can, however, miniaturize nature in the form of potent and effective plants. For specific categories of patients, British doctors believe that nature is a great place to start. Some doctors are prescribing houseplants to those suffering from anxiety and depression to help reduce their symptoms.

Get yourself some houseplants and call me in the morning

According to Laura Abernethy of Metro, a family medicine practice in urban Manchester is prescribing plants to people suffering from anxiety and depression. The idea here is for patients to get herbs, veg, and pot plants to care for and then later bring it back to the surgery to transfer the plant to the communal garden. There is no relationship with this approach and medical marijuana.

This new scheme is believed to be the first of its kind in England, and it gives patients a chance to join in gardening and social activities. By planting these plants, these patients also play the role of planet saviours. These plants join in curbing global warming. The houseplants prescription is based on the idea that when people spend time in green spaces, it helps to lift their mood.

Since the idea is also rooted in science, it is also backed by the city’s health commissioner. For millions of years, human beings have evolved out of doors; therefore, it makes sense that our bodies and minds are optimized for natural environments. Different studies have reinforced this belief. The human body works a bit better in nature. It is for this reason that we all need to be active in performing the duty of planet saviours.

An experiment found that the productivity of office workers was boosted just by them looking at green roofs for 40 seconds. A British study also showed that people saw significant health benefits from spending only two hours a week outdoors. What this means is that even just a few potted plants around your home or desk could significantly impact your well-being.

A wonderful idea and a way to be Planet Saviours

By taking care of plants, these patients also help to reduce the number of greenhouse gases in the environment. The scheme also helps to bring different people together, hence battling the scourge of loneliness. Researchers have opined that loneliness can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

You should not see this approach as a crazy idea. The Practice in Manchester is not the only one experimenting with unconventional prescriptions. There are other Practices in Scotland and Canada sending patients out into nature and even to art museums to help improve they're well-being. It will also interest you to note that the numbers-driven Amazon invested in a dome filled with 40.000 plants in its Seattle headquarters. The founder understands that exposure to nature has a measurable impact on employees’ mental health and productivity.

So, anytime you are feeling a little anxious or unwell, go ahead and write your prescription for a trip to the garden store. Medical science suggests that a bit of change in your environment can make a big difference in your life.