Getting the week off to an upbeat start.
Scientists working with the Allen Coral Atlas - a research initiative developed by Arizona State University, the University of Queensland and the National Geographic Society - just launched the first global, satellite-based reef surveillance tool. The researchers involved in the project say the monitoring system can inform conservation efforts and policy by providing critical information about which reefs are under stress and which ones appear to be more resilient to events like marine heat waves.
Britain’s vaccines are “highly effective” against the Indian coronavirus variant, government scientists say, putting the country back on course for a full reopening by June 21. Furthermore, both doses of the vaccine prevent 90 percent of Covid infections, real-world data show. UK Ministers hail ‘incredible impact’ of rollout and pledge to ‘turbo boost’ delivery of vaccines over the next month.
Lockdown has offered an opportunity for the resurgence of some of the world’s most vulnerable species and among these is Bulgaria’s Griffon vultures. The birds were presumed extinct in the country in the 1970s, but a team of researchers confirms that after conservation efforts, the country now has a stable breeding population of 80 vultures.
The G7 has just vowed to stop all new financing for overseas coal projects by the end of this year, in a breakthrough in the global effort to fight climate change. The strongly worded statement sets the stage for more climate pledges when G7 country leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden, meet in Cornwall next month.
Winner of Europe’s Leading Island Destination award 5 years running, the island of Madeira is looking to capitalize on the rise in numbers of a unique kind of traveler — digital nomads, by building a town entirely specialized for their residency. Realizing this market was goosed by the rise in telecommuting, and that the staggering beauty of the island would be deeply appealing to digital nomads, Madeira created Digital Nomad Village, a place with fast internet, exclusive hotel property, community events, and a free office space. Minimum stay: one month.
Johannesburg, Africa’s dominant financial centre, wants to meet 35 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 and is seeking proposals for privately supplied power, thus bypassing the state power utility which generates almost all its power by burning coal. That's certainly progress and good news for the planet.
They store billions of tonnes of CO2, making them vital tools in tackling the climate crisis, and UK government has just unveiled its Peat Action Plan. It pledges to ban peat sales to gardeners in England from 2024, phase out peatland burning, and restore depleted peat bogs.
Dive in Deeper
Mini James Bonds: MI5 have released a series of comical job application letters from children across the UK determined to become the agency's next top spies. [2 mins] Secret agents...
Watershed moment: Such moments don't come along too often in the slow world of climate diplomacy, but it's very good news when they do. [1 min] Good news...
Four bird species reign supreme: According to a new study, there are at least 50 billion total wild birds - or six birds for every human on the planet - but four species have populations of over one billion. [2 mins] The Billion Club...
VFX artist creates astonishing illusions
Visual effects artist Kevin Lustgarten turns everyday scenes into surreal illusions that will leave you scratching your head.