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TOPIC: global warming


Meet The Italian Extreme Cyclist Set To Attempt Solo Antarctica Crossing

The Italian cyclist, Omar Di Felice, is setting out across Antarctica in the ultimate test of athletic endurance and mental fortitude. In an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, Di Felice shares how he keeps himself going during the endless hours of total solitude as well as the activism that fuels his extreme adventures.

TURIN — Designer. Writer. Graphic artist. Promoter. Video-maker. Activist. At 42, Omar Di Felice has done it all and continues to do it all. But if his profession had to be given a name, it would be this: "Superman on wheels."

"Extreme cyclist," he suggests, but that wouldn't do justice to the past six years in which his deep love for bicycles has become his full-time job.

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Amazon Greenwashing: How The World's Largest Retailer Hides Its Carbon Footprint In Plain Sight

An investigation reveals that the company does not own any of the three renewable power plants it claims to operate in Spain — as well as a scheme allowing Amazon to dodge full regulatory oversight of its projects.

MADRID — Elías Bendodo, who was then Minister of the Presidency for the regional government of Andalusia, Spain, wore a reflective vest with the initials "AWS" when he inaugurated the Cabrera Solar photovoltaic plant in June 2021. This plant is located in the municipality of Alcalá de Guadaíra, near Seville.

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, which is Amazon's cloud services brand. This "Amazon solar plant" — how it was described by the Andalusian government in their press release at the inauguration — has a capacity of 200 MW, and was designed to provide energy to as many as 120,000 households.

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On its official website, the multinational company led by Jeff Bezos features an interactive map titled "Our Renewable Energy Projects Worldwide." In Spain, it counts 45 projects. Most are solar panels installed on the rooftops of Amazon facilities, while 18 projects are more substantial, including solar and wind farms.

Amazon also periodically issues press releases that sound something like this: "Amazon surpasses 1.55 GW of renewable capacity in Spain with two new solar plants in Castilla y León and a new solar roof in Catalonia."

So far, everything appears normal. These are common strategies for any company. However, as La Marea has been able to verify, Amazon does not in fact own at least some of these projects.

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Curtains For Glitter? Europe Bans The Most Shiny Of Microplastics

The European Union has just banned glitter, among many other microplastics. Still, that doesn't necessarily mean the end of 'sparkle' — we'll just need to look for more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

MADRID — Adored by some, abhorred by others, a dream-making nightmare of arts and crafts that's ultimately impossible to ever fully remove. It's glitter the reigning sovereign of kids' birthday parties and New Year's eve, which also happens to be a highly polluting substance.

After all, not only is it made of plastic and thus takes long time to degrade, but its tiny size makes it spread and become a burden on the environment. Trying to use glitter responsibly is not a simple task, but disposing of it is even harder.

That's why scientists and environmentalists have been calling for a more critical view of its use. Some have advocated for it to be discontinued, which is what has just been decided in Europe, where glitter was recently banned.

The decision is part of the fight against pollution and the EU's green transition. As the European Commission explained in a press release announcing the measure, the regulation is expected to prevent "the release of approximately half a million tons of microplastics into the environment."

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Fuel Depot Blast Kills 20 In Karabakh, Seoul Weapons, T. Swift Buzz

👋 Goedemorgen!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where an explosion at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh kills 20, South Korea flexed its military hardware, and Taylor Swift’s NFL rumored beau goes viral. Meanwhile, in independent Latin American journal Volcánicas, Sher Herrera considers the roots and ramifications of the “white savior syndrome” and how it lives on in modern times.


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Monica Wendel

How Planting Trees Could Inject New Life Into Dry Soil

Dry soil, hardly any rain — this summer's drought is making life difficult for farmers. In one of the driest regions in Germany, environmentally friendly farmer Benedikt Bösel is turning his fields into a laboratory, experimenting with an exciting new approach.

ALT MADLITZ — In summer, Benedikt Bösel likes to set up his table out in the fields, with herds of cattle grazing nearby. The 38-year-old has an estate and a large farm in Brandenburg, the driest region in Germany. For many years now, he has been a leader in the world of environmentally friendly farming, using Instagram, a book and talk show appearances to spread the message about his mission to save the soil.

“Everywhere now, you can feel that water is becoming scarcer, and we don’t have any healthy soil left,” says Bösel, who runs a large farm with 1,000 hectares of arable land and 2,000 hectares of woodland in Alt Madlitz, in the Briesen region, about an hour from Berlin. He has turned his fields into a kind of laboratory. In a region with one of the lowest precipitation rates in all of Germany, and with very sandy soil, he is developing new ways of using the land, in response to the environmental crisis.

Agro-forestry systems play an important role in reducing the damage caused by drought and erosion. In simple terms, this means interspersing trees and bushes throughout arable fields. The trees are regularly spaced out in rows across the fields. Experts believe this helps the soil to retain moisture, meaning that extreme weather causes less damage. When tilling the land, most farmers prefer to “drive in long, straight lines,” says Bösel, who works in partnership with a number of research institutes and is supported by the German Ministry of Agriculture.

According to the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research’s records on droughts, there is a vast swathe of land, running from eastern Lower Saxony across Saxony-Anhalt to Berlin and Brandenburg, that has been consistently too dry for the past five years. As a result, farms in the east of Germany, which tend to be far larger than the national average, have suffered poor harvests.

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Brigitte LG Baptiste

You, Me And 65 Million Chickens: Shifting To Sustainable Food Production, Without The Guilt

Industrial-style farming should certainly be reimagined, but not with a guilt-ridden assault on the livelihoods of millions of farmers, herders and fishermen.


BOGOTÁ — The bones of 65 million chickens eaten every year will leave a mark on the planet, with scientists and diggers citing them one day as evidence of our existence, alongside radioactivity and microplastics. That was the conclusion of a study from the University of Leicester in England, on the ecology of a planet dominated by human settlements.

Chickens, boiled, roasted and shredded, represent perfectly what we are doing to the planet, in material and symbolic terms. Mass violence isn't the preserve of terrorists, to be sure.

Over 5,000 years, this essentially flightless bird, originally from India, according to the Audubon Society, has become the main source of animal protein for people across the world. With their legs tied, caged or sitting in baskets, these birds eventually made their way to the most remote Amazon settlements and to our country's highlands.

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Niccolò Zancan

Rolling Into Catenanuova, The Hottest Spot In Europe

The streets are deserted until 7 p.m., air conditioning for those lucky enough to have it blasts constantly, and locals dream of leaving the arid desert that has become of their hometown.

CATENANUOVA – No one would want to work as a baker in Catenanuova. Home to little more than 5,000 residents, the central Sicilian town is the hottest municipality in Europe. "Yet, you get used to it," says Salvatore Santoro, puffing clouds of flour. "There's nothing else to do."

The baker is putting pizza dough and snacks in the oven at noon sharp. The oven blasts hot gusts, the air conditioner tries to counter them with a creaking noise. Outside, it's the scorching summer of 2023. "Today, it's 42°C (107.6°F), so for us, it's a good day," Santoro quips.

Catenanuova is the town with the highest officially recorded temperature in the European Union: 48.5 °C (119.3°F) . But all its inhabitants claim that during this year's peak of heat, even that record was surpassed. "It was so hot that if you stepped outside for just five seconds, you felt like passing out. Forty degrees is almost autumn for us," baker Santoro jokes bitterly.

There are two sounds in Catenanuova. The hum of air conditioners all turned on at once, like a constant electronic buzz that permeates nearly every street streets. And then, the sound of cars left in neutral. No one turns off the engine during errands, thus transitioning from one air conditioning to another, from the baker's to the car's, and from the car's to home.

Aside from this, if you pay attention, in Catenanuova you can hear another undefinable sound. At first, it's hard to distinguish. It's the amplified noise of every tiny gesture, within a small lifeless town. Without humans. Without bars and without inhabitants. It's just like a lockdown or quarantine. In the square, all the tables of the outdoor seating areas are empty.

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Laura Anello

Silver Lining To Sicilian Heat: Baby Boom Of Endangered Sea Turtles

Italy has experienced a difficult summer of climate disasters, but the country is experiencing a boom in turtles' nests, with Sicily leading the way.

SAN VIOTO LO CAPO — In the summer of Italy's climate disasters, from floods in Milan to fires in the south, at least there is some good news: the boom of nests of the Caretta caretta turtle (or loggerhead sea turtle), one of Italy's emblematic endangered species.

Now, the turtle is experiencing a golden moment precisely because of the planet's warming, which has made Sicily a natural cradle for these baby reptiles. The animal had previously tested the Sicilian waters, but this year's temperatures have also allowed them to colonize previously challenging lands.

After Sicily's fires, it was a turtle nest on the beach of San Vito Lo Capo that became a symbol of rebirth for the northwestern Sicilian section of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature).

"Our response, and that of all those who love life, to the criminals who indiscriminately start fires, burning nature, causing death and despair, is to protect life, nature, and all living beings, both plants and animals," said the volunteers as they safeguarded the turtle nest, watched over by the local lifeguard, beachgoers, and young people who will take turns until the hatching, expected at the end of August.

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Mariana Toro Nader

Why Summer Should Always Remind Us Of The Ozone

With the arrival of the heat, it can seem that air pollution has increased. But is this just our perception or reality?


MADRID — In summer, days are longer and people are more eager to be outside, but does that also increase environmental pollution? In truth, it's not a matter of perception: the summer heat increases the levels of tropospheric ozone, one of the polluting gases with the highest impact in Spain and across the planet.

Ozone (O3) is a colorless, odorless gas that, depending on which layer of the atmosphere it is in, can have either positive or negative effects. Stratospheric ozone is the "good" ozone, found 10 to 50 kilometers above the earth's surface. There, it forms the so-called ozone layer, which protects living beings from the sun's ultraviolet radiation. When this layer degenerates, it creates ozone holes that can contribute to global warming, as well as increase the risk of skin cancer, eye cataracts and affect people's immune system.

However, when ozone is in the troposphere — the layer of the atmosphere closest to Earth — it becomes a byproduct pollutant produced by primary pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2) and volatile organic compounds.

Tropospheric ozone is hazardous to our health: it affects the respiratory system, causes throat, eye and mucous membrane irritation, can trigger coughing and can reduce lung function. It makes breathing more difficult, increases cases of asthma attacks, and can worsen other chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis. In addition, it is associated with increased deaths due to cardiovascular failure.

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Green Or Gone
Susanne Becken and Johanna Loehr

Goodbye, Greek Beach? Tourism In The Era Of "Global Boiling"

UN chief António Guterres has warned us, ominously suggesting that we update the phrase “global warming” to "global boiling" as July is on track to be the hottest month on record. Summer holidays to the beach may no longer be on the cards as countries around the globe grapple with scorching heat. Will climate change push us to drastically change the way we holiday?


Thousands of people on the beach. Children reportedly falling off evacuation boats. Panic. People fleeing with the clothes on their backs. It felt like “the end of the world”, according to one tourist.

The fires sweeping through the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu are showing us favorite holiday destinations are no longer safe as climate change intensifies.

For decades, tourists have flocked to the Mediterranean for the northern summer. Australians, Scandinavians, Brits, Russians all arrive seeking warmer weather. After COVID, many of us have been keen to travel once again.

But this year, the intense heatwaves have claimed hundreds of lives in Spain alone. Major tourist drawcards such as the Acropolis in Athens have been closed. Climate scientists are “stunned by the ferocity” of the heat.

This year is likely to force a rethink for tourists and for tourism operators. Expect to see more trips taken during shoulder seasons, avoiding the increasingly intense July to August summer. And expect temperate countries to become more popular tourist destinations. Warm-weather tourist destinations will have to radically change.

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In The News

Worldcrunch Magazine #44 — Italy's Inferno

July 31 - August 6, 2023

This is the latest edition of Worldcrunch Magazine, a selection of our best articles of the week from the best international journalists, produced exclusively in English for Worldcrunch readers.


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Charlotte Meyer

The World Is Not Ready For 1.2 Billion Climate Refugees

The number of climate refugees is predicted to hit 1.2 billion by 2050, yet states are still not taking enough action. The Global South will be the most affected, but the West will not be spared.


PARIS — The number of people displaced by environmental disasters is expected to explode in coming years, but governments remain slow to respond.

However, the phenomenon is not new: "Environmental factors have had an impact on migration dynamics since the beginning of humanity," says Alice Baillat, policy coordinator at the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC). "The world population has been distributed on the planet depending on the more or less fertile areas. This is why South Asia and the Bay of Bengal are now among the most populated areas in the world."

But climate change is making the situation far worse. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, since 2008, an average of 21.5 million people have been displaced each year because of natural disasters. The World Bank expects there to be 260 million climate displaced people by 2030, and up to 1.2 billion by 2050.

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