Ebola and Global Warming, Solar in China, Anglicans in South Africa. Prescott’s Climate Links #11

We chose this week’s stories because they are NOT taking place in the USA. I appreciate that Prescott sends me a broad range of climate stories each week. I read through these and choose just three to share with you. Today’s stories come from China, South Africa, and Western Africa where there is a devastating Ebola outbreak affecting the region.

See how one faith community seeks to inspire climate change action and how China is responding to pollution and its energy needs with an unprecedented increase in solar power production. Consider the links between global warming and the recent outbreaks of Ebola.

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Religious institutions have some of the biggest global networks reaching millions on a regular basis. The Anglicans in South Africa have created a new resource for churches to help educate congregants about global warming and provide direction. One message they stress is that environmental work is not just for middle class, a privileged hobby. Rather it is an essential spiritual practice.

Social and Environmental Justice are intimately and profoundly linked. Anglicans in South Africa have produced resources for the Season of Creation. ACNS News

Kenyan environmental and political campaigner Wangari Muta Maathai by Bob Mash

Kenyan environmental and political campaigner Wangari Muta Maathai by Bob Mash

“Sleeper awake!” is the opening call of a new Anglican resource for the Season of Creation, the third in a series published by the Anglican Church in Southern Africa.

The resource has sermon notes and liturgical materials covering the themes of climate change, eco-justice, water, creation and redemption and biodiversity.

It is dedicated to the memory of Professor Wangari Muta Maathai who in 1971 founded the Kenyan Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and the empowerment of communities.

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 “There is a danger that care for creation and environmental concern are seen as a luxury for middle class Christians in leafy suburbs. So-called ‘Greenies’ or ‘tree huggers’ are perceived to be more concerned about the plight of the rhino than the plight of the vulnerable child. The connections between social and environmental justice are more intimately and profoundly linked. Ecological justice is relevant to everyone’s life, to everyone’s faith.” (Revd Dr Rachel Mash, Environmental Co-ordinator Anglican Church of Southern Africa.)

Read the entire article here.

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Ebola has dominated the news the past few weeks with the largest outbreak in history. Below you will find a link to a story looking at deforestation and extreme weather. Last week the World Health Organization says that the current outbreak, with its highest concentrations in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, could reach up to 20,000 cases, many of those ending in death.

Ebola and Climate Change: How Are They Connected? New research hold climate change accountable for uptick in viral diseases. By Ziona Eyob in Ecowatch (via Alternet)

 A Ugandan man displays a bat he captured for food December 1, 2000 in a cave in Guru Guru, Uganda. Bats are being studied as one possible carrier of the Ebola virus. (Photo by Tyler Hicks/Getty Images)

A Ugandan man displays a bat he captured for food December 1, 2000 in a cave in Guru Guru, Uganda. Bats are being studied as one possible carrier of the Ebola virus. (Photo by Tyler Hicks/Getty Images)

In 2006, a study published in the journal Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene revealed that Ebola, a “ violent hemorrhagic fever that leads to internal and external bleeding,” would be more frequent with global warming due to its intermittent connection to wildlife and climate. In 2008, another study reiterated the same fears, noting that Ebola outbreaks would be among a cluster of other diseases gaining momentum, such as bird flu, cholera, plague and tuberculosis.

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In light of the recent outbreak, some researchers are connecting  deforestation in countries such as Liberia to the disease, noting that the change in landscape is bringing wildlife in closer contact with humans. According to researchers, the virus is typically found in wildlife, and transmission from animals to humans occurs through contact with infected bodily fluids, causing a “ spillover” in species. The virus can also be contracted from another human being when a person is in  direct contact with infected blood, vomit or feces during contagious periods, putting health workers in West Africa primarily at risk.

Among other causes, “ seasonal droughts, strong winds, thunderstorms, landslides, heat waves, floods and changed rainfall patterns,” are also thought to draw wildlife migration away from their natural habitat to human proximity. WCS affirms that Ebola outbreaks typically occur after “ unusual downpours or droughts in central Africa—a likely result of climate change.” Climate change would in turn amplify food insecurity, and prompt even more remote West African communities to  eat virus-carrying animals like bats.

Read the entire article here.

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China is experiencing an energy revolution. While its use of coal increases, so does its aggressive implementation of solar energy. China is taking solar energy very seriously. 

China Will Install More Solar This Year Than The US Ever Has by Ari Phillips of Think Progress

Company executives look at thin-film solar panels developed by MiaSole before a press conference held at the headquarters of Hanergy Group in Beijing, China, in 2013

Company executives look at thin-film solar panels developed by MiaSole before a press conference held at the headquarters of Hanergy Group in Beijing, China, in 2013

According to new numbers released by the Chinese government, China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar capacity in the first six months of the year ending June 30, marking a 100 percent increase over the same period last year. That brings China’s total solar supply to 23 gigawatts — 13 shy of the country’s goal of installing 35 by the end of 2015.

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Australia, one of the most sunny, potentially solar power-friendly countries on Earth, has just about 3.2 gigawatts of total solar installed capacity. The U.S. has over 12 gigawatts of solar capacity installed.

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Pollution from fossil fuel power plants is one of the drivers of China’s quest to ramp up solar power. Just this week China announced that the country’s smog-plagued capital, Beijing, would ban the use of coal by the end of 2020. The official Xinhua News Agency said coal accounted for a quarter of Beijing’s energy consumption in 2012 and 22 percent of the fine particles floating in the city’s air. However the focus on Beijing, where there is a lot of global attention and domestic pushback, does not mean China’s overall coal consumption will diminish — in fact it is still expected to soar.

Read the entire article here:

 

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IMPORTANT! Do you read our weekly climate links? If so, PLEASE let me know with a quick comment or comment on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. Are these links useful? Interesting? What types of climate stories are helpful for you? I want to make sure this feature is truly beneficial to readers.

Check out previous editions of Prescott’s Climate Links.  And Let us know what you are interested in understanding better. Where do you find hope?

 

(photos come from articles listed unless otherwise indicated)

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This post has 2 Comments

  1. Jennifer A O'Brien on September 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm Reply

    This week in my zoology class we are examining the connectedness of of humans and wildlife in the recent Ebola. I will use this article about climate change and Ebola..the connection to bats (more in contact with humans due to habitat destruction), climate change and gorillas (also victims of Ebola and critical to several African economies through ecotourism) demonstrates the complex relationships at play here. And brings to mind the three spheres of sustainability: economic, social and environmental sustainability.

  2. Peterson Toscano
    Peterson Toscano on September 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm Reply

    GREAT, thanks for letting me know. And is part of the habitat destruction due to extreme weather as well as deforestation? Or is it mostly the direct human destruction of habitat?

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