Warming Trends: Weather Guarantees for Your Vacation, Plus the Benefits of Microbial Proteins and an Urban Taste for the Environment – Low Calorie Diets Tips

SOLUTIONS

A growth market thanks to climate change

A long-awaited vacation like a day at the amusement park with the kids, a night glamping with the girls or a weekend on the slopes can be quickly ruined by rain. And with climate change bringing more extreme weather conditions, more customers could be wary of embarking on trips that risk being spoiled by a storm.

That motivated Nick Cavanaugh, a climate scientist with experience advising a hedge fund on weather risks, to found Sensible Weather, a company that insures travel against weather events. The company’s weather guarantees are offered and sold to customers when they pay for a hotel room, ski rental or theme park tickets online. If it rains on the day of their activity, Sensible will reimburse customers for their tickets or accommodation.

For example, if a customer buys $100 in theme park tickets, Sensible will offer them a weather guarantee for a percentage of their total purchase based on the risk of inclement weather based on the location and date of their excursion, say around $10. If rain is forecast that day, Sensible will text the customer in the morning and offer them a refund for their tickets.

Founded in 2019, Sensible now has thousands of customers and is growing rapidly, Cavanaugh said. It works like an insurance company, using newly developed technology that can quickly assess the risk of bad weather and offering customers the option to buy protection when they are about to pay for a trip. Weather Guarantees are currently available on some camping websites and theme parks, but Cavanaugh said he hopes to make the product available on major travel booking sites soon.

The data behind the risk analysis is based on historical trends, but Cavanaugh said climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and future warming projections are also integrated to ensure the company is prepared for more extreme weather events.

“For every consumer you take on vacation, you’re taking a risk, and that’s not a catastrophic risk, but for that consumer, if you only have one week vacation a year, it could be catastrophic,” Cavanaugh said. “If you’ve been looking forward to it, it’s a serious issue.”

SCIENCE

As long as the immigrants are birds and insects

Species are migrating poleward from their native habitats as global warming raises temperatures, which can pose challenges for wildlife managers when new arrivals arrive and potentially disrupt native species.

But a survey of British birdwatchers and wildlife watchers shows most have positive attitudes towards these climate refugee species. The survey asked more than 300 wildlife observers about eight bird species and eight insect species that have migrated to the UK in recent years. They strongly opposed the idea of ​​wiping out newcomers, a study based on the poll found, and stressed the need to preserve biodiversity.

“One of the things we’ve been thinking about is whether [respondents think] Climate change is bad, so species moving because of climate change are bad, for which we haven’t seen a clear pattern,” said lead author Jamie Cranston, a Ph.D. Researchers at the University of Exeter. “Most people were kind of neutral or kind of sympathetic.”

The survey focused on wildlife observers because they would be more likely to understand the impact of species changing their range and potentially be involved in collecting data on those species, Cranston said.

“Nature is something we manage for the greater good. So it’s right to consult people on how it should be handled,” he said. “There has to be a balance between the views of different people and also the interests of future generations.”

SCIENCE

Might make for a good burger

An alternative source of protein produced by fungi could reduce our need for land- and water-intensive animal proteins like beef.

If people replaced 20 percent of their intake of beef and other ruminant products with this alternative protein, deforestation could be halved by midcentury, scientists calculate in a new study in the journal Nature.

The study looked at microbial proteins, which are a meat substitute with similar protein content and texture to traditional meat. The microbial protein is produced in a fermentation process similar to alcohol or bread and fed with sugar in a bioreactor. Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research modeled future projections up to 2050 in which microbial proteins replaced animal proteins, resulting in less land being used for pasture and crops for livestock feeding. Their results showed that even a relatively small amount of adoption resulted in a “disproportionate” environmental benefit, said study co-author Hermann Lotze-Campen, head of the Potsdam research institute.

“For the same amount of protein produced, you would need to use a lot less land, you would avoid deforestation and thereby protect valuable ecosystems,” he said, “and you also reduce everything related to feed production. The fertilizer used for feed production, the water used for irrigation for feed production, you basically take away that impact and so the overall footprint of the food sector would be reduced.”

In addition to the environmental benefits, microbial protein doesn’t need a specific climate because it’s produced in a controlled environment, Lotze-Campen said. But these products are not yet available everywhere. One company that sells microbial proteins is UK-based Quorn, which is available in 16 countries including the United States.

To achieve the environmental benefits, Lotze-Campen said, more technology is needed to increase production and make the products cost-competitive with traditional meat products, and consumers must be willing to try these alternatives, replacing them with beef and others types of meat in their diet.

“How soon will people understand that?” he said. “It’s a bit hard to predict.”

SCIENCE

townspeople and the environment

People living in urban coastal areas are less likely to have a complex understanding of how people and ecosystems affect each other, a new study finds. Researchers think this may be linked to a lack of natural coastlines as more human infrastructure occupies these environments.

The study, published in the journal npj Urban Sustainability, was based on surveys of residents on the East Coast of the United States and found that people living in urban areas with coastlines with more infrastructure, such as seawalls and boat ramps, had more consistent perceptions of ecosystems than groups outside urban areas.

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The study, conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), found that urban respondents tended to think more linearly about human-environment interactions, while non-urban respondents viewed those interactions more systematically. For example, linear thinkers can understand that if people overfish, it could lead to a decline in fish populations. But a systems thinker would have a more complex view and would understand that a decline in the fish population from overfishing would lead to fish shortages and more regulations and restrictions on fishermen.

“The reality is that people affect the environment, and the environment affects people’s lives, and there’s a feedback loop here,” said lead author Payam Aminpour, a postdoctoral researcher at NIST. “Linear thinking is that you only see direction in one direction, either from human to ecosystem or from ecosystem to human. You don’t see the interactions, the feedback loops, the bi-directional or two-way relationships.”

The survey also found that respondents from urban areas were less likely to adopt pro-environmental behaviors, e.g. For example, donating money to a conservation organization, voting for a candidate based on their stance on environmental issues, or changing buying habits based on a product’s environmental impact. Aminpour said he believes this may be related to the lack of exposure to natural environments, although this cannot be definitively proven in this study.

Study co-author Jennifer Helgeson, an economist at NIST, said that this simplification of knowledge could lead to less interest in protecting natural ecosystems among urban populations, especially as a growing proportion of the world’s population lives in urban areas. According to the United Nations, two-thirds of people are expected to live in cities by the middle of the century.

“We have this vision that sometimes living in urban areas has less of an impact,” Helgeson said. “But I think we’re showing that there can be a real balance here of having more negative impacts if you’re not in tune with these natural systems.”

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