Pollution

Air quality filters accidentally collecting biodiversity data

A badger in the wild

Whatʼs going on here? Air quality monitoring stations dotted around the planet have been inadvertently collecting airborne environmental DNA (eDNA) without anybody noticing, finds a new report. The remarkable discovery reveals that thousands of filters routinely testing for pollutants are unintentionally breathing in trace eDNA shed by animals, plants, and fungi. What does this mean? In recent years, researchers have discovered eDNA…

Landmark lawsuit against Shell

What’s going on here? Oil and gas giant, Shell, is facing legal action on multiple fronts – including a landmark lawsuit which is the first notable one of its kind. The new lawsuit will target Shell’s senior leadership directly. What does this mean? Shell’s board of directors is being sued by Client Earth, an environmental law charity, on the grounds that they…

England set to introduce a ban on single-use plastics

What’s going on here?  The UK government has set out plans to ban the sale of certain single-use plastics. This includes items such as plastic cutlery, plates, and polystyrene trays. The ban is set to come into effect by October 2023. What does this mean? The environmental impact of plastic pollution is well understood. Plastic pollution is so pervasive that it has…

What would happen if the world stopped shopping?

A shopping mall

Let’s take a curious dive into J.B. MacKinnon’s thought-provoking thought experiment to find out!  Before we start, you might have some questions… Firstly, what is a thought experiment? A thought experiment is an exploration of a hypothetical situation, in this case: a world without shopping. What do we mean by shopping in this context? MacKinnon clarifies that by ‘shopping’ he is referring…

There’s not mushroom in our net zero goals for concrete – revolutionising the construction industry with mycelium bricks

Close up image of mushroom. Its colour is yellow/orange and the fibres are visible. Black background.

There’s always going to be a need for construction, whether that’s homes, hospitals or offices. But, the environmental impacts of construction materials such as concrete are alarming. It’s time for the construction industry to be revolutionised to keep up with global targets of reducing emissions. This is a realistic goal too, as alternative sustainable materials already exist.  Creating mush-less-room for concrete  So,…

A golden floating rainforest in the sea with no coastline

Blue open ocean to horizon

Nestled in the bottom corner of the North Atlantic, circling Bermuda, you’ll find a sea with no coastline. Forming part of the High Seas, the Sargasso Sea is brimming with mystery and magic. Perhaps it’s the proximity to the famed Bermuda Triangle; perhaps it’s that few seem to have heard of the sea, despite its importance. Or perhaps it’s what bobs on…

Clean air – a human right?

What’s going on here? Last week a new bill entitled the “Clean Air (Human Rights) Act” had its first reading in the House of Lords.  What does this mean? This is the first step in enshrining in UK law the right to clean air across all forms of pollution.  The law will be known as “Ella’s Law” after Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah (pictured), a…

Five ways to swerve the financial costs of environmentalism

Here at Curious Earth, we talk a lot about the role privilege plays in the climate crisis. We try to raise awareness of the disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and extreme weather events on the global south and many other marginalised groups. (Check out our Stories from the Frontline series to hear directly from those worst affected.) Yet, we also want…