International Travel

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Travel bans aren’t the answer to stopping new COVID variant Omicron

<p>There is global concern and widespread alarm at the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has called Omicron.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern">WHO classified Omicron</a> as a “variant of concern” because it has a wide range of mutations. This suggests vaccines and treatments could be less effective.</p> <p>Although early days, Omicron appears to be able to reinfect people more easily than other strains.</p> <p>Australia has followed other countries and regions – including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union – and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-27/new-quarantine-rules-omicron-covid-variant-australia/100656016">banned travellers</a> from nine southern African countries.</p> <p>Australians <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-27/new-quarantine-rules-omicron-covid-variant-australia/100656016">seeking to return home from southern Africa</a> will still be able to do so. But they will enter hotel quarantine and be tested. Those who have returned from the nine countries – South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique – in the past 14 days will have to isolate.</p> <p>But Omicron has already been detected in other regions, including the UK, Germany, Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium. So while a travel ban on southern African countries may slow the spread and buy limited time, it’s unlikely to stop it.</p> <p>As the Australian government and others act to protect their own citizens, this should be accompanied by additional resources to support countries in southern Africa and elsewhere that take prompt action.</p> <h2>When was Omicron detected?</h2> <p>The variant was identified on November 22 in South Africa, from a sample collected from a patient on <a href="https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern">November 9</a>.</p> <p>South African virologists took prompt action, conferred with colleagues through the <a href="https://www.ngs-sa.org/ngs-sa_network_for_genomic_surveillance_south_africa/">Network of Genomic Surveillance in South Africa</a>, liaised with government, and notified the World Health Organization on November 24.</p> <p>This is in keeping with the <a href="https://www.who.int/health-topics/international-health-regulations#tab=tab_1">International Health Regulations</a> that guide how countries should respond.</p> <p>The behaviour of this new variant is still unclear. Some have claimed the rate of growth of Omicron infections, which reflects its transmissibility, may be even higher than those of the Delta variant. This “growth advantage” is yet to be proven but is concerning.</p> <h2>‘Kneejerk’ response vs WHO recommendations</h2> <p>African scientists and politicians <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/26/south-africa-b11529-covid-variant-vaccination">have been disappointed</a> in what they see as a “kneejerk” response from countries imposing travel bans. They argue the bans will have significant negative effects for the South African economy, which traditionally welcomes global tourists over the summer year-end period.</p> <p>They note it is still unclear whether the new variant originated in South Africa, even if it was first identified there. As Omicron has already been detected in several other countries, it may already be circulating in regions not included in the travel bans.</p> <p>Travel bans on countries detecting new variants, and the subsequent economic costs, may also act as a disincentive for countries to reveal variants of concern in future.</p> <p>The WHO <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/updated-who-recommendations-for-international-traffic-in-relation-to-covid-19-outbreak">does not generally recommend</a> flight bans or other forms of travel embargoes. Instead, it argues interventions of proven value should be prioritised: vaccination, hand hygiene, physical distancing, well-fitted masks, and good ventilation.</p> <p>In response to variants of concern, the WHO calls on all countries to enhance surveillance and sequencing, report initial cases or clusters, and undertake investigations to improve understanding of the variant’s behaviour.</p> <p>Omicron must be taken seriously. Its features are worrying, but there are large gaps in our current knowledge. While further analyses are undertaken, the variant should be controlled with testing, tracing, isolation, applying known public health measures, and ongoing surveillance.</p> <h2>What can wealthier countries do to help?</h2> <p>Wealthy countries such as Australia should support African nations and others to share early alerts of potentially serious communicable disease threats, and help mitigate these threats.</p> <p>As the <a href="https://theindependentpanel.org/mainreport/">Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response</a> noted in May:</p> <blockquote> <p>[…] public health actors only see downsides from drawing attention to an outbreak that has the potential to spread.</p> </blockquote> <p>The panel recommended creating incentives to reward early response action. This could include support to:</p> <ul> <li>establish research and educational partnerships</li> <li>strengthen health systems and communicable disease surveillance</li> <li>greatly improve vaccine availability, distribution, and equity</li> <li>consider financial compensation, through some form of solidarity fund against pandemic risk.</li> </ul> <h2>Boosting vaccine coverage is key</h2> <p>Vaccines remain the mainstay of protection against the most severe effects of COVID-19.</p> <p>It’s unclear how effective vaccines will be against Omicron, but some degree of protection is presumed likely. Pfizer has also indicated it could develop an effective vaccine against a new variant such as <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/omicron-variant-covid-vaccine-tweaked-b1965155.html">Omicron within 100 days or so</a>.</p> <p>COVID’s persistence is partly attributable to patchy immunisation coverage across many parts of the world, notably those least developed. South Africa itself is better off than most countries on the continent, yet only <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations">24% of the adult population are currently fully vaccinated</a>. For the whole of Africa, this drops to only 7.2%.</p> <p>Greater global support is urgently needed to boost these vaccination rates.</p> <p>African institutions and leaders, supported by global health and vaccine experts, have argued for mRNA vaccine manufacturing facilities on the African continent. These would prioritise regional populations, overcome supply-chain problems, and respond in real time to emerging disease threats.</p> <p>Yet developing nations face <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/nov/25/australian-government-trying-to-have-it-both-ways-on-covid-vaccine-ip-waiver">significant barriers</a> to obtaining intellectual property around COVID-19 vaccine development and production.</p> <p>While there is still much to learn about the behaviour and impact of Omicron, the global community must demonstrate and commit real support to countries that do the right thing by promptly and transparently sharing information.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/172736/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anthony-zwi-144612">Anthony Zwi</a>, Professor of Global Health and Development, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/travel-bans-arent-the-answer-to-stopping-new-covid-variant-omicron-172736">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shuttershock</em></p>

International Travel

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“Unlike any other”: World’s highest 360-degree infinity pool opens in Dubai

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dubai has welcomed the world’s first 360-degree infinity pool as its latest record-breaking tourist attraction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 750-square-metre pool deck sits on the 50th floor of the Palm Tower, which offers unbeatable views of Dubai’s skyline.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At 200-metres in the air, the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://auraskypool.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Aura Skypool</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> also takes out the top spot as the world’s highest infinity pool and has been described as “an island in the sky”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new space also features a lounge with VIP sun beds and a bar serving tapas dishes and cocktails.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Guests have the choice of booking in for a morning or sunset session by the pool, or a full-day VIP “island” experience, costing between $AUD 65 ($AED 170) and $AUD 226 ($AED 600).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Aura is truly unlike any other destination in the UAE and the world,” Antonio Gonzalez, the CEO of Sunset Hospitality, the company behind the pool, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/worlds-highest-360degree-infinity-pool-opens-in-dubai/25d66d7e-2ef6-4673-be13-825aab58a0da" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">said</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in a statement last month.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“With 360-degree views of some of the world’s most iconic sights, from the man made Palm Jumeirah - celebrating this year 20 years since its construction - through to Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa and Ain Dubai - all in one view, it’s a breathtaking new destination that will continue to showcase the very best of Dubai.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The opening of Aura Skypool comes after the launch of a 240-metre high observation deck at The Palm, two floors above the infinity pool.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The residential building and hotel also features the Middle East’s first SushiSamba restaurant - a chain of fusion restaurants found across the UK and USA.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Aura Skypool</span></em></p>

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How Singapore’s water management has become a global model for how to tackle climate crisis

<p>Singapore is at the forefront of nearly all countries that have formulated a long-term plan for managing climate change and is steadfastly implementing that plan.</p> <p>The small island state of 6 million people was among the 40 nations invited by the US President Joe Biden to attend his leaders’ summit on tackling <a href="https://www.state.gov/leaders-summit-on-climate/">climate change</a> last April.</p> <p>Singapore is one of <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/most-densely-populated-countries">most densely populated countries in the world</a>. It faces the twin challenges of ensuring sustainable water supply during droughts as well as effective drainage during intense rain seasons amid climate change.</p> <p>Much of Singapore is also as flat as a pancake and stands no more than <a href="https://www.nccs.gov.sg/faqs/impact-of-climate-change-and-adaptation-measures/">5 metres above the mean sea level</a>. This puts the country at risk from rising sea level due to climate change.</p> <p>But thanks to its water system management, Singapore has been a success story as a resilient and adaptable city.</p> <h2>Water-resilient Singapore</h2> <p>The country has to be prepared for when rights to draw water from Malaysia <a href="https://www.mfa.gov.sg/SINGAPORES-FOREIGN-POLICY/Key-Issues/Water-Agreements">end in 2061</a>. Singapore draws up to 50% of its water supply from the neighbouring country.</p> <p>For over two decades, Singapore’s National Water Agency, PUB, has successfully added <a href="http://bwsmartcities.businessworld.in/article/Harvesting-Every-Drop-The-Singapore-Water-Story/16-03-2017-114513/">large-scale nationwide rainwater harvesting</a>, used water collection, treatment and reuse, and seawater desalination to its portfolio of conventional water sources, so the nation-state can achieve long-term water sustainability.</p> <p>The agency has been collecting and treating all its sewage to transform it into clean and high-quality reclaimed water. As a result, the PUB has become a leading exponent of using recycled water, dubbed locally as NEWater, as a source of water.</p> <p><a href="https://www.pub.gov.sg/Documents/PUBOurWaterOurFuture.pdf">In 2017</a>, NEWater succesfully supplied up to 40% of the total water demand of 430 million gallons per day in Singapore. As the projected demand will double by 2060, the PUB plans to increase NEWater supply capacity up to 55% of demand.</p> <p>Under the plan, desalinated water will supply 30% of total demand in 2060 – a 5% increase from its share in 2017.</p> <p>The remaining share of the country’s water demand (15%) in 2060 will come from local catchments, which include 17 reservoirs, and imported water. The country does not have the land area to collect and store enough run-off despite abundant tropical rains.</p> <p>To increase the economic viability of these plans, much of the PUB’s current <a href="https://www.pub.gov.sg/resources/publications/research">research and development effort</a> is aimed at halving energy requirements for desalination and used water treatment.</p> <p>Other than that, reducing carbon emissions from water treatment and generating energy from the byproducts of used water treatment have become essential for Singapore.</p> <h2>Embracing ‘life and death’ matters</h2> <p>Based on this success story, the Singapore government applies the same approach of long-term planning and implementation to tackle threats of climate change, including rising sea level.</p> <p>In 2019, Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, described the country’s seriousness in treating climate change as <a href="https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/national-day-rally-2019-100-billion-needed-to-protect-singapore-against-rising-sea-levels">“life and death matters”</a>. The government estimates it will need to spend US$75 billion, around 20% of the country’s GDP, on coastal protection over the coming decades.</p> <p>The government has tasked PUB to lead and co-ordinate whole-of-government efforts to protect these coastal areas. The agency is working hard to ensure Singapore does not become a modern-day Atlantis, Plato’s famous sunken city.</p> <p>PUB’s first order of business is to develop an <a href="https://www.pub.gov.sg/news/pressreleases/2021pr001">integrated coastal-inland flood model</a>. This will allow it to simulate the worst-case effects of intense inland rainfall combined with extreme coastal events. PUB expects its flood model to become a critical risk-assessment tool for flood risk management, adaptation planning, engineering design and flood response.</p> <p>The agency has also undertaken coastline protection studies of different segments. The first study began in <a href="https://www.pub.gov.sg/news/pressreleases/2021PR003">May 2021 along City-East Coast</a>, covering 57.8km of the coastline. This section had been identified as prone to flooding and has various critical assets such as airports and economic and industrial districts.</p> <p>Other segments to be analysed are in Jurong Island, in southwestern Singapore, with the study to begin later this year, and the north-west coast, comprising Sungei Kadut and Lim Chu Kang, starting in 2022.</p> <p>Rather than mere adaption to coming crisis, protection measures will be designed for multi-functional land use. Nature-based solutions will be incorporated whenever possible, to create <a href="https://www.pub.gov.sg/news/pressreleases/2021PR003">welcoming spaces for living, work and play</a>.</p> <p>For sure, whatever Singapore does in climate mitigation will never move the global needle. But it is a very good example of what a country can do to successfully adapt to the dangers of climate change through good planning.</p> <p>If its policies are duplicated in other countries, these combined efforts will most certainly cause the needle to move significantly.</p> <p>After the United Nations High Level meeting on climate change, COP26, just completed this month in Glasgow, UK, Singapore can be considered to be a very good model of how countries can successfully adapt to the dangers of climate change in the coming decades.</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/asit-k-biswas-361607">Asit K. Biswas</a>, Distinguished visiting professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-glasgow-1269">University of Glasgow</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-singapores-water-management-has-become-a-global-model-for-how-to-tackle-climate-crisis-162117">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Swapnil Bapat/Unsplash</em></p>

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False fossils could hamper search for life on Mars

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>If you’re an interplanetary alien hunter scouring the red expanses of Mars for signs of life, you’re more likely to come across <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/looking-for-microbes-on-mars/" target="_blank">microbes</a> than little green men. You’re even more likely to come across fossils of ancient critters that lived billions of years ago.</p> <p>But new research warns that chemical processes can create “pseudofossils”, potentially fooling future exo-palaeontologists.</p> <p>“At some stage a Mars rover will almost certainly find something that looks a lot like a fossil, so being able to confidently distinguish these from structures and substances made by chemical reactions is vital,” says astrobiologist Sean McMahon from the University of Edinburgh, UK.</p> <p>“For every type of fossil out there, there is at least one non-biological process that creates very similar things, so there is a real need to improve our understanding of how these form.”</p> <p>In a study published in the <em>Journal of the Geological Society</em>, McMahon and colleagues from the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford assessed dozens of known processes that could have created life-like traces in Martian rocks.</p> <p>Many chemical processes can mimic the structures created by microscopic lifeforms, like bacterial cells or carbon-based molecules that make up the building blocks of life as we know it.</p> <p>Stromatolites are one example of fossils that could be impersonated. These rock-like structures formed from layers deposited by communities of blue-green algae. Called “living fossils”, they are still <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/history/palaeontology/extremely-ancient-lifeform-discovered-in-tasmania/" target="_blank">found</a> in shallow aquatic environments today, and at more than 3.5 billion years old they’re among the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/earth-sciences/earliest-life-found-in-ancient-aussie-rocks/" target="_blank">oldest evidence</a> for life on Earth.</p> <p>But non-biological processes can produce pseudofossils that mimic the domes and columns of stromatolites. Surprisingly, similar deposits can build up in places like factory floors, where cars are spray-painted, as well as more natural processes like the deposition of silica around hot springs, some of which <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13554" target="_blank">have recently been found</a> on Mars.</p> <p>Another example of ambiguous fossils can be found in sandstone beds from the Ediacaran period, 550 million years ago. Animal and plant-like imprints are embedded in “textured” rocks, where the texture actually represents fossilised microbial mats that once covered the ancient sea floor.</p> <p>A joint Australian-US team has <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/earth-sciences/studying-fossils-with-ai-tech/" target="_blank">recently been awarded</a> NASA funding to see if AI can distinguish between rocks that are formed from biological signatures (like these microbial mats) or from purely abiotic chemical processes.</p> <p>The team’s ultimate goal is to apply similar machine learning techniques to geological images taken by Mars rovers.</p> <p>This new paper by UK astrobiologists says that research like this may be key to the success of current and future exobiology missions.</p> <p>“We have been fooled by life-mimicking processes in the past,” says co-author Julie Cosmidis, a geobiologist from the University of Oxford. “On many occasions, objects that looked like fossil microbes were described in ancient rocks on Earth and even in meteorites from Mars, but after deeper examination they turned out to have non-biological origins.</p> <p>“This article is a cautionary tale in which we call for further research on life-mimicking processes in the context of Mars, so that we avoid falling into the same traps over and over again.”</p> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=172969&amp;title=False+fossils+could+hamper+search+for+life+on+Mars" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/astrobiology/false-fossils-on-mars-could-hamper-search-for-life/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/lauren-fuge">Lauren Fuge</a>. Lauren Fuge is a science journalist at Cosmos. She holds a BSc in physics from the University of Adelaide and a BA in English and creative writing from Flinders University.</p> <p><em>Image: gremlin/Getty Images</em></p> </div> </div>

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Finding climate misinformation

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>We learnt only last month that <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/behaviour/trolling-abuse-of-scientists-during-the-pandemic/" target="_blank">scientists have been abused</a> on social media for telling the truth during the COVID pandemic.</p> <p>Now, an international team of researchers has delved into a related phenomenon – climate misinformation – and found that attacks on the reliability of climate science is the most common form of misinformation, and that misinformation targeting climate solutions is on the rise.</p> <p>Monash University research fellow Dr John Cook and colleagues from the University of Exeter, UK, and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, trained a machine-learning model to automatically detect and categorise climate misinformation.</p> <p>Then they reviewed 255,449 documents from 20 prominent conservative think-tank (CTT) websites and 33 climate change denial blogs to build a two-decade history of climate misinformation and find common topics, themes, peaks, and changes over time.</p> <p>It’s the largest content analysis to date on climate misinformation, with findings <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-01714-4" target="_blank">published</a> today in in the <em>Nature </em>journal <em>Scientific Reports</em>.</p> <p>“Our study found claims used by such think-tanks and blogs focus on attacking the integrity of climate science and scientists, and, increasingly, challenged climate policy and renewable energy,” Cook says.</p> <p>“Organised climate change contrarianism has played a significant role in the spread of misinformation and the delay to meaningful action to mitigate climate change.”</p> <p>As a result of their analysis, the researchers developed a taxonomy to categorise claims about climate science and policy used by opponents of climate action.</p> <p>They found the five major claims about climate change used by CTTs and blogs were:</p> <ol type="1"> <li>It’s not happening</li> <li>It’s not us</li> <li>It’s not bad</li> <li>Solutions won’t work</li> <li>Climate science/scientists are unreliable</li> </ol> <p>Within these were a number of sub-claims providing a detailed delineation of specific arguments.</p> <p>The researchers say climate misinformation leads to a number of negative outcomes, including reduced climate literacy, public polarisation, cancelling out accurate information and influencing how scientists engage with the public.</p> <p>“The problem of misinformation is so widespread, practical solutions need to be scalable to match the size of the problem,” Cook says.</p> <p>“Misinformation spreads so quickly across social networks, we need to be able to identify misinformation claims instantly in order to respond quickly. Our research provides a tool to achieve this.”</p> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=172828&amp;title=Finding+climate+misinformation" alt="" width="1" height="1" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/climate/finding-climate-misinformation/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/dr-deborah-devis">Deborah Devis</a>. Deborah Devis is a science journalist at Cosmos. She has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science (Honours) in biology and philosophy from the University of Sydney, and a PhD in plant molecular genetics from the University of Adelaide.</p> <p><em>Image: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images</em></p> </div> </div>

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Five things you need to know about the Glasgow Climate Pact

<p>The COP26 UN climate talks in Glasgow have finished and the gavel has come down on the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed by all 197 countries.</p> <p>If the <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-paris-climate-deal-52256">2015 Paris Agreement</a> provided the framework for countries to tackle climate change then Glasgow, six years on, was the first major test of this high-water mark of global diplomacy.</p> <p>So what have we learnt from two weeks of leaders’ statements, massive protests and side deals on coal, stopping fossil fuel finance and deforestation, plus the final signed <a href="https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/cma2021_L16_adv.pdf">Glasgow Climate Pact</a>?</p> <p>From phasing out coal to carbon market loopholes, here is what you need to know:</p> <h2>1. Progress on cutting emissions, but nowhere near enough</h2> <p>The Glasgow Climate Pact is incremental progress and not the breakthrough moment needed to curb the worst impacts of climate change. The UK government as host and therefore president of COP26 wanted to “<a href="https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/1455568026384863241">keep 1.5°C alive</a>”, the stronger goal of the Paris Agreement. But at best we can say the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C is on life support – it has a pulse but it’s nearly dead.</p> <p>The <a href="https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/english_paris_agreement.pdf">Paris Agreement</a> says temperatures should be limited to “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and countries should “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5°C. Before COP26, the world was <a href="https://www.unep.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2021">on track for 2.7°C of warming</a>, based on commitments by countries, and expectation of the changes in technology. Announcements at COP26, including new pledges to cut emissions this decade, by some key countries, have reduced this to a <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/global/temperatures/">best estimate of 2.4°C</a>.</p> <p>More countries also announced long-term net zero goals. One of the most important was <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-59125143">India’s</a> pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2070. Critically, the country said it would get off to a quick start with a massive expansion of renewable energy in the next ten years so that it accounts for 50% of its total usage, reducing its emissions in 2030 by 1 billion tonnes (from a current total of around 2.5 billion).</p> <p>Fast-growing <a href="https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/493040-cop26-nigeria-will-cut-carbon-emission-to-net-zero-by-2060-buhari-says.html">Nigeria</a> also pledged net zero emissions by 2060. Countries accounting for <a href="https://zerotracker.net/">90% of the world’s GDP</a> have now pledged to go net zero by the middle of this century.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/431784/original/file-20211113-61366-1qm1j2h.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/431784/original/file-20211113-61366-1qm1j2h.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Yellow minibuses on a busy street" /></a> <span class="caption">Nigeria’s population is expected to overtake China’s this century.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Santos Akhilele Aburime / shutterstock</span></span></p> <p>A world warming by 2.4°C is still clearly <a href="https://theconversation.com/cop26-what-would-the-world-be-like-at-3-c-of-warming-and-how-would-it-be-different-from-1-5-c-171030">very far from 1.5°C</a>. What remains is a near-term emissions gap, as global emissions look likely to flatline this decade rather than showing the sharp cuts necessary to be on the 1.5°C trajectory the pact calls for. There is a gulf between long-term net zero goals and plans to deliver emissions cuts this decade.</p> <h2>2. The door is ajar for further cuts in the near future</h2> <p>The final text of the Glasgow Pact notes that the current national climate plans, nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in the jargon, are far from what is needed for 1.5°C. It also requests that countries come back next year with new updated plans.</p> <p>Under the Paris Agreement, new climate plans are needed every five years, which is why Glasgow, five years after Paris (with a delay due to COVID), was such an important meeting. New climate plans next year, instead of waiting another five years, can keep 1.5°C on life support for another 12 months, and gives campaigners another year to shift government climate policy. It also opens the door to requesting further NDC updates from 2022 onwards to help ratchet up ambition this decade.</p> <p>The Glasgow Climate Pact also states that the use of unabated coal should be phased down, as should subsidies for fossil fuels. The wording is weaker than the initial proposals, with the final text calling for only a “phase down” and not a “phase out” of coal, due to a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/live/2021/nov/13/cop26-live-third-draft-text-expected-as-climate-talks-go-into-overtime?page=with:block-619012648f08b698cb951163#block-619012648f08b698cb951163">last-second intervention by India</a>, and of “inefficient” subsidies. But this is the first time fossil fuels have been mentioned in a UN climate talks declaration.</p> <p>In the past, Saudi Arabia and others have stripped out this language. This an important shift, finally acknowledging that use of coal and other fossil fuels need to be rapidly reduced to tackle the climate emergency. The taboo of talking about the end of fossil fuels has been finally broken.</p> <h2>3. Rich countries continued to ignore their historical responsibility</h2> <p>Developing countries have been calling for funding to pay for “loss and damage”, such as the costs of the impacts of cyclones and sea level rise. Small island states and climate-vulnerable countries say the historical emissions of the major polluters have caused these impacts and therefore funding is needed.</p> <p>Developed countries, <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-us-block-financial-support-climate-change-cop26/">led by the US and EU</a>, have resisted taking any liability for these loss and damages, and vetoed the creation of a new “Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility”, a way of supporting vulnerable nations, despite it being called for by most countries.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/431783/original/file-20211113-60020-8whsew.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/431783/original/file-20211113-60020-8whsew.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Chart of cumulative historical emissions" /></a> <span class="caption">The UK has one twentieth the population of India, yet has emitted more carbon from fossil fuels.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-which-countries-are-historically-responsible-for-climate-change" class="source">CarbonBrief</a>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-NC-SA</a></span></p> <h2>4. Loopholes in carbon market rules could undermine progress</h2> <p>Carbon markets could throw a potential lifeline to the fossil fuel industry, allowing them to claim “carbon offsets” and carry on business as (nearly) usual. A tortuous series of negotiations over article 6 of the Paris Agreement on market and non-market approaches to trading carbon was finally agreed, six years on. The worst and biggest loopholes were closed, but there is still scope for countries and companies to <a href="http://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2021/05/04/carbon-offsetting-british-airways-easyjet-verra/">game the system</a>.</p> <p>Outside the COP process, we will need much clearer and stricter rules for <a href="https://trove-research.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Trove-Research-Carbon-Credit-Demand-Supply-and-Prices-1-June-2021.pdf">company carbon offsets</a>. Otherwise expect a series of exposé from non-governmental organisatios and the media into carbon offsetting under this new regime, when new attempts will emerge to try and close these remaining loopholes.</p> <h2>5. Thank climate activists for the progress – their next moves will be decisive</h2> <p>It is clear that powerful countries are moving too slowly and they have made a political decision to not support a step change in both greenhouse gas emissions and funding to help income-poor countries to adapt to climate change and leapfrog the fossil fuel age.</p> <p>But they are being pushed hard by their populations and particularly climate campaigners. Indeed in Glasgow, we saw huge protests with both the youth Fridays for Future march and the Saturday Global Day of Action massively exceeding expected numbers.</p> <p>This means that next steps of the campaigners and the climate movement matter. In the UK this will be trying to stop the government granting a licence to exploit the new <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-57762927">Cambo oil field</a> off the north coast of Scotland.</p> <p>Expect more action on the financing of fossil fuel projects, as activists try to cut emissions by starving the industry of capital. Without these movements pushing countries and companies, including at COP27 in Egypt, we won’t curb climate change and protect our precious planet.</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/simon-lewis-158469">Simon Lewis</a>, Professor of Global Change Science at University of Leeds and, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-maslin-108286">Mark Maslin</a>, Professor of Earth System Science, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-glasgow-climate-pact-171799">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Rober Perry/EPA</em></p>

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Big-business greenwash or a climate saviour? Carbon offsets raise tricky moral questions

<p>Massive protests unfolded in Glasgow outside the United Nations climate summit <a href="https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2021/11/net-zero-is-not-zero-carbon-offsetting-focus-at-cop26-under-criticism/">last week</a>, with some activists <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/tv/cop26/cop26-indigenous-carbon-protests-video-v417423df">denouncing</a> a proposal to expand the use of a controversial climate action measure to meet net-zero targets: carbon offsetting.</p> <p>Offsetting <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-stabilise-the-climate-without-carbon-offsets-so-how-do-we-make-them-work-169355">refers to</a> reducing emissions or removing carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere in one place to balance emissions made in another. So far, more than 130 countries have committed to the net zero by 2050 goal, but none is proposing to be completely emissions free by that date – all are relying on forms of offsetting.</p> <p>The use of offsets in meeting climate obligations has been <a href="https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/50429/offsets-taskforce-hit-protests-cop26/">rejected by climate activists</a> as a “scam”. Swedish climate campaigner <a href="https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg/status/1455904676227002375?s=20">Greta Thunberg</a>, joining the protesters, claimed relying on buying offsets to cut emissions would give polluters “a free pass to keep polluting”.</p> <p>Others, however, argue offsetting has a legitimate role to play in our transition to a low-carbon future. A <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/towards-net-zero-practical-policies-to-offset-carbon-emissions/">recent report</a> by Australia’s Grattan Institute, for example, claimed that done <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-stabilise-the-climate-without-carbon-offsets-so-how-do-we-make-them-work-169355">with integrity</a>, carbon offsets will be crucial to reaching net zero in sectors such as agriculture and aviation, for which full elimination of emissions is infeasible.</p> <p>So who’s in the right? We think the answer depends on the kind of offsetting that is being employed. Some forms of offsetting can be a legitimate way of helping to reach net zero, while others are morally dubious.</p> <h2>Climate change as a moral issue</h2> <p>The debate over offsetting is part of a key agenda item for COP26 – establishing the rules for global carbon trading, <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-cop26-climate-summit-continues-attention-turns-to-carbon-markets/">known as Article 6</a> of the Paris Agreement. The trading scheme will allow countries to purchase emissions reductions from overseas to count towards their own climate action.</p> <p>To examine carbon offsetting in a moral context, we should first remember what makes our contributions to CO₂ emissions morally problematic.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pHLVDlb6rCU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> </p> <p>The emissions from human activity increase the risks of <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar3/wg2/chapter-1-overview-of-impacts-adaptation-and-vulnerability-to-climate-change/">climate change-related harms</a> such as dangerous weather events – storms, fires, floods, heatwaves, and droughts – and the prevalence of serious diseases and malnutrition.</p> <p>The more we humans emit, the more we contribute to global warming, and the greater the risks of harm to the most vulnerable people. Climate change is a moral issue because of the question this invites on behalf of those people:</p> <blockquote> <p>Why are you adding to global warming, when it risks harming us severely?</p> </blockquote> <p>Not having a good answer to that question is what makes our contribution to climate change seriously wrong.</p> <h2>The two ways to offset emissions</h2> <p>The moral case in favour of offsetting is it gives us an answer to that question. If we can match our emissions with a corresponding amount of offsetting, then can’t we say we’re making no net addition to global warming, and therefore imposing no risk of harm on anyone?</p> <p>Well, that depends on what kind of offsetting we’re doing. Offsetting comes in two forms, which are morally quite different.</p> <p>The first kind of offsetting involves removing CO₂ from the atmosphere. Planting trees or other vegetation is one way of doing this, provided the CO₂ that’s removed does not then re-enter the atmosphere later, for example as a result of deforestation.</p> <p>Another way would be through the development of <a href="https://eciu.net/analysis/briefings/net-zero/negative-emissions-why-what-how">negative emissions technologies</a>, which envisage ways to extract CO₂ from the atmosphere and store it permanently.</p> <p>The second form is offsetting by paying for emissions reduction. This involves ensuring someone else puts less CO₂ into the atmosphere than they otherwise would have. For example, one company might pay another company to reduce its emissions, with the first claiming this reduction as an offset against its own emissions.</p> <p>Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator issues <a href="http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/OSR/ANREU/types-of-emissions-units/australian-carbon-credit-units">Australian Carbon Credit Units</a> for “eligible offsets projects”. These include for projects of offsetting by emissions reduction.</p> <p>The regulator certifies that a company, for example, installing more efficient technology “deliver abatement that is additional to what would occur in the absence of the project”. Another company whose activities send CO₂ into the atmosphere, such as a coal-fired power station, can then buy these credits to offset its emissions.</p> <h2>So what’s the problem?</h2> <p>There is a crucial difference between these <a href="https://www.offsetguide.org/understanding-carbon-offsets/what-is-a-carbon-offset/">two forms of offsetting</a>. When you offset in the first way – taking as much CO₂ out of the atmosphere as you put in – you can indeed say you’re not adding to global warming.</p> <p>That’s not to say even this form of offsetting is problem-free. It’s crucial such offsets are properly validated and are part of a transition plan to cleaner energy generation compatible with everyone reaching net zero together. Tree-planting cannot be a complete solution, because we could simply <a href="https://theconversation.com/there-arent-enough-trees-in-the-world-to-offset-societys-carbon-emissions-and-there-never-will-be-158181">run out of places</a> to plant them.</p> <p>But when you offset in the second way, you cannot say you’re not adding to global warming at all. What you’re doing is paying someone else not to add to global warming, while adding to it yourself.</p> <p>The difference between the two forms of offsetting is like the difference between a mining company releasing mercury into the groundwater while simultaneously cleaning the water to restore the mercury concentration to safe levels, and a mining company paying another not to release mercury into the groundwater and then doing so itself.</p> <p>The first can be a legitimate way of negating the risk you impose. The second is a way of imposing risk in someone else’s stead.</p> <p>Let’s use a few simple analogies to illustrate this further. In morality and law, we cannot justify injuring someone by claiming we had previously paid someone who was about to injure that same person not to do so.</p> <p>The same is true when it comes to the imposition of risk. If I take a high speed joyride through a heavily populated area, I cannot claim I pose no risk on people nearby simply because I had earlier paid my neighbour not to take a joyride along the same route.</p> <p>Had I not induced my neighbour not to take the joyride, he would’ve had to answer for the risk he imposed. When I do so in his place, I am the one who must answer for that risk.</p> <p>In our desperate attempt to stop the world warming beyond the internationally agreed limit of 1.5℃, we need to encourage whatever reduces the climate impacts of human activity. If selling carbon credits is an effective way to achieve this, we should do it, creating incentives for emissions reductions as well as emissions removals.</p> <p>What we cannot do is claim that inducing others to reduce emissions gives us a moral license to emit in their place.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171295/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christian-barry-14000">Christian Barry</a>, Professor of Philosophy at the ANU, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/garrett-cullity-1287732">Garrett Cullity</a>, Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/big-business-greenwash-or-a-climate-saviour-carbon-offsets-raise-tricky-moral-questions-171295">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: EPA/Robert Perry</em></p>

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Duchess Camilla honours family tradition begun by Prince Philip

<p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p>The Duchess of Cornwall has carried on a tradition started by her late father-in-law Prince Philip on the first Remembrance Day since his death.</p> <p>Camilla laid flowers at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior inside Westminster Abbey after the Remembrance Day service.</p> <p>This was a nod to a tradition set by the Duke of Edinburgh, a member of the Royal Navy naval officer, on occasions when the Field of Remembrance is officially opened on Remembrance Day.</p> <p>The field of Remembrance began in 1928 by the founder of the British Legion Poppy Factory and is opened annually at this time of year, allowing for tributes written on crosses to those who lost their life in service.</p> <p>The Duchess of Cornwall, who was representing the Royal Family, officially opened the 93rd Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Thursday after being greeted by the Dean of Westminster and escorted by Surgeon Rear Admiral Jarvis throughout the service.</p> <p>The Duchess stood in front of two wooden crosses from the Graves of Unknown British soldiers from the First and Second World Wars, where The Dean offered prayers.</p> <p>The Duchess then lay a Cross of Remembrance as the Last Post sounded, followed by a two-minute silence.</p> <p>Earlier in the week, Camilla helped put the finishing touches to her custom-made Remembrance cross, adding a poppy to the offering during a visit to the recently refurbished Poppy Factory on Tuesday.</p> <p>The Duchess, who is Patron of the charity and last visited in 2013, was shown a selection of royal wreaths and cabinet displays of the Poppy Factory's 99-year history. The Poppy Factory was founded in 1922 to provide employment for veterans injured in the First World War.</p> <p>Camilla met with veteran production staff and the specialist royal wreath makers Peter Wills and Paul Hammerton.</p>

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“Records are made to be broken”: Oldest person tackles Appalachian Trail

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An 83-year-old has become the oldest person to finish the 3,500 km Appalachian Trail in the US.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">MJ “Sunny” Eberhart, also known as Nimblewill Nomad, is a seasoned hiker who has been tackling trails since he retired in 1993.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The former veteran said the trail was still quite tough despite his experience.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ve got a couple of marks on me, but I’m OK,” he </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-09/appalachian-trail-record-broken-by-83-year-old-us-hiker/100604392" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">said</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You’ve got to have an incredible resolve to do this.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845450/hiking1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f2a405a3358043b3bc3e83775440472f" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: nimblewillnomad.com</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Eberhart took on the trail in reverse order so that he could take advantage of the weather, and completed his final section in western Massachusetts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dale “Greybeard” Sanders, the former record holder, joined Mr Eberhart at the finish line.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He said he wasn’t sad that his record had been overtaken.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My dear friend Nimblewill is taking my record away from me, and I’m happy for him. Records are made to be broken,” Mr Sanders said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Appalachian Trail has formed the bulk of his final trek, which he has named “Odyssey 2021 ‘Bama to Baxter - Hike On”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After finishing the 3,500-kilometre trail, Mr Eberhart has just 1.2 kilometres left of the Pinhoti Trail according to his </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://nimblewillnomad.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">website</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845451/hiking2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/4d85088e61f347d4be4e2af7c0f3009f" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: nimblewillnomad.com</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though his first hike was motivated by a search for peace, he said he has eventually found it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You can seek peace. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to find it,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I persevered to the point that the good Lord looked down on me and said, ‘you’re forgiven, you can be at peace’.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s a profound blessing. It’s as simple as that.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though Mr Eberthart has said it will be his last hike, his friend Mr Norman said that wasn’t too likely.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I don’t think it’s going to be his last hike. I just don’t think he knows what he’s going to hike next,” Mr Norman said.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: nimblewillnomad.com</span></em></p>

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Feel alone in your eco-anxiety? Don’t – it’s remarkably common to feel dread about environmental decline

<p>Feeling anxious about the ecological crises we face is entirely understandable, given the enormity of the threats.</p> <p>Eco-anxiety is <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/b2e7ee32-ad28-4ec4-89aa-a8b8c98f95a5">sometimes described</a> as a mental health problem. It’s not. Eco-anxiety is a rational psychological and emotional response to the overlapping ecological crises we now face.</p> <p>If you feel this way, you are not alone. We have found eco-anxiety is remarkably common. Almost two-thirds of Australian participants in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378021001709">our recent surveys</a> reported feeling eco-anxiety at least “some of the time”.</p> <p>The response <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02862-3">can be triggered by media stories</a> on environmental and climate crises as well as human efforts to combat them. This includes the barrage of media from the United Nations climate conference, or COP26, now underway in Glasgow.</p> <p>In this age of ecological reckoning, eco-anxiety is not going to go away. That means we must learn how to cope with it – and perhaps even harness it to drive us to find solutions</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430117/original/file-20211104-17-1846nze.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/430117/original/file-20211104-17-1846nze.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Cleared area of rainforest" /></a> <span class="caption">Awareness of environmental crises like deforestation can provoke anxiety.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></p> <h2>Dwelling on problems we contribute to</h2> <p>Our study found four key features of eco-anxiety:</p> <ol> <li><strong>affective symptoms</strong>, such as feelings of anxiety and worry</li> <li><strong>rumination</strong>, meaning persistent thoughts which can keep you up at night</li> <li><strong>behavioural symptoms</strong>, such as difficulty sleeping, working, studying or socialising</li> <li><strong>anxiety</strong> about your personal impact on the planet.</li> </ol> <p>We found similar levels of eco-anxiety in our surveys of 334 Australians and 735 New Zealanders, with people affected in similar ways in both countries. This supports <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3918955">emerging research</a>, which found more than half of young people surveyed across ten countries experienced climate anxiety. Feeling anxious about the state of the planet is likely to be universal.</p> <p>When we asked Australians how it affected them, they told us eco-anxiety affected everything from their mood to their daily routine to their relationships. It even affected their ability to concentrate, work or study. For some, eco-anxiety made them feel restless, tense and agitated. New Zealanders reported similar impacts.</p> <p>Our study found people were also anxious about their personal contribution to the deteriorating state of the planet. Some participants noted the state of the planet made them “extremely anxious”, so much so they “find it hard to think about anything else”.</p> <p>Other research shows many people are anxious about how their personal behaviours impact the earth, such as <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520343306/a-field-guide-to-climate-anxiety">consumerism or flying</a>. Some young adults are choosing to have fewer children, or none at all, out of concern their children will contribute to the climate crisis or will <a href="https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/book-excerpt-the-uninhabitable-earth-david-wallace-wells.html">inherit a degraded world</a>.</p> <p>These fears appeared in our study too, with one parent participant noting:</p> <blockquote> <p>My biggest worry is that climate change will affect my child in their lifetime, and I get very upset that I won’t be able to protect him from the effects of it.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Is eco-anxiety different to generalised anxiety?</h2> <p>Eco-anxiety has similarities with generalised anxiety and stress, but we found important differences, such as the focus on environmental issues and our contribution to the problem.</p> <p>We also found people experience eco-anxiety independent of depression, anxiety and stress, suggesting it’s a unique experience.</p> <p>While it is possible to experience eco-anxiety as someone who is otherwise mentally well, many people experience it on top of <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12144-021-01385-4">existing mental health issues</a>.</p> <p>What we need to do now is understand what eco-anxiety means for individual (and planetary) well-being, and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02650533.2020.1844166">provide support</a> to people with varying degrees of this anxiety.<a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429905/original/file-20211103-19-pt7tvl.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429905/original/file-20211103-19-pt7tvl.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="School students carrying posters calling for climate action" /></a> <span class="caption">School students marching for climate action in the UK, 2019.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/london-uk-united-kingdom-15th-february-1315212515" class="source">Shutterstock</a></span></p> <h2>Four ways to cope with your eco-anxiety</h2> <p>Eco-anxiety is not going to go away as an issue, given the range of environmental issues the world is confronting. To stop these feelings becoming overwhelming or debilitating, there are a range of <a href="https://psychology.org.au/getmedia/cf076d33-4470-415d-8acc-75f375adf2f3/coping_with_climate_change.pdf.pdf">behavioural, cognitive and emotional strategies</a> people can use to cope.</p> <p>Here are four techniques:</p> <ol> <li> <p><strong>validation</strong> One part of managing your own anxiety is to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0887618520300773">validate it</a>, by acknowledging it makes sense to feel anxious and distressed</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>time out</strong> Another technique is to take mental breaks and avoid your 24/7 news feed to give yourself time to restore a sense of balance</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>seek hope</strong> Cultivating a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494412000138?casa_token=mIMzMUtEHZYAAAAA:VHVA59QmgjLMGuMr8n-gb4aCxYKO3OrC-ym8UViPw14R1OBZymnfoW4dmQYsw7FHvvWv2T_J4w">realistic sense of hope</a> about the future can also reduce anxiety emerging from our awareness of ecological threats. That means appreciating the complexity of the problem, while also searching for alternative visions of the future and trusting that we, as a collective, will eventually resolve the crisis before it’s too late</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>take action</strong> Many of us struggle with a sense of overwhelming powerlessness in the face of a deteriorating climate. This can be self-reinforcing. To combat this, you can try action - whether changing your own behaviour or getting involved in campaigns.</p> </li> </ol> <p>As climate campaigner Greta Thunberg <a href="https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2019/jul/young-climate-activists-on-greta-thunberg-and-climate-crisis.html">has said</a>, “no one is too small to make a difference”.</p> <p>Climate change has been described as the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378018313608?casa_token=W-MRkMOq8DoAAAAA:o81eFiIQ6_82L9CGUP-WDIN9zEtq8cdgQSIUqqsqhH2QXaaHPF4X_bOSXJ4F7qNFmtY05REbfQ">greatest collective action problem</a> we have ever faced. That means the necessary changes will have to come from the collective action of all individuals, industries and governments. We all must act together now, just as we have in combating the COVID pandemic.</p> <p>Eco-anxiety is increasingly common. But being concerned about environmental crises does not need to come at the <a href="https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520343306/a-field-guide-to-climate-anxiety">cost of your health</a> and wellbeing.</p> <p>After all, psychological, emotional and behavioural burnout is not helpful for you – or the planet.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/170789/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/teaghan-hogg-1284859">Teaghan Hogg</a>, PhD student, Clinical Psychology, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lean-obrien-1286734">Léan O'Brien</a>, Lecturer, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/samantha-stanley-1205158">Samantha Stanley</a>, Research Fellow in Psychology, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/feel-alone-in-your-eco-anxiety-dont-its-remarkably-common-to-feel-dread-about-environmental-decline-170789">original article</a>.</p>

International Travel

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Australia is putting a rover on the Moon in 2024 to search for water

<p>Last month the Australian Space Agency <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/oct/13/australia-to-build-20kg-rover-to-head-to-moon-in-joint-mission-with-nasa">announced</a> plans to send an Australian-made rover to the Moon by as early as 2026, under a deal with NASA. The rover will collect lunar soil containing oxygen, which could eventually be used to support human life in space.</p> <p>Although the <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/australias-first-mission-moon">deal with NASA</a> made headlines, a separate mission conducted by private companies in Australia and Canada, in conjunction with the University of Technology Sydney, may see Australian technology hunting water on the Moon as soon as mid-2024.</p> <p>If all goes according to plan, it will be the first rover with Australian-made components to make it to the Moon.</p> <h2>Roving in search of water</h2> <p>The ten-kilogram rover, measuring 60x60x50cm, will be launched on board the Hakuto lander made by <a href="https://ispace-inc.com/">ispace</a>, a lunar robotic exploration company based in Japan.</p> <p>The rover itself, also built by ispace, will have an integrated robotic arm created by the private companies <a href="https://stardust-technologies.com/">Stardust Technologies</a> (based in Canada) and Australia’s <a href="https://www.explorespace.com.au/">EXPLOR Space Technology</a> (of which I am one of the founders).</p> <p>Using cameras and sensors, the arm will collect high-resolution visual and haptic data to be sent back to the mission control centre at the University of Technology Sydney.</p> <p>It will also collect information on the physical and chemical composition of lunar dust, soil and rocks — specifically with a goal of finding water. We know water is present within the Moon’s soil, but we have yet to find a way to extract it for practical use.</p> <p>The big push now is to identify regions on the Moon where water sources are more abundant, and which can deliver more usable water for human consumption, sample processing, mining operations and food growth.</p> <p>This would also set the foundation for the establishment of a manned Moon base, which could serve as a transit station for further space exploration (including on Mars).</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429440/original/file-20211031-15910-fccea3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">The ispace moon lander was displayed in Washington DC.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Courtesy of Australian Embassy staff</span></span></p> <h2>Moon-grade materials</h2> <p>Once the Hakuto lander takes off, the first challenge will be to ensure it lands successfully with the rover intact. The rover will have to survive an extreme environment on the lunar surface.</p> <p>As the moon rotates relative to the Sun, it experiences day and night cycles, just like Earth. But one day on the Moon lasts 29.5 Earth days. And surface temperatures shift dramatically during this time, reaching up to 127℃ during the day and falling as low as -173℃ at night.</p> <p>The rover and robotic arm will also need to withstand the effects of space radiation, vibrations during launch, shock from the launch and landing, and exposure to dust and water.</p> <p>At the same time, the arm must be light enough to conduct advanced manoeuvres, such as grabbing and collecting moon rocks. Advanced space-grade aluminium developed in Australia will help protect it from damage.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429443/original/file-20211031-15-1csuz38.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">The TechLab antenna chamber at the The University of Technology Sydney is being used to test communication signals which will be critical to this mission.</span></p> <p>The team behind the mission is currently in the process of testing different designs of the robotic arm, and figuring out the best way to integrate it with the rover. It will be tested together with the rover at a new lunar test bed, at the EXPLOR Space Technologies facility in New South Wales.</p> <p>Like the one used by NASA, this test bed can mimic the physical and chemical conditions on the Moon. It will be critical to determining whether the rover can stay mobile and continue to function under different environmental stressors.</p> <h2>Step into your astronaut boots</h2> <p>The rover will also send back data that allows people on Earth to experience the Moon with virtual reality (VR) goggles and a sensor glove. Haptic data collected back by the robotic arm will essentially let us “feel” anything the arm touches on the lunar surface.</p> <p>We plan to make the experience available as a free app — and hope it inspires future generations of space explorers.</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joshua-chou-405757">Joshua Chou</a>, Senior lecturer, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australia-is-putting-a-rover-on-the-moon-in-2024-to-search-for-water-170097">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: iSpace</em></p>

International Travel

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"My dear late husband": Queen Elizabeth discusses Prince Philip in climate speech

<p>As the COP26 Climate Change Conference commenced in Glasgow, the Queen delivered a powerful speech. </p> <p>Speaking via video message, Her Majesty spoke from the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle to world leaders gathered at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. </p> <p>She encouraged people to work "side by side" to help combat the global effects of climate change, as she referenced her "dear late husband" Prince Philip, who was also passionate about the cause. </p> <p><span>“I am delighted to welcome you all to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference; and it is perhaps fitting that you have come together in Glasgow, once a heartland of the industrial revolution, but now a place to address climate change,” the Queen said in her message. </span></p> <p><span>“This is a duty I am especially happy to discharge, as the impact of the environment on human progress was a subject close to the heart of my dear late husband, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.”</span></p> <p><span>Her Majesty recalled Philip's passion for protecting the planet, as she said how proud she was of his legacy. </span></p> <p><span>“It is a source of great pride to me that the leading role my husband played in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet, lives on through the work of our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William. I could not be more proud of them.”</span></p> <p><span>Speaking to the challenges of the climate emergency, the Queen said that "none of us underestimate the challenges ahead."</span><span></span></p> <p><span>“History has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope. Working side by side, we have the ability to solve the most insurmountable problems and to triumph over the greatest of adversities.”</span></p> <p><span>She went on to say how important fighting the climate crisis is for </span>future generations, as she noted "none of us will live forever": a poignant statement from the 95-year-old monarch how was unable to attend the summit in person due to health reasons. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

International Travel

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“It’s emotional”: Edwina Bartholomew fights tears as Aussies return home

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With international borders reopened in Melbourne and Sydney, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sunrise</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">’s Edwina Bartholomew was affected by the emotional scenes of families reuniting.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sixteen flights touched down on Monday as the border reopened for the first time since March 2020.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sunrise</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> host, who watched the reunion of families from the show’s studio, one man’s story was hard to talk about.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the first passengers to land in Australia told the show he can finally see his mother who has been in permanent care for the last two years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m really scared and emotional because I really want to see my mum,” he </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://7news.com.au/sunrise/on-the-show/sunrises-edwina-bartholomew-fights-back-tears-over-touching-sydney-airport-scenes-c-4383461" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">told <em>Sunrise</em></span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at Sydney Airport.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845231/sunrise1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/22d2de61762845239d2d84e822d2a817" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Sunrise</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The doctors said she hasn’t got long and I’m going to do whatever I can today to see her.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“She’s been in permanent care for a few years and it’s been so long since I’ve seen her and I love her heaps and I just want to get back there.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the man still has to find a way to enter Western Australia, where his mum lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He called on WA Premier Mark McGowan to ease current border restrictions to “bring families together again”, with visitors from NSW and Victoria currently deemed as extreme risks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We respect that you’re trying to be safe but everyone needs to be together,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Back in the studio, Bartholomew became emotional and shared her own experience having family remain overseas.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845232/sunrise2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a8068501d8a248fcacccd02915763c01" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Sunrise</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s lovely to see so many people coming home finally,” she said, while holding back tears.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My sister is overseas too, it’s emotional.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Karen Andrews, the Minister for Home Affairs, addressed the man’s situation on the show and labelled WA’s tight borders as “just nonsense”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My heart went out to that poor man and he is one of many in similar circumstances,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The fact that there are still borders between our states that are not open, so it is really at the point where you can go from Sydney to LA but you can’t go from Tweed Heads to Coolangatta - it’s just nonsense.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">A true 'Love Actually' moment 💖<br /><br />Today we welcome the first international arrivals under the new quarantine-free travel arrangements.<br /><br />With the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/internationalborder?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#internationalborder</a> officially open, we can't help but feel emotional as loved ones reunite at the Arrivals Hall.<br /><br />📸 by <a href="https://twitter.com/GettyImages?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GettyImages</a> <a href="https://t.co/WlVFIO1gP5">pic.twitter.com/WlVFIO1gP5</a></p> — Sydney Airport (@SydneyAirport) <a href="https://twitter.com/SydneyAirport/status/1454960979368820738?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 31, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Sydney Airport welcomed back its first wave of international travellers, many emotional scenes played out in the airport's arrival halls.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Families were tightly embracing holding bouquets and balloons, with many seeing each other for the first time in nearly 600 days.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845233/sunrise3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5c835c9cad094143be0b666ba1547403" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The newly-returned travellers were also greeted with signs welcoming them home by airline staff. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It comes as fully-vaccinated Australians are now able to return home without needing to go through hotel or home quarantine.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Sunrise</span></em></p>

International Travel

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The luckiest places in the world to visit

<p>Whether it's good health, a prosperous career or to be lucky in love, these fountains, statues, temples, and traditions may be your golden ticket to your biggest wishes granted.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Blarney Stone, Cork, Ireland</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845184/blarney.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8f3f5f675cda41d5983cb48762765b35" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>They don’t call it the luck of the Irish for nothing! Legend has it that that kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland will bring you “the gift of the gab.” Sir Winston Churchill and Mick Jagger have both reportedly made their luck at this very site. To kiss the “Stone of Eloquence,” visitors must lean backward (holding onto an iron railing) from the parapet walk.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Fountain of Wealth, Suntec City, Singapore</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845193/singapore.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/330bcb2444774852a59f76081b8e7ee0" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>Listed by the Guinness Book of Records in 1998 as the largest fountain in the world, the Fountain of Wealth is located in one of Singapore’s largest shopping malls, Suntec City. The fountain is said to be overflowing with qi (positive energy), which visitors can absorb by touching the water. The fountain is turned off periodically throughout the year, giving visitors the chance to walk around the smaller fountain and collect coins, which are believed to possess charm and good luck.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb, Illinois, USA</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845189/lincoln.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d23d7c1daaa74c60b37b3b8e94ba5f2b" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>The final resting place of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln’s tomb is decorated with statues, but none quite as iconic as the large bronze bust in front of the memorial. A whopping 200,000 people visit the tomb each year, many rubbing Abe’s nose. Some believe that rubbing the nose of any statue brings good luck, and with the nose of a person successful enough to become the president within arm’s reach, it makes sense people take advantage.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Lingyin Temple, Fei Lai Feng Scenic Area, China</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845187/buddha.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3dc03e74833d464ba70227d28e1dd000" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>One of the largest and most visited Buddhist temples in China, Lingyin Temple or Temple of the Soul’s Retreat holds the largest statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni in the lotus position. Numerous Buddha statues reside at this large monastery in southeast China, including a laughing Buddha, Maitreya. Situated in the centre of the Hall of the Heavenly King, it’s believed rubbing this Buddha’s bare fat belly brings good fortune.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Statue of Juliet, Verona, Italy</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845194/verona.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/335f827f7063424fb70f1d47f4e1d472" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>One of the most iconic attractions in Verona, Italy resides in a charming courtyard outside of a 14th-century building billed as the home of William Shakespeare’s Juliet. It has become a tradition for visitors to touch the right side of the statue’s chest for good luck.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845182/luck.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d519e72c485c4d4c88de77f88444b059" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>An important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto, Fushimi Inari Taisha is dedicated to the god of rice and sake. Merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshipped Inari as the patron of business. Entrepreneurs and various other tourists alike visit this 8th-century shrine to pray for bountiful harvests, success in business, and the hope of their wishes and dreams coming true.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Magic Owl of Dijon, Dijon, France</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845191/owl.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/98f7914dc57c4b0d90fbad2a1e1173e6" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>For more than 300 years, this carving has served as the city of Dijon’s symbol and unofficial talisman. Sitting about 1.8m off the ground, it is believed that if you touch him with your left hand and make a wish, your wish will come true. Damaged by vandals in 2001 and repaired soon after, no one questions that the owl’s luck lives on.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/the-luckiest-places-in-the-world-to-visit"> <h2 class="slide-title">Everard ‘t Serclaes Statue, Brussels, Belgium</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845186/brussels.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/813b9ff71e0b4c79ae9e78729c376cbd" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Located on the street near the Grand Palace, this statue represents a Brussels resident who led efforts to reclaim the city following a Flemish attach in 1356. Thanks to his success, Everard ‘t Serclaes’ body, along with an angel’s face, a dog’s face and a shield, are rubbed regularly by tourists in search of good luck.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/the-luckiest-places-in-the-world-to-visit"> <h2 class="slide-title">Witch Market, La Paz, Bolivia</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845185/bolivia.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/bd6338ee4df645aa9dd748ff5cfbc518" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>Who would have thought that something so dreadful to the eye could be considered lucky? The Witch Market in Bolivia is home to dried llama foetuses, dried frogs, and dried turtles, along with soapstone carvings, aphrodisiac formulas, and other folk remedies made by onsite witch doctors. The dried llama foetuses are the main attraction, however; burying a foetus in the foundation of your building or somewhere in your yard is thought to bring good luck as it’s considered an offering to the goddess Pachamama.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Statue of St. Anthony’s Pig, La Alberca, Spain</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845192/pig.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/273c8429fe304fa5b91da5be2276b0cc" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <div id="page10" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Within the historical and medieval Spanish village of La Alberca resides a special pig statue outside the parish church. Every year, a blessed pig is released into the village, where it roams the streets and feeds from the hands of the residents. At the conclusion of the festival, the pig is raffled off to one of the families who can then do whatever they please with it. The statue is a symbol of the festival, with childless couples yearning for offspring known to rub its baby-making parts for good luck.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/the-luckiest-places-in-the-world-to-visit"> <h2 class="slide-title">The Guardhouse Monkey, Mons, Belgium</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845190/monkey.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e087eb547b894d4baa1f88797f7429a6" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>Located just outside of the Mons City Hall in Belgium resides a small metal monkey that has become a big attraction. Legend has it that if you rub the sculpture’s head, you’ll be granted good luck. The monkey’s head has been rubbed so many times in hopes of granting people their wishes that its head is now a shiny chrome dome.</p> <h2 class="slide-title">Hoover Dam, Nevada, USA</h2> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7845188/hoover.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/568929838a564be79c3068ac5032f185" /></p> <div class="slide-image"> <p>The iconic Hoover Dam, a concrete arch-gravity in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, is located on the border between Nevada and Arizona in the US. While beauty exists on both sides of the river, luck is found only on one side. Touching the toes of The Winged Figures of the Republic on the Nevada side is said to bring good luck.</p> <p>Article republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/the-luckiest-places-in-the-world-to-visit" target="_blank">Readers Digest</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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Prince Charles and Camilla to embark on first royal tour since 2019

<p dir="ltr">The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are preparing to head off on their first royal tour in almost two years, Clarence House has announced.</p> <p dir="ltr">Charles and Camilla will visit Jordan and Egypt from November 16 to 19 as representatives of the Queen and the British government. It is the first royal tour to take place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (as opposed to brief visits).</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple will visit holy sites and attend interfaith events aimed at promoting tolerance between different religions. Climate change and the importance of girls’ education will also be highlighted during the visit, which will take place after the COP26 summit in Glasgow next week, and which the couple will also be attending. Queen Elizabeth, Prince William and Kate will also be attending the historic climate summit.</p> <p dir="ltr">While visiting Jordan and Egypt, Prince Charles will take part in conversations about the value of religious freedom and respect for other people’s beliefs, subjects of particular importance in countries that are home to holy sites for Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other religions. Charles has previously warned against the dangers of religious persecution and extremism, including to Christian communities in the Middle East.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jordan’s role in taking in so many refugees, including Palestinians and Syrians, in a region that has faced much conflict will be recognised, and Camilla will see work in Jordan that is being done by Queen Rania to keep girls in school and protect vulnerable children and mothers. In addition to visits to historic sites such as the city of Alexandria, there will be a focus on the importance of teaching crafts skills necessary to maintain and preserve such sites.</p> <p dir="ltr">The tour will also include a showcase of the monuments built for a far more ancient royal dynasty, with a reception overlooking the Pyramids of Giza.</p> <p dir="ltr">Charles last visited Jordan in 2015, and Camilla in 2013. The couple last visited Egypt in 2006.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Jacob King-WPA Pool/Getty Images</em></p>

International Travel

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A successful COP26 is essential for Earth’s future. Here’s what needs to go right

<p>A week from Monday, a crucial round of United Nations climate change negotiations will begin in Glasgow and the stakes could not be higher. By the end, we’ll know how far nations are willing to go to address humanity’s biggest challenge.</p> <p>So is COP26 on track for success? There are reasons to be hopeful.</p> <p>More than 100 countries, including China, the United States and United Kingdom, have already pledged to reach net-zero emissions. Globally, renewable energy is <a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/05/11/995849954/renewable-energy-capacity-jumped-45-worldwide-in-2020-iea-sees-new-normal">booming</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/asias-energy-pivot-is-a-warning-to-australia-clinging-to-coal-is-bad-for-the-economy-169541">the tide is turning</a> against fossil fuels, and the <a href="https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/markets-moving-economic-costs-australias-climate-inaction/">economic costs</a> of not acting on climate change are becoming ever more obvious.</p> <p>But if history has taught us anything, no country at the summit will agree to do more on climate change than it believes it can do at home. In other words, domestic politics is what drives international negotiations.</p> <h2>What will happen in Glasgow?</h2> <p>The first COP, or Conference of Parties, was held in Berlin in 1995. About a quarter of a century later, it will meet for the 26th time.</p> <p>COP26 will determine the direction of key aspects of the fight against global warming. Chief <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-cop26-heres-how-global-climate-negotiations-work-and-whats-expected-from-the-glasgow-summit-169434">among them</a> is how well nations have implemented their commitments under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2℃, and the extent to which they will increase that ambition.</p> <p>Other issues on the agenda include climate finance to developing nations, adaptation to climate change and carbon trading rules.</p> <p>Starting on October 31, hundreds of government delegates will attend for two weeks of complex and intense negotiations over the specific text of the agreement.</p> <p>Typically, what delegates can’t sort out is left to political leaders, who negotiate the thorniest issues. Historically, final agreement occurs in the wee hours of the final session.</p> <p>Outside the convention centre is the unofficial COP, which is more like a world climate expo. Thousands of representatives from business, civil society and elsewhere — from bankers and billionaires, to students and survivalists – gather for panel discussions, exhibitions and protests.</p> <h2>Progress is slow</h2> <p>Global climate talks involve people from all around the globe with different interests, preferences, and mandates (what negotiators sometimes call “red lines”). As you can imagine, progress can be slow.</p> <p>Almost 200 nations are signed up to the Paris Agreement, and agreement is by consensus. That means just one country can hold up progress for hours or even days.</p> <p>Cynics – more often than not, those wanting to <a href="https://theconversation.com/fossil-fuel-misinformation-may-sideline-one-of-the-most-important-climate-change-reports-ever-released-165887">delay climate action</a> – claim the whole process is nothing more than a talk shop.</p> <p>It’s true, talk is slow. But it’s also much better than coercion, and without the negotiations countries would face much less pressure to act. It’s also true that over the last 25 years, these negotiations have redefined how the world thinks and acts on climate change.</p> <p>After all, it was the COP in Paris that tasked the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to provide a <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/">special report</a> on the impacts of global warming of 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels. Its findings reverberated around the world.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/new-un-report-outlines-urgent-transformational-change-needed-to-hold-global-warming-to-1-5-c-103237">It found</a> if we’re to limit warming to 1.5℃, we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030, reaching near-zero by around 2050.</p> <p>But since the Paris Agreement was struck, global emissions have continued to rise, even with the impacts of COVID-19. COP26 is a major test of whether the world can turn this around and avert runaway global warming.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/427720/original/file-20211021-15-1xxiq11.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/427720/original/file-20211021-15-1xxiq11.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>Will Glasgow deliver?</h2> <p>For the Glasgow summit to be deemed a success, a few things need to go right. First of all, countries need to commit not simply to net-zero targets by 2050, but stronger targets for 2030. <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06876-2">Without them</a>, there’s zero chance the world will hold the rise in global temperatures to 2℃.</p> <p>Major emitters will also need to support developing countries with the finance and technologies to enable them to transition to clean energy and adapt to climate change impacts, including severe flooding and prolonged droughts.</p> <p>Other issues, such as rules around international carbon markets, will also be on the agenda, but even the most robust carbon markets are <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/16/8664">unlikely</a> to deliver emissions cuts at the speed scientists warn is necessary to avert disaster.</p> <p>There are signs of hope. The US has been, historically, the most important player in the international negotiations, and President Joe Biden has outlined <a href="https://theconversation.com/biden-says-the-us-will-rejoin-the-paris-climate-agreement-in-77-days-then-australia-will-really-feel-the-heat-149533">the most ambition climate plans</a> in the nation’s history ahead of the Glasgow summit.</p> <p>The US, together with the UK, the European Union and a host of smaller countries, <a href="https://theconversation.com/glasgow-showdown-pacific-islands-demand-global-leaders-bring-action-not-excuses-to-un-summit-169649">including those in the Pacific</a>, comprise a strong and influential coalition of countries gunning to limit warming to 1.5℃.</p> <p>So what stands in their way? Well, what countries are willing to commit to in Glasgow is not so much a function of what happens in Glasgow, but of <a href="https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/the-politics-of-climate-change-negotiations-9781783472109.html">domestic politics</a> in their capitals.</p> <p>This is why Democrats in Washington are feverishly working to ensure <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/10/19/climate-reconciliation-biden-white-house/">Biden’s massive budget bill</a>, which includes measures such as a clean electricity program, makes its way through Congress. The bill is vital to the president’s commitment to halve emissions by 2030.</p> <p>It’s also why astute observers have been fixated on well-known climate laggards heavily reliant on fossil fuels, such Brazil, Russia, and Australia, to see whether any domestic political developments might lead these nations to commit to more ambitious targets by 2030.</p> <p>And it’s why lobbyists for industries that stand to lose from climate change – namely oil, gas and coal – know to kill off climate action in Glasgow, they need to kill off climate action at home.</p> <p>International negotiations are often referred to as a <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2706785">two-level game</a>. Changes at the domestic level can enable new and, hopefully, ambitious realignments at the international level.</p> <p>Will these realignments occur? We don’t have long to find out, but at the domestic level in many nations, there has never been a worse time to advocate for fossil fuels – and this should give us all hope that action on climate change is more likely than ever.</p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/christian-downie-762">Christian Downie</a>, Associate Professor, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-successful-cop26-is-essential-for-earths-future-heres-what-needs-to-go-right-169542">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: AP Photo/David Cliff</em></p>

International Travel

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Millions of people were evacuated during disasters last year – another rising cost of climate change

<p>As world leaders prepare for the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-cop26-and-why-does-the-fate-of-earth-and-australias-prosperity-depend-on-it-169648">COP26 climate talks</a> next month, it’s worth recalling a sobering <a href="https://naturaldisaster.royalcommission.gov.au/publications/html-report/foreword">line</a> from the royal commission’s report into the 2019-20 Australian bushfires: “what was unprecedented is now our future”.</p> <p>The bushfires saw the largest peacetime evacuation of Australians from their homes, with at least <a href="https://www.internal-displacement.org/publications/the-2019-2020-australian-bushfires-from-temporary-evacuation-to-longer-term">65,000 people</a> displaced. As climate change amplifies the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, evacuations are likely to become increasingly common – and costly – in human and economic terms.</p> <h2>Numbers of displaced people on the rise</h2> <p>Globally, the displacement of people due to the impacts of disasters and climate change is now at a <a href="https://www.internal-displacement.org/sites/default/files/publications/documents/grid2021_idmc.pdf">record high</a>.</p> <p>In 2020, nearly <a href="https://www.internal-displacement.org/sites/default/files/publications/documents/grid2021_idmc.pdf">31 million</a> people were displaced within their own countries because of disasters, at least a <a href="https://www.internal-displacement.org/global-report/grid2020/downloads/2020-IDMC-GRID-methodology.pdf">third</a> of which resulted from government-led evacuations. And people in poorer countries are six times more likely to be evacuated than those in wealthier countries, according to some <a href="https://www.preventionweb.net/files/61119_credeconomiclosses.pdf">estimates</a>.</p> <p>Already, <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/04/1090432">close to 90%</a> of the world’s refugees come from countries that are the most affected by climate change – and the least able to adapt.</p> <p>Evacuations are an important life-saving emergency response – a temporary measure to move people to safety in the face of imminent harm. Under human rights law, states are obligated to protect people from threats to life, including the adverse effects of disasters and climate change.</p> <p>At times, this <a href="http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:55519/bin6be6615d-56d9-409d-9998-d2a06b803ab2?view=true&amp;xy=01">may include</a> an obligation to evacuate people at risk.</p> <p>However, without careful planning and oversight, evacuations can also constitute arbitrary displacement. They can uproot “<a href="https://www.internal-displacement.org/sites/default/files/publications/documents/grid2021_idmc.pdf">significant numbers</a>” of people for prolonged periods of time. And they can expose people to other types of risks and vulnerabilities, and erode human rights.</p> <p>For example, in 2020, wildfires and flooding exacerbated the existing humanitarian crisis in Syria, <a href="https://www.internal-displacement.org/sites/default/files/publications/documents/grid2021_idmc.pdf">prompting</a> the evacuation of thousands of already internally displaced persons who were forced to move yet again.</p> <h2>Too little support after disasters</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the “rescue” paradigm that characterises the way we typically think about evacuations means such risks are too often overlooked. As a result, national responses may fail to appreciate the scale of internal displacement triggered by evacuations, or to identify it at all.</p> <p>In practice, this may mean there is insufficient support for those who are displaced, and little accountability by the relevant government authorities. Moving people out of harm’s way during a disaster may be one element of an effective government response. Ensuring people can return, safely and with dignity, however, is crucial to economic and social recovery.</p> <p>This is particularly prescient given that evacuations can create significant economic and social disruption.</p> <p>For instance, the cost of a year’s temporary housing for Australia’s 2019–20 bushfire evacuees <a href="https://www.internal-displacement.org/publications/the-2019-2020-australian-bushfires-from-temporary-evacuation-to-longer-term">amounted to</a> A$60–72 million. Each day of lost work cost A$705 per person.</p> <p>Such costs are amplified in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounted for <a href="https://www.preventionweb.net/publication/disaster-displacement-global-review-2008-2018">80% of global disaster-related displacement</a> from 2008–18.</p> <p>Small island states are particularly affected by disasters and the impacts of climate change. For instance, large proportions of Vanuatu’s population were displaced by <a href="https://devpolicy.org/vanuatu-after-cyclone-pam-the-economic-impact-20150410/">Cyclone Pam</a> in 2015 and by <a href="https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/tc_harold_and_covid-19_vanuatu_recovery_strategy_v3_130820.pdf">Cyclone Harold</a> just five years later.</p> <p>According to a UN <a href="https://repository.unescap.org/handle/20.500.12870/1553">forecast</a>, such countries could face average annual disaster-related losses equivalent to nearly 4% of their GDPs. The impact on the long-term prosperity, stability and security of individuals and communities cannot be overstated.</p> <p>The point is that with greater investment in disaster risk reduction and planning, many of these outcomes could be avoided.</p> <p>Currently, the amount of money allocated in development assistance to prepare for disaster risks is “<a href="https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/full_gar_report.pdf">miniscule</a>” compared to aid funding for post-disaster responses.</p> <p>This is clearly is the wrong way around – especially when the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction <a href="https://www.preventionweb.net/english/hyogo/gar/2015/en/gar-pdf/GAR2015_EN.pdf">estimates</a> each dollar spent on preparation could have a 60-fold return.</p> <h2>What leaders at COP26 need to do</h2> <p>The ABC television’s miniseries <a href="https://iview.abc.net.au/show/fires">Fires</a> shows that people’s decisions about whether to stay or go in an emergency are not simple. People are influenced not only by their perceptions of the risk of harm, but also by the desire to protect relatives, property and animals, or a belief that they can withstand the disaster.</p> <p>Well-planned, evidence-based strategies are important when an emergency requires rapid decision-making, often in changing conditions and with limited resources to hand. If lines of authority are unclear, or there is insufficient attention to detail during the planning process, evacuation efforts may be hampered further, putting lives and property at greater risk.</p> <p>It is essential for policymakers to recognise that a government’s “life-saving” response to a disaster, such as an evacuation, can itself generate significant human and financial costs. Governments need to incorporate principles from human rights law into their response plans to help protect people from foreseeable risks and to enhance their rights, well-being and recovery.</p> <p>Climate change is only going to exacerbate increasingly extreme weather events that force people from their homes. At next month’s climate talks, leaders must agree on climate change mitigation targets and adaptation policies that avert the need to evacuate people in the first place.</p> <p>However, achieving change on the ground will require a far more linked-up and integrated approach to climate change, disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and mobility. This includes systematically implementing the recommendations not only of the Paris Agreement, but other <a href="https://unece.org/sendai-framework#:%7E:text=The%20Sendai%20Framework%20on%20Disaster,of%20persons%2C%20businesses%2C%20communities%20and">international agreements</a> <a href="https://sdgs.un.org/2030agenda">focused</a> on <a href="https://www.iom.int/global-compact-migration">these goals</a>.<!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jane-mcadam-ao-2448">Jane McAdam AO</a>, Scientia Professor and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/millions-of-people-were-evacuated-during-disasters-last-year-another-rising-cost-of-climate-change-170105">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Nick Perry/AP</span></span></em></p>

International Travel

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How the travel industry still ignores people with disabilities

<p>As restrictions are gradually lifted, travelling abroad will be a high priority for many people. But for a disabled person, getting away on holiday can seem like a distant dream – with or without a pandemic.</p> <p>People with disabilities are still subjected to systematic discrimination when it comes to travel. They face barriers that non-disabled people do not, which can prevent them from going on holiday – or at least drastically limit their choice about where to go and what to do.</p> <p>Even before COVID-19, <a href="https://www.visitbritain.org/new-accessible-tourism-market-research">one survey</a> found that 52% of adults with a disability in the UK had not taken a holiday anywhere in the previous 12 months.</p> <p>The reasons are well known. Disabled people are often deprived of key three things: good information, appropriate facilities and positive attitudes from other people.</p> <p>To this end, many countries, <a href="https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance">including the UK</a>, have introduced specific legislation to address these inequalities. The United Nations’ <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/RightsOfDisabledPersons.aspx">Declaration on the Rights of People with Disabilities</a> asserts the rights of disabled people to participate in cultural life, leisure, recreation and sports.</p> <p>You might expect this kind of political action means disabled people have equal access to travel. But when <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/353520748_Strategic_approaches_to_accessible_ecotourism_Small_steps_the_domino_effect_and_paving_paradise">I interviewed</a> disabled travellers and people who work in ecotourism – in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and Sweden – it became apparent that many holiday providers fail to value their disabled customers.</p> <p>There are some for example, who merely aim to comply with regulations. They do not think there is a sufficient market for disabled guests, so they only made practical changes – such as investing in ramps – if the law strictly demanded it.</p> <p>One disabled traveller told how he mentioned to an ecolodge manager: “You just need to fix a couple of things in the room and it’ll be good.”</p> <p>The manager replied: “Why should we bother? We don’t make enough money out of you guys to really justify it.”</p> <p>Other business owners found such changes expensive to implement, but were motivated by keeping up with “good practice”. For this group, being disability-friendly made good business sense – but their efforts were often incomplete, only featuring in certain parts of the site for example, or for one particular kind of disability.</p> <p>As one study participant noted: “Instead of having the whole place accessible, mobility-wise, we just make sure at least two of the units and the main public areas are. That’s an alternative that seems to have worked.”</p> <p>It may seem odd that ecotourism – a form of tourism that values ethics and sustainability – does not appear to be leading the industry in tearing down barriers to disabled travel.</p> <p>But <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09669582.2021.1951278">recent research</a> found that even businesses with the highest level of ecotourism accreditation did little to accommodate the needs of disabled guests.</p> <h2>Universal travel</h2> <p>With respect to information, only 2% of the websites in that study – which focused on Australia – had a detailed information pack for disabled people to download. And while some businesses considered themselves to be disability-friendly, facilities tended to only consider wheelchair access.</p> <p>Even then, only 40% of all the websites provided any information to wheelchair users, while 6% mentioned visual disabilities and 8% referred to hearing loss. When it came to intellectual disabilities, only 8% even mentioned them.</p> <p>Almost all of the websites failed to extend simply courtesies, such as using captions (known as alternative text) to explain to people with visual disabilities what is depicted in a photograph, or subtitling video material to help people with hearing disabilities. A quarter of the businesses required disabled people to contact them ahead of the visit to enquire about suitable facilities.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/413637/original/file-20210728-19-ry5ucm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Tourist looking at pine forest." /><span class="attribution"></span></p> <p>Thankfully, there are also operators who believe ensuring that disabled people have an equal quality of experience to non-disabled people is an essential condition of being in business.</p> <p>This kind of approach needs to spread more widely. Disabled people will only truly have a right to a holiday when tourism businesses start to invest in adaptations for them. This means making provisions not only for wheelchair users but for all disability groups.</p> <p>It also means adapting business practices, updating websites and training staff to be able to serve their disabled guests appropriately and sensitively.</p> <p>It is estimated that there are around a billion disabled people across the world, representing around 15% of the world’s population. If the tourism industry is not willing to ensure these guests are treated as equals, that should make everyone uncomfortable. If society wants to see travel as a human right, it should be a right for everyone.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/163685/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brian-garrod-1236487">Brian Garrod</a>, Professor of Marketing, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swansea-university-2638">Swansea University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-travel-industry-still-ignores-people-with-disabilities-163685">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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Qantas CEO Alan Joyce on what international travel will actually look like

<p>Australia’s national carrier has hinted at how the long awaited resumption of international travel may look.</p> <p>With Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announcing borders will tentatively open for states that have reached 80% vaccine milestone next month, Australians have been told to dust off their passports.</p> <p>But Qantas boss Alan Joyce is warning overseas travel will look far different than it did this time two years ago.</p> <p>Speaking in Boston on Tuesday AEDT, Joyce provided details of how overseas travel will look.</p> <p>Vaccine passports remain a crucial component of the flight plan.</p> <p>Joyce said the airline was working with The International Air Transport Association on the technology for a digital travel pass to make the process as seamless as possible.</p> <p>Travellers can expect to have to undergo up to four tests of COVID-19, one prior to departure for each flight and two while home in quarantine.</p> <p>It’s yet to be established what would happen should a traveller test positive during a pre-flight test.</p> <p>Under current protocol, all pre-flight tests must come back negative before a traveller is allowed to board a flight for Australia.</p> <p>Joyce fears that the seven day home quarantine program, which is being trailed in NSW and closely watched in other states could be a deterrent.</p> <p>“Now while seven days home quarantine is a step in the right direction – we believe over time that needs to get shorter.</p> <p>“Australians coming home to visit relatives – or those eager to see friends and family overseas for Christmas – may be willing to do seven days quarantine.”</p> <p>“But certainly overseas tourists and business travellers will not come to Australia if that’s in place – particularly when there is no quarantine for travellers in most parts of the world.”</p> <p>The next priorities are skilled migrants that are very important for the country, as well as students.”</p> <p>Welcoming tourists back into Australia isn’t expected to occur until next year, he said.</p> <p>“We’re ready for take off”.</p>

International Travel

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