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Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 30, 2022

'Green' news roundup: Mowers, bees and fresh urgency on climate change

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1.gifShare two facts from coverage with environmental impact.

2.gifPick a summer photo and tell how it relates to this topic.

3.gifLook for an effort to influence public policy. What's the issue?

A major report earlier this year concludes that global warming is outpacing our ability to ease the trend or cope effectively with its impact. Nations need to move more swiftly away from fossil fuels prevent a perilous future on an overheated planet, warns the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of 278 experts from 65 countries convened by the United Nations. (See video below.) Unless countries drastically slash emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas over the next few years, the goal of limiting global warming sufficiently will likely be out of reach by the end of this decade. That could bring worsening costal floods, droughts, wildfires and ecosystem collapse, scientists say. "Every year that you let pass without going for these urgent emissions reductions makes it more and more difficult," says Jim Skea, an energy researcher at Imperial College London who helped lead the report.

At the same time, there are many efforts in this country to be better environmental stewards, which serve as encouraging examples and provide reasons for optimism. We gather a few:

An offbeat environmental campaign is called No Mow May: Some homeowners in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Montana put away mowers during May and let lawns grow wild. This lets plants typically identified as weeds — including violets, white clover and dandelions — to flower. The idea is to help bees, which are facing catastrophic declines because of habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change and urbanization. If they flower, weeds provide rare spring food for bees emerging from hibernation. Two researchers in Appleton, Wis., which started the experiment in 2020, found that No Mow May lawns had five times the number of bees and three times the bee species than did mown parks.

Other tidbits from the nature beat:

  • Tennessee officials early this year partnered with The Nature Conservancy to protect 43,000 acres of wildlife habitat.
  • Under a new Nevada law that's the first of its kind nationally, lawns and other decorative grass must be removed from residential and commercial sites in and around Las Vegas by 2027 and replaced with more desert-friendly landscaping. (Turf can stay in public parks, cemeteries, sports fields and campuses.) It's the most dramatic effort to conserve water in the Southwest, where decades of growth and 20 years of drought made worse by a warming climate have led to dwindling supplies from the Colorado River, which serves Nevada, six other states and Native American tribes.

Climate scientist says: "The clock is ticking." – Bruce Glavovic, professor at Massey University in New Zealand

Columnist say: "Americans are now more attuned than ever to the peril the natural world is in, and that is my greatest reason for hope." – Margaret Renkl, The New York Times

Nevada official says: "Our community has been a world leader in urban water conservation for the last 20 years. We have to do even better over the next 20." – John Entsminger, Southern Nevada Water Authority general manager

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2022

Front Page Talking Points Archive

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.