Sustainability Reads: September 28- October 4

Big Trees First to Die in Severe Droughts
New research published this past week in Nature Plants, a journal, finds that large trees suffer the most and are the first to die in droughts. This includes large trees like sequoias and redwoods that are found in northern California– a state that has seen its longest drought ever recorded. This is not only bad news for the ecosystems that these trees provide habitats for, but also in regard to climate change, as it is these trees that capture a great amount of CO2. When they die, they release all the CO2 into the atmosphere that they had stored. This week, officials in California reported that the number of dead trees in California has soared to 25 million, the result of drought and diseases exacerbated by lack of water. By Brittany Patterson and ClimateWire, published at Scientific American.

Can capitalism evolve to address the climate crisis?
Capitalism is quite malleable, changing and transforming based on societal needs. Is it possible that this system can be transformed to address climate change? Yes. As Andrew Hoffman acknowledges in this piece, the question is not whether or not capitalism can work to slow climate change, but rather, how capitalism could and will evolve to address societal needs. The piece highlights how metrics like GDP and discount rates can be tools for this evolution, guiding us on a path that values things differently. The piece ends by concluding that the solution to climate change should come from businesses, as businesses can transcend national boundaries and also possess resources that exceed that of many countries. By Andrew Hoffman and published at World Economic Forum Agenda.

Speaking of the effects of climate change, natural disasters were seen around the word this week. Floods have hit southern France as well as South Carolina this weekend. 16 people were killed in the floods in the French Riviera, where a violent storm brought the city of Nice 10% of its average yearly rainfall in two days alone. Record rainfall has hit South Carolina where hundreds of people have been rescued from their homes by boats, and where, as of Sunday October 4th, more than 17 inches of rain fell in the area in 48 hours.

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