Hungry fungi and pollution-guzzling bacteria – ICYMI
In case you missed it, here's your Ours to Save newsletter for the fortnight beginning 16th August.
"Fighting disinformation and fighting climate change go hand in hand"
Vernise Tantuco is a fact-checker for Rappler, the Philippines' leading digital media outlet. She tells us why - in a country plagued by natural disasters - disinformation can kill.
A champion of truth in a hostile online and offline environment, Rappler is no stranger to the consequences of disinformation. Several years ago, the platform and its CEO, Maria Ressa, fell victim to state-sponsored digital abuse. False accusations about its credibility and motives were rife. Rappler’s crime? Telling the full story about unlawful killings conducted by the Filipino government under President Duterte.
What started online soon shifted to Filipino courtrooms. But while fielding convenient accusations of cyberlibel and tax evasion, Rappler has doubled down on its unique approach to fact-checking. Since last January, the platform has fact-checked 100+ claims about COVID-19.
As the Philippines suffers at the hands of exacerbated natural disasters, it has also been at the forefront of fending off environmental dis/misinformation.
Getting back to nature with ecosomatics 🌜
Reconnecting with our bodies as a part of and portal to nature is a key part of climate action, says activist and founder Kalpana Arias.
Today there are 100 million Americans and 2.5 million UK residents with limited access to green spaces. And with decades of systemic racism built into the infrastructure of city development, there is a lot of work to do to make the outdoors a space for all.
But our relationship to nature is not limited to external surroundings. Our bodies are our deepest connection to the earth and the whole of humanity.
In an age where access to green spaces is increasingly limited, we can develop a connectedness to nature by learning to re-inhabit our own bodies through ecosomatics.
Why bacteria are climate-defending vigilantes
Can we cut pollution naturally by modifying microorganisms – or will this come back to haunt us later on?
As humans, it can be difficult to differentiate microorganisms between the classes of adversary or ally. Bacteria such as certain strains of Escherichia coli or Streptococcus can cause debilitating illness, yet approximately one-hundred trillion good bacteria reside in our guts and are essential for our survival.
Despite the somewhat fickle allegiance microorganisms display towards humans, it has become abundantly clear over the centuries that microorganisms’ true loyalty lies with one entity in particular: Earth.
How hungry fungi could mitigate the plastic crisis 🍄
You ingest a credit card’s worth of microplastics per year on average. Plastic is everywhere: from the rain falling on cities, to Arctic and Antarctic Ice, to the remotest corners of the ocean.
We can’t yet be sure about the extent of plastic’s impact on humans, but we do know it reduces growth and reproduction of zooplankton and rodents alike. It’s time to reduce the amount of plastic we produce, and to clean up the discarded plastic that floods our seas, before public health is impacted.
Luckily, the mycologists at the British Mycological Society (BMS) have some ideas. They promote mycology, the scientific study of fungi, and are looking into how fungi can be used to both replace and recycle plastic.