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IPCC report: 10 innovative ways people around the world are tackling climate change

by Lin Taylor | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 11 August 2021 13:00 GMT

A Kenyan farmer carries the hose of his solar water pump in Kisumu county, Kenya on June 2018. Photo Courtesy: Futurepump/Dan Odero

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By Lin Taylor

LONDON, Aug 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - With floods, wildfires and heatwaves dominating the news, the devastating reality of accelerating climate change is becoming inescapable.

A flagship U.N. report on Monday showed no one is safe from its effects and there is an urgent need to prepare and protect people from extreme weather and rising seas.

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), written by 234 scientists, said global warming of about 1.1 degrees Celsius has brought changes worldwide, from droughts and storms to melting glaciers.

But it is not too late to cut climate-heating emissions and keep the temperature rise within internationally agreed goals of "well below" 2C and ideally 1.5C - which would help stop or slow down some of the impacts, the report said.

Here are some innovative solutions by communities around the globe to deal with the climate threat:

1. Pokemon-style app aims to save Indonesia's forests

An Indonesian crowdsourcing app is tapping into the competitive spirit of its users by creating Pokemon Go-type games to help map land across the sprawling archipelago and protect forests and indigenous people.

2. Artificial intelligence tools warn and watch

Artificial intelligence (AI) and digital tools are increasingly being seen as a way to predict and limit the impacts of climate emergencies. The technology is being used to send natural disaster alerts in Japan, monitor deforestation in the Amazon, and design greener, smart cities in China.

3. Zanzibar's women sea farmers grow sponges to stay afloat

Locals say they have already seen fish stocks depleting over the past year on the Tanzanian island. Zanzibari women are now learning how to swim and farm natural sponges that can withstand climate shocks and protect their income.

Nasir Hassan Haji smiles as she snorkels among her sponge farm in Jambiani, Zanzibar. September 9, 2015. Handout via Marinecultures

4. Wind-powered cargo ships

Two centuries after the first coal-powered steamships crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a Swedish company is designing a futuristic throwback: a huge, wind-driven cargo ship that could help end the fossil fuel era and limit climate change.

5. Smart solar pumps stop Africa running dry

High-tech solar pumps mapping underground freshwater reservoirs across Africa are collecting data that can help prevent them running dry. The solar pumps are being used by thousands of small-scale farmers in 15 African nations, including Kenya and Uganda, as a cleaner, cheaper option to diesel and gasoline-powered ones.

6. Goat and sheep fire brigade

With the threat of worsening wildfires on their doorstep, some European farmers are stepping up an old agricultural practice: using sheep and goats to graze dense forests to reduce the severity of wildfires.

7. Firefighters use tech to better predict blazes

As the United States battles unprecedented wildfires, firefighters are using machine learning and statistical models to map out ahead of time how and where blazes might spread.

8. India's women battle extreme heat with a touch of paint

Simple measures, like women painting a tin roof with white reflective paint in an Indian slum, are helping people stay cooler during deadly heatwaves.

9. High-tech stretchy yarn that generates electricity

An international team of green-minded scientists developed a stretchy yarn made of carbon nanotubes - tiny strands of carbon atoms up to 10,000 times smaller than a hair - that produces electricity from natural sources.

10. Bogota crowdsources a green transport future to hit climate goals

As Colombia’s capital aims for net-zero by 2050, it is asking residents what changes they want – and more bike lanes, electric buses and cable cars are now in the plans

(Writing by Lin Taylor @linnytayls; editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate)