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Could biodiversity destruction lead to a global tipping point?

We are destroying the world’s biodiversity. Yet debate has erupted over just what this means for the planet – and us.


Just over 250 million years ago, the planet suffered what may be described as its greatest holocaust: ninety-six percent of marine genera (plural of genus) and seventy percent of land vertebrate vanished for good. Even insects suffered a mass extinction – the only time before or since. Entire classes of animals – like trilobites – went out like a match in the wind.

But what’s arguably most fascinating about this event – known as the Permian-Triassic extinction or more poetically, the Great Dying – is the fact that anything survived at all. Life, it seems, is so ridiculously adaptable that not only did thousands of species make it through whatever killed off nearly everything (no one knows for certain though theories abound) but, somehow, after millions of years life even recovered and went on to write new tales.

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'The feeling of freedom': empowering Berlin's refugee women through cycling

When NGO Bikeygees set out to teach female refugees how to ride a bike they were shocked by the demand. Now hundreds have benefitted from the scheme

Emily is a 21-year-old Afghan refugee living in Berlin, and her best experience in Germany so far has been, without a doubt, learning to ride a bike.

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East China Sea oil tanker disaster: what it means for the environment

Ship was carrying 136,000 tons of oil that now threatens to pollute some of China’s most important fishing waters

The Iranian oil tanker Sanchi sank off the coast of Shanghai on Sunday, after a week of burning and sending plumes of smoke hundreds of metres into the air. Only three bodies of the 32 sailors were recovered. The ship was carrying 136,000 tons, or about 1 million barrels, of oil, that now threatens to pollute some of China’s most important fishing waters.

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London ‘put to shame’ by New York fossil fuel divestment

Campaigners say London mayor has fudged a similar manifesto promise to divest the city’s remaining pension funds from fossil fuels

London has been put to shame by New York’s decision to divest city pension funds from fossil fuel companies, according to climate campaigners who accuse the mayor, Sadiq Khan, of fudging a similar promise he made during his election campaign.

Global efforts to drive investment away from oil, gas and coal were given a major boost last week when the biggest city in the US announced plans to sell off its $5bn holdings in fossil fuel assets and sue the world’s most powerful oil companies over their contribution to dangerous global warming.

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Iceland supermarket vows to eliminate plastic on all own-branded products

Retailer outlines five-year aim to replace all plastic packaging with trays made of paper and pulp

Iceland has become the first major retailer to commit to eliminate plastic packaging for all its own-brand products.

The supermarket chain, which specialises in frozen food, said it would go plastic-free within five years to help end the “scourge” of plastic pollution.

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