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Composted reads for the 4th week of August 2022

Story of the week

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The watery overlords pumping sewage on to Britain’s shores
Marina Hyde

Why focus just on the politicians where there are plenty of CEOs out there with excrement on their hands?

In England, the water firms have paid £72bn in shareholder dividends since privatisation, and are somehow still whining about the difficulty of finding money to invest in infrastructure (privatisation was, strangely, always cited as the best way of boosting said infrastructure). So you have to ask: what was it that first attracted water company CEOs to a poorly regulated monopoly from which they have collectively siphoned out a combined £58m in salaries and bonuses since 2017, and where average boss bonuses have increased 20% in the past year of corporate failure alone?

The good news

Diet for a hotter climate: five plants that could help feed the world

 

Over the course of human history, scientists believe that humans have cultivated more than 6,000 different plant species. But over time, farmers gravitated toward planting those with the largest yields. Today, just three crops – rice, wheat and corn – provide nearly half of the world’s calories.

 

That reliance on a small number of crops has made agriculture vulnerable to pests, plant-borne diseases and soil erosion, which thrive on monoculture – the practice of growing only one crop at a time. It has also meant losing out on the resilience other crops show in surviving drought and other natural disasters.

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No watering required: a drought-resistant garden for a changing climate

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The bad news

China deploys cloud-seeding planes and cuts electricity use as record heatwave takes toll

 

China is scrambling to alleviate power shortages and bring more water to the drought-hit basin of the Yangtze river as it battles a record-breaking heatwave by seeding clouds, deploying relief funds and developing new sources of supply.

 

For more than two months, baking temperatures have disrupted crop growth, threatened livestock and forced industries in the hydropower-dependent regions of the south-west to shut down to ensure electricity supplies for homes.

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Cigarette butts: how the no 1 most littered objects are choking our coasts

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Essential reads

Wish you weren’t here: the photos that show an hour in the life of ‘quiet’ tourist hotspots

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Hunger stones, wrecks and bones: Europe’s drought brings past to surface

 

As Europe’s rivers run dry in a devastating drought that scientists say could prove the worst in 500 years, their receding waters are revealing long-hidden artefacts, from Roman camps to ghost villages and second world war shipwrecks.

The so-called “hunger stone” at Děčín is one of dozens in central European rivers engraved to mark their levels during historic droughts – and warn future generations of the famine and hardship likely to follow each time they became visible.

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Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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