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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Featured Pathways

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

More pathways

Ready to get started?

PLANS & MEMBERSHIP

Our Platform

Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Sustainability Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

More featured content

The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

More featured content

Ready to get started?

Ready to get started?

The Value of Biodiversity

The Value of Biodiversity

Ian Redmond

Biologist & Co-founder: Rebalance Earth

We know biodiversity is important. But why? Join Ian Redmond as he explores why exactly biodiversity is so valuable to the planet and to beating climate change.

We know biodiversity is important. But why? Join Ian Redmond as he explores why exactly biodiversity is so valuable to the planet and to beating climate change.

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The Value of Biodiversity

18 mins 35 secs

Overview

Biodiversity is what keeps us all alive but has always been at the bottom of the list of political priorities. 8 billion people aspire to a better quality of life but this means using more and more of what our world can naturally produce. We focus on the aesthetic value of nature but not the ecological value. For example, an elephant disperses tree seeds through their dung, which in turns sequesters carbon from the environment. Calculated in 2019, a single elephant is responsible for the additional sequestration and storage of about $1.75 million worth of carbon. However, too many have focused on the aesthetic value of an elephant (the tusk), and not the tremendous value it provides to the ecosystem (through its dung).

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand the link between biodiversity and climate change

  • Describe the value of animal conservation

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Summary
How is biodiversity linked to climate change? 
Biodiversity is what keeps us all alive but has always been at the bottom of the list of political priorities. 8 billion people aspire to a better quality of life but this means using more and more of what our world can naturally produce. We focus on the aesthetic value of nature but not the ecological value - forests are beautiful but they are important because they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Biodiversity is the life support system of the planet. 

What is the link between animal conservation and biodiversity? 
We have lost 69% of wildlife populations since 1970. Looking at the distribution of mammals on the planet, we can see humans total 34%, livestock total 62% and wild mammals total just 4%. That 4% of wild mammals add tremendous value to our ecosystems. 

Most tree species depend on wildlife to disperse and germinate their seeds. Elephants disperse more tree seeds than almost any other animal. Elephant dung is incredibly valuable to local ecosystems. An adult elephant produces roughly one metric ton of dung every week. In a lifetime, we're looking at 3500 tons of manure per elephant. It was thought that there were up to 25 million elephants. Now estimates place elephant populations at 400,000. This is catastrophic for the environment. 

By calculating the work an elephant provides to the ecosystem, we can calculate the monetary value of each elephant. For example, the price of carbon on the European exchange was approximately $24 a ton in 2019. Worked out over the course of each elephant's life (approximately 60 years), an elephant is responsible for the additional sequestration and storage of about $1.75 million worth of carbon. Nowadays, the price of carbon on the European exchange is up nearly $100, so the subsequent value of an elephant goes up drastically too. 

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Ian Redmond

Ian Redmond

Ian Redmond OBE is a biologist, conservationist and naturalist of over 45 years. He is well known for his work with elephants and gorillas and has featured in numerous documentaries on nature.

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