In 2019, the USA generated 80.6 million tons of “surplus food” that went unsold or uneaten. Most of this ended up as “food waste,” going straight to landfill, incineration, or down the drain, or simply left in the fields to rot. It’s food that could have gone to help feed those facing hunger, and its production affects the climate, natural resources — and the economy.

The U.S. generated 80.6 million tons of surplus food in 2019. Source: ReFED Insights Engine.

Surplus food was valued at USD 408 billion in 2019, and it resulted in:

  • 4% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions,
  • 14% of all freshwater use,
  • 18% of all cropland use,
  • 24% of all landfill inputs.

Storm Filomena brings an unexpected start to 2021 in Spain.

I never, ever expected to see snow like this in Madrid. Trees are breaking under the weight of snow, all transport is suspended, and there are snow people everywhere! Snow began to fall on Thursday 7 January 2021 and Storm Filomena is exceeding all expectations. According to the news channel rtve, the last time it snowed this much was in 1971.

Here are a few photos I’ve taken over the past few days.

Palacio de Cristal, Parque de Retiro. 7 January 2021.

Platforms such as Resource Watch combine scientific and spatial data to provide insights that help us understand our world and the challenges we face. Image: Resource Watch, accessed 12 November 2020.

Data Science and GIS go hand in hand in the fight against climate change.

The problems we work on — like climate change and biodiversity loss — are transcendent. There’s no single solution to these problems, so we must bring together different communities and fields of work to find them. At CARTO’s Spatial Data Science Conference 2020 (SDSC20), Vizzuality’s Greta Carrete Vega and Luisa Teixeira discussed how Data Science and GIS go hand in hand in the fight against climate change.

To prepare for SDSC20, Greta and Luisa gathered some of our data science and GIS experts to talk about our own experiences of two disciplines working together. The group realised that their diverse…

October 2020 updates.

Global Forest Watch, the online platform for monitoring forests, recently added new data, new features and updated some existing data layers. As ever, we worked closely with the Global Forest Watch team at World Resources Institute to deliver these upgrades. Here’s a summary of what’s newly available and the significance of these updates.

If you prefer to digest your information in 280 characters or less, check out our Twitter thread.

High-resolution satellite imagery from Planet.

Transparency and accountability are key to sustainable forest use. A new basemap using high-resolution satellite imagery provided by Planet makes deforestation easier to detect. …

National-level efforts to protect land vertebrates tracked.

The Half-Earth Project is a call to protect half the land and sea in order to manage sufficient habitat to safeguard the bulk of biodiversity. But which half? The most recent update to the Half-Earth Map introduces the National Report Cards which summarise various aspects of conservation efforts at the national level. They can be used to explore different national indicators measuring conservation needs and progress and understand the different challenges faced by each country.

Here, we will show you what to expect from the National Report Cards.

In-depth country focus.

The National Report Cards focus on one country at a time. Once…

Smoke plumes caused by wildfires cover almost the entire USA. Data: Data: NOAA. 2017. “Hazard Mapping System (HMS) Fire and Smoke Analysis.” Office of Satellite and Product Operations, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessed through Resource Watch, 18 September 2020

Record-breaking wildfires are burning in the USA — again.

Sometimes, it seems to me that extreme wildfires are a recurring theme in our global headlines. Australia. Brazil. California. But why? Is what we’re seeing unusual? Or are we seeing a pattern that will repeat itself if we fail to act on climate change?

To understand what’s happening and how it affects our society, we need data. And for that we have access to open data platforms. Through these platforms we can stay informed, predict the future, and make plans to protect the things we love.

Using Global Forest Watch, Resource Watch, and PREPdata to explore the data, it’s clear…

For the first time, data on mangrove deforestation, carbon storage and coastline protection are easily and freely accessible online. Global Mangrove Watch — a mapping platform — highlights the importance of mangroves and provides the data that are needed to inform conservation and restoration planning. With this information, decisions can be made to mitigate climate change and protect the livelihoods of billions of people who live in, and depend on, coastal areas.

Global Mangrove Watch explores the science behind remote sensing. Scientists from Aberystwyth University, soloEO, Wetlands International and The Nature Conservancy and a host of other partners joined together…

Design and user research go hand in hand when it comes to product development. Both are essential if you want to make a product that is useful, usable, and used. We’ve been working with the Resource Watch team at World Resources Institute (WRI) on a redesign that makes planetary data easier to use.

I spoke with Dani Caso (Designer) and Martin Dubuisson (User Researcher) to find out more.

Take a look at the new look Explore page.

So, why did Resource Watch get a redesign?

Dani: User research done by Martin revealed several things that we could improve in terms of the user experience on Resource Watch. …

The Amazon was on fire. Now we know how much forest was lost in 2019.

In August 2019 the world’s eyes were focused on Brazil. The Amazon was on fire and social media was burning up in indignation. The data available at the time told us how many fires there were, but they couldn’t tell us how much forest had been lost. Today, we can finally answer that question. The release of the 2019 tree cover loss data from Global Forest Watch reveals the data we’ve been waiting for.

Global overview.

In 2019, we lost 3.8 million hectares of primary forest — the equivalent of losing one football pitch of primary rainforest every six seconds for the…

Photo by Yukitaka Iha on Unsplash.

Powerful, personalised forest monitoring.

The latest update of Global Forest Watch offers a more powerful and personalised way to monitor forests. Working closely with our partners at World Resources Institute, we’ve upgraded the Global Forest Watch dashboards. Now you can create dashboards for any area in the world to answer specific questions on where, why, and how much forest change has happened.

The covid-19 pandemic has ignited fresh debate on how we use our forests. Our ever-encroaching expansion into pristine forests is exposing vulnerabilities we’d rarely given thought to. But with demand for beef, soy and other commodities rising, we can’t ignore the environmental…

Camellia Williams

Lead Writer at Vizzuality.

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