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Nature and Environment | 14.09.2018

Eco-at-Africa — The Environment Magazine

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eco agriculture | 14.09.2018

Helping Zimbabwe's land reforms

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eco education | 14.09.2018

Putting the environment on the curriculum

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Eco hero | 14.09.2018

Raising climate change awareness with comics

Fighting climate change with comics and superheroes

Climate change: the elephant in the room

Raising awareness of climate change through comics — that's the goal of Zambian cartoonist Mwelwa Musonko, founder of Foresight Comics. His work includes cartoons on Germany's energy transition, drawn in 2018 while on the International Journalists' Programme (IJP). This cartoon looks at the focus on immigration in Germany and Europe — ignoring the "elephant in the room" that is climate change.

Fighting climate change with comics and superheroes

Cows as the climate change culprits

In another cartoon, Mwelwa's pen takes aim at how the world's meat and dairy sector is heating up the planet. Drawn while on a placement at Clean Energy Wire in Germany as part of the IJP, it followed a report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and GRAIN in 2018 that said the world's livestock industry could eat up 80 percent of the globe's allowable carbon budget by 2050.

Fighting climate change with comics and superheroes

Germans counting the cost of climate change

Mwelwa, aka "Tax," also gave his take on Germans' attitudes to the energy transition. This came on the back of surveys suggesting that while Germans support a switch to renewables in principal, they're less keen on the costs that come with it. The artist told DW that cartoons are a great way to communicate the dangers of climate change, saying: "Art is a perfect way of getting a message through."

Fighting climate change with comics and superheroes

Reluctant to part with petrol

This cartoon was inspired by data showing Germans are reluctant to say goodbye to their petrol and diesel cars in exchange for an electric vehicle, despite the government offering a €4,000 ($4,676) subsidy per car. Two years after Germany launched the subsidy scheme, only one-sixth of the earmarked funds have been used, said a report from the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control.

Fighting climate change with comics and superheroes

Germany's lignite mines 'visible from space'

Germany's lignite mines also got Mwelwa's satirical treatment in this cartoon. Lignite, or brown coal, is extracted using opencast mining in Germany and it made up around 23 percent of the country's power production in 2017, according to AG Energiebilanzen (Energy Balances Group). Lignite-burning power stations are high on the list of Europe's largest CO2 producers.

Fighting climate change with comics and superheroes

Climate change's superhero comic book

In 2018, Mwelwa came up with a unique way to raise climate change awareness by launching a comic book series. The Fifth Element follows the adventures of superhero Quin Ence, a 10th grader in Lusaka, Zambia, as she battles to save the planet from global warming. He told DW he created the series over concerns that "the majority of Zambians think that climate change is a foreign problem."

Fighting climate change with comics and superheroes

Reaching the next generation with comics

Mwelwa hopes the comics will raise awareness of climate change among children and teens — using eye-catching cartoons to overcome what he calls an aversion to reading in Zambia. "The reading culture where I am from in Zambia is really, really bad," he told DW. "So, if you would give somebody a book with pictures in it, I think it sparks their interest. Trying to create value with this art."

Fighting climate change with comics and superheroes

A heroine to save the world

Mwelwa decided to make his superhero a girl because it "brings a different thing to the table," telling DW that comic book writers are increasingly talking about creating more female characters. He added: "If you follow my comic book, you start to see that this character is not perfect. Her life is miserable, and she rises above all of that to save the world and fight climate change."

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eco wildlife | 07.09.2018

Eco-friendly swimming with dolphins in Zanzibar

Are dolphins and humans really friends?

A special bond?

Belief in the existence of a special relationship between dolphins and humans has been fueled by the creature's remarkable traits, from their high levels of intelligence and complex communication to their interest in and perceived concern for people. But do they care as much about humans as we like to think they do? And how good a friend are we really to dolphins?

Are dolphins and humans really friends?

X-ray vision

It may be dolphins' ability to recognize similarities between themselves and humans that makes us interesting to them, and triggers their instinct to save humans in distress. Dolphins use sonar to probe their prey like an X-ray. With our skeletons and lungs, we as mammals may appear similar to them. Dolphins find pregnant women especially fascinating and can even detect an unborn baby's heartbeat.

Are dolphins and humans really friends?

A beautiful mind

Dolphins are second only to humans for their brain-to-body ratio. Other factors attesting to dolphins' smarts: they understand artificially-created language, use tools, co-operate to solve problems — one test showed two dolphins knew they needed to work together to open a tube filled with fish — and pass the mirror self-recognition test of recognizing themselves in their reflection.

Are dolphins and humans really friends?

Trying to understand 'Dolphinese'

Dolphins have complex communication, but the big question is: Do they have their own language? Could humans and dolphins one day talk to one another? For decades, scientists have been on the case — in the 1960s, controversial researcher John Lilly even injected dolphins with LSD to find out. The result: Though dolphins on LSD were more vocal, the drug failed to advance human-dolphin communication.

Are dolphins and humans really friends?

The lone sociable dolphin

Dolphins are very social creatures and are rarely alone. But there are several cases of the 'lone sociable dolphin' — where a solitary dolphin's need for social contact means it appears to turn to humans as a substitute for its own kind. But rather than friendly curiosity, studies suggest this may have been borne out of dolphins' "misdirected sexual behavior," such as trying to mount swimmers.

Are dolphins and humans really friends?

Human-dolphin aggression

Interactions with dolphins are not always friendly – there have been multiple cases of dolphins dragging humans out to sea or even down toward the seabed, leading to injuries including broken ribs and worse. Possibly a reaction by the dolphin to perceived harassment from humans, it's difficult to say for sure whether these are intentional attacks or rough play.

Are dolphins and humans really friends?

Dolphin-unfriendly tourism

Swimming with dolphins is a life goal for many people, and a major source of tourism — but some authorities around the world are trying to put a stop to it to prevent harassment of dolphins. In Hawaii, concern over swimmers approaching spinner dolphins and disturbing their sleep patterns has led to new proposed rules that would ban anyone from getting within 50 yards (45 meters) of the animals.

Are dolphins and humans really friends?

Under threat from their human ‘friends’

Dolphins are facing threats from humans on multiple fronts. Netting is one — a 2017 report showed that 15 dolphins were killed in 2015-16 by meshing meant to keep sharks away from Australia's New South Wales beaches. Other threats faced by dolphin species include pollution, habitat loss and climate change as rising ocean temperatures impact their prey populations.

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Eco energy | 10.09.2018

Creating sustainable 'off the grid' homes in Nigeria

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Doing your bit | 10.09.2018

Doing your bit: Reviving a living fossil

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eco wildlife | 10.09.2018

Saving Africa's maligned vulture

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eco innovation | 17.09.2018

Building green homes out of mud in Ghana

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Eco museum | 07.09.2018

Switzerland's special tree museum

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Doing your bit | 17.09.2018

Doing your bit: Recycling clothes into bags

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Eco architecture | 03.09.2018

Green architecture for South African townships

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eco podcast | 13.09.2018

The people protecting the planet

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eco ideas | 07.09.2018

Cameroon: Building plastic bottle boats

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Kenya's green pencils

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eco wildlife | 03.09.2018

Saving Zimbabwe's snakes

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eco ideas | 30.08.2018

Could artificial seagrass help protect Germany's coast?

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