Country Life Today: The answer to global warming could be as beautiful as it is simple – 2,500,000,000,000 trees

Planting 1 billion hectares of trees might just solve the climate crisis, according to new research; underwater explorers in Egypt; and how the first package holiday in history was a 12-mile trip.

One billion hectares-worth of new trees ‘could help check global warming’

Could it really be as simple as planting trees? New research in the journal Science suggests as much: ‘Adding nearly 1 billion additional hectares of forest could remove two-thirds of the roughly 300 gigatons of carbon humans have added to the atmosphere since the 1800s,’ the report says.

Before you ask, this is no pie-in-the-sky plan to turn deserts into verdant woodland – the land in question is apparently perfectly capable of sustaining trees. It’ll need a lot of them: as many as 2,500,000,000,000 – that’s 2.5 trillion – at an average density of 2,500 trees per hectare.

Full story (Science)


On This Day: Thomas Cook runs the world’s first package tour

The poster advertising the world's first package tour: Thomas Cook's day trip from Leicester to Loughborough

The poster advertising the world’s first package tour: Thomas Cook’s day trip from Leicester to Loughborough. Credit: Getty

The holiday impresario started in humble fashion: with a day trip from Leicester to Loughborough, a journey of 12 miles. The one-shilling excursion, which ferried people to and from a temperance movement meeting, attracted 500 punters. Within a few years, Thomas Cook was sending people all across the world — and the rest is history.

Full story (Thomas Cook)


Could the common cold virus cure cancer?

It seems far-fetched indeed, but in a (tiny) initial trial looking at bladder cancer, the signs were rather extraordinary. ’15 patients were given an infusion of the bug, before undergoing surgery to remove and examine tumours,’ the Daily Telegraph reports. ‘In every case, cancer cells had been destroyed – and in one case, all traces of the disease had gone, the study found.’

Full story (Daily Telegraph)


The climate problem, tackled from both sides of the spectrum

Spring meadow

Last week in Country Life, John Gummer wrote about the need for hope and positivity in the conversation about climate change. It’s a superb piece which you can read here.

In The Guardian today, former Labour leader Ed Miliband strikes a very similar note in an equally superb piece from the other side of the political spectrum:

‘For far too long, progressives – myself included – have talked about the climate emergency and economic justice separately. Tackling economic injustice has too often been discussed as if the climate crisis were not racing towards us like a runaway train, rooted in wider economic and political inequalities, notably the vested interests of the fossil fuel companies. On the other hand, the climate disaster has often been seen as a technocratic problem to be solved, ignoring the immediate and urgent needs that people face in their daily lives.

‘If we carry on with this approach, we will not succeed. Disaster avoidance in the coming decades is a moral obligation of the highest order. But if we simply offer sacrifice without hope, we are destined for carbon reduction to be seen as a luxury for those who can afford it and to send the message that economic injustice has to wait its turn. The truth is the opposite: those who can afford it will be able to avoid its worst impacts while the poorest and most vulnerable will pay the price.’

Read Ed Miliband’s full article (The Guardian) – and John Gummer’s message of hope (Country Life)


The underwater tombs of Egypt being explored for the first time in 2,300 years

‘Creasman and I float silently in water in the back chamber of the tomb, hovering above what may very well be Nastasen’s undisturbed sarcophagus,’ writes Kristen Romey in National Geographic.

‘We talk about the team’s goal for 2020: to excavate the pharaoh’s 2,300-year-old submerged royal burial chambers. It’s an audacious aim and a huge logistical challenge, but Creasman is optimistic.

‘“I think we finally have the technology to be able to tell the story of Nuri, to fill in the blanks of what happened here,” he says. “It’s a remarkable point in history that so few know about. It’s a story that deserves to be told.”’

Read more (National Geographic)


And finally… the scientists ‘trying to open a portal to a parallel universe’

In a story that’s literally the stuff of science fiction, researchers in Tennessee have built equipment which ‘may allow us the first glimpse of a parallel universe‘, according to a report in the Independent.

Given the political, economic and environmental madness around us these days, who can blame them for looking for a way out?

Full story (The Independent)