Read our June issue

This month we cover ocean litter, transport, irrigation, bioenergy, photocatalytic oxidation, restoration of non-producing oil and gas lands, sustainability literacy and more.

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  • As a result of the significant disruption that is being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic we are aware that many researchers will have difficulty in meeting the timelines associated with our peer review process during normal times. Please do let us know if you need additional time. Our systems will continue to remind you of the original timelines but we intend to be highly flexible at this time.

  • This summer’s Tokyo Olympics were meant to showcase how the global megaevent can be held in a more responsible manner. However, new research suggests that the Olympics are becoming less sustainable over time.

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  • A choice experiment shows that perceived benefits of vehicle ownership, including non-use values such as schedule flexibility and status in addition to the transport value, are on average larger than their private costs.

    • Joanna Moody
    • Elizabeth Farr
    • David R. Keith
    Article
  • Riverine systems help transfer mismanaged waste into the ocean, but riverine litter data are scarce. Using a database of riverine floating macrolitter across Europe, this study estimates that 307–925 million litter items—82% of which is plastic—are transferred annually from Europe into the ocean.

    • Daniel González-Fernández
    • Andrés Cózar
    • Myrto Tourgeli
    Article
  • Data on marine litter are scattered. Harmonizing worldwide aquatic litter inventories, this study finds global litter dominated by plastics from take-out food, followed by fishing, with litter being trapped in nearshore areas and land-sourced plastic reaching the open ocean mostly as small fragments.

    • Carmen Morales-Caselles
    • Josué Viejo
    • Andrés Cózar
    Article
  • Innovations to tackle marine litter are urgently needed. A global analysis of solutions to prevent, monitor and clean marine litter identifies 177 solutions, mostly for monitoring, and shows that only a few are ready to use but none have been validated for efficiency and environmental potential.

    • Nikoleta Bellou
    • Chiara Gambardella
    • Carsten Lemmen
    Analysis Open Access
  • Deforestation is often driven by land conversion for growing commodity crops. This study finds that, between 2000 and 2019, most soybean expansion in South America was on pastures converted originally for cattle production, especially in the Brazilian Amazon. More soy-driven deforestation occurred in the Brazilian Cerrado.

    • Xiao-Peng Song
    • Matthew C. Hansen
    • Alexandra Tyukavina
    Article
  • An analysis of the German bioeconomy between 2000 and 2015 finds that its environmental footprints are dominated by animal-based food consumption, and agricultural land use for consumption abroad is double the domestic one.

    • Stefan Bringezu
    • Martin Distelkamp
    • Vincent Egenolf
    Article
    • Private cars are valued not just for their functionality but also for the freedom, autonomy or status they offer. New research quantifies the value individuals assign to car ownership and shows that more than half of it derives from non-use value.

      • Sonja Haustein
      News & Views
    • Expanding renewable energy sources in remote rural Alaska villages promises to improve sustainability and resilience. What happens to the food–energy–water nexus when critical resources are abundant public goods?

      • James Magdanz
      News & Views
    • The International Olympic Committee has long trumpeted its own sustainability credibility. But are the Olympic Games actually sustainable or are they greenwashing gold?

      • Jules Boykoff
      News & Views
    • Divergent conceptions of living nature between conservationists and other groups of people can hinder progress to protect biodiversity. This Perspective reflects on the use of the concept of biodiversity, willingness to expand its ambit, and engagement with the various drivers of change.

      • Unai Pascual
      • William M. Adams
      • Esther Turnhout
      Perspective
  • Scientific evidence sheds light on the extent, source and type of litter in the oceans, as well as on the limited efforts to clean it up so far. As we rely on healthy oceans for our future, it’s time to act.

    Editorial
  • A Global Pact for the Environment is gathering pace to become a binding international agreement. Yann Aguila, Sciences Po, and Jorge Viñuales, University of Cambridge, talk to Nature Sustainability about its global significance and potential, and about the importance of social support to make it happen.

    • Aiora Zabala
    Q&A
  • As transitioning to a more sustainable energy system is imperative, Nature Sustainability and Tongji University launch an Expert Panel to shed light on the integrative research efforts needed to develop the next generation of batteries.

    Editorial
  • Sustainably transitioning to electric vehicles is challenging where transport and electricity systems are poorly defined due to a lack of data, such as those dominated by paratransit (informal, privately owned ‘public’ transport). We call for a more systemic approach to data collection as a key enabler for this transition.

    • Katherine A. Collett
    • Stephanie A. Hirmer
    Comment
  • Consensus on carbon accounting approaches at city-level is lacking and analytic frameworks to systematically link carbon mitigation with the Sustainable Development Goals are limited. A new accounting approach anchored upon key physical provisioning systems can help to address these knowledge gaps and facilitate urban transitions.

    • Anu Ramaswami
    • Kangkang Tong
    • Karen C. Seto
    Comment
  • Awaiting the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to be held in China late in 2021, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary to the CBD, talks to Nature Sustainability about the challenges of stepping up efforts to address biodiversity decline.

    • Monica Contestabile
    Q&A