The foods that could prevent climate disasters

Reading builds resilience among at-risk kids

As children settle back into a new school year, families are being encouraged to read to their children at home, as new research from the University of South Australia shows that reading aloud can triple a child’s resilience at school, particularly for children at-risk.

“Our study found that boys had a much higher risk of being developmentally behind than girls, as did children living in remote or rural areas, and those with a physical, sensory, or learning disability.”

 Professor Leonie Segal 

Focussing on early primary-aged children who had suffered abuse or neglect, the study explored factors that could modify the negative effects of adverse life circumstances, finding that one of the biggest predictors of resilience in both boys and girls in struggling families was being read to at home.

While reading to children at home has long been associated with school readiness and scholastic outcomes, this is the first study that has shown the benefits of reading to mitigate some of the detrimental trajectories of child maltreatment…READ ON

Future of food production, ecology and extreme weather are complex systematic challenge. Photo: Yellen

The foods that could prevent climate disasters

When wildfires ravaged Abby Rose’s farm in January 2017, every inch of her land was burned. Following many years of drought in Chile, temperatures exceeded 40C (104F) that summer and strong winds spread flames uncontrollably across southern and central regions for weeks.

If the trend for more disasters continues, it will take a combination of innovation and smarter farming to mitigate those losses.

“Fires were raging, it was terrifying and being on the frontline of devastation like that completely changed my understanding of farming,” says Rose, who recalls struggling in a thick cloud of smoke as she fought to protect her 300-hectare (1.2-sq-mile) family farm in the Loncomilla Valley. “It was the closest I have ever been to thinking what a war zone must be like.”

During those fires – a national disaster made all the more extreme by the intensifying climate crisis – all 8,000 of her young olive trees burned just before their first commercial harvest was due to take place. Almost 90% of her olive crops died. It was a “total wipeout”, she says, and financially devastating…READ ON

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