Want a truly mind-expanding experience? Learn another language | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

That Brexit has put Britis pupils off studying languages is tragic it opens up whole new worlds, says Guardian columnist and author Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett More than half the worlds people reports that Brexit is putting British pupils off studying modern foreign languages at school. Some parents have even told teachers that its useless for their children to learn another language now that the UK is leaving the European Union. Aside from the stupidity of this view, which seems to assume that all international travel and immigration to and from the UK will cease as soon as the Brexit drawbridge goes up, there is also the fact that having another language is never useless. As a Welsh speaker I have …

Nut of note: 70% of world’s macadamia can be traced back to single Australian tree

New research shows a single 19th century tree in southern Queensland gave rise to the worlds dominant plant variety The small Queensland town of Gympie has been identified as the origin of 70% of the worlds macadamia nuts. New research into the fatty seed has revealed the worlds dominant commercial cultivar grown in Hawaii originated from a single tree in southern Queensland from the 19th century. Native to Australia, macadamia trees are only found naturally in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The Hawaiian macadamia industry was grown from one cultivar from Australia that was repeatedly cloned. This means the commercial macadamia tree has an incredibly low genetic diversity, and researchers hope their findings will spur the discovery of …

Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life

Scientists reveal one million species at risk of extinction in damning UN report Human society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earths natural life-support systems, the worlds leading scientists have warned, as they announced the results of the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken. From coral reefs rainforests desiccating into savannahs, nature is being destroyed at a rate tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the past 10m years, according to the UN global assessment report. The biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction all largely as a result of human actions, said the study, …

The media is failing on climate change here’s how they can do better ahead of 2020

We spoke to climate change experts for advice on how news outlets can cover the environment in ways that make voters listen America elected Donald Trump at the end of the hottest year Democratic National Committee to host a debate solely focused on climate. Bernie Sanders raised the issue during his town hall on Fox News earlier this month and even town halls last week. In the run-up to 2020, as newsroom leaders grapple with their mistakes in the 2016 election from reliance on inaccurate polls to underestimating the impact of fake news the failure to press candidates on climate change is emerging as an area of self-examination. In 2016 there were almost no questions asked , which is insane, …