U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Garry Welch/Released

Happy New Year, everyone!

Best wishes for 2012. Hopefully it will not be the year of environmental catastrophe that 2011 was. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, even if it would slightly reduce my own personal CO2 output.

Let’s have a quick rundown of the stresses and bad headlines that dominated eco-news in 2011.


• The global population reached 7 billion.

• The second worst nuclear incident in history occurred in Fukushima as the result of a catastrophic tsunami.

• Greenhouse gases rose to record levels, Arctic sea ice went down and global temperatures went up.

It was marked on the ground by unparalleled extremes of heat and cold in the US, droughts and heat waves in Europe and Africa and record numbers of weather-related natural disasters.


While Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Pakistan suffered extreme weather in 2010, North American took the cake in 2011, with bills well exceeding $40bn US (over $50bn, according to some sources) in the United States alone. Flooding, tornadoes, drought, blizzard conditions and Hurricane Irene hammered the USA this past year.

Read more about the US’s record breaking environmental troubles in 2011 here.

In Asia and Australia it was devastating floods that caused the most damage, panic and loss of life, while Somalia and the Horn of Africa suffered its worst drought in 60 years. There were also plenty of major earthquakes around the world to shake things up.

But don’t worry too much – there was some good news too. Read more about that and all about 2011, the year of environmental records, in the Guardian.