Eco News

Eco News

Ten Things – 12th May 2019

Hello! How’s it going?

For any new readers, every Sunday morning I do a bitesize unbiased link roundup of the week’s environmental news and good reads. Over the hot beverage of your choice, you can get up to speed and read all of the good stuff in one place. It’s been another busy week, so let’s cut the chit chat and jump straight in.

1. The UK has just gone a full week without using any coal-generated electricity for the first time since the industrial revolution. As recently as six years ago, burning coal provided 40% of the UK’s electricity needs, so we’ve made massive leaps and bounds in a short space of time.

Before we all jump for joy, this doesn’t mean that we’re fully renewable – natural gas, a fossil fuel, is filling in the gaps. However natural gas emits about half as much carbon as coal per kWh of electricity it generates, so it is a greener option until we can be fully renewable (potentially by 2025).

2. Ireland has become the second country in the world to declare a climate emergency.

The Irish Climate Action Minister, Richard Bruton, said climate change has been “rightly” described as the greatest challenge facing humanity. “We’re reaching a tipping point in respect of climate deterioration,” he said. “Things will deteriorate very rapidly unless we move very swiftly and the window of opportunity to do that is fast closing.” He added that urgency had been injected into the debate by the protests by school students calling for action from parliaments around the world.

3. Scotland has unveiled a new deposit-return scheme, whereby consumers in Scotland will have to pay a 20p deposit on every bottle or drinks can they buy from shops.

Small shops have criticised the measures, but the Scottish government has stayed strong saying “There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet for future generations”.

4. “Stop saying we have 12 years left to address climate change

Climate change is not so much an emergency as a festering injustice. Your ancestors did not end slavery by declaring an emergency and dreaming up artificial boundaries on “tolerable” slave numbers. They called it out for what it was: a spectacularly profitable industry, the basis of much prosperity at the time, something founded on a fundamental injustice. It’s time to do the same on climate change. prominently in that party’s manifesto“.

5. Why change if no-one else will?

Change trickles from the bottom up—from the grassroots. Plastic pollution awareness has led people around the world to reject excessively packaged products, to design better products and to demand change from industry and government. All of this has begun to lead to change, slowly at first but lately, the movement has picked up steam… Grassroots activism works. Keep this in mind when you think your changes don’t matter. They do. They add up. Together, we change the world“.

6. Most people waste more food than they think – here’s how to fix it.

7. “You can’t be an environmentalist if…“. Some great lessons here.

it seems so strange to me that people who are so devoted to it might choose to pick a fight with someone who is ten feet to their left, or ten feet to their right, rather than saying ‘all hands on deck’.

8. Related – how as individuals we can’t do everything, but together we can.

9. How to make sustainable fashion people will actually buy.

10. Finally, the top five issues in the upcoming EU elections (23rd May).

Before I go, a few people have been asking me about plastic-free hair conditioner lately. I have tried a few solid conditioner bars and been sorely disappointed with the results, so last year I did some research into zero-waste solid conditioner bar alternatives. You can find that post here with different options for different hair types. Currently, I am using this product* (affiliate link), which comes in a glass bottle, and I can’t rate it highly enough.

The initial price point is high (£16), but once I’ve washed my hair I use 3 small drops on my damp hair, so I reckon at this rate one bottle is going to last about a year, which is considerably less than what I would spend on conditioner over the course of a year.

Using oil on your hair sounds counterproductive, and I was worried it would leave my hair greasy, but it hasn’t been the case at all. My hair is soft, smooth and shiny and it’s been a huge step up from the conditioner bars I tried which left my hair feeling like straw. The fact that it smells of chocolate is an added bonus!

Finally, palm-oil free peanut butter in Aldi of all places, and a plastic-free giveaway (ends today – Sunday 12th May – so get in quick)!


ps: catch up on last week’s Ten Things post from 5th May here.

Eco News

Ten Things – 5th May 2019

Hello! There’s not been a lot to write about this week – it’s definitely been a slow news week, climate and environmental news wise ;) I joke – let’s dive straight in because it’s been a busy old week:

1. After Scotland and Wales both declared climate emergencies this week, Westminster declared a climate emergency on Wednesday, making the UK parliament the first in the world to declare an “environment and climate emergency”. Massive thanks to all involved in Youth Strike 4 Climate and Extinction Rebellion for leading the way and to everyone who contacted their local MP pressing them on this issue. Now we await action.

2. Related: we just might be at a tipping point on how seriously the world treats climate change.

Sometimes it might seem like democracies, with their short political cycles, are unable to take the sort of action on climate change that requires long-term thinking… But democracies, by their inherent nature, are more accountable. That accountability, combined with commitments to global pacts like the Paris agreement, can spur them to act for the greater good. In its report, the UK’s Climate Change Committee said the country should “ideally begin redressing” its historical contributions to global emissions. Setting an ambitious net-zero goal would set an example for other countries to follow. The ease with which the climate-emergency motion passed in parliament shows that Britain’s political parties acknowledge the privileged position its economy commands thanks to its past consumption of fossil fuels.

3. What an interesting read on why your brain doesn’t register the words ‘climate change’.

Which phrase does a better job of grabbing people’s attention: “global warming” or “climate change”? According to recent neuroscience research, the answer is neither. If you want to get people to care, try “climate crisis,” suggests new research from an advertising consulting agency in New York. That phrase got a 60 percent greater emotional response from listeners than our old pal climate change.

4. In California, their latest weapon against climate change is as low-tech as they come – weeds.

5. Biodegradable isn’t the answer.

6. The Government’s fracking commissioner has resigned – citing environmental activists, and them being “highly successful” in encouraging the government to curb fracking as a key part of her resignation. Yesssss – what a victory!

7. Can you be a fashion lover and a feminist at the same time?

8 Climate change activists in the US have begun using a legal argument called the “necessity defense,” which justifies non-violent action taken to prevent a greater harm.

Under this argument, defendants can be acquitted of an act that is technically illegal. Like its better-known cousin, the doctrine of self-defense, it permits a judge and jury to consider context and morality.

9. Following along and offering virtual support with Mothers Rise Up. If you’re in London you can join them on 12th May.

10. Finally, this post by Paul Jarvis on keeping up with the Insta-Joneses is a great piece on consumerism and envy. Don’t have time to read it all – unfollow anyone on social media who makes you feel like you’re not good enough because you’re not wearing the latest clothes, or constantly on fancy holidays.


ps: catch up on last week’s Ten Things here