Eco News

Eco News

Ten Things – 29th September 2019

Well, hello there! I have had a little break from Ten Things. I’ve been writing Moral Fibres for nearly 7 years now, and this post here is the 100th Ten Things I’ve written. I spend my Saturday evenings writing these posts ready for Sunday morning, and just really needed some time off to rest and revive and tend to other areas of my life, but it’s good to be back!

1 The IPCC have this week warned that the world’s oceans are in trouble, with far-reaching consequences.

2. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood” – powerful words from Greta Thunberg.

3. Despite the news coverage, Greta Thunberg isn’t the only climate activist you need to know. The movement is bigger and more diverse than you think, and they’re doing amazing work.

4. Premium teabags are leaking billions of particles of microplastics. Here’s an oldish guide to plastic-free teabags that I’m working on to update. Watch this space!

5. Hope! Climate activists are suing Europe’s biggest coal plant.

6. Figures released on air travel patterns in England bolster calls for a frequent flyer levy, a proposal under which each UK citizen would be allowed one tax-free flight per year but would pay progressively higher taxes on each additional flight taken, after it has been found that the 10% most frequent flyers in England took more than half of all international flights departing from England in 2018; whilst 48% of residents did not fly at all.  I am all for this levy – when we live in an age of Skype and Facetime somebusiness trips are becoming more and more obsolete.

7. Russia – the world’s fourth-largest polluter has finally ratified the Paris Agreement, but it’s not cause for celebration yet. Russia’s pledged targets are so low that they could increase their emissions and still meet the Paris Agreement targets.

8. More than 130 seal pups were born in the River Thames in one year – 60 years after being declared “biologically dead”.

9. I loved this.

10. Finally, the Woodland Trust is asking one million Britons to plant a tree on 30th November after the UK government missed its tree-planting targets. The Trust said it recognised planting trees was not a ‘solve all’ for climate change, but that it would help individuals to collectively make a real contribution to the problem. They also recognise that trees will also need to be cared for after planting to ensure they survive, so people are being encouraged to participate beyond the planting stage.

11. As a sneaky extra, check out the five food waste heroes helping to save the planet.

Back next Sunday for post 101!


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PPS: catch up on the last Ten Things post here.

Eco News

Ten Things – 11th August 2019

The group Wet Wet Wet are headling at a music festival near me today, which is ironic considering that this week has been marked by just how wet wet wet it has been around here.

On Wednesday I found myself wading ankle-deep in water, trying to get my kids home, after parts of my village flooded when 60% of August’s average rainfall for the area fell in just 3 hours. On Friday we sprung a leak in our roof after a day of yet more heavy rain. And right now I’m typing this whilst a thunderstorm rolls angrily overheard, and the rain pours down, and I’m hoping no more rain penetrates our roof until we can get it fixed.

It was in my school days when I first heard the term global warming. It wasn’t taught to us well, so sitting there in my secondary school Geography class, I remember thinking how wonderful that word ‘warming’ sounded to a schoolgirl on the west coast of Scotland – an area characterised by its high rainfall. In my complete and utter naivety, the promise of sunshine and warmth and blue skies every day sounded like bliss.

It wasn’t until a little later when I realised the version of global warming my teacher sold to us was misleading – climate change is more than just warming but an increase in extreme weather events, and for the UK, more rain, and more extreme rain events like the ones we’re seeing now. 14 year old me would be f***ing fuming if she knew then what was in store.

1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched a special report on climate change and land this week, urging us to immediately change food production and to stop abusing the land, as well as eating less meat. But critics say it shies away from the big issues.

“If we want to prevent both climate and ecological catastrophes, the key task is to minimise the amount of land we use to feed ourselves, while changing the way the remaining land is farmed. Instead, governments almost everywhere pour public money into planetary destruction.

Look at the £500m the UK government proposes to spend on buying up beef and lamb that will be unsaleable after a no-deal Brexit. This reproduces the worst and stupidest policy the European Union ever conjured up: the intervention payments that created its notorious butter mountains and wine lakes. Brexit, for all its likely harms, represents an opportunity to pay landowners and tenants to do something completely different, rather than spending yet more public money on trashing our life-support systems.

The IPCC, like our governments, fails to get to grips with these issues. But when you look at the science as a whole, you soon see that we can’t keep eating like this. Are we prepared to act on what we know, or will we continue to gorge on the lives of our descendants?

2. Four solutions to the challenges highlighted in the IPCC Land and Climate Report.

3. Mark 23rd October in your diary.

On October 23, in a federal court in New York, opening arguments will be heard in one of the most important corporate malfeasance cases of the modern era, rivaled only by the tobacco litigations of the 1990s. The state of New York is suing ExxonMobil on charges that the energy goliath consistently misled its investors about what it knew concerning the climate crisis—essentially lying to them about what it might eventually cost the company in eventual climate-related financial risks, because the company knew better than practically anyone else what those risks were.

The case is historic, especially in light of the revelations that Exxon and other energy companies knew as long ago as 30 years that carbon emissions were becoming perilous to the planet. It is possible that, if the case proceeds to trial, the energy companies may find themselves in the same spot where Brown & Williamson was on the subject of whether nicotine was addictive.

4. H&M, Zara, and other fashion brands are tricking shoppers with vague sustainability claims.

5. Monsanto, the maker of bee and human harming pesticides such as Roundup, has been working to discredit investigative journalists criticising the company and has even paid Google to suppress the findings. This disturbingly shows how readily the flow of online information can be manipulated by those with the power and finances to do so.

6. Related, there’s an insect ‘apocalypse’ in the U.S.and it has been driven by a 50x increase in toxic pesticides used by the agricultural industry.

7. Can’t we just stop eating beef already?

8. 220 million trees were planted in one day in India, following on from Ethiopia’s massive tree-planting efforts last week. Developing countries are definitely paving the way on this one and it’s putting the West to shame.

9. Turns out we’ve been doing environmentalism all wrong – Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, where Amazonian deforestation has significantly accelerated since he came into power – says we should poop every other day to help protect the environment. What were we thinking all this time?

10. Finally, a reminder not to overthink things.

Until next week – stay dry!


PS: catch up on last week’s Ten Things post here.