weekend links

weekend links

Ten Things

Hello! How are you? It’s Easter Holidays here, and I’m looking forward to some time off work and spending time with my two little people. I am also planning on sending out the Moral Fibres newsletter this coming week, so keep an eye on your inbox if you are a subscriber. If not, you can sign up here. :)

This week’s links

1. This one simple idea can save us from climate breakdown, say campaigners including the teenage school climate strike activist Greta Thunburg, authors Margaret Atwood, Naomi Klein, Philip Pullman, U.S. climate scientist Michael Mann, and environmental campaigner Bill McKibben, but it’s being almost totally overlooked.

2. Legal action has been launched against Shell, for what is seen as the fossil fuel company’s inadequate efforts to tackle climate change. Friends of the Earth have been joined by Greenpeace and ActionAid, as well as 17,000 people who have signed up as co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit. One to watch.

3. An independent coffee chain reported that it has seen sales fall by £250,000 since it banned single-use cups last summer – the first cafe to ban single use cups altogether. The owner of the Boston Tea Party chain, Sam Roberts, is a true hero. Rather than ditching the ban, Sam said they had factored the loss in takings into its plans and would continue with the ban, saying that too many operators were “putting their profits before the planet” – and urged other cafes to follow suit.

Sadly I don’t have a Boston Tea Party cafe near me (there are no branches in Scotland), but if you do then why not show your support by paying them a visit and giving them your custom?

4. Primark and Marks & Spencer have been accused of ripping off ethical footwear brand Veja. Veja’s response was perfect:

I think Primark got it wrong. They should not copy the style of our shoes, they should copy the way we make them. With organic cotton, with recycled plastic, with more ecological fabrics, in factories where workers are paid decently, and are working in secure conditions. We will explain everything to them in court”.

5. From 11th April you will be able to buy clothes made out of discarded orange peels, pineapple leaves and algae in selected H&M stores. Sounds great but it’s not without its problems – these fabrics use finishing chemicals that prevent them from being biodegradable or recyclable. There are other issues too – as always the best solution is buying fewer clothes.

6. David Attenborough’s Our Planet is now available on Netflix. Warning – have your tissues ready – people are tweeting things like “Friday night and I’m in bed thug crying over the Walrus scene in Our Planet“, and another saying “Watching Our Planet is the most beautiful gut punch you’ll ever see”.

7. Remember the Monsanto case I highlighted in last week’s Ten Things, where Monsanto was successfully sued for $80 million after being found to have caused cancer in a gardener?

Well, councils around the UK are now assessing their weedkiller usage, and seeking non-chemical alternatives – actions that could prove massively beneficial to our bee, butterfly and insect populations, and the creatures that feed on them. Here’s an eco-friendly homemade weedkiller if you’re looking to make the switch too.

8. Global CO2 levels will now be available in weather forecasts in the Guardian to act as a daily reminder that we must tackle climate change now. Alongside the daily carbon count, the paper will publish the level in previous years for comparison, as well as the pre-industrial baseline of 280ppm, and the level seen as manageable in the long term of 350ppm.

9. Signed – this petition to install micro-plastic filters on all new washing machines as standard. Share far and wide if you can – laundry is one of the biggest sources of microplastic pollution,

10. Finally, Surfers Against Sewage are running their Big Spring Beach Clean between the 6th and 14th of August – and urging people to volunteer and take part in one of the 600 mountain, river and beach cleans happening right across the UK. Find your nearest clean here.

That’s it for now! See you next week!


weekend links

Ten Things

flowers in greenhouse

Hello! This week’s Ten Things, my roundup of the week’s environmental news, is, I feel, a particularly good one. There’s a plethora of positive news this week, but also lots of scope for inspiration and action.

This week’s links:

1. Some great news to start with: on Wednesday the EU Parliament voted to ban single-use straws as well as single-use plastic cutlery, stirrers, plastic plates, balloon sticks, and cotton swabs in all EU member states by 2021.

Meanwhile, products such as wet wipes will have to be labeled that they contain plastic and can therefore be fatal to marine life. Campaigners have asked that policies make exceptions for those who rely on plastic straws, for example. Whether it will apply to post-Brexit Britain is anyone’s guess.

2. In other great news, according to research the secondhand fashion industry is booming and could soon overtake the fast fashion market. When asked what would encourage UK shoppers to buy more secondhand clothing, 90% of respondents said that friends or family doing so first would encourage them to make the shift. So come on, let’s start talking more about our secondhand finds!

3. Coal is officially on the way out: a study has found that the fossil fuel is now pricier than solar or wind power 75% of the time. The coal industry will be out-competed on cost in just six years time.

4. Liz Pape, founder of ethical fashion label Elizabeth Suzann, on why we shouldn’t treat sustainability as a trend:

“Convincing customers to buy more shit in the name of sustainability is the biggest scam of our generation. We all know this, but it bears repeating: Buying nothing at all is the most sustainable thing any of us can do, and when you must buy or want to buy, then use that opportunity to shop responsibly. Treating sustainability as a trend is the biggest threat to it being taken seriously, and to take it seriously it has to be more than surface level”.

5. For city dwellers at least, owning a car may soon be as quaint as owning a horse.

6. The Wind In The Willows has been updated – it’s now set in today’s times, with Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry, Catherine Tate, Alison Steadman and Asim Chaudhry providing the voices to this Wes Anderson style animation.

The twist? This Kenneth Grahame classic set in an idyllic English countryside has now been ravaged by bulldozers and climate change. Sounds grim, but there is a message of hope. The Wildlife Trusts, who commissioned the animation, hope that the short film will inspire a massive call for change at the highest level.

7. An interesting read for a Sunday morning from The Ecologist- why do environmentalists disagree about food?

8. I love this lady – telling it like it is, as always.

9. A jury awarded $80 million in damages to a Californian man whose use of Monsanto’s Roundup Weed Killer – a weedkiller linked to a decline in bee and butterfly populations – was directly attributable to causing his cancer.

Bayer, the company that owns Monsanto say that the verdict in this trial has no impact on future cases and trials, as each one has its own factual and legal circumstances, but Bayer and Monsanto face hundreds of other Roundup lawsuits in the San Francisco federal court and perhaps it could spell the end for these types of weedkiller that are harmful to wildlife and humans.

10. Finally, I’ll leave you with this beautiful story that will make your heart sing.