ten things

Eco News

Ten Things – 14th June 2020


For any new readers, when I can on a Sunday I round up the week’s environmental news/points of note. Here is what I found this week:

1. Whilst coronavirus set off a sudden plunge in global greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of greenhouse gases actually in the air just hit a record high. May 2020 saw the highest monthly average value of CO2 ever recorded. We have so much work to do.

2. Face masks and latex gloves have become a new environmental problem. To be clear, I am for the use of masks and gloves to help fight this pandemic but we have to be responsible in how we dispose of them.

3. Why every environmentalist should be anti-racist.

Environmentalists tend to be well-meaning, forward-thinking people who believe in preserving the planet for generations to come. They will buy reusable cups, wear ethically made clothing, and advocate for endangered species; however, many are hesitant to do the same for endangered Black lives, and might be unclear on why they should.

4. This is a useful piece on the links between racism and the environment. Somini says she has put together a quick reading list about climate change and social inequities, but there is a lot there to get started with.

5. The five biggest banks financing destructive oil projects in the Amazon. If you bank with HSBC then it’s time to move your money if you can. I promise to write an updated guide to ethical banks soon – it’s been on my to-do list for an embarrassing amount of time!

6. China has raised protection for pangolins by removing their scales from the official listing of ingredients approved for use in traditional Chinese medicine. Animal protection groups say this is a key step in stamping out trade in what is the world’s most trafficked mammal, and which has also been identified as a possible host for Covid-19.

7. “Life attracts life” – the Irish farmers realising that more regenerative forms of agriculture is the way forward when it comes to farming.

8. It’s time for environmental studies to own up to erasing black people.

It is no secret that the environmental movement’s history is red with the blood of Indigenous genocide. Many of the movement’s founding fathers, such as Madison Grant, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold, were white supremacists that created the language of conservation to accommodate racialized conceptions of nature. Inspired by European Romanticism, these conceptions laid the groundwork for establishing environments worth protecting, and for whom.”

9. Britain has gone coal-free for 2 months now – the longest period since the start of the industrial revolution. Renewables are generating more power than all fossil fuels put together. However, going beyond the headlines, it’s important to note that gas, another fossil fuel, has contributed around a third of the power to the grid during the coal-free period, so we still have some way to go.

10. Finally, got an old phone lying around in a drawer? Hubbub is calling for donations of old phones (and its charger if possible), for cleaning and refurbishment, and donation to vulnerable people without a phone to help them get connected during COVID-19.

Until next week,


ps: catch up on last week’s Ten Things post here, in case you missed it.

Eco News

Ten Things – 7th June 2020

black lives matter
Image via Unsplash

After the horrific racist killing of George Floyd by police, and the racist attack on Belly Mujinga here in the UK, which ultimately may have led to her death, I have dedicated this week’s Ten Things to amplifying black voices and black issues, so that we can listen and learn to become anti-racist, and also to help anti-racism organisations and educators.

1.I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet.

Black Americans who are already committed to working on climate solutions still have to live in America, brutalized by institutions of the state, constantly pummeled with images, words and actions showing just us how many of our fellow citizens do not, in fact, believe that black lives matter. Climate work is hard and heartbreaking as it is. Many people don’t feel the urgency, or balk at the initial cost of transitioning our energy infrastructure, without considering the cost of inaction. Many fail to grasp how dependent humanity is on intact ecosystems. When you throw racism and bigotry in the mix, it becomes something near impossible.

2. People of color experience climate grief more deeply than white people

Just as we are seeing with the COVID-19 outbreak, environmental racism forces people of color, especially Black and Indigenous peoples, to bear the brunt of global disaster. We are not only disproportionately affected by the climate crisis—breathing in more pollution, living in communities with higher temperatures, suffering from more medical conditions, experiencing more natural disasters, and being displaced at much higher rates—but we carry the pain of the climate crisis deep inside us… Anyone can experience climate grief, regardless of their identity. But for us, our grief—and our anger—is rooted in centuries of painful history, and the current ecological violence hurled at our communities“.

3. Black environmentalists talk about climate and anti-racism. In a nutshell, it’s impossible to live sustainably without tackling inequality.

4. What We Want: Allies Who Do More than Instagram

Just as neutrality won’t put you in good stead with the cause of righteousness, neither will claims that you’re “not racist.” The notion is a myth; certainly 400-plus years of deeply ingrained social programming didn’t simply skip over you, regardless of your good intentions. Racism lives within all of us. Your active allyship work begins with letting this realization sink in, and then taking steps towards becoming anti-racist.”

5. “Put our colonial history on the curriculum – then we’ll understand who we really are“. Related: a petition to make Britain’s colonial past part of the curriculum.

6. How you can support black people today, tomorrow, and forever – an incredibly comprehensive list compiled from a UK perspective of organisations to donate to, petitions to sign, charities to support, and books to read.

7. Do the work: an anti-racist reading list

8. How to create a budget for anti-racist activism.

9. I’ve shared the Hot Take podcast before by Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt, but I’ll share this intersectional, race-forward, critical, but constructive look at climate coverage again as it’s so good. The podcast is funded by direct subscriptions from years – you can sign up here, and you’ll also receive bonus episodes and subscriber-only posts, as well as other perks.

10. Rachel Cargle has written on reminding modern white feminists of their relationship with black women throughout history, which I found to be an uncomfortable but essential read. If you too found this useful you can support Rachel and her work through Paypal.

ps: depending on where you are reading this article you may see a box at the bottom saying that you can support this site’s running costs. I urge you instead of donating to me, to please donate to one of the black rights organisations listed in this article instead or the educators listed above.

pps: catch up on the last Ten Things post here, in case you missed it.