ten things

weekend links

Ten Things

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.

This week’s links:

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!


weekend links

Ten Things

Hello there! This week I have been enjoying the video of the lady in the red raincoat in 1977. So fascinating! I’ve also been enjoying this Facebook group – terrible art in charity shops – so good in every way! But without further ado, on to this week’s environmental news.

This week’s links:

1. It’s official, July was the hottest month in human history.

In cities and towns around the world, record high temperatures outpaced record low temperatures on nearly a 3-to-1 basis during July, underscoring the fact that this crisis is being felt almost everywhere, by almost everyone.

But there’s an added madness to this crisis. In its annual Statistical Review of World Energy released a few weeks ago, the global oil giant BP confirmed that in 2018 the world burned the most fossil fuels of any year in history. In short: Our addiction to fossil fuels is getting worse and worse even as the planet gets hotter and hotter”.

2. This week Greenland lost 11 billion tons of surface ice. In one day. This caused sea levels to rise by 0.5mm. In one day. Temperatures are currently up to 9C above the 1981 to 2010 average, and it may be the second-largest melt event – in terms of surface area of melt – since records began in the 1950s.

3. Ethiopians planted 350 million trees. In 12 hours.

4. Government intervention works – plastic bag sales fell by 90% in the four years since the 5p plastic bag charge was introduced in England.

5. Fossil fuels are becoming a toxic market – BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager and the single largest investor in the global coal industry, has lost $90bn investing in fossil fuel companies. What a crying shame. Let’s get the violins out for them, shall we?

6. Three steps to a more diverse green movement.

In 2015, Craig Bennett (Chief of Friends of the Earth) referred to the green movement as a “white, middle class ghetto”. This condemnation of the green movement was widely acknowledged, however, 4 years later, little has changed in the movement to make it more inclusive and relevant to a broader and more diverse variety of people“.

7. “This is the beginning of the end of the beef industry” – alternative meats aren’t going to stay alternative for long, and cattle are looking more and more like stranded assets,

8. “Zero waste swaps I’m not making“. Seconded on the dental and sun care products. See also medication.

9. “It’s grown-ups who are doing this and other grown-ups who are letting it happen” – on why if you want to change the world then talk to kids.

10. I’ll end this week’s post with this article on a vampire tree stump. It’s undead and feasting on other trees. Trees. Infinitely fascinating. Seriously – see also exhibit b and exhibit c and tell me trees don’t fascinate you either.