ten things

weekend links

Ten Things

peaches come from a can they were put there by a man in a factory down town

Man alive, it’s been hot. Unless you’ve been living in an actual cave, you’ll know that temperature records were set this week across western Europe. We will no doubt have to get used to temperature records, and other extreme weather records, being smashed on a regular basis. I’ve been finding this climate mood flow chart useful – do something!

What has your ‘something’ been this week? I emailed my local MP using this handy template from Mothers Rise Up. In case you missed it, our new Environment Minister backs fracking so we need public pressure on our MPs to prioritise action on climate change.

This week’s links:

1. 12 Years to Save the Planet? Critical decisions must be made within the next 18 months.

2. Carbon offsetting schemes aren’t working.

3. The world is literally on fire – so why is it business as usual for politicians?

We need to significantly change our behaviour and, even more importantly, overhaul our economic system. After all, only 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. You know all this already; we all do. But our politicians still are not taking meaningful action. Capitalism is carrying on with business as usual. The world is literally on fire – and it feels as though we are fiddling with paper straws while it burns”.

4. Environmentalism is a black issue.

We live in pollution, play around it, work for it and pray against it. Hell, we even sing about it. Black women are everyday environmentalists; we just don’t get the headlines too often.

Rarely do we see or hear black voices as part of national conversations about policy solutions, the green economy or clean energy. We’re relegated to providing a comment on environmental justice issues like the water crisis in Flint; or we’re the faces in the photos when candidates need to show that they’re inclusive when talking about climate solutions.

5. Those who look for climate change-related information on YouTube are more likely to stumble upon conspiracy theories than real science.

6. I love this approach to stop hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada, where animals like black bears, wolves and cougars can still be legally killed as trophies – a conservation group is buying up all the licenses.

The ultimate goal of Raincoast is to buy all commercial hunting licences in the 64,000 square kilometres of the Great Bear Rainforest, so the area will be protected not only from trophy hunters, but also political whims. In 2002, for instance, the Liberal government scrapped the short-lived ban on grizzly hunting brought in by the former NDP government.

The organization also hopes that, by eliminating the need for governments to compensate tenure holders, it will remove a major disincentive to restrict trophy hunting of other species.

However, everything depends on Raincoast’s capacity to fundraise and, unless there is a massive cash donation, not all offers to sell tenures can be immediately accepted“.

7. Why the lawnmower must die.

It does not make sense for rich countries to demand that less developed countries in the Global South keep their forests standing when we are importing agricultural commodities from them that we could have grown ourselves locally but chose not to because of our love of ornamental little patches of grass. The crops they grow for our markets replace the forests we need to sustain life on Earth.

Vegetable patches, allotments, orchards and all forms of regenerative agriculture provide much more habitat for wild species like endangered butterflies and hedgehogs then do lawns whilst also massively reducing the ecological impact of food production. An effective response to global ecological breakdown requires us to change the way we use land, not just in distant, exotic places, but also immediately around where we live”.

8. I’m an ordinary person who joined an Extinction Rebellion blockade. Here’s why you should too.

I am an ordinary mid-career professional. I work a nine-to-five job in the city, and I’m well respected and growing in my career. I have never broken the law. And recently, I joined Extinction Rebellion, blockading traffic.

I have never done anything like this before. It was way out of my comfort zone, and I felt like vomiting at the idea. But climate change makes me want to vomit even more. I am a scientist, and I can say with confidence: the science is absolutely terrifying. So I went“.

9. Zara’s quest for sustainability reveals the limits of fast fashion.

10. Finally, a reminder that the most sustainable thing is the thing you already own.


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weekend links

Ten Things

bird plate

Hello! How’s it going? This week I took my kids berry picking at a local pick your own farm and they had the most fun. It kept my kids entertained, and we took home punnets of plastic-free locally grown fruit. Double win! My biggest problem was trying to stop my youngest from eating the fruit as she picked it…!

This week’s links:

1. Almost 30,000 species face extinction because of human activity mainly due to overfishing, hunting, land development, and poor agricultural practices.

2. Skipping a flight might not save the Arctic, but it means you care.

The way we’re fighting global heating… unknowingly embodies the belief system that caused it in the first place. Locked in a “war mentality”, focused on fear-based appeals about the need to avert catastrophe in order to save our species, we’re being as instrumentalist as any corporate polluter, trying to manipulate the world to our ends, treating nature as a “thing”, separate from ourselves, that we need to control. Eisenstein argues for a “deeper revolution”, in which we understand that we are nature. Everything is. And one consequence is to realise that the standard question we ask about climate-related lifestyle changes – “What direct and measurable difference am I making?” – might not be the right one“.

3. Midwestern farmers’ struggles with extreme weather are visible from space. Corn and soybean have been worst affected by unprecedented heavy rain in the US.

4. We went to the moon. Why can’t we solve climate change?

Fifty years after humans first left bootprints in the lunar dust… why not do it all over again — but instead of going to another astronomical body and planting a flag, why not save our own planet? Why not face it with the kind of inspiration that John F. Kennedy projected when he stood up at Rice University in 1962 and said “We choose to go to the moon,” and to do such things “ … not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win …”

5. Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered plastic item in the world (yup, cigarette butts are plastic) with a staggering 4.5 trillion being littered each year.

Now, as well as the plastic problem, it’s been found that the butts are causing serious damage to the environment by impacting on plant growth. In areas where cigarette butt littering is prevalent, scientists have found that plants have significantly reduced germination and growth rates.

6. For the first time ever, scientists have identified how many trees to plant and where to plant them to help stop our climate crisis.

7. Related: Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades, which in turn has created 18,000 jobs and indirectly supports a further 30,000. This was the story I needed to read right now – studies have shown that tree planting is the number one way to help reduce the impacts of climate change and it’s great to see it being done in a way that is simultaneously benefiting the local communities.

I’m hoping we can do the same in Scotland. When we talk about deforestation, we mostly think of tropical rainforests, but it has happened world wide. Here in Scotland shamefully only 5% of Scotland’s Caledonia Forest remains – Scotland’s rainforest. I donate monthly to Trees for Life, who are helping to restore this particular forest. If you are in a financial position to do so please consider financially supporting local reforestation projects. If you’re not, sharing the work that these projects are doing with your friends and family is also a huge help, to help raise awareness.

8. Did you know the UN offers a Climate Change Teacher Academy for teachers, providing free training for primary and secondary school teachers? This arms them with the knowledge they need to introduce climate change into other parts of the curriculum. This article on the first batch of UK teachers to graduate from the programme was a great read. Do share with any teacher friends!

9. What went right in the world between January and June. So much goodness in there.

10. Finally, Jamaica’s answer to tackling beach rubbish is certainly novel!

That’s it for now – enjoy your weekend!