weekend links

weekend links

Ten Things


Hiya!  How’s it going? 

My dear 97-year-old grandad moved into a nursing home last year, and earlier this year I inherited the three old chipped Belfast sinks that him and my gran – both keen growers and gardeners – used to grow flowers in. 

We’ve repurposed them for similar ends – this week we finally got them into position (they’re incredibly heavy!) and have planted some radish and kale seeds in two of them, and another sink is destined to grow herbs in.  I’m sure my grandad would appreciate their new life.  He’s a little confused, and won’t remember the sinks, but I’m looking forward to telling him what vegetables we’re growing when I see him next.  That will give him joy.

This week’s links

1.  Scientists studying climate change expected layers of permafrost in the Canadian Arctic to melt by the year 2090.  Instead, it’s happening now.  

2.  You can’t make this up: the CEO of one of the world’s biggest polluters – Shell – has urged consumers to eat more seasonal food and work harder on their recycling. Shell, the same company that knew in the 1980s the climate damage they were doing and fully understood the consequences and chose to accept those risks on our behalf, at our expense, and without our knowledge.  But yes, WE need to work harder on our recycling. Brilliant.

3.  What the sustainable movement is missing about privilege.

4.  The problem with “sustainable” palm oil: the labeling and certification hide the fact that indigenous peoples find themselves dispossessed or displaced by agribusiness.

5.  “Extinction Rebellion tactics are working: it has pierced the bubble of denial“.

Instead of flatly explaining that sea levels will rise, diseases will spread and crops will fail, it has made it clear this is about our children and us. It has expressed grief for our kids, for wildlife, for nature and fear at the degrading of the systems that keep us alive. Paradoxically, by stating the terrible truth, it has created authentic hope for the first time“.

6.  Understanding climate change deniers.

7.  These portraits of rescued farm animals allowed to grow old are incredibly touching.

It’s a profound thing to see these creatures living out their lives, as every animal should have the right to do. Some human animals may want to eat non-human animals, but factory farming is a barbaric way to go about it. Allowed to Grow Old opens a window into possibilities that most of don’t think to imagine: What would that cheap, supermarket chicken have become if given the chance?

8.  What happens to our recycling.

9.  Related: have you been misled by the green dot?

10. Finally, a shop in Vancouver is trying to embarrass customers into remembering their reusable bags.  The only thing is, it’s backfired.    


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weekend links

Ten Things

Hello! Having a good weekend? I’ve had a busy one at work – evening and weekends this week – so I’m just going to jump straight in if you don’t mind me:

This week’s links:

1. New Zealand has just abandoned economic growth or other growth indicators as a political priority, in favour of well-being. Billions of pounds will be spent on mental health services, child poverty, homelessness and domestic violence.

This is absolutely huge news. In the UK we are pursuing economic growth at all cost – economic growth is used as a justification for everything, from additional runways to increased road building. Meanwhile the Government are pushing wellbeing further and further down the agenda. Neither of these aspects are in any way sustainable, and we could learn a huge amount from New Zealand’s lead on this.

2. What do the plastics and climate crises have in common? The same someone profiting from the status quo.

Whether it be the fossil fuel industry or the broader petrochemical industry, the corporations profiting from the problem have been reluctant to envision a future where they could profit, instead, from the solutions to the problem.

While governments, various private-sector actors and private citizens have joined forces in an effort to find alternatives to single-use, plastics manufacturers have been largely AWOL. In fact, they’re increasing production“.

3. That status quo is clearly hurting poorer communities. This week it has been reported that Malaysia is to return 3,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste to the countries that sent it there, including the UK, after being deluged with so much waste that their recycling systems have been overwhelmed. Rubbish has often been dumped or discarded, only to end up as marine litter.

The environment minister, Yeo Bee Yin, said that “garbage is traded under the pretext of recycling [and] Malaysians are forced to suffer poor air quality due to open burning of plastics which leads to health hazard, polluted rivers, illegal landfills and a host of other related problems.”

4. Every protest shifts the world’s balance. An eloquent reminder on why our actions matter.

People taking such stands have changed the world over and over, toppled regimes, won rights, terrified tyrants, stopped pipelines and deforestation and dams. They go far further back… to the great revolutions of France and then of Haiti against France and back before that to peasant uprisings and indigenous resistance in Africa and the Americas to colonisation and enslavement and to countless acts of resistance on all scales that were never recorded“.

5. Britain has now gone two weeks without coal.

6. Mexico has a new environment minister, and I like the cut of his jib.

“Human beings are not responsible for global warming, as superficial environmentalism and uncritical science would like to tell us… The responsible are a parasitic and predatory minority, and that minority has a name: neoliberalism.”

7. After last week’s radical plan to save the planet by working less, here’s a further case for working fewer hours: each bank holiday saves at least 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

8. Supporting this campaign from Which? on Freedom to Pay, which highlights the many people and industries that are affected by a society moving away from cash payments. 

9. The Indian school that accepts plastic waste instead of school fees.

10. Finally, new podcast alert – Big Closets, Small Planet is a new podcast series that seeks to explore what it will take to transform the fashion industry so that it contributes positively to the lives of people and the health of the planet.

Have a great Sunday!