The ‘morning’ after….

September 23rd, 2019

That was truly inspiring seeing the young people around the world (fired up, a sad appropriate pun, please forgive me), determined to save the planet.

Visit/support the international movement, 350.org and the UK Student Climate Network if you’d like info about future actions.

Above is my son Will/Gecko, with his home-made placard, on the Westminster Global Climate Strike march. Check out his songs, Got Science and End of the World. 

We need to keep up the pressure. 

Greta Thunberg has today launched a short film, made by Tom Mustill, called Natural Climate Solutions. We really need to get beyond the Fossil Fuels Age – leave the oil in the soil and the coal in the hole.

I’ve talked with First Direct, who we bank with, about divesting from companies that are still drilling and polluting. Waiting to hear from their CEO, 33 year old Joe Gordon!

Also contacted HSBC, loving their ‘we are not an island’ recent advert and hoping this includes responsibility towards the whole world and climate change….Barclays and Lloyds too, telling Antonio Horta-Osorio of the latter that my grandfather was a manager of Lloyds bank in Yorkshire!

Now I’m a grandmother, trying to change the world!

I’ve created (with a little help from my friend/husband) a not-business card, reflecting that we need to change from ‘business as usual’. I hope to pass it round to people I engage with, rather than lecturing them!

There are always so many details to address, aren’t there? 

I’m a vegetarian and would love it if no-one ate meat any more, therefore freeing up land for carbon-capturing trees and crops for ourselves to eat rather than for animals. But I’ve been ‘reining back’ on that ambition, realising that there are still a lot of devoted meat-eaters in the world! Maybe just encourage people to eat no beef, because of the current deforestation crisis in Brazil…. and then I notice the local pub proudly serving beef from its own local herd – surely (if you can overlook the killing, which personally I can’t …) that’s somehow more ethical…? 

But what are those cattle eating? Supermarkets and fast-food chains state their meat is from the UK and Ireland, but it is often fed on soya imported from Brazil.

I talked with a very informed, aware woman at Burger King this morning, who promised to pass on my concern to Head Office. Burger King is one of the biggest fast food companies in the world. It gets tonnes of animal feed to the UK every year to fatten up animals that are turned into burgers. Those last words are from a Greenpeace campaign (tell it like it is!) – they’re asking all of us to call Burger King HQ/Customer Services (03332074208) to request they stop sourcing meat and soya from Brazil until the Amazon and its people are protected.

I hope some of you can do that, please!

I must admit that I’ve been going round & round in circles with them (and I’m not even a Burger King customer…!) – they’ll probably send you a standard email saying they’re waiting for talks with Greenpeace’s Forest Team. If you have the energy, go straight to the CEO – Daniel Schwartz (dschwartz@whopper.com)

I opened my conversation with Burger King by congratulating them on ‘ditching’ the plastic toys they’ve been giving children (probably just wanting to get ahead of McDonalds and ‘Happy Meals’, if I was being cynical) – an environmental concern too, certainly…

Possibly not quite as urgent, but good to start positive…!

That’s quite enough of fast food stuff….!

Back to the more wholesome Guardian – earlier this month, an article had the headline ‘UK can meet climate target without beef cuts, says NFU’. The farmers union reckons British farming can become climate neutral by 2040 without cutting beef production or converting substantial areas of farmland into forest. “We don’t plan to make any cuts”, the president said. The emissions, she argues, can be offset by growing bio fuel. I wonder what Henry Dimbleby thinks of this plan – the co-founder of Leon and the Sustainable Restaurant Association is leading the first major review of the UK food system in nearly 75 years.

He’s investigating the entire food system, from field to fork, to ensure that it delivers safe, healthy, affordable food, regardless of where people live or how much they earn.

He will also look at how we can ensure the system restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation and is a thriving contributor to our urban and rural economies. Large aims….

A new National Food Strategy, incorporating the recommendations from the review, is due to be published next year. I wrote to Henry Dimbleby (I’ve got a cookbook of his…) and he emailed me saying they’d do their best for my grandson, signing off with 3 kisses!

And for the future unborn grandchildren, recently published research has found air pollution particles on the foetal side of placentas, indicating that unborn babies are directly exposed to the black carbon produced by motor traffic and fuel burning.

In a study in 2017, black carbon particles were also found in the urine of primary schoolchildren.

Prof Tim Nawrot said: “It is really difficult to give people practical advice, because everyone has to breathe.

“But what people can do is avoid busy roads as much as possible. There can be very high levels next to busy roads, but just a few metres away can be lower.”

Prof Jonathan Grigg, whose group presented the first report of particles in placentas, added: “We should be protecting foetuses and this is another reminder that we need to get air pollution levels down.”

He kindly said people shouldn’t be totally scared and advised us all to use lower pollution transport options (electric cars, hurry up…!) or public transport rather than cars. That reminds me – I still haven’t heard from Stagecoach: there definitely needs to be a greater ‘drive’ (?!) towards more public transport….

2 thoughts on “The ‘morning’ after….

  1. Love your son’s sign and the not business card, good idea. The whole meat eating thing is a challenge, I live with a committed carnivore and trying to cut down on his red meat consumption is an on going challenge. So many issues associated with eating meet. The whole plastic toy thing has been one of my recent pet peeves but here in Australia we have had a win for common sense. A major supermarket chain here stopped plastic toy give aways after a public backlash and now give away tiny pot plants in recycled cardboard pots. Keep up the good fight, you inspire me.

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  2. Thanks so much, Sharon.
    You keep up the good fight too!
    I hope I’ve succeeded in ‘following’ you – not sure I pressed the right buttons…?!
    The supermarket’s tiny pot plants initiative made me smile…
    Emily x

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