Crumbs of Comfort

November 1st, 2019

I’ve been ill this week, so I aim to keep this post short, and as sweet as possible to cheer me – though of course other stuff outweighs the positive generally, in this sad subject….

Two wins have been made for bees – under pressure from SumOfUs members (including me!), the EU has banned chemical company Bayer’s toxic pesticide Thiacloprid. Bees and farm workers will now be safe from the cancer-linked insect-harming chemical.

And a huge majority of MEPs rejected weak EU plans to protect bees from harmful pesticides generally – it is hoped that new ‘Bee Guidance’ standards will now be considered.

Bees are so fundamentally important – even that cartoon film ages ago (2007 to be precise), Bee Movie, recognised that!

The number of seals living in the Thames estuary has increased – the Zoological Society of London has announced that 138 new harbour and grey seal pups have been born, suggesting the once ‘biologically dead’ river is now healthy once again.

And the population of grey seals around the Faroe Islands has also increased this year. I came across an interesting article about that place, written by Lise Lyck from Copenhagen Business School. She doesn’t mention their annual whale killing tradition/blood bath….So weird…

Back to the optimism now – British battery pioneers plane to build Europe’s largest energy storage project, using a ‘cryogenic battery’ that can store renewable energy for weeks rather than hours.

The battery will be built on the site of an old fossil fuel power plant in the north of England, to power up to 50,000 homes for five hours at a time.

It will use renewable electricity to chill air to -196C, transforming it into a liquid that can be stored inside large tanks. Then when renewable electricity levels are low the liquid can be turned back into gas, which is used to generate electricity but without burning the gas and releasing emissions.

Good luck to Javier Cavada and Highview Power – that’s what we need, imaginative initiatives.

More good news! 300 MPs have called on their pension fund to drop fossil fuel investments.

Following two and a half years of grassroots organising, MPs from every political party in the UK have backed the Divest Parliament Campaign – 

I don’t really know where Caroline Lucas, who started the campaign five years ago, gets her continued optimism and drive from – thank goodness, anyway…

By the way, Volvo did confirm they intend to do all those good things! Even if, of course, there’s an element of glossing involved, it is such a more impressive, conscientious carmaker than General Motors (headed by a woman, Mary Barra, whose office has never bothered to answer me), Toyota and Fiat Chrysler who are siding with President Trump’s disastrous moves to reverse climate protection laws… I wish we didn’t drive a Fiat (however cute it is, and individually ‘low emissions’). Don’t support these companies!

The news that electric cars will carry green number plates, meaning they are entitled to free parking, is good; but most of us still can’t afford electric cars (and some companies are clearly resisting making them…) The manageable starting point is to buy less petrol… surely…? 

Finally, check out www.ecohustler.com – ‘Vote now for the world we want’, by Howard Johns, written on my son’s birthday, October 30th. SO GOOD, EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ IT!

The Green New Deal is what we all need to strive for – delivered by whoever has vision, commitment and courage.

Now I’ve just come across a BBC series called Me vs Climate Change – young woman Swarzy Macaly covers fashion, food, phones and showers, making a difference. Interestingly, she introduces her project as a personal one (and for ‘anyone else who wants to’), rejecting the protest movement because ‘no one looked like me or my family’. Mm, work to be done….

I wonder what she thinks about voting….

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