Lockdown #11

May 26, 2020

  • At 8am on May 18th, more than 2000 pairs of children’s shoes were placed in London’s Trafalgar Square with people holding a banner saying ‘Covid today > Climate tomorrow > Act Now’
  • Extinction Rebellion are calling on the government to act on the climate crisis during the coronavirus recovery so children and young people aren’t left to suffer a deeper crisis
  • Shoes were donated by local neighbours, parents and teachers across London who are scared for their children’s future, with Extinction Rebellion pledging to give them to Shoe Aid following the action
  • The protest comes as UK lockdown begins to ease and the government begins bailing out carbon intensive industries, writing off chances of keeping within Paris Climate Agreement promises
  • A stark reminder to us all – this is about our children and grandchildren, and time is really running out….
  • Talking of stark, I’ve written to ‘my friend’ Chris Stark at the Committee on Climate Change, asking him – has the Climate Assembly UK I reported on last week had links with Extinction Rebellion? One of their/our demands is for a people’s assembly…..It’s so important we all work together – for the common good.

Climate change can still be tackled – but only if people are willing to embrace major shifts in the way we live, a report says, out soon in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

I think I’ve heard that before; but of course it’s worth repeating, and also hopeful. We do need to get on with it, though!

What is new about this report is its statement:

‘The response to the Covid-19 crisis has shown that the public is willing to accept radical change if they consider it necessary.’

And the report adds that government priorities must be re-ordered.

Protecting the planet must become the first duty of all decision-makers, the researchers argue.

The authors, led by Dr Diana Ivanova from Leeds University, urge the public to contribute by adopting the carbon-cutting measures in the report, which is based on an analysis of 7,000 other studies.

Top of their list is living car-free, or, next best, using a battery electric car. Taking one less long-haul flight a year is next – better to stop flying all together of course, but this option is good for families separated across the world (thinking of several friends of mine…).

Switching to renewable energy suppliers is fourth; and insulating your home is sixth, with installing air-source heat pumps eighth. Those last two are too expensive for many people of course, which is why continued pressure needs to be put on government to provide serious help. Fifth is using public transport – to be restored/given a new lease of life, after the fear of being close to people caused by this pandemic…?!….

Finally (well, in seventh place in this list, actually) is switching to a vegan diet. I have doubts that many ‘regular’ people are willing to  do this; but eating no/less meat would be a start, as well as cutting down on dairy produce. So much land in the world is wasted, feeding animals to feed us….

Now, a couple of pieces of good news: 

Beer and soft drinks could soon be sipped from “all-plant” bottles under new plans to turn sustainably grown crops into plastic in partnership with major beverage makers. A biochemicals company in the Netherlands hopes to kickstart investment in a pioneering project to make plastics from plant sugars rather than fossil fuels.

Carlsberg and Coca Cola are backing the project.

Come to think of it, possibly this first piece of news is slightly less than completely good….do we want the land reclaimed from animal farming to be instead used for ‘growing’ plastic….?! Can’t we simply learn to do without plastic bottles?

The second piece of news is definitely good (& concerns Coca Cola’s rival/competitor) – after more than 5 years of campaigning, PepsiCo has changed its palm oil sourcing policy, and agreed to use its influence with other companies to end rainforest destruction and human rights abuses. PepsiCo is the world’s second-largest food and beverage company, producing so many snacks (including Doritos…label reading is so important!). So we/Sum of Us (with our petitioning & campaigning) has managed to persuade a huge company to ditch its destructive ways.

Deforestation is a huge problem, for the planet and for orang-utans….

(sorry, I couldn’t get rid of the bullet points from that first XR extract…etc..)

2 thoughts on “Lockdown #11

  1. I am hopeful that people have learnt and felt empowered by some of the actions they have been able to take because of the pandemic, little things like growing some of your own food in a vegie garden and making your own bread. The uptake in biking is also a great sign. The making alternatives to plastic also had me wondering.


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