October 2nd, 2020
As we enter the final quarter of this life-changing year, I am planning a ‘new look’ for my blog.
From the New Year 2021 I intend to concentrate on promoting life-affirming projects by people (individuals, groups, communities, small companies around the world), striving to re-connect us with Nature. To be honest, my heart sinks writing that date – we should be well on the way to avoiding catastrophic global heating by then, but we’re clearly not…
So, I will continue to address the people in power, when I have the energy, and will continue to demonstrate and protest so we are still visible; but on a personal level, I will just write about good stuff here! Please let me know, via these posts, if you know of any projects that would like a little extra recognition….
‘Flock Together’ has gladdened my heart! – a birdwatching club for people of colour, such a great thing. For founders Ollie Olanipekun and Nadeem Perera, it’s about making birdwatching accessible to as many people as possible, especially those who live in urban centres and don’t always grow up with the opportunity to engage with nature in a meaningful way.
A group of young people is appealing to their peers to get engaged in climate issues. Filmmaker Alice Aedy, one of the founders of Earthrise, said: “One of the most dangerous things we are trying to tackle is this idea of ‘Oh, we’re f****d anyway. What’s the point? I’m just going to live my life…. That feeling of powerlessness is something that we are going to dedicate this platform to trying to fight.”
Jack Harries added: “Especially post-Covid the story should be, ‘How do we build back better? How do we build a better world for everyone? How do we make it positive?’ We simply can’t afford to return back to normal.”
I don’t want to be a ‘platform’ for promoting particular ‘brands’ or companies, but of course some are better than others….! The Environmental Investigation Agency has reported that Iceland has issued a ‘plastic challenge’ to rival supermarket chains, urging the UK Government to introduce mandatory reporting and reduction targets. In the lead up to the EIA’s Checking Out on Plastics supermarkets survey, Iceland has revealed its accurate plastic packaging footprint for 2019. (31,000 tonnes, so awful to envisage…..) Inaccurate reporting from the UK retail sector is ‘the norm’, apparently, obstructing meaningful action on plastic pollution. So, Iceland is good for being honest and championing the need for proper reporting. But, such a long way to go….
Another ‘back-handed compliment’ this week will go to Tesco. It has committed to boosting sales of meat alternatives by 300% by 2025. It’s certainly good to know that during the past year demand for chilled meat-free foods (burgers, sausage and mince substitutes being most popular) has increased by almost 50%. The awkward question of course is how many of these ‘lines’ contain soya and/or palm oil from places involved in deforestation…? Hopefully, Tesco is addressing these issues too – they are working with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), at least….to try to halve the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket, they say.
A very timely email has just arrived – Greenpeace have put a really informative (and even entertaining…?!) video on its YouTube channel, about soya. Vast areas of land in South America are being cleared for soya crops. Who’s eating all this soya though? Is it vegans and vegetarians eating soya burgers and drinking soya milk? No, only 6%. Most of it is used as animal feed to produce industrial meat. Search for Greenpeace, or I’ve put the link on Facebook and Twitter – my husband Bill Sanderson’s accounts, as I’ve broken my phone…!
Did you know that Pope Francis called last year for ecocide to be made a ‘fifth category of crimes against peace’ at the International Criminal Court? Maybe your Catholic friends did…
Last month, a special eco-delegation from France (including writer Pablo Servigne and actress Juliette Binoche, with Valerie Cabanes of Stop Ecocide) presented the Pope with a request for him to use his diplomatic and spiritual influence to build on his call. The French delegation apparently witnessed the Pope spontaneously recounting his ‘ecological conversion’. Indigenous elders in the Amazon and Canada helped him see “the way all things connect. Everything is connected, everything is in relationship. In our human societies we have lost this understanding… this sense of roots, of belonging.”
Satish Kumar is an advocate of living in harmony with Nature, too. He believes, and I totally agree, that the worldview that human beings are at the centre of the universe is no longer valid. He says, in his new book (published by Leaping Hare Press, beautiful name!): “We are utterly dependent on other species and we have to take care of them. We are members of one Earth community and need a new trinity that is holistic and inclusive, that embraces the entire planet and all species upon it – soil, soul, society.”
‘Possible’ has won funding to work with communities in London, Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham, building new visions of cities free from private cars; and the campaign group’s solar railways project has secured its first commercial funding, to develop a pipeline of new renewable energy projects in England and Wales.
A few more pieces of good news!
Scotland has invested £1.8m into decommissioning oil and gas infrastructure in the North Sea. And the vast majority of workers affected are looking forward to the switch to green careers, taking money away from fossil fuels.
More than 300 British Olympians and Paralympians have called on the government to prioritise a green recovery.
Lego is switching to eco-friendly paper bags in its packaging.
Dr Jane Goodall and Thomas Mangelsen, both having spent a lifetime immersed in wildlife, will be having ‘A Conservation Conversation’, headlining Wildscreen Festival on Thursday, October 22nd – aiming to continue to bring conservation issues to a wide audience.
Now, earlier this week I was pleased to read about 64 world leaders (including Boris Johnson) signing a Leaders’ Pledge for Nature – committing to put wildlife and the climate at the heart of post-pandemic economic recovery plans, promising to address the climate crisis, deforestation, ecosystem degradation and pollution.
However, this may still be more words, without action; aiming for 2050 is still too late; and ‘key players’ (including the USA and Brazil) still seem oblivious to the crisis BUT there are some seeds for hope here.
The UN’s biodiversity head, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema (whom I quoted a while ago as saying we are handing down a dead planet to future generations), has welcomed the pledge as an ‘inspirational contribution’ to ongoing negotiations.
Finally, one more appeal for you to contact your MP (UK readers…!) – Power for People are campaigning for a new law that would make new community energy businesses viable – at the moment, unfair regulations and high costs mean local energy projects are often impossible to get off the ground.
More than 200 MPs (even Conservatives, thank goodness..) are backing the proposal, for a Local Electricity Bill – please ask your MP to support this too. You can check if he/she is already on the list of supporters, at Possible or Power for People.