Holding on #4

October 17th, 2020

A new campaign has been launched, in a bid to persuade more of us to change behaviour, in the fight against climate change – it’s called ‘Count us In’.

It highlights 16 steps that we can all take to help reduce carbon emissions. As well as the usual steps such as cutting down on car use, flights and meat, it includes asking politicians to act or invest to support the steps, choosing financial institutions and funds that invest responsibly and talking to friends (& speaking up at work). These three ‘extra’ steps are my ‘mission’ here really…

HSBC (who also own First Direct) is one of the ‘Count us In’ partners, apparently – I’ve written to them, not sure how ethical and responsible they really are…?

Some climate campaigners have dismissed the new group, feeling it is shifting responsibility on to ‘ordinary people’, away from the actual polluters.

I can sympathise with that view (big organisations should certainly not get away with environmental destruction by hiding behind ‘greenwashing’), but I do believe we could all change the actions of the powerful – by withdrawing our support….

Of course that’s a terrible over-simplification, but the bottom line is surely that ‘business as usual’ continues because people support it. It’s particularly hard at the moment, of course, as during the pandemic we’re desperate for some usual/normal in our lives. Life could be better than the ‘old normal’ though…. And we need to prevent future pandemics – they’re more likely to happen if we return to the ‘old normal’.

I think I should stop rambling, but please check out the Count us In (count-us-in.org) website – we really can make changes if we all pull together! 

If not us, who?

If not now, when?

This week has been quite depressing on the Farming and Fisheries front – our deeply disappointing government has voted against preserving in law safeguarding British food and farming trade standards; and post-Brexit protections against over-fishing have also been rejected.

How can supertrawlers in marine protected areas be justified? So wrong. Where was Carrie Symonds’ influence? Boris Johnson’s partner paradoxically works for Oceana, the organisation that is trying to protect oceans, as I might have mentioned before….

Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy’s amendment to the Agriculture Bill, about pesticides, was not even ‘brought to a vote’.

One glimmer of light is that the organisation Sustain (the alliance for better food and farming) believes the Government and MPs are worried by the level of public concern and media coverage – so it is asking us to write to our MPs in support of #SaveOurStandards and #BackBritishFarming. Do you remember Boris Johnson wearing a sheaf of wheat badge on National Farmers Day?! So ironic….

Apparently, another irony, while the Agriculture Bill was being debated, Channel Four was exposing the ‘Dirty Secrets of American Food’ – it should be required viewing by MPs, hoping that some might be ‘on the fence’ and change their minds…important to hope…

I need some cheerfulness now!

Idris Elba and his wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, have said individuals can make a difference in tackling climate change. They are ambassadors for the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development. Some of IFAD’s projects aim to make food production more resilient to the impacts of climate change. They are piloting climate adaption technologies such as rainwater harvesting and supplementary irrigation. Idris Elba particularly focused on education – he urged people to read about what is happening in the world, how we are damaging it: “Each one, teach one: the next person’s going to learn something.”

They were talking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s new podcast with Liz Bonnin (who made that amazing, deeply disturbing documentary ‘Meat’ and who I saw on stage, telling us about plastic…) – ‘What Planet are we on?’ Each week this is ‘offering solutions and practical tips as well as hearing from experts, campaigners and well-known names.’

A couple of other good things: two young sisters, Jia and Asha Kirkpatrick, have been awarded as ‘Young Heroes’ (Amplifon Awards 2020, alongside Marcus Rashford) for their work in lobbying Kellogg’s to reject palm oil from deforested areas, in order to protect orang-utans.

And ‘Sound and Music’, the national organisation for new music, has announced Climate.Sound.Change – 3 x £500 grants for artists working with sound and music to create new works that respond to the climate emergency. A minimum of one of the grants is reserved for a young person aged 16-21. Works can be created either solo or with collaborators of your choice. The opportunity is intentionally open, and it can be broad; or focused on areas that might include mass production, pollution, disability, access to water, global warming, indigenous rights, racial justice, class discrimination, environmental refugees and displacement, biodiversity loss, specific regional issues.

For more information, contact heather.blair@soundandmusic.org 

If you have accessibility needs and require additional support for applying contact alex.noble@soundandmusic.org

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