October 29th, 2020
This post is going to have personal overtones – I’ve just been spending time with my elderly parents.
My mother is admirably committed to the principle of people cutting down on driving – but care-givers of course must be exceptions (as well as being given help to ‘switch up’ to electric vehicles) …
We were clearing out a few things, ‘dead’ batteries included. It might be tempting to put them in the bin, but please don’t! I’ve read an article this week (Damian Carrington in the Guardian) – “zombie batteries” are causing hundreds of fires a year at waste and recycling sites. During collection and processing, according to the Environmental Services Association (Esa), they are likely to be crushed or punctured, causing particularly lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries to ignite or explode, setting fire to other materials. In some cases, this leads to incidents requiring dozens of firefighters and the evacuation of residents, potentially putting lives at risk.
So, take your dead batteries to separate collection points at supermarkets and recycling centres – they contain ‘lots of valuable materials that can be recycled and used to make new things’, a quote from Esa’s new Take Charge campaign. Check it out.
Thinking of fires, on a much larger scale, the enormous devastating wildfires in America are still raging – the latest development is the Silverado Fire that is forcing thousands out of Orange County, California.
We must not forget these horrible reminders of the climate crisis.
Also on an international level (starting in the UK) BP is leading energy companies preparing two major carbon capture projects. I think this is good news – carbon capture and storage is considered vital to the UK’s legally binding target to create a carbon neutral economy by 2050 (I can’t believe that date is still there – too far in the future…). According to the International Energy Agency, it would also be virtually impossible for the world to meet its climate targets without it.
I’m trying to ignore (for my own sanity) the bad news – the oil industry seems to be ‘getting back on its feet’, (this is outrageous and shocking), illustrated this morning by Shell restoring profits for its investors. It makes me feel a bit ill knowing that rich oil-lovers care so little about the future – I’ve appealed to my ‘friend’ Bernard Looney to continue educating them….?! Oil is not the future.
More international bad news (sorry, but it needs acknowledging) – an expedition of scientists has reported that a new source of greenhouse gas (‘sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits) off the East Siberian coast has been triggered.
Returning to my family visit, we bought a sandwich on the way home – ‘not tuna’ and sweetcorn. This seemed a good idea for us – vegetarian/vegan ‘option’. Looking closely, however, it contained both soya and palm oil, neither labelled as ‘sustainably sourced’.
It is so important, I believe, to try to influence ‘the markets’ , by not buying – as I’m sure you know, soya and palm oil are contained in so many food products, and often contribute to deforestation which is fuelling the climate crisis.
Read the labels when shopping!
Now, two pieces of good news to end with – hedgehogs (particularly apt ahead of Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night…watch out for them) are getting more recognition by developers and gardeners, who are including ‘hedgehog highways’ (13cm holes that allow the endangered creatures to move freely between gardens to find food and a mate). Read the positive story about Kirtlington, Oxfordshire, a village brought together by a love of hedgehogs!
And an international parliamentary alliance for the recognition of Ecocide has been formed – time to criminalise those who threaten the planet and the rights of those who are trying to protect it. Indigenous people in the Amazon particularly, including the Waorani, are fighting for survival – land disappearing, in fires intentionally set by multinational corporations for agribusiness profits.
I’m being brief this week – a bit tired after my weekend: at least I think I have contributed to a better future for my parents, even if still struggling for the next generations?!