So on Tuesday, 23rd September 2014, the UN held a Climate Summit in New York, which was attended by over 100 heads of state and over 800 leaders from business, finance and civil society.
Not my image.
I wrote about the aims of the Summit a couple of weeks ago, but basically it was meant to galvanise political momentum towards the all-important COP-21 meeting in Paris 2015, where a global legally binding climate deal will finally be signed.
These world leaders descended on the UN headquarters just two days after over 600,000 people took part in the largest climate mobilisation in history – hailing from 155 different countries, but with an amazing 300,000 marching in New York.
The New York march. Not my image.
The Summit didn’t produce an agreement or decision. But that’s okay, because it wasn’t planning to. It wasn’t a negotiating session. It consisted of all the leaders giving small speeches, offering pledges and commitments for their country, or at least promising to do so before Paris 2015. Some of the pledges are exciting, but most of it appears to have been simple lip-service. However, the key thing is that the Summit (and the global People’s Climate March) has put climate change firmly back on the agenda. That seems to be what UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon had in mind, which explains why he described it on the website as a resounding success despite many of the national pledges being very vague. Continue reading
Today I went to London for the People’s Climate March, a global mobilisation of people demanding bold climate action, ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York on Tuesday. Over 2,600 events took place around the world today, in 156 different countries.
Even just in terms of organisation and phenomenal use of social media and logistics, that’s a huge achievement. The fact that so many people, from all walks of life and all around the world, could be bothered to spend their Sunday marching and rallying for action on climate change is incredible.
It’s easy to think people don’t care much about this stuff. Apathy is evident everywhere. But today while I was marching in solidarity with thousands of strangers, waving placards and chanting our demand for clean energy, I felt such a sense of shared passion, energy and determination that it was almost overwhelming. Continue reading
Today I spontaneously decided to spend the evening volunteer door-knocking with the Green Party, on their mission to re-elect Caroline Lucas, the UK’s one and only Green MP.
I’ve been wanting to do it for ages, but they always do it on Saturday mornings, when I’m busy carrying dishes of spaghetti around in a tiny Italian restaurant. However now it’s getting closer to election time (well, still 7 months) they’ve started doing it like, everyday. I wasn’t working tonight and my boyfriend was out, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.
I was expecting canvassing to be more than a little soul-destroying, to be honest. I wanted to do it because I admire Caroline so much and desperately want her to be re-elected, but I thought it would be highly unpleasant.
I’m happy to report it was actually painless, verging on fun.
The other volunteers were really lovely people. The team leader had this amazing charisma and energy about her that was just completely contagious. Don’t you just love people like that? And there was another student too, who was the same age as me. It was really nice to meet someone my age who’s as passionate about green politics as me.
Excitingly, and surprisingly for me, Caroline Lucas herself came with us as well. I think it’s so great that she spends her own evenings door-knocking. She’s such a down-to-earth and real person, not like other politicians. And I was really excited to meet her properly because I’ve admired her for ages and really look up to her. I can’t believe she now follows Earth Baby on Twitter!
Here’s a photo of me, Caroline and the other volunteers after our canvassing session.
Me on the far left. Caroline Lucas is the lady in the middle with the white t-shirt.
Did you know there’s a UN Climate Summit in exactly one month?
I have to admit it slipped my mind, and I like to think of myself as in the environmental loop.
I’m not sure what the news coverage has been like in other countries, but in the UK it’s definitely been nowhere near the top of the agenda. I know this because preparations for my dissertation have seen me rifling through the top four serious newspapers of the land for the last couple of weeks. I was looking for articles on sustainable development, in order to analyse how the concept is construed in the news print media. And yet I barely found any.
I wasn’t too surprised. I though to myself, “oh well, what do you expect. Sustainability only comes into the news in a major way when there’s some big event, like the run-up to a UN summit or the aftermath of a natural disaster”.
Only the other night I realised it was the run-up to a big UN summit.
Not my image.
Sustainability is about everyone living well, as far into the future as possible. War is about the most brutish form of conflict resolution we know.
It’s not hard to see how these two things are at odds. War kills people, injures people, rips apart families, communities and whole societies. It destroys critical infrastructure and homes. It also damages land, causes pollution and wastes resources and insane sums of money. Basically, while sustainability aims for a shared, ecologically-feasible and lasting prosperity, war fucks everything up.
You can’t have a sustainable society that is at war. The two cancel each other out.
So, my question is, do we need to first achieve world peace before we can fully get down to sustainability? Continue reading
In dear David Cameron’s so called “reshuffle” of his cabinet, (in preparation for next year’s general election), he appears to have done what we previously thought impossible: made his party even more of a sick joke. Why am I being so harsh? Well, his new environment and energy ministers both oppose green energy. Continue reading
So the results of the European election are out.
…And UKIP won. Labour came a close second, then the Tories, then the Greens, with the Lib Dems being pushed into fifth place.
Apparently this is the first time in 100 years that neither Labour nor the Conservatives have won a UK national election.
But I just can’t believe the majority of voters thought the bigoted neoliberalism-on-steroids party was a good idea. Continue reading
It’s the European elections in twelve days. It’s the UK general election next year.
Politics is really on my mind at the moment. It’s a mixture of excitement at exercising my voting ability for the first time (the last general election was just before my 18th birthday), hope that things may get better after this, and anxiety as UKIP fever sweeps the nation.
Whether it’s misguided praise or spitting rage, everyone seems to be talking about this new extreme-right party, and the BBC have been granting it’s leader an outrageous chunk of airtime. What I’m most baffled about is that, according to the polls, many people are voting for them because they are sick of the traditional parties and want to ”stick to the man”, as it were.
This is ludicrous. Continue reading
You may have read this article I wrote ages ago on lawyer Polly Higgin’s ecocide law. If you thought it was a good idea then there’s something you can do to help it along.
Please sign this petition to ask the European Parliament to “recognise ecocide as a crime”.
They’re aiming to get a million signatories from people all over the world. They’ll ask for your name, nationality and email address. If you really want to be a star you could also share it on your social networks/in day-to-day life.
You can learn more about ecocide and why it should be illegal everywhere here. However the basic idea is that ecocide is the extensive destruction of an ecosystem, to the point where the inhabitants (humans and other species) can no longer flourish. Making ecocide illegal wouldn’t make it illegal to do anything harmful to the environment: it’d just cut out the most serious stuff like cutting down the Amazon, burying large amounts of toxic waste, polluting vital rivers and etc.
Polly Higgins is even campaigning for it to be established as the 5th crime against peace, as it almost was in the 90s. Although big corporations will likely object to the movement, there are a lot of supporters including public figures, organizations and 10 nations already have similar laws.
Please sign the above petition, share it and help make ecocide the crime it clearly is.
Wish 20: End Ecocide by 2020, their copyright.
Great news, everyone.
The Guardian’s live stream tells us the EU Commission has agreed on the climate targets for 2030:
- 40% cut of GHG emissions, from 1990 levels
- At least 27% of energy coming from renewables – binding
- At least 25% improved energy efficiency – non binding
- The EU carbon trading scheme will be reformed Continue reading