In the news this week:
.. a couple of protests and plans for a further crackdown on protesters. Could there be yet another government U-turn, this time in favour of sustainability? There is a video you should see and I'll tell you about upcoming interviews planned for the next few months. Finally, what is sustainability anyway?
Two climate-related protests made the headlines this week in the UK and caused anger across the media. The first was an attack on van Gogh's sunflowers in the National Gallery when Just Stop Oil activists threw tomato soup over it. The second started in Harrods food hall but was copied elsewhere in the United Kingdom when protesters emptied milk across the floor calling for everyone to abandon meat and dairy and adopt a plant-based diet.
I have no problem with the tomato soup, but I don't support the spilt milk. Van Gogh's sunflowers were protected with glass and I'm sure the protesters knew that. There was apparently slight damage to the frame, but that's hardly important. Just Stop Oil got publicity, which is what it's all about. So well done.
The milk protest, on the other hand, must go down as seriously misjudged. Protesting about food and destroying food just don't go together. And wasting food when people are struggling with rising costs and many rely on food banks is totally crass. Added to that is that it falls to some of the poorest in society, the cleaners, to clear it all up. One bad protest can destroy the reputation of an organisation for good, or at least for a very long time.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act came into force in the United Kingdom at the end of April, giving the police wider powers to decide what was an illegal protest, enabling them to disperse or arrest demonstrators.
Public Order Bill
At the time it was considered Draconian, but the new Home Secretary intends to go further. Campaign group 38 degrees says:
“The Government’s new Public Order Bill would allow police to put innocent people on electronic ankle tags and ban them from attending marches and demonstrations.
“Campaigners and people who want to attend a protest need not have ever committed any offence in order to be given a so-called “protest banning order” by the police.
“Under this new anti-protest law, the police will be given powers to monitor campaigners using electronic GPS tags, restrict their internet activities and prevent them from attending protests. These are some of the most disturbing and anti-democratic police powers introduced in the UK for decades.
“After the shocking police behaviour towards grieving women at the Clapham vigil for Sarah Everard, we fear these ankle tags could entail serious abuse. There is no place for police monitoring and oppression of people simply campaigning for change.
“These extreme police powers would be controversial in Russia and China – we cannot allow them in a democratic country like the UK. If thousands of us sign this petition, we can make Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Liz Truss drop these dangerous new powers.”
You'll find a link to the petition on the Sustainable Futures Report website.
You are no doubt aware that there is a certain degree of indecision within the UK government at present. It appears that all recent decisions are now on the table for review, which means that they can be reversed. I'm not going to comment in any detail because you can find information all over the media, and after all it seems to change hour by hour.
One thing perhaps that could be changed is the prime minister's advice to King Charles when she told him he really ought not to go to COP27 in November and make a speech. I hope that's one U-turn that will be added to the pile, not because he's King Charles, but because he is a committed environmentalist and like it or not many people around the world will listen to what he has to say. Britain needs to take a lead on this, especially after worrying reports about the upcoming G20 meeting. People are saying that globalisation is beginning to fragment as individual countries look to their own interests. The only way we will successfully tackle the climate emergency is with consensus at the global level.
From Seed to Seed
Hank Dearden tells me about a documentary film called From Seed to Seed which chronicles a year on a farm managed without chemicals. It’s available on demand online, but only from Friday 4th November to Sunday 6th November. Hank asks for a contribution of $10 and in turn his organisation Forest Planet plants 50 trees. Here’s the link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-demand-film-screening-from-seed-to-seed-tickets-399700283307
We’ll hear from Hank Dearden about the work of Forest Planet on the Sustainable Futures Report after Christmas. Between now and Christmas Shubhi Sachan tells us about The Material Library of India, Daan Luining of Meatable explains how cultured meat is produced and we hear about Zero Waste from Stacy Savage, the Texas Trash Talker. Steve Long is a Fellow of the Royal Society and leader of the RIPE project at the University of Illinois. That’s Realising Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency. His objective is to produce crop plants that can stand up to the extremes of weather resulting from the climate crisis. Clarke Murphy talks to us about Sustainable Leadership in business and Peter Wand Hjemdah of rePurpose describes plastic removal solutions.
After Christmas we’ll hear from Hank Dearden of Forest Planet, Paul Hughes of Shift explains the use of batteries in a marine environment and I talk to Solo Ocean Sailor Leonardo Zangrando whose One and Ocean project supports Ocean Sustainability.
Other interviews are scheduled and I will continue to bring you bulletins of the latest sustainability news.
What is sustainability?
It’s always useful to remind ourselves.
A study conducted by drinking straw experts Drinking-Straw.com analysed which questions about sustainability are the most asked on the web based on search levels for the word. They say:
““What is sustainability” is by far the most asked question, with 58,000 average monthly searches.
“So indeed, what is the definition of sustainability?
“Simply put, sustainability is the avoidance of depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Another way to put it is that sustainability is the need to fulfil this generation’s needs without compromising the needs of future ones, while ensuring economic growth, social care and well-being.”
I think we can agree with that. The report continues:
“Second on the list with 11,700 average monthly searches is “why is sustainability important?”
“The answer to this question is among the easiest ones, as it all comes down to improving quality of life for both humans and nature, protecting ecosystems and preserving natural resources for future generations.
“Sustainable choices are essential to preserve life as we know it, otherwise there will be huge impacts on humans, animals, and the environment we all live in.
“A more specific question, “why is the issue of sustainability important for development” is third with 8,000 average monthly searches.
“This question links directly with the first two: as sustainability is all about preserving resources and the environment, it means that there must be enough of these assets for future generations to use, in order to develop even further.
“Further down, “what is sustainability in business” is fourth with 6,600 monthly searches.
“It all comes down to running a business the sustainable way: meaning that your actions as a company shouldn’t harm or negatively impact the environment, communities, or society as a whole.
“The top five closes with yet another specific question which receives 6,200 average monthly searches: “what is a recent trend relating to sustainability worldwide”.
“Depending on when this question is searched, the answers might be very different and they will continue to change, as trends come and go. As of September 2022, there are various trends that can be cited, such as the emergence of sustainable cryptocurrencies or the negative impact that greenwashed ads can have on the environment.”
Drinking-Straw.com, describes itself as a specialist in drinking straws in France and Europe that offers a very wide range of reusable, disposable, edible, biodegradable or ecological drinking straws for events, bars, restaurants or goodies. They are clearly playing their part.
All good stuff. Let’s contemplate how we can persuade the world to take action as we sip our cocktails through ecological straws.
Before I leave you let me tell you about a podcast which I have recently appeared on. It's called Wake the Feck Up, or something like that, with Lori Hoover.
There’s a link below and I'm talking about sustainability.
That's it for this week.
Thanks for listening and a special thanks for being a patron if you are. If you're not, you can find all details of becoming a patron at patreon.com/SFR. A small monthly contribution helps me keep this podcast independent and ad-free.
There’s another episode next week.
Until then I'm Anthony Day.
That was the Sustainable Futures Report.
Bye for now.
Tagging Protesters - petition
From Seed to Seed
What is sustainability?
I’m on a podcast: Wake the f*ck up
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