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Hope is contagious

In a dialogue between Greta Thunberg (a young climate change activist) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (US Congress) published in the Guardian on 29 June they agreed that –

  • many people were unaware of the climate crisis
  • there was a need to act now
  • even small changes in energy usage by each person could make a difference

In response to the query why young people have been so powerful and persuasive on the issue of climate change, Greta simply replied “because our future is at risk – why should we study for a future that no longer exists”.
Alexandria considered hope in limiting climate change as “ something you create with your actions. Hope is something you have to manifest into the world and once one person has hope, it can be contagious and other people starting acting in a similar way. Greta replied “that I know so many people who feel hopeless and they ask me ‘what should I do’ and I reply ‘act - do something.’

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/environment
No one is too small to make a difference by Greta Thunberg (Penguin, London) 2019

Climate apartheid protects rich

The world is increasingly at risk of ‘climate apartheid’ where the rich can afford to escape heat and hunger caused by an escalating climate crisis while the rest of the world suffers” according to Philip Alsthon, UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. “Moreover the impact of global warming is likely to undermine not only basic rights to life, but also for many people (access to) democracy and the rule of the law”.

He presented his report to the UN’s Human Rights Council on 28 June in Geneva and stated that “ the greatest impact would be on those living in poverty with many losing access to adequate food and water. Climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health and poverty reduction”.

He added that “even if the 2015 Paris accord on limiting climate change is realised, it still leaves the world on course for a catastrophic 30 C of heating without further action”.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/25/climate-apartheid-united-nations-expert-says-human-rights-may-not-survive-crisis

This report updates the plea of the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mary Robinson, in 2015 in the 8th Grantham Lecture who called for ‘climate justice’ and explained that under article 28 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, “every country has a right to exist”.

https://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Global climate emergency – Pope Francis’s plea

Pope Francis has declared a global climate change emergency, warning of the dangers of global warming and that a failure to limit the average global temperature rise to 1.50C would be - “a brutual act of injustice towards the poor and future generations which stand to inherit a world greatly different to what our present generation enjoy. Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the cost of our generation’s irresponsibility”.

The pope’s plea was addressed to the leaders of some of the world’s largest oil company executives in the Vatican. He impressed upon them the urgency and scale of the challenge and the central role that they could play in tackling the emission’s crisis.
[Guardian newspaper 15/06/2019]


Deforestation continues of world’s forests – analysis by Greenpeace

Greenpeace have analysed the amount of forests that have been cleared over the past 10 years. This clearing has been undertaken to increase the area available for growing soya beans and palm oil, to manufacture paper and wood pulp and to feed cattle. They point out that not only does clearance reduce carbon dioxide captured by trees, but also the CO2 emissions associated with the disposal of this wood. By 2020 some 50 million hectacres are likely to have been destroyed, equivalent to twice the area of the United Kingdom.

Greenpeace called upon members of the Consumer Goods Forum to renew their pledge only to obtain such products through sustainable sources.
[Guardian newspaper 11/06/2019]

Cleaning up the UK’s nuclear power stations will be very costly

Nuclear power has helped to initiate the transition from fossil fuel generation to renewable energy sources. However in the UK their operation has resulted in the accumulation of 4.9 million tonnes of nuclear waste. Safe disposal of this waste using current technology will take 120 years and a total cost estimated at £234 billion.

Many of these nuclear reactors were not designed to be easily decommissioned. Not was much thought given as to how the nuclear waste, much of which is highly radioactive could be safely managed until the radioactivity had died.

The advantages of renewable energy sources like photovoltaic cells or wind turbines is that they are not radioactive. In addition these sources can be renewed by replacing the solar panels or reblading the turbines so that their life time cost is very much lower than that of nuclear power.
[Eureka magazine June 2019 p12-16]

Young people are fighting for our future but we need your help

Greta Thunberg and her collaborators have called for a week of climate action starting Friday 20 September with a world wide strike for climate action. The idea is that “we should walk out of our work places and homes to spend the day demanding action on the climate crisis, the greatest existential threat that all of us face”

In her article in the Guardian on Friday, May 24, Greta wrote –“ Last year’s UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on global warming was clear about the unprecedented dangers of going beyond 1.5 C of global heating. Emissions must drop rapidly so that by the time we are in our mid- and late-20s, we are living in a completely transformed world. But to change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we have shown that collective action does work”.

Decline in biodiversity ‘threatens food crisis’

The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity according to the first UN study of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that help to put meals on our plates.

This stark warning was issued by the Food and Agricultural Organisation after scientists found evidence that that the natural support systems underpinning the human diet are deteriorating globally as farms, cities and factories convert land to social use and a range of pollutants are emitted which interfere with world wide food web.

Over the past two decades the report noted about 20% of the Earth’s vegetated surface became less productive.

Reference-The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture-https://www.fao.org/state-of-biodiversity-for-food-agriculture/en


Biodiversity and Ecosystem services

This Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform has recently published its first report to answer questions like “what are humans doing to the world’s species, its biodiversity, its ecosystems and its natural resources and what are the consequences for human life as well as the natural world”.

Its findings include that at least one million species are at risk of extinction and nearly one third of the world’s coral reefs and more than one third of marine mammals are also threatened. For domesticated plants and animals, the lack of biodiversity in genes is providing les protection against diseases and fewer options for breeding plants and animals that will be better adapted to a changing climate.

Reference-Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services-https://www.ipbes.net/

Scouts for SDGs

The World Scout Movement hosted an event at the United Nations headquarters in November 2018 to launch Scouts for SDGs – a mobilisation of 50 million Scouts to make the world’s largest coordinated youth contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. 

Scouting has made an extraordinary contribution over the years to improve the sustainability of our planet, promote peace, and tackle inequality. Earlier this year Scouts surpassed an incredible milestone by giving more than one billion hours towards sustainable development through local projects under World Scouting’s programmes, including the flagship Messengers of Peace initiative.

Now, as a global Movement, Scouting is taking that commitment one step further with Scouts for SDGs. By 2030, this unprecedented activation aims to engage 50 million young people in a coordinated effort to deliver two million local projects and an additional three billion hours of service for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Scouts for SDGs features a newly launched online SDG hub and a range of resources to support National Scout Organizations to raise awareness and take action for the SDGs. The initiative also leverages financial and in-kind contributions from the World Scout Foundation and a wide network of partners, including United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, to support local projects led by Scouts.

For further information consult www.sgs.scouts.org. Inspire others by sharing your project!


 

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