Lena Grobusch talks to us about Europe’s climate change policy and its plans for a green recovery coming out of the corona virus crisis
“The Covid-19 crisis has turned our lives as we knew them upside down, putting our globalized lifestyles into question and rewriting the international agenda. Notably, the pandemic has amplified pre-existing problems, from deep-rooted social inequalities to widespread environmental collapse. Covid-19 has the potential of being a defining tipping point for climate justice and other geopolitics: it has proven that taking rapid action to respond to life-threatening crises is possible across the globe.
As Lise Kingo, the UN chief for sustainable business, has stated in a recent Guardian article, the coronavirus pandemic is “just a fire drill” for what is likely to follow from the climate crisis. Moreover, the protests over racial injustice around the world show the need to tie together social equality, environmental sustainability and health, the UN’s sustainable business chief has said. Still, we see that climate change is not really treated as an urgent crisis compared to COVID-19 and the financial crisis following swiftly after it.
The COVID-19 recovery is a unique chance to carry out a green recovery – and the calls for such a green recovery are becoming louder. Now we need to focus on both ambition and action. The first defines the later, and it is the ambition or goal-setting stage that is most often compromised by other interests. Money is one of the factors that can compromise the moves needed for meaningful change, and there have already been attacks on climate action as a luxury good in the COVID-19 recovery phase. This is highly unfortunate, as a green recovery provides the opportunity to transition to sustainable and resilient societies and economies sooner rather than later. If green investments and green changes are not made now, then we are just postponing the problems to the future – which is problematic given that the climate crisis is a race against time.
If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us one thing, it is that we’re all interconnected and on the same boat – and that all hands are needed on deck to tackle the ongoing crisis and the recovery from it. This is no different for the climate crisis. Solving both crises will only be possible with a holistic approach that integrates justice, human rights and social equality.”
We close off the week with the great team behind Simi Stove. Their goal is to replace polluting biomass burning stoves, with a clean ethanol-based alternative!
"Our goal is to provide families with an affordable, clean-cook solution because we know it will save lives, but the effect of eliminating toxic emissions from the home will play a huge part in preventing climate change and protecting the environment.
Cooking with solid/biomass fuel is sufficiently polluting to affect widespread ambient (outdoor) air pollution levels appreciably and, thus, cause ill health far from the source
Our Simi Stove has been designed to use Ethanol, which eliminates the emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, toxic chemicals, and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and reduces the health-relevant exposure to air pollution, much of which occurs around households, not just indoors.
Moving forward our plans involve the creation of small-scale, farm and village-based Ethanol micro-distilleries in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, where we are operating, to not only provide local families and villagers with clean liquid energy, but also expand their economic opportunities."
From left to right Leigh Hughes (Director, Marketing)
Arshdeep Singh (Country Manger India/Bangladesh)
Sean Satterley (MD, Founder and Inventor of Simi Stove)
An insightful story by Inês De Melo Campelo about the new Lisbon airport controversy and how the tourist industry often comes at odds with goals for sustainability
"Portugal has evolved a lot over the last 5 years; we started to invest more in renewable energy and support environmental NGOs, and we fully support the EU’s Green Deal. In fact, there are many indexes available online monitoring our compliance with our environmental obligations.
However, the country also heavily relies on tourism, which as an industry, often comes at odds with goals for sustainability. Lisbon, specifically, receives the most tourists in the whole of Portugal and is always winning awards as an ideal and safe destination. It is currently trending, it is cheap, and it is getting a lot of hype. Politicians are seizing this opportunity to fill in existing gaps in the tourism industry. As a result, the Lisbon airport is really congested and is currently receiving flights twice its actual capacity; they even built a new terminal serving low-cost airlines. However, the city of Lisbon wants to build a new airport and there are three options as to the location where this will happen, all of them outside the city centre. One of them, at the Montijo military airbase (which will be repurposed to receive commercial flights) would potentially compromise a currently protected reserve area, habitat to various migratory birds.
Even though Portugal has 3 airports already along the coast and another airport in Beja, an additional airport in the interior could be beneficial. At the same time however, the destruction of natural habitats, the transportation fumes and energy required would compromise the country’s green goals. The building of the airport would destroy feeding areas for migratory birds and would also cause many birds to be culled, for air passenger safety.
The building of the new airport has been fiercely protested by civil society and NGOs even though the Portuguese are generally very passive. The future of the airport remains to be seen and even though covid-19 has pushed many such projects to the background, we will very soon have to reckon again with our priorities and commitment to a green exit from the pandemic."
Today we have a story from an amazing zero-waste initiative in France, Association Sekoia:
“We are Sekoia, an association with a zero waste charter, in the region of the south of France where we do our studies. We created it in 2019 in order to address the issue of plastic waste.
So, our (amazing) team approaches shopkeepers to make sure that they apply this charter, we try to see with them can be done and/or improved. And when they do so we give them the Sekoia label. It's a pyramidal label that we intend to extend progressively in France, adapting it to each city!
On top of that we are doing, such as environmental awareness with zero waste workshops, interventions in schools, we are launching our "blog" section to share articles on the environment according to the team members' specialities! And we have new projects in the making...“
Today we share some art from the wonderful and extremely talented artist Jamie W G Ashman, Jamie usually explores anti racist, anti sexist, pro LBGTQI+ ideas and motifs, though has in recent years shifted to more anti-climate change work:
"Entitled: 'Please Stop Climate Change'
All dressed up in Haute Couture, not fast fashion, the models in the paintings are posed (I hope) to appeal to World Politicians and Captains of Industry to help to stop climate change by creating laws about the raw materials and energy used in Industry and domestically to stop the pollution of the oceans and the Earth."
For more anti-climate change art: www.jamieashman.com
Today Grania Cooke discusses the intersections between racism and environmentalism, and how we we cannot fight for environment justice without racial justice:
“In 2016, the BLM movement shut down London City airport in an effort to highlight the inherent racism of the climate crisis. The intersection of racial and environmental justice is not news, but for some reason environmental activists and their groups have been slow to embrace racial justice in their theories of change. Beyond understanding that countries in the Global South are at once the lowest emitters and the most vulnerable to climate change, it is important to remember the role of racism in the world’s maintenance of status quo.
The systems of white supremacy and the institutional racism oppressing black and brown communities are the same systems enabling and feeding the fossil fuel industry. Ensuring the continued marginalisation of indigenous groups and communities silences them in their historical fight against the extraction and destruction of their natural resources.
Black and brown communities in the UK are often living in close proximity to airports, power plants, busy roads. Their kids grow up with asthma, heart and skin conditions from high levels of pollution. In the Amazon their villages are pushed out of their ancestral homes in the name of ‘progress’ and the advancement of industry.
For climate change to be addressed fully and fairly, the role of racism needs to be acknowledged by environmental movements and we need to stand up in defence of equal rights. The shift seen in recent years to a focus on ‘climate justice’ is positive and powerful, if movements incorporate clear support for equal rights into their core structures and follow through in support of marginalised communities. Work needs to be done within these movements to embody their vision of a world without climate change. We don’t need; whitewashed organisations, white environmental saviours celebrating global deals that amount to nothing more than words, climate finance creating greater debt in the global south or net-zero initiatives justifying more land-grabs. We need more Ken Saro-Wiwa, Berta Caceres, Hector Dominguez, Sandeep Sharma; we need to champion their voices and protect their rights. Social justice is climate justice.”
With protests scheduled in all major cities, some islands and even villages, the resistance to the newly voted Environmental and Tourism bills in Greece is growing rapidly. We speak with Sofia Koulera an artist and member of the Suppοrt Earth movement:
"We plant the seeds of our demands and active resistance everywhere!
While we fight to withdraw the newly voted environmental bills in Greece (#aposyre_to), we will also prevent them from ever being implemented; we will annul them: #to_akyronoume.
Where: Syntagma Square
When: Friday 5th of June at 18:00
Facebook event for Athens: www.facebook.com/events/268403057637537/
📷 @Christos Symeonides
We spoke with Michalis Prodromou, a member of SupportEarth, a grassroots movement of environmental groups, citizens and artists, that was born in Greece, with the aim of creating a mass mobilisation on June 5th, World Environment Day.
"I’m more than excited to be part of the SupportEarth (cutt.ly/MyFcWxG) initiative! This is one of the few times in my life that I ’ve seen people from such different backgrounds, people who experience nature in a different way, come together for one, sacred cause: Demand climate justice and robustness in environmental protection legislation.
Whether you want to fight for your favorite city parks and community spaces, the W. Macedonia settlements lost due to lignite mining, the green mountains, or the pretty Ionian Sea coasts that are in danger due to oil drilling, one thing is for sure. Big business and profit must not override the treasures nature has created."
Facebook event for Athens: www.facebook.com/events/268403057637537/
Event with info about actions in other major Greek cities:
"Reawakening" a poetic expression by the wonderful Anne-Lyse Flores from Guatemala, currently in the full lockdown in Panama:
A symbol of what used to be – and what won’t be again. As I would walk past its trunk, it remained unnoticed. As I would return the same way, it still remained unnoticed. The lack of flowers, of branches, made it irrelevant in my mind. Before we were made to reside restlessly inside, its life would be clipped away as it grew. Adequate. Adequate for those walking by. Adequate for those playing beside it. Adequately somber. Then no more walking. No more playing. No clipping. Its life began to grow.
COVID-19 has affected (not just human) life in Panamá greatly. Because of the strict measures in place, taking a walk for me has become synonymous with escapade. With a dramatic decrease in people out on the streets, including gardeners and fumigators, and the seasonal heavy rains, flora and fauna have made a comeback in Clayton. Sloths, agoutis, coatis, different species of doves, and nighthawks are making more of an appearance, while trees, flowers, and other greenery are flourishing. No more will I take such rich biodiversity for granted, nor its importance in the cycle of life.
A new initiative is starting in Greece, with the aim of spreading across the world: Support Earth - www.facebook.com/Supp%CE%BFrt-Earth-102088898198786/. Elias Adam, one of the hundreds of people who have already joined, shares with us a few words:
"#SupportEarth is an initiative by members of #SupportArtWorkers, scientists, activists, citizens and environmental groups, with the aim to massively mobilise people on the 5th of June, World Environment Day. We urge people to use any and every domain in the public sphere (streets protests, social media storms etc) to stand in solidarity with environmental struggles across the world.
Beyond the mobilisation on the 5th of June, we want to catalyse mass environmental action. We want the global community to rise up, network, and support local environmental struggles. From the mountains of Greece threatened by oil drilling to the Amazon"
This picture was taken during a protest by Άγρυπνοι Πολίτες / Agrypnoi Polites, The Awake Citizens in Athens.
Since an environmental bill that allows oil/gas drilling in NATURA protected areas in Greece, was voted on 16 days ago, a group of citizens called Άγρυπνοι Πολίτες / Agrypnoi Polites, The Awake Citizens has been peacefully gathering to protest, spending the whole night outside the Parliament.
We spoke with Melina, a ceramics artist and one of the people there:
"I was never in an environmental organization, nor did I engage in any form of activism. I have been living away for most of my adult life, due to the virus this is the longest I’ve stayed home in more than a decade. I joined the first gathering the day before the bill was voted on. The future this change brings is dark, what I love and need-the silence, the beauty, the wildlife- will be wiped out. The atmosphere was very pessimistic; I felt like there was nothing we could do, that made me feel deeply sad, weak, powerless, and mostly desperate.
As I have plenty of time in my hands right now, since the gathering I spent long hours in distress in front of my computer reading about the law, confused by the complexity of it all, the load of information, I kept thinking “what are we going to do?” An environmental organization I recently started following on Facebook proposed a meeting to discuss, I thought there it is! At least I can ask questions, get some things clear, I thought. I discovered a lot more than that. I found empowerment. If you start noticing those that make a difference, you realize resistance is actually possible, not only that, resistance is happening in many corners in Greece, people are changing the course of history right now, you just have to pay attention.
I texted back my friend, “no I’m not coming to the beach today, I have to go be a tree in front of the parliament”, she laughed of course and said she was proud of me. Admittedly I might have gone a bit mad, but taken the situation our whole planet is in I think I am excused. I wish I were a lawyer, that would be a lot more helpful right now but hey, I am who I am and I can offer my skills, and my presence. I need to educate myself, inform others, take part in as many actions as I can, raise awareness and remember that we can fight, we won’t always win, but at least that heart-breaking desperation can be alleviated in the company of those who are trying."
If you're in Athens, you can join them. They're holding a special event tomorrow: www.facebook.com/events/243058983457159/
To wrap up our #MothersDay series we've got cofounder Éadin O'Mahony's mum, Barbara, sharing her thoughts with us this evening:
"We have never lived such long lives as we do now and our lives seem much more comfortable as they did generations ago. Us women have many more opportunities and freedom than we ever had. I am proud of all of this and I don’t want to go back to the middle ages! But, I also see that we are losing the simplicity in life and this carries a very high cost.
The experience and joy of drinking pristine water, breathing fresh air in broadleaf woodlands and walking bare foot over healthy wildflower meadows is now a rare one. Losing clean water, air and soil is negatively affecting our health and wellbeing. And there we are; back as a sick society and a sick world. We need to act on the state of our planet or we will all suffer and there might be no future generations. It needs to be done now and no excuse should be accepted.
A BIG TASK!!!"
Penultimate post of our #MothersDay week, from Sine Fiennes, mother of our co-founder Sicily Fiennes and Francesca Paloma Fiennes:
“I remember the first time my twin daughters, Sicily and Francesca, aged about 8, came home from school and started talking about what they’d learnt that day about climate change and how we all had to help the world from being strangled by pollution, waste, emissions and the CFC levels breaking down the ozone layer. What impressed me was the sense of personal responsibility which had been been inspired in these two young girls, and this carries on to this day. At home we have always been conscious of what we put into our bodies and where the footprint of that food has been. It has always made sense to cycle as much as possible .... it’s a no brainer .... exercise and zero pollution. Being vegetarian for 30 years, and now fully vegan, for the last year is also an intuitive choice which benefits the climate along with many other pluses. I’ve always had an aversion to the big multi national corporations .... Kelloggs, Colgate, Unilever, Procter and Gamble etc and these products don’t come from the supermarket to our home! Now climate change is a very serious problem with sea levels rising, the ice caps melting, the seas heating up, coral and marine life suffering and it all speeding up even faster than scientists have predicted. Sicily especially has always campaigned strongly for raising awareness on this topic and our dinner table discussions are often based around this. But essentially to help the planet is a logical and intuitive gut feeling which I’ve always allowed myself. And as a mother of three intelligent and switched on daughters and the grandmother of one little cheeky scamp, I see it as my responsibility to act on and trust these instincts.”
Our next #MothersDay feature comes from Myrto's mom Hará (=Joy): fierce plant and flower protector, gorge explorer, and stray cat rescuer (yes, the house is full of cats!).
"I don’t believe that love and appreciation for nature depend on the generation one belongs to. What’s important is to have come into contact with the natural world from a young age and to have learned to respect it. Living side-by-side with people from the countryside, working alongside them gives you unique memories that later help you look at nature with love and awe. Yet, some young people tend to over-idolise nature and life in the villages because they haven’t come to know what it means to work in a field or fish in the sea for a living. These people may love nature from “afar” but they haven’t come to love it for its true rough and wild beauty. It’s different if you are only there on holiday. That said, I do also believe that younger generations are more sensitive to environmental degradation and climate change. They get informed, they act, and I think a big part of this generation truly cares for the natural world."
We continue our #MothersDay feature with longtime Climate Collective superfan and someone that has spent the last years bridging art and environment in Greece and abroad, Chris' mom, Nadja
"Out Into: dance like the sea, move with the branches, be moved by the fictitious sciences, read for the goats, think by the octopi, stray with the dogs, consider vampyroteuthis infernalis, fight for making oddkin, stay with the trouble, command like a witch, dream like an anarchist poet/ess, conjure the dead, dive with the birds, scrutinize entanglements, explore the multiverse, live in love."
Kicking off Mothers week with Mayra's Mother. Remember to talk to your own mammas as well and submit any stories if you want to 🙂 👩
"When I was a child growing up in the 70ies in a small town in West Germany my first personal encounter with mankind’s destructive intrusion into nature was the sudden abolishment of vast grasslands where wild flowers like golden butter cups, yarrows and violet bells were growing, and where bees, wasps and butterflies filled the air. One of these meadows, called “the Bilz”, was the hotspot of my childhood. My fellow friends and I would play there during long summer months in the shadows of old forgotten apple trees whose characteristics and branches we knew by heart as they became our spaceships, houses or castles. I still remember the sandy trail that crossed this large space. It changed with seasons, - from being muddy in autumn to being smooth in summer, and filled with ice to slip and slide on in Winter.
Through my youthful eyes I observed and could not understand how adults permitted that our lawn was from one day to the other overtaken by bull dozers and trucks. I still remember me crying and shouting in our kitchen. I don’t remember how my parents reacted but I know that they were not the kind of people who would protest, and I at that time did not know what to do. So I just screamed. Today I know, that crying when a tree falls or when nature is destroyed in front of your eyes, is not enough and I am very proud of children, who do protest in public. It’s so good to see so many young people claiming for clean rivers, healthy forests and meadows full of wild flowers."
Happy Mothers Day! We wanted to take a moment to honour all the amazing mothers at the moment, who especially in the coronavirus crisis are balancing work, kids, household, and holding everything (and themselves) together. That, and with the idea of 'mother earth' and gaia; it's important to take these times to reflect on how now is a time to rethink our relationship to the planet, to nature and wildlife and to each other. Each member of the climate collective has gotten a story of their moms which we will be releasing throughout the week! If you feel inspired to also talk to your moms (and dads!) about their own climate change thoughts please submit a story!
Next up we feature Agisilaos Koulouris, from Extinction Rebellion Hellas, talking about a campaign to withdraw a new environmental bill in Greece, which amongst other things permits oil/gas drilling within NATURA protected areas:
"In the midst of the corona virus pandemic, Greek people are in a lock down and the parliament is functioning with less than 10% of its MPs present, and thus unable to conduct a just democracy. At the end of April, the Greek government will try to pass a new law disgracefully named ''Modernization of the Environmental Legislation'' that effectively withdraws environmental regulations so that new ''investments'' can be made that will undoubtedly destroy the country's and subsequently the Earth's environment for the sake of short-term profit. We are witnessing the demolition of the democracy as this health crisis being treated as an opportunity by the right-wing neo-liberal government. And we need to act now.
This bill promotes hydrocarbon mining and withdraws regulations for oil and gas extraction while companies like Total, Repsol, Exxon-Mobil and Edison have been awarded licenses in 2018 to drill a sea area of 60.000 square kilometers that equals 30% of the country's mainland
Also in the making is a new pipeline project, the ‘’Eastern Mediterranean (EastMed)’’ that will transfer natural gas form Israel, through Cyprus, Greece, and into the rest of Europe and strengthen the fossil fuel industry.
These projects, are taking advantage of Greece's weak financial position that hasn't yet recovered from the 2008 crisis. Through these developments, the E.U. will achieve more energy independence from outside suppliers, thus saving billions of euros and increasing its strategical power. The caveat is that this process, sponsored by powerful EU countries and the fervently capitalist Greek government, will cause a whole country to be environmentally destroyed, inflicting suffering on the Greek people who will not benefit at all from these new sources of non-renewable energy. These happen inside the supposedly progressive E.U. that frequently points the finger at more authoritarian foreign governments, while it's house is burning. Make no mistakes, this the modernization of colonialism, not of the environmental law."
We need to stop this bill. Sign the petition here: www.change.org/p/να-αποσυρθεί-το-αντι-περιβαλλοντικό-νομοσχέδιο-withdrawal-of-the-anti-environmental-bill?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=3b67b475-3f0f-4b58-a9e8-ecf0a0e816f0
And follow Extinction Rebellion Hellas for more information!
Today we want to share with you the wonderful work of Transition University of St Andrews, who are tackling climate change with a whole range of interesting and hands-on approaches! 🥳
"In short, Transition University of St Andrews (Transition) is a community group of students, staff and local residents, initiated in 2009 as a response to climate change and economic uncertainty. We are a bottom-up approach to reducing dependency on fossil fuels and building community resilience. Like other towns in the Transition Network we see communities as the starting point for reimagining and rebuilding the world we live in. Our projects and activities are driven by the shared vision of people across St Andrews. The Transition movement is about feeling like you can make a difference in the world. It is about learning new skills, connecting with people and creating a new story for you and your local area.
Our work scopes themes like zero waste, smarter travel, local food, sustainable spaces, and research and climate literacy. Since 2012, we have saved 1250.51 tonnes of carbon equivalent. But it’s not the figures that fuel our action, it’s always been the energy of the people we’ve been lucky enough to work with. Our Transition community reaches a thousand more each year. As people come and go, it is a comforting thought to know these people continue to make a positive difference in their communities all over the world."
If you are in the St Andrews, Scotland, area make sure you keep an eye out for their events or pop on over to one of the many wonderful community gardens to stick your hands in the soil and reconnect with Nature herself 😉 Thank you for hard work Transition University of St Andrews!
*With the Australian bushfires slowly going "out of fashion" in the international media, we thought we'd offer you an overview of the situation. In this feature, Sophie Sievert-Kloster gives us a very informative account of the problems facing local fire brigades, ways to help affected areas, and the power of communities coming together in the wake of disaster.*
"The fires have been burning since September but only recently they have attracted such international media attention. Even though the bush fires are part of Australia’s ecosystem, contributing to the cycle of nature’s renewal and regrowth, the duration and scale of the fire season have changed dramatically over the past few years. This fire season has lasted almost 6 months now and even though it will hopefully end soon this is just the beginning… The effects of these fires will carry on for the foreseeable future and the bigger and longer these fire seasons get, the less local communities will be able to recover in between bushfire seasons. The same applies to the affected ecosystem.
Even though each state traditionally has its own rural fire brigade to mitigate the effects of the fires, with the exception of some more senior staff, the majority of firefighters are volunteers. Most of them come from rural communities and have other jobs too; working 15-hour shifts to fight fires places a really big burden on them both physically but also psychologically. Recently the Australian government introduced a scheme, where firefighters will start getting paid or receive a grant, but in my view, it’s too little too late. There have also been some issues with deployment and reaching affected communities on time, due to miscommunication from the government about its plans to deploy army reservists. Just in general, the government’s response to the crisis has been shocking. The PM still refuses to acknowledge climate change and its role in the bushfires. In fact, Denmark and Canada offered to send firefighters to Australia to help with the situation and were turned down by the Australian government.
Overall, there has been a big international response and fundraising movement, yet, what people often don’t realise is that their donations to certain organisations cannot be moved across states. So when specific wildlife rescue organisations or fire brigade units in New South Wales and Victoria, for example, receive the bulk of donations, other more neglected areas, which might be in greater or more urgent need of financial support, have no way of profiting from these funds. One of the best things you can do to help is to support local businesses in the affected communities, though this may be difficult for people abroad. For people who cannot financially contribute, one of the best things you can do is talk about it, raise awareness and understand the magnitude of these fires! … and if you’re Australian to vote and petition your local MPs demanding response. Another really cool way to help affected communities is to support local artists and authors who have often really come together to raise money and help their communities. The communities are honestly amazing in these kinds of crises. People were opening their homes, providing food, raising money to help rebuild burned houses, and it is these positive things I try to focus on."
Today we bring you the wonderful Allie Whalen — mother, blogger and environmental optimist, she shares her insights on getting kids involved in conservation and caring for their surroundings! 🥳
“When I talk with people about conservation or changes we've made in our lives, children are often my favorite audience. They have such a huge capacity for imagining ways to solve problems. It gives me so much hope when I spend time with kids working on conservation together. If we are serious about taking care of our oceans and making changes to improve the environment, then we must take the time to educate children and lead by example.
Kids are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. If you want to inspire the kids in your life to take action with conservation simply equip them with tangible ways they can help or educate them on issues facing our oceans. I have been teaching my kids about problems with plastic in the ocean and we have been watching different documentaries so when it came time to do our beach clean up they were stoked! We see the plastic problem every time we visit the beach. It was easy for them to see how we could make a difference.
We also invited some friends to join us because everything is more fun with friends. We gathered our trash bags, walked down to the beach, and after reminding the kids that we would play after picking up trash, we got to work! The older kids each took a trash bag and spread out grabbing trash like it was priceless treasure. It quickly turned into a competition to see who could fill their bag the most. Some of our favorite finds of the day were toothbrushes, golf balls and at least half a dozen shoes! Everyone we saw at the beach stopped to thank us for what we were doing. It was great for the kids to see that we were an example to others as well.
If you don't have easy access to a beach then pick any outdoor space where you live. It's the most fun for kids to focus their efforts on the place that they spend the most time. Kids will be so motivated by seeing their hard work pay off. You can build on that motivation to broaden your area of focus and start helping other communities. When kids start noticing how small changes make a big impact on the world around them, that desire to help will continue to have a snowball effect.
Please don't ever discount what kids can do to help. Remember to ask them their ideas (and listen!) and ask them what they think would be a good solution to reducing our use of plastic. There isn't a tried and true method of fixing the plastic in the ocean but reducing or eliminating disposable plastics will certainly have a positive impact. We will have a bright future indeed if we teach kids how to take care of our resources.“ — Allie Whalen
Have a wonderful weekend and stay environmentally positive, dear readers! 😘
Next up we feauture Marios Iacovides, talking about corruption and environmental degradation in Cyprus 🇨🇾🌴
"On a small place like Cyprus one grasps easily the relationship between environmental degradation, corruption, and social inequality.
Until recently, the island’s southeast coast near the Cavo Greco national park had been the only left untouched by mass tourism and developer exploitation n the area. Offering privacy and tranquility away from crowds, loud beach bars, and uncontrollable water sports, it used to attract nudists (nudism is still illegal in Cyprus) and people interested in snorkelling and was a rare haven for the island’s LGBTQ community.
Cyprus offers EU citizenship through real estate investment. This has created a luxury property bubble that – through systematic derogations from environmental regulations such as Natura 2000that have caused the European Commission’s condemnation – has left locals struggling to find affordable property and created the island’s first homeless people.
Some of these luxury properties are now being built close to the national park. The developers have created a “beach” for the rich owners, by encroaching on the coast and removing rocks that had been a habitat for marine life.
The land there is owned by the powerful Church of Cyprus. One of the villas has been sold to a Malaysian that was on Interpol lists for having embezzled public funds. He “donated” € 300 000 directly to the Archbishop of Cyprus, who then intervened on his behalf to the Minister of the Interior. The Minister convened the Council of Ministers, which within 24 hours had granted the Malaysian citizenship.
At the same time, thousands of refugees from war-stricken countries are locked up in camps awaiting for years for their asylum applications to be processed. And the island’s few remaining natural habitats get destroyed … It’s heartbreaking."
Today we are in ‘memorandum’ for Raphael Coleman, also known as Iggy Fox, our friend, collaborator and most featured person of the Climate Collective 🌏
Thank you for inspiring everyone with your fierce passion and love for the environment. Celebrated Extinction Rebellion activist and founder of The Wildlife Workers Network.
Here are some words from his mother:
“Beloved Raphael, beloved Iggy-
You were a force of nature, and now you are a new kind of force : you are atoms of chlorophyll, you are water, you are an ants nest, you are moss on a stone, a birds feather, a wolf’s paw print, a tiger, a tree, a praying mantis, a stingray, a squirrel. You are the sky and the sea and the forests and the mountains and the marshes and the deserts and everything in between. With your scientist’s and your writer’s eye, I think that’s how you’d see it.
You didn’t believe in heaven because you knew heaven was here on Earth. You saw it clearly and you helped others see it. It’s all here. All we could ever wish for or need us is all around us.
I feel my life is over because your life - your physical life, your life in that multiply tattooed and apparently healthy young body - is over. But you wouldn’t want me or anyone else to think that. I know -so deeply and so strongly that you could be sitting next to me holding my hand and telling me this, that sadness and grief are part of the human cycle and that nobody is immune. And that Homo sapiens is amazing and inventive and joyful as well as selfish and destructive. And that our natural urge to do the right thing is what we must hang on to - and what must triumph - if our civilisation is to remain decent and our world worth living in.
I will forever see you in the kindness of strangers, in the comradeship of people with a common cause, in family love, in friendship, and in the passion of our fellow activists. You are with us now just as you are with all those honoured to have a place in that big generous heart of yours, a heart that failed far far too soon.
Let’s celebrate him, with love and rage in our hearts : love for him and for this planet , rage against the injustices and damage knowingly inflicted by its elected and non elected leaders.
But mostly, love.”
When he passed he was doing anti-poaching training in South Africa. Let’s do Raph proud and fight for a future he can’t be part of but fought so hard to achieve.
A new and exciting socio-cultural initiative is starting in Athens: Generation Symbiocene, bridging art, community and nature 🌿 We spoke with their coordinating team:
"GEN (S) is a community working towards repairing the emotional connection between humans and the rest of the living world, starting in Athens through the creation of a space of expression and the organization of artistic workshops in parks.
It all started recently when we were discussing our eco-anxiety and looking for ways to exit the wrongly coined « Anthropocene». Inspired by the positive and hopeful story of the Symbiocene, a term invented by Glenn Albrecht defining a new era of companionship in human-nature relationships, we decided is was time to change the narrative and to cultivate naturecultures (nature and culture being inextricable concepts). One of us took part in the START - Create Cultural Change program, and Generation Symbiocene was born !
Starting on February 13th, we'll be inviting people interested in the Symbiocene to meet with us every two weeks in order to build the GEN (S) community.
From March to May, join us in the parks of Athens to (re)connect with the natural world through creative writing, music, movement and story-telling ! We've also prepared a scavenger hunt & painting activity for the little ones 😀
If you want to know more about us and our actions, come talk to us next Wednesday (05.02, 18.00-21.00) at Raraou: www.facebook.com/events/513718162835573/ "
Soon after the global Fridays For Future began, a group of academics and concerned citizens started Researchers Desk to directly link academics and people and address common questions around the environment and climate change. We spoke with their founder, Toya:
"Researchers Desk was born 24/5-2019 at the 2nd Global School Strike For Future.
More and more climate related researchers are joining as we move forward in our aim to make the urgency of the climate disruptions known to, and understood by Everyone.
We give Street Lectures, hold classes and lectures as well as being available for discussions and Q&A's."
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