Book Review: Klein Gifts Us With Tools to Unite Climate Action in ‘On Fire’

Book Review: Klein Gifts Us With Tools to Unite Climate Action in ‘On Fire’

It’s hard to believe that Naomi Klein has been chronicling the exploitation of people and our planet for over 20 years. As a 24-year-old, her voice emerged around the same time I was born, but I have only discovered her genius in recent months. The author of No Logo, This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine among many others has gathered writings and key speeches from the last decade for her latest work emphasising the imperativeness of the Green New Deal. The urgency of her work has only increased with the steady stream of heartbreaking environmental statistics leaking through the cracks of our social media feeds.

 

On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal takes place from numerous vantage points; the Vatican under Pope Francis’ “ecological conversion”, measuring environmental damages from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, choking on smoke from wildfires in British Columbia, Vancouver and witnessing the die-off in the Great Barrier Reef. Her voice is as accessible as ever while she dissects the scientific and economic jargon for her whole audience to grasp, simultaneously injecting empathy and passion in her fight to hold corporations and fossil fuel companies accountable for the endless hurt they’ve caused.

 

Klein examines the worrying resurgence of narratives regarding the right of supposedly superior white colonisers to inflict violence on those they classify as beneath them in the hierarchy of humans. Her consistent elevation of Indigenous voices is a priority for the climate justice movement, as minorities are the most vulnerable people with the lowest carbon footprint but bear the brunt of climate breakdown’s disastrous effects. From dozens of Indigenous tribes in the Amazon facing prejudice and stripped of land rights under President Bolsonaro and Justin Trudeau’s use of First Nations land for tar sands pipelines to the storms ravaging Puerto Rico and droughts in Africa and East Asia; Klein uses her platform to highlight how horrifically unfair the ecological destruction of our planet is. 

 

Using a rake of data, historical sources and referencing studies, research and interviews, the activist disproves claims that climate change is simply a result of “flawed human behaviour”. The greed of a small but elite group of neoliberal capitalists and 100 corporate fossil fuel companies saw the natural wealth of stolen lands as something to dominate and use up. The idea that the earth’s resources are boundless are reminiscent of capitalism’s grab and pull behaviour, the consistent consumption habits of the planet’s richest inhabitants to the detriment of the systematically unheard. Black and brown lives are being betrayed, while Western, wealthy countries build higher and higher walls.
 

The Canadian author tries to maintain a pragmatic and optimistic tone throughout the novel while making sure to put political leaders blocking climate action on blast. The opening chapter makes sure to reference the shining light of Greta Thunberg, declaring that young people are “cracking open the heart of the climate crisis”. Democratic eco-socialism is the backbone of the Green New Deal resolution, put forward by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. By the final chapters of Klein’s book, it’s impossible to deny that this plan is the only way forward, which is why she endorses Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination in 2020.  

The Green New Deal has its roots in Indigenous communities and tribes who have a compassionate and respectful relationship to the land, rather than seeing it as something worth draining of all life for the profit of a small few. It makes sure to illustrate that the economic strain of the plan should not be on the poorest people in our society. The plan works to eliminate the racial wealth gap and gender wealth gap while guaranteeing job security, free education, free healthcare, funded art projects and protection of wildlife and nature reserves, transport and childcare as well as 100% renewable energy. 

 

The vicious cycle of placing certain lives above ‘the Other’ has led to a dehumanising effect, with the rise of far-right, authoritarian movements globally and a shutdown of freedom of movement being called for in post-Brexit UK. The irony of anti-immigration sentiment rings hollow, Klein writes, once it dawns on them that Britain invented the coal-burning steam engine and has been burning fossil fuels on an industrial scale longer than any nation on earth. Their anger at the thought of paying for flood defences abroad while ignoring their role in climate-related weather storms in the Global South is peak white privilege.  

 

The writer stresses that the core crises of fake news, election tampering, data harvesting, violent wars over resources, racism, massive wealth inequality, white supremacy, poverty and sexual violence are all interconnected and must be tackled head-on as a collective social mass movement. The Green New Deal has strong plans in place in terms of financing the plan, simply by treating the crisis like the emergency it is; cutting military spending, shutting down tax havens and taxing the billionaires 1%. Funnel the funds back into the public sphere, decentralise power into local communities, keep carbon in the ground, raise the voices of those who were tramped on in society, and there you have it: democratic eco-socialism. Lifestyle changes, of course, are included. Mainly so that disposable income from our green job salary doesn’t go towards “buying crap from China that will inevitably end up in landfill”, as the author eloquently puts. The paradigm of equating personal prosperity with quality of life leads to wealth hoarding, and can’t possibly fulfil us.

 

“Climate change acts as an accelerant to many of our social ills (inequality, wars, racism, sexual violence) but it can also be an accelerant for the opposite, for the forces working for economic and social justice against militarism,” Klein says, instilling a sense of purpose within the reader. “It is not the job of a transformative social movement to reassure members of a panicked, megalomaniacal elite that they are still masters of the universe, nor is it necessary.” We must abandon the extractive, consumerist mindset and repair our relationship with each other as well as with the planet, the era of endless expansion is over.

 

With her usual elegance, humility and logic, Naomi Klein has gifted us with the tools to unite the movement once again and makes sure to assure us that we’re not alone. The issue demands us to act on a scale that humanity has never accomplished before. As Ursula K. Le Guin once said, “We live in capitalism, it’s power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings.” Capitalism is not some stoic system that is built into our DNA with no alternative. Human empathy can still triumph, despite the men in the White House, 10 Downing Street and the Kremlin. We could cause the sixth great mass extinction event in Earth’s history, or we could create a prosperous civilisation: it’s our choice.

 

 

Photo by Joe Mabel

 

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Yet Again, Love Island Is Failing Us On Diversity

The January blues may be in full swing but over on ITV2, love is in the air with the arrival of the very first winter season of Love Island. Although you cannot fault the extremely popular reality show on its entertainment value, it has come under scrutiny time and time again for its lack of body diversity, lack of racial representation and heteronormativity – this season is no exception.

Book Review: Klein Gifts Us With Tools to Unite Climate Action in ‘On Fire’

Naomi Klein is as accessible as ever as she dissects the scientific and economic jargon of climate change, while simultaneously injecting empathy and passion in her fight to hold corporations and fossil fuel companies accountable. On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, has the possibility to unite the movement once again and inspire action on a scale that humanity has never accomplished before.

Book Review: New York Times Journalists Take On Weinstein in ‘She Said’

New York Times journalists, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the story about Harvey Weinstein in October 2017. The publication of the first piece on Weinstein led to an influx of messages into Kantor and Twohey’s inboxes from women who had also experienced sexual harassment or assault. In She Said, they explain the process behind their investigative journalism.

Review: Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ is a Mob Drama of Epic Proportions

Scorsese’s latest $150 million passion project details the life of the mob hitman Frank Sheeran, and his involvement with the Bufalino crime family as well as the disappearance of the union leader Jimmy Hoffa.

Book Review: “Yes, We Still Drink Coffee!”

“Yes, We Still Drink Coffee!” is a collection of powerful essays, interspersed with beautiful illustrations, that tell the stories of female human rights defenders from Egypt, Kuwait, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey, Somalia and Sudan. Behind each story is a meeting of two women. Here is our review.

Short shorts film festival 2019 in Dublin – What to remember

Earlier this month, the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) screened some of the best short films produced all over Europe, as part of the Short Shorts film festival. Screenings were hosted by language schools and embassies across Dublin.

Unsustainable Biking?

Unsustainable Biking?

A lot of us are aware that our carbon footprint is terrible and that we have to change our habits. For some of us, this means leaving the car behind and starting to bike. It is, itself, a wonderful commitment – feel free to be inspired by this and turn it into a new year’s resolution – but unfortunately, the way we “consume” biking is can also be an ecological issue. Before actually converting to biking, some of us have a “trial phase” where we rent a bike. As this phenomenon became an economic boom in some countries, it ended up being an ecological and economic debacle. To resume, as said Benjamin Haas, “There are too many bikes, and not enough demand.”

  

 

Bike cemeteries

As bike-sharing went viral and trendy, several companies tried to take the lead in the Chinese market. In a short period of time, multiple bicycle start-ups were born and soon would be worth a seven-figure number. As a result, more start-ups were created, seeing a good investment. Also, bicycles appeared like a great alternative to politicians and citizens who want to make a difference when it comes to tackling climate change, especially the polluted air in China. Today, 23 million shared bikes are said to be for use in the streets across big Chinese cities. 

Eventually, most of the start-ups went bankrupt, after ordering lots and lots of bikes while still charging the user little for their rides (around 0,20€/30 min). A couple of years later, the consequences have been disastrous; you can find football pitch sized bike graveyards all over China. Thousands of what once was meant to be shared bikes are aligned or grossly thrown illegally in sport fields, along roads, next to rivers, etc. It has become part of the scenery for many families in China. Playing in the street, going to work, taking a walk on the river’s banks, you can’t miss them – they’re everywhere. Dumping them this way, companies created “bicycle towns”, where “residents are dealing with the mess they left behind”. Municipal authorities try to solve this problem mainly with new laws, while searching for a way to deal with the bikes already disposed of. Whatever they decide to do, it will take years before bike cemeteries vanish due to the extent of the situation.

 

 

Reuse of old bikes

Closer to us, in France, Laurent Durrieu had an idea to easily upgrade your grandma’s old bike and turn it into a brand-new electric bike! Interesting, isn’t it? But how you will ask. Well, Durrieu created “Teebike” an electric wheel that can adapt to any bike. With it, you can have an electric bike and can quickly stop feeling like you are dying when biking on a big slope!

Teebike is at the crossroads between recycling and electric expansion. According to Durrieu, your bike can last forever, as long as you change tyres, brakes and derailleur once in a while. His idea is to make electric bikes accessible for everyone while being sustainable and reusing already manufactured bikes. 

But, even if the concept meets the sustainable requirements, including by collaborating with battery recycling organisations, access to everyone can be debated because of the wheel’s price: 750€. Even though a complete electric bike will cost you more, still, I don’t think that Teebike is affordable for everyone. 

Let’s hope that the price falls over the next number of  years because I believe it’s a really well conceived alternative. In addition to being connected to your phone, the wheel has an anti-theft device that starts screaming and sets the wheel in reverse whenever it detects suspect movement.

 

Photo by Queena Deng

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

Book Review: Klein Gifts Us With Tools to Unite Climate Action in ‘On Fire’

Naomi Klein is as accessible as ever as she dissects the scientific and economic jargon of climate change, while simultaneously injecting empathy and passion in her fight to hold corporations and fossil fuel companies accountable. On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, has the possibility to unite the movement once again and inspire action on a scale that humanity has never accomplished before.

Unsustainable Biking?

A lot of us are aware that our carbon footprint is terrible and that we have to change our habits. For some of us, this means leaving the car behind and starting to bike. Unfortunately, the way we “consume” biking is an ecological issue.

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Venice Floods

On the last 14th of November, the city of Venice suffered the worst flooding in 53 years. Flooding is just one of the many impacts from climate change that is being experienced with more frequency and globally it threatens many vulnerable areas and regions.

An Anti-Waste Bill for France

In early December, the French Assembly started to debate on a revolutionary bill based on “anti-waste and circular economy”. The bill covers many topics, including more information on products for consumers, better quality manufactured products, no-more overproduction, no-more built-in obsolescence and plastic reduction.

What does ‘climate justice’ actually mean?

Over recent years, the noise around ‘climate action’ and ‘climate justice’ has been ramping up, but many people are still confused over what writers, activists and politicians are actually talking about.

The European Investment Bank’s decision to divest from fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank (EIB) recently announced that it would be phasing out investment in fossil fuel companies by 2021. The EIB is the biggest public lender globally and the move was celebrated by those within the banking industry and the environmental movement. It sends a clear message that markets are moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies.

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Venice Floods

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Venice Floods

On the last 14th of November, the city of Venice suffered the worst flooding in 53 years. Although Venetians are used to floods on a yearly basis, this time the tide  reached high water levels up to 1.87m (6ft). ore than 80% of the historic city remained underwater and the Italian State had to declare a state of emergency. The aftermath of the flooding in the UNESCO world heritage city included damage to the landmark St Mark’s Basilica, museums shut, an exodus of tourists, power cuts to homes and mountains of trash. On top of that, two people lost their lives.And do you guess who Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro has blamed on for the exceptional water rise levels in Venice? On Climate change. 

On the 15th of November, the Veneto regional Council flooded for the first time in history, while members were debating amendments to the 2020 regional budget. The paradox is that the flooding happened just moments after the majority League, Brothers of Italy, and Forza Italia parties rejected amendments to the budget proposed by the Democratic party to deal with climate change – aimed at funding less polluting renewable sources to replace diesel buses. The deputy on the environmental council, Mr. Zanoni, accused the League Party‘s budget of  having a lack of concrete action to combat climate change. While the council’s president, Ciambetti, a member of Italy’s far-right League party,  defended the League´s fight..

 

What action has the Italian Council has taken so far?

After declaring emergency measures, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also confirmed the provision governmental funds for individuals up to €5,000 (£4,300; $5,500), and businesses up to €20,000, in compensation. He also referred to the building of a flood barrier project (The Mose project) which still incomplete, will hopefully be concluded by the end of 2021 at an estimated cost of€7 billion. 

Controversy arises as experts worry that the Mose system was not originaly designed to deal with the rising level of sea waters predicted in the future. According to reports sea levels will rise higher than expected andbarriers may onlybe efficient against flooding for few decades, but it will not be eventually sustainable for the lagoon and its historical city. More controversial reasons for the flood barrier is the worry that it could harm the lagoon’s ecosystems.

 

Venice in 2020: What happens now? The Flood impact on Venetian’s daily lives.

After the city has suffered its worst flooding since 1966, estimating the cost of damages is hundreds of millions of euros. Venetians are frustrated to see the city so damaged, with both its artistic heritage and commercial activities compromised. They accuse their government of failing to act on time to protect Venice

Italian climate activists criticize that the inhabitants of the lagoon islands, the “real” Venetians, have no voice. The director of the non-profit organization We Are Here Venice, Jane Da Mosto, has proposed some measures to tackle the community challenges includingcontrolling tourism by banning cruise ships. Although Venetians voted on a consultative referendum to give the community its own administrative structure, it is opposed by the mayor on claims of creating bureaucratic barriers and discouraging investment.

 

Is climate change behind Venice flooding?

It is true that the current changing climate is the main reason behind sea levels rising and the unusual frequency of high tides. However, there are also more factors than climate change motivating the flooding. The fact that the city of Venice itself is sinking and the massive tourism has taken over the citytogether make Venice particularly susceptible to Climate change. In this line, Jane Da Mosto believes that the biggest contributor to the crisis during the last flood was not coming from not from Mother Nature, but due to human failures regarding the prevention and management of the crisis. For this reason, as well as making efforts to combat climate change, it is also fundamental that we improve ourdecision making and planning to combat future crisis in 2020.

 

Photo by Joe deSousa

 

 

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Book Review: Klein Gifts Us With Tools to Unite Climate Action in ‘On Fire’

Naomi Klein is as accessible as ever as she dissects the scientific and economic jargon of climate change, while simultaneously injecting empathy and passion in her fight to hold corporations and fossil fuel companies accountable. On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, has the possibility to unite the movement once again and inspire action on a scale that humanity has never accomplished before.

Unsustainable Biking?

A lot of us are aware that our carbon footprint is terrible and that we have to change our habits. For some of us, this means leaving the car behind and starting to bike. Unfortunately, the way we “consume” biking is an ecological issue.

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Venice Floods

On the last 14th of November, the city of Venice suffered the worst flooding in 53 years. Flooding is just one of the many impacts from climate change that is being experienced with more frequency and globally it threatens many vulnerable areas and regions.

An Anti-Waste Bill for France

In early December, the French Assembly started to debate on a revolutionary bill based on “anti-waste and circular economy”. The bill covers many topics, including more information on products for consumers, better quality manufactured products, no-more overproduction, no-more built-in obsolescence and plastic reduction.

What does ‘climate justice’ actually mean?

Over recent years, the noise around ‘climate action’ and ‘climate justice’ has been ramping up, but many people are still confused over what writers, activists and politicians are actually talking about.

The European Investment Bank’s decision to divest from fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank (EIB) recently announced that it would be phasing out investment in fossil fuel companies by 2021. The EIB is the biggest public lender globally and the move was celebrated by those within the banking industry and the environmental movement. It sends a clear message that markets are moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies.

An Anti-Waste Bill for France

An Anti-Waste Bill for France

In early December, the French Assembly started to debate on a “revolutionary” bill based on “anti-waste and circular economy”. 

The bill covers many topics, including more information on products for consumers, better quality manufactured products, no-more overproduction, no-more built-in obsolescence and plastic reduction. 

 

The key points of the bill are the following:

  • Ending the destruction of unsold products and encouraging products to be donated instead. 
  • Going forward with the “polluter has to pay” rule and introducing a “bonus” to encourage companies to transition their way of producing to a more sustainable model.
  • Creating a mandatory grade sign indicating a product’s longevity, resistance and repairability.
  • Introducing a rule where companies must recycle your old product when selling you a new one upon point of sale or delivery. 

 

A tangible example of what kind of changes the bill could introduce is the possibility to buy one pill at the pharmacist instead of a full box when you don’t need it. Another is the prohibition of supermarkets to destruct unsold food – which would make France the first country to do so. 

Originally, the draft bill was suggested by Brune Poirson, French Ecology State Secretary, in July 2019. In the Senate, the draft bill was approved almost unanimously (342 votes in favor – 1 against) in late September. Following, members of the Sustainable Development and Territory Arrangement Commission made some core amendments and the new draft bill was approved on the 29th November.

One such amendment made by Mrs. Batho, former French Minister for Ecology, would eventually prohibit Black Friday. The idea is to put an end to Black Friday “sales” that are not real sales, in the way that consumers don’t actually benefit from (high) discounts. In the UK, a study has shown that only five 5% of the discounts on Black Friday are actually discounts. In France, it was proven that an average of only 8% of the products sold that day are actually on sale, and that the discounts vary between 2 and 10%, far from the 50%, 75% or 90% signs. With this amendment, Batho added Black Friday’s sales operations to the “aggressive commercial practice” list, which can be punished by a €300.000 fine or two years jail time.

Another member of the Commission, Mr. Pahun also made two interesting amendments. Firstly, mentions of “biodegradable”, “environment friendly” or similar language should be completely prohibited for companies to use. Mr. Pahun states that such  language is subjective and not controlled and therefore should be prohibited to avoid the possibility of “greenwashing”. This means that companies could no longer make you believe that they are doing something to protect the environment when they are actually not, or not as much as they claim they do. Secondly, Pahun added that “if [an item is] said to be a ‘recycled item’, [the] percentage of recycled material used must be mentioned”. Again, he wants to prevent “greenwashing” and ensure that consumers have access to real information concerning the product they might want to buy. 

This bill is a step in the right direction and complies with the country’s goal to have 100% recycled plastics by 2025 and no more plastic food packaging by 2040.

 

 

Photo by Jasmin Sessler

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

Book Review: Klein Gifts Us With Tools to Unite Climate Action in ‘On Fire’

Naomi Klein is as accessible as ever as she dissects the scientific and economic jargon of climate change, while simultaneously injecting empathy and passion in her fight to hold corporations and fossil fuel companies accountable. On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, has the possibility to unite the movement once again and inspire action on a scale that humanity has never accomplished before.

Unsustainable Biking?

A lot of us are aware that our carbon footprint is terrible and that we have to change our habits. For some of us, this means leaving the car behind and starting to bike. Unfortunately, the way we “consume” biking is an ecological issue.

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Venice Floods

On the last 14th of November, the city of Venice suffered the worst flooding in 53 years. Flooding is just one of the many impacts from climate change that is being experienced with more frequency and globally it threatens many vulnerable areas and regions.

An Anti-Waste Bill for France

In early December, the French Assembly started to debate on a revolutionary bill based on “anti-waste and circular economy”. The bill covers many topics, including more information on products for consumers, better quality manufactured products, no-more overproduction, no-more built-in obsolescence and plastic reduction.

What does ‘climate justice’ actually mean?

Over recent years, the noise around ‘climate action’ and ‘climate justice’ has been ramping up, but many people are still confused over what writers, activists and politicians are actually talking about.

The European Investment Bank’s decision to divest from fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank (EIB) recently announced that it would be phasing out investment in fossil fuel companies by 2021. The EIB is the biggest public lender globally and the move was celebrated by those within the banking industry and the environmental movement. It sends a clear message that markets are moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies.

What does ‘climate justice’ actually mean?

What does ‘climate justice’ actually mean?

Over recent years, the noise around ‘climate action’ and ‘climate justice’ has been ramping up. One consequence has been the proliferation of various terms prefixed with ‘climate’, ‘environment’ or ‘eco’, and so on. Despite the good intentions behind making the discussion more precise yet inclusive, the resulting confusion for everyday people poses its own challenge.

When you’re working tiring hours and are just getting through your days, how likely are you to hear other people use unfamiliar language and think “I know, I’ll give this an aul’ google”? Hopefully, this article offers a good starting point for the typical confused person.

While there is no 100% agreed-upon definition  for ‘climate justice’, the one outlined by Friends of the Earth Europe is helpful for getting your head around the concept and the goals of its proponents:

Climate justice means addressing the climate crisis whilst also making progress towards equity and the protection and realisation of human rights.

In other words, it’s about making meaningful progress to protecting everyone on the local-level and beyond, while not abandoning the same ordinary people who are just living their lives and muddling through. This meaningful progress is the Just Transition you may also hear about.

This might give some context to the outcries you hear around a wide variety of problems ordinary people face every day. Examples include environmental damage and the impacts on people’s livelihoods dependent on ‘the land’, and ‘climate migrants’ forced to relocate from their homes due to issues like drought or rising sea levels, trends which have been accentuated over recent decades by human activity.

These issues sometimes seem very abstract or distant, but climate justice is actually pretty relevant to the average person, whether living in urban or rural contexts. Climate justice highlights how we all should look at our decisions and behaviours and reflect on whether the impacts we (usually unintentionally) have on others are fair or just. Such reflections are often difficult as it involves confronting even the most routine of our activities.

One may recall when Extinction Rebellion Ireland (XRI) protesters stormed the fashion franchises Brown Thomas and Penneys in Dublin in early October 2019. The goal was to highlight how fast fashion and cheap clothes production drive many environmental as well as social problems in the world, most heavily felt in poorer communities. If you’re interested in exploring the topic further, you might start here to explore all that fun stuff.

A lot of backlash came from people arguing that one major reason franchises like Penneys are so popular is the affordability of their clotheslines, and to simply shut down such stores would burden households living week-to-week with tight budgets. So how would such a thing be ‘just’ for these people?

XRI representatives later responded to these concerns to say their intentions were more to increase pressure on the businesses to ensure their clothes are ethically made (perhaps with workers receiving adequate wages), and with better materials (perhaps recycled or upcycled, whatever those mean). This would be just one part of a larger transition from business-as-usual living to a more sustainable and fairer society.

However, this incident highlights a key challenge for climate justice activists – how to pursue justice for the most vulnerable without creating more victims in the process. It’s a worthy endeavour, but clearly there are a lot of complexities which deserve close attention from everyone involved.

If you’re interested in reading further on the subject, the book Climate Justice by Mary Robinson, former President of the Republic of Ireland, and former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, is a good starting point. It is comprised of 10 chapters, each dedicated to telling the story of an individual who has been directly impacted by climate crises and injustice and is now taking meaningful action to make the world a better place. If fetching a book doesn’t suit, perhaps this TED Talk by Robinson would be helpful.

The most important thing is to keep on talking to people and researching what’s going on in the world around you, though it’s important to be cautious to ensure you’re getting good information from reputable sources. And maybe you can make some changes to help secure justice for everybody, local and on the other side of the world.

 

Photo by Markus Spiske

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

Book Review: Klein Gifts Us With Tools to Unite Climate Action in ‘On Fire’

Naomi Klein is as accessible as ever as she dissects the scientific and economic jargon of climate change, while simultaneously injecting empathy and passion in her fight to hold corporations and fossil fuel companies accountable. On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, has the possibility to unite the movement once again and inspire action on a scale that humanity has never accomplished before.

Unsustainable Biking?

A lot of us are aware that our carbon footprint is terrible and that we have to change our habits. For some of us, this means leaving the car behind and starting to bike. Unfortunately, the way we “consume” biking is an ecological issue.

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Venice Floods

On the last 14th of November, the city of Venice suffered the worst flooding in 53 years. Flooding is just one of the many impacts from climate change that is being experienced with more frequency and globally it threatens many vulnerable areas and regions.

An Anti-Waste Bill for France

In early December, the French Assembly started to debate on a revolutionary bill based on “anti-waste and circular economy”. The bill covers many topics, including more information on products for consumers, better quality manufactured products, no-more overproduction, no-more built-in obsolescence and plastic reduction.

What does ‘climate justice’ actually mean?

Over recent years, the noise around ‘climate action’ and ‘climate justice’ has been ramping up, but many people are still confused over what writers, activists and politicians are actually talking about.

The European Investment Bank’s decision to divest from fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank (EIB) recently announced that it would be phasing out investment in fossil fuel companies by 2021. The EIB is the biggest public lender globally and the move was celebrated by those within the banking industry and the environmental movement. It sends a clear message that markets are moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies.

The European Investment Bank’s decision to divest from fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank’s decision to divest from fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank (EIB) recently announced that it would be phasing out investment in fossil fuel companies by 2021. The EIB is the biggest public lender globally and the move was celebrated by those within the banking industry and the environmental movement. It sends a clear message that markets are moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies, with the EIB positioning itself as the leading ‘Climate Bank’. The President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, commended the transition and, last week, the European Parliament declared a ‘Climate Emergency’. Two moves that signal Europe aims to take the reigns as leader of climate action, as other world powers shirk the responsibility. 

Cutting financial flows to fossil fuel companies is a necessary step in the transition to clean and renewable energy. Less money in the bank for fossil fuel companies means that less exploration projects will secure funding and less oil rigs, coal plants and fracking-infrastructure built. As Bill McKibben outlines in his essay; “Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns”, this will ultimately lead to fossil fuels being kept in the ground. McKibben, who is the founder of 350.org, has long been campaigning for divestment in the fossil fuel industry. He outlines the three financial sectors that need to divest; banking, asset management, and insurance. Once the purse-strings are cut and these companies have to self-fund to insure themselves, they will not be able to survive on financial reserves for long. There are also Government subsidies to think about, but that would require a whole other article. 

The financial industry is conservative and calculated in nature, and when it begins to make large changes the whole world takes heed. To stop investing in fossil fuels is to signal the beginning of the end. Closer to home, AIB in Ireland is positioning itself as the ‘Green Bank’ of Ireland. It has launched a ‘Green Bond Framework’ whereby it will greatly increase the investment available for green projects, and it has also introduced a lower green mortgage rate for houses that meet the highest energy-efficiency standards. 

Critics of the EIB’s decision to move away from fossil fuels have said that 2021 is too far away and that in the meantime, new fossil fuel projects can be funded which would lock the European Union into a ‘dirty future’. Angela Merkel also voiced her concerns that the EIB would not fund natural gas projects as a transition fuel on the way to renewables. This is certainly the beginning of something – but it remains to be seen how long it takes to reach the end. 

 

Photo: Ian Sharp (Flickr)

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

 

 

Book Review: Klein Gifts Us With Tools to Unite Climate Action in ‘On Fire’

Naomi Klein is as accessible as ever as she dissects the scientific and economic jargon of climate change, while simultaneously injecting empathy and passion in her fight to hold corporations and fossil fuel companies accountable. On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, has the possibility to unite the movement once again and inspire action on a scale that humanity has never accomplished before.

Unsustainable Biking?

A lot of us are aware that our carbon footprint is terrible and that we have to change our habits. For some of us, this means leaving the car behind and starting to bike. Unfortunately, the way we “consume” biking is an ecological issue.

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Venice Floods

On the last 14th of November, the city of Venice suffered the worst flooding in 53 years. Flooding is just one of the many impacts from climate change that is being experienced with more frequency and globally it threatens many vulnerable areas and regions.

An Anti-Waste Bill for France

In early December, the French Assembly started to debate on a revolutionary bill based on “anti-waste and circular economy”. The bill covers many topics, including more information on products for consumers, better quality manufactured products, no-more overproduction, no-more built-in obsolescence and plastic reduction.

What does ‘climate justice’ actually mean?

Over recent years, the noise around ‘climate action’ and ‘climate justice’ has been ramping up, but many people are still confused over what writers, activists and politicians are actually talking about.

The European Investment Bank’s decision to divest from fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank (EIB) recently announced that it would be phasing out investment in fossil fuel companies by 2021. The EIB is the biggest public lender globally and the move was celebrated by those within the banking industry and the environmental movement. It sends a clear message that markets are moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies.