When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Australian Bushfires

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Australian Bushfires

The experience of Australia with bushfires is not news. Eucalypt trees are synonymous with the Australian bushland and are likewise identified with “bushfire“ as the leaves contain highly flammable oils that burn rapidly and extremely well. Therefore, the country, mostly well known as the home of the rarest ecology and unique wildlife in the world, generally suffers its “fire season” from December to February. However, bushfires started as early as July in 2019. Because of the high temperatures and strong winds, the fire extended quickly and unpredictably along the most populated areas. Early in January, Victoria declared a state of disaster and New South Wales declared a state of emergency. Both states were granted extraordinary powers and additional government resources to battle the fires. Such has been the extent of the bushfires that the effort of firefighters, State and federal authorities working together for months is not enough to fight the fire crisis until there is substantial rainfall.

 

 

What has been the damage of the wildfires so far? 

In November 2019 a state of emergency was already declared across the Australian southeastern coast over the fires. So far, more than 27 million acres (11 million hectares) of bushland has burnt during Australia’s Bushfires, an area bigger than Portugal. The crisis has caused 33 people died  and affected about one billion animals according to the Federal Environment Ministry estimates. Among them, almost a third of koalas (about 25,000) have died just in the Kangaroo Island and ecologists fear that some species may not recover. 

 

This ecological disaster, unprecedented in Australia’s history, threatens  drinking water supplies, coastal ecosystems, and the freshwater rivers that support iconic Australian wildlife, such as the platypus. Thankfully, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has not yet been affected, as the focus of the fires has so far been further south, and the ocean currents carry water in a southerly direction, away from the reef. 

 

Furthermore, the black smoke has reached as far as New Zealand and was even visible from  space, leaving ‘very unhealthy’ air quality levels in the urban centre of the largest cities. In December, the air quality measured 11 times the “hazardous” level in Sydney. scientists fear that when rain falls, huge quantities of ash could get into rivers, which could be a threat to drinking water supplies of major cities, such as Sydney which may get polluted. In addition, it could eventually cause great damage to Australia’s marine and freshwater ecosystem.

 

NASA Aqua satellite captured smoke plumes coming off the wildfires in South-eastern cost Australia on Jan. 4 2020. (image credit: NASA, Joshua Stevens)

 

 

What role does climate change play in Australia’s bushfires?

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Authorities, 2019 also broke temperature records as the driest and the hottest year. An average maximum of 41.9 C° was recorded on 18 December (approximately 2.7 degrees above the average). Experts agree that climate change is contributing to the historically intense fire seasons. With rising levels of CO2 warming the planet, Australia has been getting hotter over recent decades and so, fires will become also more frequent and more intense. Despite this year, the three years period of severe drought has been further influenced by a natural weather phenomenon, the Indian Ocean Dipole. 

 

 

The Reactions: Thousands rally for climate change action amid bushfire crisis

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing a political crisis for acknowledging that Australia’s high greenhouse gas emissions do not affect the severity of the fires burning the country. The emissions that the government had committed itself to reduce by international agreements. This has prompted more than 10,000 people to participate in climate change protests in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra calling upon the government for more action on climate change. 

 

The protesters  think that the government’s rejection of climate change is impeding its ability to prepare and respond to the crisis, and put pressure on Morrison to make a quick transition away from fossil fuels. While there is not a magic solution to the complex phenomenon of bushfires, some argue that the prime minister should take more responsibility, as the solution is both national and international, but not local. 

 

 

What is next?

The federal government has deployed all of Australia’s police, military troops, navy shifts and aircraft for assistance, firefighting, evacuation, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts. Firefighters and arm forces are working together, along with professional firefighters coming from the US, Canada, and New Zealand supported by thousands of volunteers. The Morrison administration has also allocated 3 billion Australian dollars ($2 billion) in federal aid, to help to rebuild basic infrastructures.

 

Another positive insight is that despite the fires and Australia´s excess of its Kyoto Protocol emissions-reduction targets, there are still promising perspectives as the carbon consumption of the average Australian has reduced by a third since 2005 and it has been also decreased to a quarter in the economic sector. 

 

Hopefully, when the rains finally fall and the summer season ends, much of the vegetation will naturally rejuvenate. Beds of ash  provide nutrients for the Australian trees, that survive the fires. particularly eucalypt forests where koalas live and feed. The native eucalyptus trees, have achieved an evolutionary advantage through their ability to facilitate and survive fires. After all the heartbreaking news, there may be still a chance for Australia’s unique landscape, and wildlife to recover.

 

 

 

Photo by Johan Douma on Flickr

 

 

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

 

 

 

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Australian Bushfires

The experience of Australia with bushfires is not news. The country, mostly well known as the home of the rarest ecology and unique wildlife in the world, generally suffers its “fire season” from December to February. However, bushfires started as early as July in 2019.

The Role of Climate Change in #GE2020

The bread and butter issues of housing and health have remained front and centre in all debates and party manifestos of GE2020, and while they are problems that absolutely have to be addressed, it must be questioned why climate change hasn’t become part and parcel of this discourse.

Australia vs Notre Dame: The Fiery Reporting Disparity

Within the last few days, it has been a great relief to learn that at least some reprieve has been afforded to firefighters, civilians and animals alike in some areas of Australia affected by the bushfires as a result of intense thunderstorms and powerful...

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.

The Role of Climate Change in #GE2020

The Role of Climate Change in #GE2020

The Irish General Election had a shaky start with climate, with the issue barely featuring in initial debates and when it was mentioned, it seemed to solely focus on the contentious problem of whether to reduce the national herd. After public pressure on social media, RTE aired a special ‘climate debate’ with representatives from the main parties and concerned Irish citizens. The Primetime leader’s debate on Wednesday seemed in danger of skirting the issue altogether but in the last segment, coincidentally when most viewers tend to tune out or go to bed, Varadkar, McDonald and Martin were probed on environmental policies. However, it does seem that the ‘Green Wave’ that swelled in Ireland for the European elections in May has subsided for the time being. 

 

The bread and butter issues of housing and health have remained front and centre in all debates and party manifestos, and while they are problems that absolutely have to be addressed it must be questioned why climate change hasn’t become part and parcel of this discourse. The RTE climate debate was comprehensive on certain issues such as agricultural emissions and the retrofitting of homes but there was scant mention of important elements of tackling climate change such as biodiversity, greening public transport and solid measures for a just transition in agriculture. Much of the debate, as it often does, descended into finger pointing and dismantling of proposals from opposition parties.  As Catherine Martin, the Green candidate for Dublin Rathdown, rightly pointed out; solutions to climate change need to be framed in a positive, solutions-focussed manner for them to be effective. 

 

Certain parties have been accused of ‘Greenwashing’ their manifestos and using the climate issue for political clout, rather than with the intention of truly making a difference in emissions and environmental issues. It must be acknowledged that compared to the 2016 election, environmental policies feature much more prominently in all parties, but the sense of urgency does not match that which is required to tackle climate change as recommended by institutions such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This lack of urgency seems to come from both the government and the general public, with only 7% of respondents of an Irish Times opinion poll saying climate change was of high importance to their vote. 

 

It is interesting that climate is seen as a ‘party issue’ when in reality it should be integral to every parties’ core manifesto seeing as it is a cross-cutting and multifaceted issue. For long enough, climate change has been relegated to being a problem for environmentally-focused parties such as the Greens to grapple. However, it is becoming more and more accepted that it is inherently connected to social and economic problems and the sooner that all parties realize this, the easier it will be to solve. It remains to be seen what parties will constitute the next government but no matter what conglomerate enters the dail in a few weeks, I hope they keep the Irish environment in mind. 

For more information on party manifestos and climate action you can read this handy article written by Cara Augustenbourg: https://greennews.ie/ge2020-manifesto-analysis-climate/

 

 

Photo by Markus Spiske

 

 

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

 

 

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Australian Bushfires

The experience of Australia with bushfires is not news. The country, mostly well known as the home of the rarest ecology and unique wildlife in the world, generally suffers its “fire season” from December to February. However, bushfires started as early as July in 2019.

The Role of Climate Change in #GE2020

The bread and butter issues of housing and health have remained front and centre in all debates and party manifestos of GE2020, and while they are problems that absolutely have to be addressed, it must be questioned why climate change hasn’t become part and parcel of this discourse.

Australia vs Notre Dame: The Fiery Reporting Disparity

Within the last few days, it has been a great relief to learn that at least some reprieve has been afforded to firefighters, civilians and animals alike in some areas of Australia affected by the bushfires as a result of intense thunderstorms and powerful...

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.

Australia vs Notre Dame: The Fiery Reporting Disparity

Australia vs Notre Dame: The Fiery Reporting Disparity

Within the last few days, it has been a great relief to learn that at least some reprieve has been afforded to firefighters, civilians and animals alike in some areas of Australia affected by the bushfires as a result of intense thunderstorms and powerful rain. 

 

While this news was joyfully reported, we are reminded of the utter lack of reporting which occurred in the early stages of the horrific wildfires. The absence of coverage on global media inspired the hashtag #AustraliaFires on Twitter, which soon spread to other social media sites, as a cry for help and global media attention.

 

But why was this even necessary? Hundreds of people compared the Australian bushfires to the Amazonian wildfires that occurred a few months ago, which was itself lamented for lack of media coverage in stark contrast to the fire in Notre Dame Cathedral in August 2019. Such a comparison was made in the current context also. 

 

https://twitter.com/signofstyles/status/1194230233185968128

 

The world was made aware of the Notre Dame catastrophe within three minutes of the Cathedral first igniting whereas it took weeks for the world to truly pay some attention to this Australian tragedy. 

 

One can also note the markedly fewer public declarations of big donations from the super-rich (billionaires). Of course, many Australian celebrities, including Chris Hemsworth who donated $1m to the relief effort, have pledged to donate; Amazon has pledged $1m to support the wildfire victims and Australian billionaires have collectively pledged at least $54m to wildfire relief efforts – but can this really be compared to the billionaires simply queuing up in their droves to help Notre Dame, when £650m was raised in a matter of days? Indeed, the $1m offered by Amazon is less than Jeff Bezos made every five minutes in 2018.

 

Comedian Celeste Barber criticised billionaires for this seeming double standard: “Remember when Notre Dame burnt down – very sad, don’t get me wrong, RIP Notre Dame, history, building. And something like billions of dollars was raised, by I think a handful of people. Where are those people now?”

 

What is thought to be causing this lack of coverage and the lack of billionaire donations? One reason might be the classic climate-change controversy in that certain news outlets are reluctant to draw attention to this apparently political debate or to allude to the fact that global warming is, in fact, raring to go – and perhaps billionaires whose businesses have a huge carbon footprint are equally hesitant. Another reason could be the rural and sparsely populated areas which are affected by the fires, in comparison with a well-known landmark in a world-famous city. Maybe this even harks back to an inherent affiliation with concrete historical artefacts and artwork present in the Cathedral and less obviously so in rural Australia. Regardless, one cannot help but note the obvious and potent disparity between the difference in reporting of one tragedy compared to another.

 

The flawed reasoning for these disparities do not make their consequences any less devastating. As Francis Maxwell pointed out, in relation to the Amazonian fires, but still relevant here: “The difference [between the Notre Dame fires and the Australian bushfires] is, we don’t get to build a new earth. When it’s gone, it’s gone.”

 

 

Photo by eyeweed

 

 

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

 

 

What’s the Big Deal with Love Island?

As Love Island returns to our screens for its sixth series, the question on everyone’s mind is the same – what is the secret ingredient that keeps over 6 million viewers coming back for more?

Australia vs Notre Dame: The Fiery Reporting Disparity

Within the last few days, it has been a great relief to learn that at least some reprieve has been afforded to firefighters, civilians and animals alike in some areas of Australia affected by the bushfires as a result of intense thunderstorms and powerful...

New Year, Same Brexit Headache

Brexit day is fast approaching, with the UK on track to officially leave the European Union in less than two weeks. In this article in our Brexit series, Rachel gives us an update on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and the future of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

FGM: A Multifarious Practice Deeply Ingrained in Somalia

While FGM is frequently justified as a religious practice preserving the purity of women, it is, in reality, an extremely resilient customary practice which predates the conception and arrival to the Horn of Africa of Islam.

Students in Action: A Stem of Hope for Sinead

Shauna Costello, a Coolock native, is currently trying to raise €50,000 for her Aunt Sinead who is suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a continuous, immune-mediated disorder which means that the disease causes your immune system to attack the healthy parts of your body that are imperative to a functioning body. As a result, the spinal and brain cords can decline.

Queen of England going “fur-free” is a step in the right direction

We’ve learnt it from Angela Kelly, Senior Dresser of Queen Elizabeth II of England: The Queen is going fur-free. By “going faux”, The Queen is setting a strong example and sending a powerful message, encouraging an ethical fashion trend that we should all follow. But we have mixed feelings about the lack of coherence between the Country’s statements about fur.

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

 

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

 

 

Celebrate Chinese New Year in Dublin with DCNYF

STAND News Intern Ariana took a trip to the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival, which  is taking place from January 24th - February 10th 2020.

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.

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!

 

 

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Australian Bushfires

The experience of Australia with bushfires is not news. The country, mostly well known as the home of the rarest ecology and unique wildlife in the world, generally suffers its “fire season” from December to February. However, bushfires started as early as July in 2019.

The Role of Climate Change in #GE2020

The bread and butter issues of housing and health have remained front and centre in all debates and party manifestos of GE2020, and while they are problems that absolutely have to be addressed, it must be questioned why climate change hasn’t become part and parcel of this discourse.

Australia vs Notre Dame: The Fiery Reporting Disparity

Within the last few days, it has been a great relief to learn that at least some reprieve has been afforded to firefighters, civilians and animals alike in some areas of Australia affected by the bushfires as a result of intense thunderstorms and powerful...

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.

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

 

 

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

 

 

When Climate Change Refuses to be Ignored – Australian Bushfires

The experience of Australia with bushfires is not news. The country, mostly well known as the home of the rarest ecology and unique wildlife in the world, generally suffers its “fire season” from December to February. However, bushfires started as early as July in 2019.

The Role of Climate Change in #GE2020

The bread and butter issues of housing and health have remained front and centre in all debates and party manifestos of GE2020, and while they are problems that absolutely have to be addressed, it must be questioned why climate change hasn’t become part and parcel of this discourse.

Australia vs Notre Dame: The Fiery Reporting Disparity

Within the last few days, it has been a great relief to learn that at least some reprieve has been afforded to firefighters, civilians and animals alike in some areas of Australia affected by the bushfires as a result of intense thunderstorms and powerful...

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.