No, the Coronavirus Is Not Good For the World.

No, the Coronavirus Is Not Good For the World.

As of Friday 17th April 2020, Ireland is three weeks into official lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. There have been over 2 million confirmed cases reported worldwide. Travelling around social media, there has been a dialogue of positivity; taking the time in isolation to focus on what really matters, to practise healing and self-care, perhaps whilst taking up a new skill or utilising pre-existing interests. While the options are plentiful and for some a welcomed opportunity, the narrative of productivity and enjoying the time at home, accompanied by a glass-half-full outlook, can be blinding to a stark reality. Societies globally need optimism and hope to navigate this crisis, to inspire and to motivate. But there are many whose lives have been changed forever, lives lost, mental health deteriorating, and much worse. 

 

533,000 people have received COVID-19 related social welfare, having lost their jobs. Campaigns have commenced around domestic violence, as the risk of harm to victims has increased now they are stuck in unsafe environments with their abuser. People from all socio-economic backgrounds have to navigate a multitude of issues, especially in disadvantaged areas, from lack of privacy and space in the home, heightened familial conflicts, and increased stress. People in direct provision, as well as members of other marginalised groups such as the Roma or travelling communities, do not have access to the resources others in society do, and can’t practise social distancing in their already overpopulated living spaces. Members of our communities have died, and with that, the most unsettling narrative has emerged that coronavirus is actually good for the environment and good for our planet.

 

This outlook is intensely problematic. Cheering on or at the very least accepting the tragedy caused by coronavirus, because of the knock-on effect it has had on climate change is not progress – it’s eco-fascism. A growing problem, eco-fascism is a twisted theoretical political model in which an authoritarian government would require individuals to sacrifice their own interests to the benefit of environment and climate as a whole. Supporters are often characterised by white supremacy, xenophobia, ethnonationalism, and a misguided concern for the care of planet Earth. The assumption that ‘we are the virus’ is counterproductive. Wishing for or praising a disaster such as coronavirus, just because it gets rolling the large-scale changes climate groups, scientists and professionals have been telling us for years are necessary to save the planet, is hypocritical. Positive climate change is to save lives. Coronavirus is not saving lives. There are ways to save the planet without ending human life.

 

While it is true that Earth has been recovering, I must stress that this is all temporary. Predictably, when the crisis ends and elements of life revert to how we knew it, air pollution will resurface. Water pollution will increase. The natural wildlife will leave their newly occupied spaces once the crowds return. Many stories suggesting they have returned in the masses have actually been discounted as fake news. The societal tragedy of this crisis vastly outweighs any marginal environmental benefits, as many environmentalists have stated. 

 

Climate change in its entirety is not based off a population issue, rather capitalism and greed. The response to COVID-19 has demonstrated that in the face of an imminent threat, it is possible for society to change once instructed by the governments. Climate activists have been trying to do this for decades, highlighting the extent of ignorance and inaction of many up until this point. Firstly, there is a disproportionate impact that people in various parts of the world have on the environment. Most consumption occurs in the West, and yet poorer countries will suffer the worst. It will be the already-poor, already-vulnerable, already-sick people who will die.

 

Human population control and eugenics disguised as environmentalism is not a new concept. Paul Ehrlich’s landmark book (1968) brought forward the concept, with the recommendation of sterilization to prevent a future fight for Earth’s resources. Environmentalist Garrett Hardin lobbied against food aid during famines. Post-pandemic, many of the current restrictions (working-from-home, zoom conference calls, fast fashion brands closed) can indeed impact the rate of climate change. However, only time will tell if this enlightened outlook will follow through. While emissions had dropped in February by at least 25% in China, returning to the same capitalist society of consumption will retract the positive change. An Irish survey conducted by Renatus Capital Partners has revealed that almost 80% of 1000 business people will not decrease their air travel or will just cut it marginally after restrictions are lifted.

 

Coronavirus is not a sustainable way to reduce emissions. Co-director of the Earth Institute’s Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University, Jacqueline Klopp stated: “(Coronavirus is) a symptom of us not addressing our serious environmental and social problems.” The pandemic has increased the amounts of medical and hazardous waste generated. Unethical fast-fashion brands, whereby workers do not earn a fair wage, have reported an upsurge of online sales. Human beings are not the virus, and COVID-19 is not good for the environment. The virus is in the name, and the problem is consumption, capitalism and extraction. Capitalism marches hand-in-hand with eco-fascism, and we don’t need either to save the world.

 

 

Photo by Fateme Alaie on Unsplash

 

 

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Women and the Military: Harmful ‘Feminist’ Recruitment and Whitmore

The British Army has a poor track record when it comes to women’s rights. With this in mind, it is clear why many were sceptical of Whitmore defending her collaboration with the army in the name of feminist discourse. While the British Army’s use of feminist language in their PR campaigns could be interpreted as a sign of progress, it is important to question the intentions behind this move and, most importantly, who benefits from it.

Has COVID-19 Impeded Free Speech? The “Land of Origins”, COVID-19 and Personal Liberties.

COVID-19 is attacking not only our ability to be heard but also the legitimacy of that voice. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is one of the many prevalent examples where freedom of speech has been hindered by COVID-19’s continued exponential growth. Unlike other examples I could use, Ethiopia could disproportionately suffer from the stripping of such freedoms.

Accepting and Adapting: A Note on COVID-19 Context

This time last year, little did we think we would be in a position of worldwide quarantine, rendered helpless at the mercy of a deadly virus. Even more so, could we ever have pictured all that would go along with something that affects us and our lives to this scale?

Social Media Doesn’t Need to Stop. We do.

The solution to the social media pandemic that is affecting so many people’s mental health does not lie in avoidance of the App Store or at the touch of the iPad. It lies within us. We must start with the obsession we all have with ourselves to appear perfect.

Devoid of Empathy: Greece’s Refugee Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing more inhumane Greek refugee policies. The revelation by the New York Times that Greece has secretly expelled more than 1,000 asylum seekers, abandoning many of them on inflatable life rafts in the Aegean Sea, is one example of this disturbing trend. Meanwhile, refugees are being locked inside Oinofyta refugee camp while Greece welcomes tourists and allows them to roam freely.

Tech Giants Reveal the Falsehood of the American Dream

Time and time again, we hear of the massive American “big tech companies” and their origins as “rags-to-riches” success stories. But the problem we are seeing now more than ever, is that the American Dream mentality is backfiring. America’s hunger for profit, no matter the costs to sustainability or human rights, is catering to massive businesses and the people behind them feeling justified in exploiting their workforce.

Ways to Celebrate Earth Day – 22nd April

Ways to Celebrate Earth Day – 22nd April

The first Earth Day in 1970 involved millions of people across the world coming together in solidarity with the natural world and is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The 50th Earth Day will be celebrated this Wednesday the 22nd April – although this is a day usually marked with creative in-person parties, workshops and marches, there are still many ways to mark the day in the time of social distancing! Below is a selection of activities and ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day, the theme for which is ‘climate action’. 

 

 

Informative activities

1. Democrats Abroad – Gender and Climate Change

On April 21st, the eve of the 50th Anniversary celebration of Earth Day, the Democrats Abroad Global Women’s Caucus will present a virtual panel discussion on “Women and the Environment”. Tune in to hear about the many linkages between gender and climate change!

Link: https://www.democratsabroad.org/wc_earth_day_anniversary_panel_discussion

 

2. Sustainable Development Solutions Network – 24 hour webinar

This is a program divided into six sections that aims to explore the many ways in which happiness and sustainability are interconnected. With webinars ranging from issues of mental health to farming solutions for the environment to the role of universities in addressing social inequalities, this is sure to be a very informative event. 

Link: https://www.unsdsn.org/24hour-webinar

 

3. United Nations Environment Programme 

UNEP is hosting an Earth Day observance with religious and indigenous leaders from across the world. This global conversation aims to bring together diverse perspectives and lived experiences of environmental issues from people on the frontlines, and the speakers include Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim and Lyla June. 

Link: https://www.unenvironment.org/events/symposium/50th-earth-day-observance

 

4. NASA Celebrate Earth Day 2020 

NASA is producing a number of events for Earth Day; including a special edition of ‘NASA Science Live’, live interviews with astronauts on their unique perspective of earth, and many interactive challenges for all ages.  

Link: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/earthdayathome-with-nasa/

 

 

Creative activities

1. Climate Collective NYC

Climate Collective NYC is hosting an online ‘Earth Week’ with numerous free activities. These include a ‘climate action clinic’ where you can find out what your climate personality is, an online play and a live online drawing workshop to imagine a positive climate future.   

Link: https://climatecollective.nyc/earth-dayweek-2020

 

2. Flood The Streets

Creative to the Core is hosting a 24 hour event of ‘art action’, including a virtual art show of earth-friendly art that depicts the Earth in its many forms and from a variety of perspectives. 

Link: https://www.meetup.com/Flood-the-Streets-with-ART-Sacramento/events/270036291

 

3. Wyoming Rising Film Festival 

This film festival runs online from April 17th through to April 26th. Viewers will enjoy free access to award-winning independent documentary films on nature, wildlife, social and environmental justice.This will be followed by an online Climate Solutions Workshop on Earth Day. 

Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wyoming-rising-earth-day-2020-tickets-102308655944

 

4. The Great John Cage Project

4:33 is a silent composition by American experimental composer John Cage emphasising the sounds of the listener’s environment while it is performed. For this Earth Day edition, contributors from around the world share their 4:33 recordings of their environment in the Coronavirus era.

Link: https://anchor.fm/greatjohncageproject

 

 

 

Participatory activities

1. Earth Day Live

From April 22 to April 24, activists, performers, thought leaders, and artists will come together for an empowering, inspiring, and communal three day livestream mobilization. The line-up includes names like Al Gore, Jaoquin Phoenix and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and promises to be an interesting watch!

Link: https://www.earthdaylive2020.org/

2. San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo will be hosting a number of Earth Day activities. From webinars on the conservation work of the Zoo to livestreams of the Giant Panda and Orangutan enclosures, there will be something for everyone!

Link: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/earth-day

3. Sunset Tour of Nature Reserve

Il-Majjistral Nature and History Park nature reserve in Mellieha, Malta is offering a virtual tour at sunset to celebrate Earth Day. 

Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/697252231016393/

 

4. Games for Earth Day

Legends of Learning are offering a number of interactive games for free on Earth day – a particularly good way of getting children involved and interested in the celebrations! 

Link: https://www.legendsoflearning.com/earth-day-games/

 

 

Offline activities

If you have had enough of sitting at your computer (which is very understandable this far into quarantine), there are also many ways for you to celebrate earth day offline! 

 

1. Go outside 

Why not celebrate Earth Day but getting out and into nature (if possible!) – go and take a picture of your favourite flowers or do a spot of birdwatching from your home! Birdwatch Ireland has some useful tips for starting out and appreciating nature from your very doorstep: https://birdwatchireland.ie/explore-nature-at-home-bwi-garden-games/

 

2. Watch a Nature Documentary 

If you do not have any green spaces within 2km of where you live, the next best thing is exploring nature from the comfort of your couch (or bed, no judgement here). Be lulled by the dulcet tones of David Attenborough in the classics of Planet Earth or Blue Planet, or if you are in the mood for a more challenging watch, then ‘Virunga’ and ‘The Ivory Game’ are tough but very worthwhile watches on Netflix. 

 

3. Climate Action

Why not make a pledge in line with this year’s Earth Day theme, ‘climate action’. This can be anything from cutting down on your meat intake, to planting a native tree, to joining a local climate action group! 350.org has loads of ways to begin your journey of climate action in the lockdown: https://350.org/locked-down-try-organizing/.  

 

4. Unplug

To end Earth Day why not celebrate by unplugging? Try switching off by not using any electricity for a while, a la ‘earth hour’. Light some candles and enjoy some contemplative time away from the distractions of the modern world. 

For more information on Earth Day in general and the multitude of activities available visit: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/

 

 

Image source: Medium

 

 

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#SecondHandSeptember: A Sustainable Fashion Story with @Traashion

WE’RE HALFWAY THROUGH #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER! 👕👗👖 Are you sticking to your commitments? We chat with the amazing Instagram slow fashion advocate Alba Mullen, aka @traashion, whose words and wisdom will inspire you on your own journey to sustainable fashion.

#SecondHandSeptember: 10 Sustainable Fashion Labels You Should Get Behind

This Second Hand September, check out our list of 10 sustainable fashion brands worth investing in – able, tentree, boden, kotn, thought clothing, ref jeans, girlfriend collective, cuyana, amour vert, everlane.

Friendship SPO: ‘Nothing will happen if voices from the field aren’t put on a plateau’

Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director of Friendship SPO talked to us ahead of this year’s STAND Student Festival about climate migration and Friendship’s work in empowering at-risk communities who face environmental and human rights issues.

PPE: “The Protector and the Polluter”

Masks and gloves play a vital role in protecting the public against contracting Covid-19. The growing concern PPE is its role in creating waste and damaging our environment. With daily life now accommodating to new health policies the more we throw away PPE the more we will have to deal with waste.

Sustainable Fashion and YOU

If we want to shop in an environmentally friendly way, pay fair wages to the workers and use fewer resources in the production process, we have to pay more.
However, there is another solution: sustainable fashion.

The Emerald Isle? Taking a Closer Look at Dublin’s Biodiversity

With people realizing the importance of nature and green spaces during their confinement in lockdown, and it being the International Day for Biological Diversity, let’s see how Dublin city stacks up.

What Does “Cruelty-free” Mean?

What Does “Cruelty-free” Mean?

“Cruelty-free” is a label given to products or activities that do not harm or kill animals and it’s an essential part of the animal rights movement. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free since the tests are often painful or harmful to the animals and cause suffering and death to thousands of them each year. Lady Dowding was one of the first people to use the term cruelty-free to persuade manufacturers who produce fake furs to use the label “Beauty Without Cruelty” which later became a charity in 1959. Marcia Pearson, who founded a group called “Fashion with Compassion” popularized the term cruelty-free in the US during the 1970s.

 

In 1957, the concept of the three R’s was published in the book, “The Principle of Humane Experimental Technique” which was written by Charles Hume and W.M.S. Russell. These concepts were: Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement, all hoping to reduce the number of animals used for testing and making those tests less painful. In 1991, the European Center for Validation of Alternative Methods was established to reduce, refine or replace the use of testing animals. If it so happens that testing is unavoidable, the committee of ECVAM must approve the test and place the testing under the animal protection act which does not approve of animal testing if alternatives exist. The European Union has made it illegal to test on animals in most European countries, however, some countries like China still continue to test their products on animals by law which means that most cosmetics that are made in China are not cruelty-free. The label which represents cruelty-free products is the Leaping Bunny which applies only to products which do not use animal testing anywhere in the world and do not test on animals anywhere in the production stages.

 

 

Animal testing is currently being replaced with quicker, cheaper and more accurate methods of testing. Most labs now use humane alternatives, like a  reconstructed human epidermis which involves the use of human skin donated by cosmetic surgeons to replace the rabbit Draize skin test. The test involved applying 0.5g of the test substance on a restricted animal’s eyes or skin. The Draize skin test was one most relevant to human reactions but other methods replacing the Draize eye test is by using Vitro human tissue. These tests are more accurate in protecting people from toxic substances as well as eliminating or reducing animal testing.

 

There are thousands of companies worldwide which now offer cruelty-free products like cosmetics, personal-care products, clothing, candles, and cleaning products. The leaping bunny has been the only international third-party cruelty-free certification program since the 1990s.

 

There are many ways to research cruelty-free activist groups, one of them being Cruelty-Free International which is a website that helps you find cruelty-free brands and products as well as giving you a chance to donate towards stopping animal testing worldwide! On their website you will find a list of celebrities which support the cruelty-free movement, some of those celebrities are: 

 

 

“I am supporting cruelty-free international with its campaign to seek global ban to ensure that animals do not suffer for the sake of beauty anywhere in the world.” Paul McCartney 

 

“I am so pleased to support cruelty-free international and be a part of the global campaign to end cosmetics tests on animals.” Peter Dinklage

 

“join me in supporting cruelty-free international call to congress to bring an end to animal testing for cosmetics in the U.S.” Norman Reedus

 

“It doesn’t take a genius to know that using animals for cruel and unnecessary cosmetics tests is unjustifiable.” Mayim Bialik 

You can also find articles and studies based on animal cruelty with real statistics and real facts on their website. Cruelty-Free International states that “We believe there is no rational moral justification for using animals in experiments”, and according to their statistics, at least 115 million animals are used as test subjects each year! Another interesting fact is that the US, Japan, China, Australia, France, Canada, the UK, Germany and Brazil are the top 9 animal testing countries in the world. Unfortunately, there has not been a huge decline in animal testing since the 1990s and some countries continue to test on animals with record figures.

 

If we wish to make a difference and stop animal cruelty, we must stop buying products that are not labelled with the leaping bunny. To help you with that we have found numerous companies which are certified as cruelty-free as of 2020, and have not tested on animals during any stage of production: Elf, NYX, LUSH, TheBalm, Tarte, WetnWild, Anastasia Beverly Hills and TooFaced.

 

Brands that are not cruelty-free include Nars, Mac, Benefit, Dior, Covergirl, Max Factor, L’oreal, Bourjois, Chanel, Armani and Maybelline.

 

If you want to look into more brands that are cruelty-free you can visit: https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/list-of-cruelty-free-brands/
And If you want more information on Animal testing and wish to donate towards the cause, visit: https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/what-we-do

 

 

 

Photo from freepik

 

 

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Has COVID-19 Impeded Free Speech? The “Land of Origins”, COVID-19 and Personal Liberties.

COVID-19 is attacking not only our ability to be heard but also the legitimacy of that voice. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is one of the many prevalent examples where freedom of speech has been hindered by COVID-19’s continued exponential growth. Unlike other examples I could use, Ethiopia could disproportionately suffer from the stripping of such freedoms.

UK and Refugees: Between Dehumanisation and Demonisation

Detached reporting of asylum crossings in the English Channel resemble “a sports commentator watching a boat race or a tour operator on a whale watching tour.” Dehumanising refugees is is a long-standing problem within UK journalism that is seeping into politics and impacting the lives of those seeking international protection.

The Politics of a Global Pandemic

As the world adjusts to living with Covid-19, combatting the virus has become another platform for certain brands of politics. When politicians of different ideological beliefs clash, and the authority of science is called into question, what results is a fractured and uncoordinated response that only perpetuates the pandemic.

Donald Trump’s Threat to the US Elections

Donald Trump suggested on 30th July that the election be delayed – an idea which most press outlets and even the US congress assured was not going to happen, putting the president firmly in his place. Trump didn’t think his latest election threat all the way through, but he continues to set a terrifying precedent for a nation which touts itself as a global inspiration for democracy.

Olympic Dreams: The Cost of Labour Exploitation for the Worlds Biggest Sporting Events

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would have been happening this summer if it was not for the outbreak of Covid-19. These games, and many mega sporting events before them, have been plagued by human rights abuses of workers. What needs to be done in order to prevent this?

Greenwashing Austerity: What Do Young Greens Feel About the New Government?

The General Election of February 2020 feels like a world away now. Not only do the pre-social distancing days seem like a weird alternative universe, but also the hopes for radical change which many, particularly young, people dared to hold as they headed to the ballot box are starting to seem like a crazy dream. As the coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party settle into the Dáil, the political landscape of the next five years is beginning to come into focus.

Is Our Environment Experiencing a Lockdown Detox?

Is Our Environment Experiencing a Lockdown Detox?

Covid-19 has changed our world in ways none of us expected. People are losing their jobs and businesses are filing for bankruptcy, one of the most popular companies behind student travel, USIT, has recently applied for liquidation, and this is just to name a few consequences of the outbreak. However, considering all the negative impacts of Covid-19, there has been an unexpected, positive one on the environment.

 

Since educational institutions are closed and lots of work can be done online,  many are staying home and don’t use their vehicles as much, meaning the roads are practically empty. To most, this might not be a big deal. However, consider the fact that on an ordinary day, thousands of cars are on the streets and each car releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere that affect our ecosystem. According to driving test, a website that focuses on everything car-related, for every litre of diesel that a car is fueled with, 2.68 kg of CO2 are released. Petrol releases 2.31 kg and LPG around 1.51 kg. If we imagine that most adults in Ireland have a car and use diesel or petrol to travel back and forth, it makes a significant difference. 

 

Some benefits of fewer vehicles on the road include our air becoming cleaner and noise levels are heavily reduced. If you were to open your window to let some fresh air in, you will notice that the sounds of nature have replaced traffic noise, and the air feels cleaner. 

 

Many countries placed on lockdown have found that air quality is increasing. This is due to planes staying grounded as flights are being cancelled, and factories being shut down, resulting in fewer fumes entering the atmosphere. China has released some images from NASA and the European Space Agency which demonstrate the significant changes which include nitrogen dioxide pollution decreasing. 

 


 

Nitrogen dioxide is harmful because it can irritate the lungs and through inhaling the pollutant for an extended amount of time, people are risking a chance of asthma and inflammation of the lungs. Marshall Burke, a Stanford University environmental resource economist, writes on G-Feed, a blog maintained by seven scientists working on Global Food, Environment and Economic Dynamics, that the reduction in pollution has probably saved the lives of 4,000 children under the age of five and 73,000 adults over seventy in China.  “It is remarkable that both the number of deaths and the loss in life expectancy from air pollution rival the effect of tobacco smoking and are much higher than other causes of death,” physicist Jos Lelieveld from the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia stated at the time, “Air pollution exceeds malaria as a global cause of premature death by a factor of 19; it exceeds violence by a factor of 16, HIV/AIDS by a factor of 9, alcohol by a factor of 45, and drug abuse by a factor of 60.” This goes to show that air pollution does kill.

 

Similar to China, regions in the US are seeing a decline in air pollution as well. New York City scientists at Columbia University have reported that there has been a five to ten per cent drop in CO2  in New York as traffic has been reduced to thirty-five per cent of its previous state. Los Angeles, which is known for its heavy skies from air pollution is seeing great improvements also. 

 

On March 8th, Italy locked down the Northern Lombardy region and two days later that quarantine was extended to the entire country. This lockdown has had the same effect on Italy’s nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere which leaves scientists hopeful that the improvement will become worldwide.

However, if you think that air quality is the only thing improving, prepare to be pleasantly surprised as waters are also becoming cleaner. It has been confirmed that the water in the Venice canals has become clear and odour-free for the first time anyone can remember which has brought marine life back to the city. For example, there have been rumoured dolphin visits in the canals which has not happened in years.

 

Images posted by the twitter user @FolinAlberto show that Venice canals once known for their murky waters are now crystal clear.

 

 

The pollution in the canals used to be caused by cruise ships sailing to Venice lagoon; with the absence of those ships, the water has had a chance to detox. In March, Venice would usually see almost 700,00 people arrive via cruise ships. The decline in tourism has brought back “the lagoon waters of ancient times, those of the post-war period, when it was even still possible to bathe in the waters of the canals,” according to local newspaper La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre.

 

In Ireland, Galway city is also seeing a change in the ocean. The promenade has seen a reduction in littering and waste on the beach, as well as an improvement in the ocean itself with the water being a bright and clear colour.

In spite of all the positive change that is happening at the moment, the question that needs to be asked is: will the pandemic have a lasting effect on our climate and our environmental consciousness? An analysis carried out and published by a climate website, Carbon Brief, claims that there has been a twenty-five per cent decrease in energy use and emission in China over the last few weeks and it is likely to impact China’s carbon emission this year by about one per cent.  However, from 2008 – 2009, which was right after the global financial crash, carbon emissions increased by five per cent from a boosted demand in fossil fuel. “It will depend on how long the pandemic lasts, and how widespread the slowdown is in the economy, particularly in the US. But most likely I think we will see something in the global emissions this year,” said Prof Corinne Le Quéré from the University of East Anglia. “If it lasts another three of four months, certainly we could see some reduction.” Christopher Jones, who is a lead developer of the Coolclimate Network, has said that “if we can think about how to prepare for climate change like a pandemic, maybe there will be a positive outcome to all of this.”

 

 

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

 

 

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#SecondHandSeptember: A Sustainable Fashion Story with @Traashion

WE’RE HALFWAY THROUGH #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER! 👕👗👖 Are you sticking to your commitments? We chat with the amazing Instagram slow fashion advocate Alba Mullen, aka @traashion, whose words and wisdom will inspire you on your own journey to sustainable fashion.

#SecondHandSeptember: 10 Sustainable Fashion Labels You Should Get Behind

This Second Hand September, check out our list of 10 sustainable fashion brands worth investing in – able, tentree, boden, kotn, thought clothing, ref jeans, girlfriend collective, cuyana, amour vert, everlane.

Friendship SPO: ‘Nothing will happen if voices from the field aren’t put on a plateau’

Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director of Friendship SPO talked to us ahead of this year’s STAND Student Festival about climate migration and Friendship’s work in empowering at-risk communities who face environmental and human rights issues.

PPE: “The Protector and the Polluter”

Masks and gloves play a vital role in protecting the public against contracting Covid-19. The growing concern PPE is its role in creating waste and damaging our environment. With daily life now accommodating to new health policies the more we throw away PPE the more we will have to deal with waste.

Sustainable Fashion and YOU

If we want to shop in an environmentally friendly way, pay fair wages to the workers and use fewer resources in the production process, we have to pay more.
However, there is another solution: sustainable fashion.

The Emerald Isle? Taking a Closer Look at Dublin’s Biodiversity

With people realizing the importance of nature and green spaces during their confinement in lockdown, and it being the International Day for Biological Diversity, let’s see how Dublin city stacks up.

Airlines’ Responsibility on Climate Change

Airlines’ Responsibility on Climate Change

Aviation is one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the European Commission, airlines contribute to about 3% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions which doesn’t seem like a lot. However, air transport generates 600 million tonnes of CO2 a year and other factors of air travel, such as nitrogen oxides and water vapour in high atmospheric layers are estimated to have an impact even two to five times higher than that of CO2.

 

In October last year, Extinction Rebellion protested at London City Airport to raise awareness of the problem. One of the protesters, former Paralympic cyclist James Brown, glued himself to the top of a British Airways plane. Another protester managed to ground a flight to Dublin as he got up from his seat and started giving a lecture on climate change just as the Aer Lingus plane was on the runway and about to take off. The pilot had to taxi back to the gate where a throng of police escorted the man off the plane and completed a full security check of the aircraft before it could depart.

 

In order to reduce the large amount of emissions in the aviation industry, the International Air Transport Association have a cap on CO2 emissions from this year and aim to have a 50% reduction by 2050. The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation requires all airlines to report their CO2 emissions annually.

 

Ryanair claims to be Europe’s “greenest” airline, stating that their current CO2 emissions per passenger per kilometre are 23% lower than the average of Europe’s other four major airlines, Lufthansa, IAG, Air France-KLM and EasyJet. When booking flights, customers can also make a donation to Ryanair’s climate charity partners, including First Climate and the Native Woodland Trust. However, the EU’s Transport & Environment group named Ryanair in a list of Europe’s top 10 CO2 emitters, seeing that the airline’s CO2 emissions increased by nearly half from 2013 to 2018. Earlier in February, the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency banned advertisements from Ryanair that depicted it as Europe’s lowest emissions airline and ordered the low-cost carrier to withdraw their misleading claims.

 

In reaction to aviation’s vast impact on climate change, some people have given up flying in order to offset their carbon footprint. In Sweden, the phenomenon is known as “flygskam”, or flight shame. Environmental activist Greta Thunberg refuses to fly, often travelling by rail or boat instead and over the course of last year, she has inspired many others to be more active themselves. As environmental awareness is on the rise, it comes as little surprise that Ryanair is trying to win this new kind of consumers’ favour. And they are not alone: In October last year, IAG, a multinational airline holding company which owns Aer Lingus, shared their plans to have zero net carbon emissions by 2050. In the United States, Delta Air Lines plans to invest $1 billion to lessen its environmental impact and aims to become the first-ever carbon-neutral airline.

 

Although giving up flying altogether is the most effective way to travel environmentally friendly, there are a few things for individuals to consider if air travel is necessary. According to the Guardian, day-time flights have a less negative impact on the climate than night-time flights, which is connected to the contrails caused by planes. Researchers believe that they add to the greenhouse effect by stopping heat escaping from the Earth. During the day-time, those contrails will at least reflect incoming sunlight away from the Earth, whereas in the night, that’s not possible. Another important factor is the amount of luggage brought on a flight. The more it weighs, the more energy will be used. Therefore, individuals can make an impact by simply packing just the most important things.

 

According to an Ipsos MRBI exit poll during the general election, only 6% of people said that climate change was a deciding factor in who they voted for. However, this global crisis  needs to be taken seriously by everyone and must be a priority for the new government, as it will greatly affect our future.

 

 

Photo by Jordan Sanchez on Unsplash

 

 

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Has COVID-19 Impeded Free Speech? The “Land of Origins”, COVID-19 and Personal Liberties.

COVID-19 is attacking not only our ability to be heard but also the legitimacy of that voice. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is one of the many prevalent examples where freedom of speech has been hindered by COVID-19’s continued exponential growth. Unlike other examples I could use, Ethiopia could disproportionately suffer from the stripping of such freedoms.

UK and Refugees: Between Dehumanisation and Demonisation

Detached reporting of asylum crossings in the English Channel resemble “a sports commentator watching a boat race or a tour operator on a whale watching tour.” Dehumanising refugees is is a long-standing problem within UK journalism that is seeping into politics and impacting the lives of those seeking international protection.

The Politics of a Global Pandemic

As the world adjusts to living with Covid-19, combatting the virus has become another platform for certain brands of politics. When politicians of different ideological beliefs clash, and the authority of science is called into question, what results is a fractured and uncoordinated response that only perpetuates the pandemic.

Donald Trump’s Threat to the US Elections

Donald Trump suggested on 30th July that the election be delayed – an idea which most press outlets and even the US congress assured was not going to happen, putting the president firmly in his place. Trump didn’t think his latest election threat all the way through, but he continues to set a terrifying precedent for a nation which touts itself as a global inspiration for democracy.

Olympic Dreams: The Cost of Labour Exploitation for the Worlds Biggest Sporting Events

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would have been happening this summer if it was not for the outbreak of Covid-19. These games, and many mega sporting events before them, have been plagued by human rights abuses of workers. What needs to be done in order to prevent this?

Greenwashing Austerity: What Do Young Greens Feel About the New Government?

The General Election of February 2020 feels like a world away now. Not only do the pre-social distancing days seem like a weird alternative universe, but also the hopes for radical change which many, particularly young, people dared to hold as they headed to the ballot box are starting to seem like a crazy dream. As the coalition of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party settle into the Dáil, the political landscape of the next five years is beginning to come into focus.

The Irish Environment to Have its Day in Court

The Irish Environment to Have its Day in Court

As the climate emergency continues to escalate at dizzying speed, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by shocking statistics and doomsday warnings. All over the world, governments are failing to take adequate action to stop the warming of our planet. Climate litigation is the growing global trend of people turning to the courts to force their governments to do better.

 

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), an Irish charity committed to tackling climate change, have become significant players in Irish climate litigation. In 2017, they took a landmark case against the state over the proposed construction of a third runway in Dublin airport. Although they lost the case, the judgment recognised the existence of a constitutional right to an environment, and even went so far as to say an environment is “an essential condition for the fulfilment of all human rights”. 

 

Fast forward to today, and FIE are back in court, as the driving force behind Climate Case Ireland. FIE are arguing that the unsatisfactory level of climate action currently being taken by the government is breaching the established constitutional right of Irish citizens to an environment, as well as many other constitutional and fundamental human rights. In an exciting development, they have recently been granted special permission for a “leap-frog” appeal. This means that the case will be permitted to go straight to the Supreme Court, as a matter of exceptional public and legal significance. A definitive Supreme Court judgment in favour of FIE would be hugely significant, and would compel the legislature to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

 

We are not the only ones waking up to the potential power of climate litigation. A case was recently won by an environmental NGO in the Netherlands, resulting in a court order mandating the Dutch State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020. In the USA, a group of 21 young people filed a case in 2015 against the US government for knowingly contributing to climate change and violating their constitutional rights to liberty, life, and property. The country, whose withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation was announced by President Trump in 2017, is one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. The 21 climate activists are facing huge opposition from the Trump administration and the fossil fuel industry, but are continuing to fight their way through the court system. At a European level, ten families from different countries are bringing the People’s Climate Case before the Court of Justice of the European Union, asserting that the EU are also contributing to climate change and therefore violating fundamental rights to life, health, occupation and property. 

 

According to latest analysis, nearly 30 countries all over the world have engaged with climate litigation. It is one of the newest and most powerful tools available to climate activists in order to demand change from national government. Due to come before the Supreme Court in June, Climate Case Ireland will be the third case of its kind in the world to reach the highest court of national law (other cases being the Dejustica case in Columbia and the Urgenda case in the Netherlands). A judgment in favour of FIE would result in a mandatory plan of action for the government, and would make Ireland a pioneering jurisdiction in vindicating the right to an environment. It is hoped that such a result would send a strong message to government, and inspire other climate litigants globally to bring similar actions. 

 

Find out more about the case, receive updates on progress, and show your support by visiting the official website.

 

 

Photo by Kieran Lynam on Flickr

 

 

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#SecondHandSeptember: A Sustainable Fashion Story with @Traashion

WE’RE HALFWAY THROUGH #SECONDHANDSEPTEMBER! 👕👗👖 Are you sticking to your commitments? We chat with the amazing Instagram slow fashion advocate Alba Mullen, aka @traashion, whose words and wisdom will inspire you on your own journey to sustainable fashion.

#SecondHandSeptember: 10 Sustainable Fashion Labels You Should Get Behind

This Second Hand September, check out our list of 10 sustainable fashion brands worth investing in – able, tentree, boden, kotn, thought clothing, ref jeans, girlfriend collective, cuyana, amour vert, everlane.

Friendship SPO: ‘Nothing will happen if voices from the field aren’t put on a plateau’

Runa Khan, Founder & Executive Director of Friendship SPO talked to us ahead of this year’s STAND Student Festival about climate migration and Friendship’s work in empowering at-risk communities who face environmental and human rights issues.

PPE: “The Protector and the Polluter”

Masks and gloves play a vital role in protecting the public against contracting Covid-19. The growing concern PPE is its role in creating waste and damaging our environment. With daily life now accommodating to new health policies the more we throw away PPE the more we will have to deal with waste.

Sustainable Fashion and YOU

If we want to shop in an environmentally friendly way, pay fair wages to the workers and use fewer resources in the production process, we have to pay more.
However, there is another solution: sustainable fashion.

The Emerald Isle? Taking a Closer Look at Dublin’s Biodiversity

With people realizing the importance of nature and green spaces during their confinement in lockdown, and it being the International Day for Biological Diversity, let’s see how Dublin city stacks up.