Earlier this week, London’s Metropolitan police outright banned a climate activism group from protesting.
Extinction Rebellion (XR), an international, nonviolent pressure group, has spent the past week occupying public spaces in Central London. They’re participating in “Two Weeks of Global Action” — an international protest against governmental inaction on the climate crisis.
Through civil disobedience, they’re demanding the UK government acknowledge and actively combat biodiversity loss, carbon emissions, and ecological collapse.
These protests, although nonviolent, have faced severe backlash from the police.
Since the demonstration began on October 7th, the police have arrested over a thousand protesters. Yet the protests have persevered, causing the police to place a complete ban on XR protests.
Police / Extinction Rebellion tensions escalate
Shortly after the protests began last Monday, the police demanded protesters contain their demonstrations to Trafalgar Square, a public square near the Houses of Parliament. Since then, XR protesters have occupied the square 24/7 for almost two weeks.
But the protests have nonetheless expanded throughout the city.
Police have repeatedly attempted to further confine and end these protests, mainly by arresting around 100 protesters every day. But these arrests have only caused the movement to gain more traction. The police have grown more frustrated by the nonviolent protests, invoking a complete ban on Monday.
This ban challenges the public’s right to protest, according to several legal sources. But since it hasn’t been appealed yet, police are using the ban as an excuse to arrest protesters by the dozens.
Protesters have actively defied this ban since Monday, amplifying their demonstrations.
Protests have heated up. Some parked a hearse, representing biodiversity loss and species extinction, in Trafalgar Square. Many protesters have spray-painted buildings, while others have chained themselves to street lamps and cars to prevent police from arresting them.
Some protesters have stalled the London Underground by standing atop of or gluing themselves to trains. And they’ve hung a banner reading “Truth Demands Action” in front of Parliament on the River Thames.
Protesters have also blocked traffic in London’s financial district, chanted with drums in front of Buckingham Palace, and glued themselves to the entrance of London’s Stock Exchange building.
A group of about 100 new mothers even staged a “nurse-in” in front of Google’s London headquarters. As Google has recently received criticism for donating to climate-denying interest groups, mothers stood outside and breastfed their infants — the next generation doomed to face dire climate consequences.
As the protests have heated up, so have the police’s retaliations.
Arrests have continued by the day. Over 1,400 protesters were arrested last week alone, some violently.
And on Saturday, the police raided an XR building in London with a battering ram. They took protest supplies such as mobility ramps, which Extinction Rebellion uses to ensure their protest spaces are accessible.
Despite the police’s numerous attempts to quench London’s Extinction Rebellion protests, the movement is going strong.
In a recent XR statement, the group thanked Londoners “for opening their hearts and demonstrating their willingness to act on that truth.”
“Now it is time to bring this telling of the truth to communities around London, the regions and nations of the UK, and internationally. In this age of misinformation, there is power in telling the truth.”
Kanye West Unveils Plans for More Sustainable Yeezy Shoes … Using Algae-Based Foam
Though Kanye West is known for his radical opinions, nobody expected him to come out with algae-based Yeezy shoes. Well, it turns out, he’s joining the cadre of celebrities who have expressed their concern for the environment. And more so, he is echoing the sentiment that every business has a responsibility towards sustainable development. At the recent Fast Company Innovation Festival, Kanye revealed a new algae-based Yeezy design and plans to make older models environmentally friendly too.
Though for now the details of it all are still unclear, Kanye’s intent seems genuine enough for a start. In this day and age, it is understood that innovation and sustainability go hand in hand in any business. People expect the brands they know and love to have a proactive stance towards today’s sustainability problems.
So to take a step back, what is the algae craze anyway? And why, out of all materials, is Kanye looking to use algae in the newest Yeezy shoes?
The Algae Problem
Algae is typically harmless, but not when it grows out of control. Because farmers use excess fertilizer, plants don’t absorb it and it runs into bodies of water to feed algae colonies instead. And global warming isn’t helping either. Because algae grows in warm conditions, this summer’s weather resulted in a significant spike in algae levels.
High concentrations of algae lead to high concentrations of cyanobacteria, which can have adverse health effects. These can range from abdominal pain to severe respiratory paralysis. Moreover, this surplus of algae blocks sunlight from reaching plankton, which effectively disrupts aquatic food chains.
Kanye West Has A Solution
The new Yeezys require far less fossil fuels than its more environmentally-taxing counterparts. Though the shoe still contains a few petroleum-based chemicals, the main component, the algae-based foam, eliminates a good amount.
Because algae is renewable and abundant, it is a perfect candidate to use to make a shoe. Using it to make eco-friendly everyday items can mitigate several environmental threats.
Kanye West Is Revamping The Older Models Too
West hasn’t completely forgotten about his older models. The company plans to move its headquarters to a 4,000-acre ranch in Wyoming, where it can farm all the fibers it needs.
Production will also move to the United States, where the company will also work on creating low-impact dyes. After all, dyes also create significant fashion-related environmental hazards.
It is always a pleasant surprise to see celebrities show concern about the planet and actually do something to tackle environmental issues. Kanye West, known already for his radical approach to fashion, seems to be a shoo-in for an initiative like the one he’s started.
Although his ideas are at their earliest stages, they show great promise, both to the environment and fashion worlds. And we can only wait to see what comes of them.
Adani’s Contractors Are Rising Up Against The Company’s Carmichael Coal Mine Project
Ever since Adani, one of India’s largest power businesses, announced its thoughts to work on a new mega-mine (denoted the Carmichael Coal Mine), critics have examined what the implications could be.
First and foremost, the Carmichael Coal Mine would later be on the lands of ancestral people, stripping them of what they knew to be home for years. Next, an advocacy group, #StopAdani, reports that having the coal mine built would result in allowing “500 more coal ships to travel through the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area every year for 60 years.” And if that’s not enough, the Carmichael Coal Mine would also result in a whopping 4.6 billion tons of carbon pollution being added to our atmosphere.
Adani is permitted to build in spite of harming the environment
The Carmichael Coal Mine was once just a proposal. But just a few months ago, The Queensland government gave Adani the green light to start building. The decision has evoked a state of shock among many. Critics are continuing to ask questions that would clarify why the Queensland government would put the environment on the back-burner. Why is it that profit comes before the environment? At what point is enough, enough?
Though it looks like critics aren’t the only ones to rebuke Adani’s efforts to continue with the Carmichael Coal Mine. It’s also the people who work for the company: contractors who work for engineering company GHD, which leverages its talent pool to help Adani.
And now that the proposed thermal coal mine in central Queensland has been approved, Adani is now partnering with contractors (including GHD) to help build the mine and rail link. To that end, the pressing question for many of GHD contractors is: “Why us?”
Over half of GHD’s staff upset about company’s involvement in Carmichael Coal Mine
Market Forces, a sustainability advocacy group that pushes businesses to reduce their carbon footprints, recently tweeted out the results of a survey they had run with GHD staff:
Some of these findings include:
“70% [of staff] say GHD is risking its ethical business credentials by working on the Adani Carmichael.”
“62% say GHD should stop working on projects that expand the thermal coal sector.”
GHD’s business integrity called into question by its employees
The advocacy group also collected quotes from GHD staff and published them on its social media accounts.
One employee said: “This project is a blight on GHD. It contravenes GHD’s sustainability policy and core value of integrity. It makes me ashamed to work for GHD.”
Another commented: “I previously didn’t know about the Adani controversy. Having found out about it and the company’s involvement quite frankly I’m ashamed, embarrassed, and extremely disappointed, not least for the fact that the company are being so stubborn in listening to the public and its staff.”
Market Forces comments on the Carmichael Coal Mine project
Market Forces campaigner Pablo Brait said the group opposes the Adani Coal Mine project. Additionally, the group is actively campaigning to have businesses cut ties with the mega-mine.
“We don’t think any company that sees itself as a forward-thinking or ethical company should be going anywhere near the Adani Carmichael project,” Brait said to the ABC.
Protesters look to get GHD to take action against the Carmichael coal mine project
The leaking of staff discontent comes as protesters across Australia targeted GHD for its involvement with the controversial coal mine. More than a dozen GHD offices throughout the nation saw protests last week, some of which led to arrests.
Anti-mine advocacy group #StopAdani said the survey and leaked emails are evidence of progress for the Adani protests. However, GHD management has vowed to continue their association with Adani to help build their mine and rail.
MrBeast Teams Up With Elon Musk And Other Influencers To Plant 20 Million Trees
On October 25, 2019, Internet-sensation MrBeast impressed environmental activists on all platforms. Jimmy Donaldson, otherwise known by his online alias MrBeast, is a Youtube Influencer with over 25.3 million subscribers. He is widely known as the individual responsible for popular outrages, and expensive, challenges. Now, he’s looking to work with influencers and other donors to plant trees. But not just any number of trees: 20 million of them.
In the past, MrBeast has minted Youtube hits including “Spending 24 Hours Straight Under Water Challenge” and “Anything You Can Carry, I’ll Pay For Challenge.” But now, MrBeast seems to be taking a break from his usual video content. Instead, he appears to be taking a large stride in a newer, but greener, direction. Taking on what he calls his “Biggest Project Ever,” MrBeast announced that he is trying to plant 20,000,000 million trees by 2020.
Fans all over the world spammed MrBeast on any social media platform they could utilize in order to get one message to him: “Plant 25 million trees or I’ll kick you NO JOKE”. In response to the surge of comments, the YouTuber decided that the only proper reaction was to make it happen.
At the beginning of his video reveal of the project, MrBeast stands in the middle of an open, grassy field with a handful of his friends.
Taking a comedic spin on the matter, he takes the audience through brief instructions on how to plant a tree:
First, dig a hole.
Second, put the tree in the hold.
Third, cover the base of the tree in mulch.
Next, water the tree.
And lastly, repeat a total of 20 million times.
Although a simple guide to the process, MrBeast quickly encountered a flaw in his plan. Although he had the determination, the team lacked the manpower to physically accomplish his goal. However, fans immediately decided to help the internet icon once they heard.
The following day, what looks like hundreds of fans gathered in the field. All joining in on the project, some individuals contributed hours of hard work to the green goal. Remarkably, one girl even managed to dig 473 holes for newly planted trees.
Unfortunately, despite all the help, the team still was unable to finish the project by themselves.
Teaming Up To Make #TeamTrees
In order to finish his project, MrBeast devised a plan in order to reach the community’s goal of planting 20 million trees. As an alternative, the Youtuber teamed up with the largest non-profit, tree-planting organization, Arbor Day Foundation.
By creating a fundraiser, the two created a #TeamTree. #TeamTrees is a platform that ensures that for every $1 raised by the public, 1 tree will be planted. According to the website, all donations are going directly to the Arbor Day Foundation. Currently, over 6 million trees were planted as a result of the fundraiser.
MrBeast personally donated $100,000 to plant 100,000 trees.
Concluding his video, MrBeast makes a powerful statement noting that “we only have one Earth, and it’s important we take care of it.” He continues his video with photographs of wildfires as the background, “Recently, lots of not-so-great things have been happening to forests and people just keep making fun of our generation for retweet activism and not actually doing something.”
Since the beginning stages of this project, many are taking notice of MrBeast’s activism. Not only is the public continuing to donate to the cause, but many top YouTubers are as well. The likes of Mark Rober, Jeffree Star, and Simply Nailogical have contributed to #TeamTrees. Additionally, Tesla CEO Elon Musk donated $1 million to the cause.
To some, MrBeast’s video may just seem like a regular YouTube video. However, his work is serving a platform for everyone to contribute to climate reform. In three days, #TeamTrees managed to raised enough money to plant over 6 million trees. At the time of this writing, it has raised enough to plant over 11 million trees.
With donations continuing to flow in, these numbers continue to rise. Hopefully, many more will follow in MrBeast’s footsteps. If the public is lucky, perhaps another YouTuber will tackle another large eco-friendly challenge.
To donate to #TeamTrees, go to https://teamtrees.org/.
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