Sorry, I’ve been on a series of courses this week, so the Econews is a bit of a mishmash. Here’s some of my favourite stories from the Guardian over the past few days…
Suicides of nearly sixty thousand Indian farmers linked to climate change
That’s a slightly misleading headline. Climate change isn’t the reason for farmers killing themselves; but it is destroying their crops and ruining their livelihoods, and one thing leads to another, if you understand. I don’t doubt that this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and we will hear similar stories from other countries reliant on agriculture – China, most of Africa and South America – which begs the question of when it will start to affect European and American farmers. Already many farmers in Britain are going out of business. Intensive agriculture simply isn’t sustainable but the public demand a constant supply of cheap, fresh food. We have to change our mentalities or this will soon be a major issue worldwide.
Underground magma triggered Earth’s worst mass extinction with greenhouse gases
I love a good geology story, me. I have to admit that some of my favourite films feature massive volcanic explosions and earthquakes; if I get an additional landslide or avalanche chucked in for good measure, I consider that a bonus. I’m fully aware that it’s pretty strange to be so obsessed with rocks but I am, so something like this was bound to attract my attention. And it looks like it won’t be long before the Yellowstone supervolcano gets blamed for climate change, so therefore it’s okay to burn coal and oil (if you believe what is said in certain corners). It’s nonsense, of course. It isn’t the fact of climate change that is the issue (although that’s pretty bad), but it’s the rate of change. Mass extinctions happen, either through climate change, asteroid strikes or disease. We can’t legislate for that, but what we can legislate for is how quickly the mass extinction happens. And it may be time we pulled our metaphorical fingers out.
Is it fair to blame Coca-Cola and big corporations for our waste crisis?
Personally, I’m very happy to blame pretty much anything on Coca-Cola, McDonalds and any other big corporation I’m not a fan of. I’ve put on three pounds this week? That’s Exxon Mobil’s fault. I can’t remember where I put that important phone number? That’s all to do with GlaxoSmithKline. It isn’t their fault at all, but I’m not going to take the blame am I? And this is entirely the problem – we don’t take responsibility for our actions. In the First World, we can usually choose to buy produce without packaging, but we don’t because we’re lazy. We could pester companies about the amount of plastic that they use and suggest biodegradable stuff, but we don’t because we don’t think they’ll listen. If we stopped buying their stuff and dented their profits, they’d listen – but we have to recognise our own role in this. They supply the demand we create. The quicker we sort this out, the better. But in the meantime, carry on blaming Pepsico and others regardless; it’s the least they deserve.
Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people
One of the ladies I work with is getting married at the weekend, and they are having their honeymoon in Rome. Or they were, until they got an email from their travel agent – because the temperatures have hit “dangerous levels of heat” and there is a drought in Italy, their honeymoon is being relocated to a Greek Island – still lovely, but not what they’d booked. In 2003, people in Paris died during a heatwave where temperatures regularly exceeded 100F over an extended period. If temperatures exceed 35C regularly, especially if the weather is humid, the body cannot cool itself and people will die. It’s not something that will just happen in far away countries – it can happen anywhere. This is one of the realities of climate change.
Green & Black’s new UK chocolate bar will be neither organic nor Fairtrade
We all love chocolate, right? (Okay, I’ll make allowances for the girls I work with who are allergic to it.) So who else is disappointed by this story? I’ll admit that I haven’t eaten Green & Black’s for a while, because they stopped making their Dark Cherry Chocolate, which I absolutely LOVED, and then somebody told me that they were owned by Cadburys – who have since been taken over by Kraft and we’re back to large corporations taking over small independent firms. So now I only eat Hotel Chocolat (who do make a dark cherry chocolate – with alcohol) as they are also organic and Fairtrade. It seems that American owned companies are somewhat dismissive of the Fairtrade objectives, and so it is a good time to show support for an excellent cause – and hit the buggers in the profits.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!