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February 15, 2019

Environmental Action from Peterborough to Port Moresby | 2019 in Climate News


Climate strikes taking place worldwide

It’s the epitome of rebels with a cause; school children in the UK are joining others around the world in taking action today.

Young climate campaigners are planning to walk out of British schools, colleges and universities from the highlands of Scotland to the heart of Cornwall on Friday 15 February. Eloquent, committed and focussed on making a difference, this coordinated walk out around the UK follows the lead of 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, who refused to attend school on a weekly basis last year to stage sit-ins outside Sweden’s Parliament.

Why? To make the headlines, and enact change. It’s working, and the movement is growing.

Students in 40 cities and towns across the UK will join those from the USA to Uganda to call for greater government action on global warming and climate threats.

In addition to demands that the government declare a state of emergency and more effectively communicate the severity of climate threats to the public, the campaigners are calling to make climate change a priority in the national curriculum.

“We’re running out of time for meaningful change, and that’s why we’re seeing young people around the world rising up to hold their governments to account on their dismal climate records.”

– Anna Taylor, UK Student Climate Network.

Far from an excuse to skip school, these young people are taking their future into their own hands. They’re making sure they cannot be ignored, and proving those wrong that say they’re too young to make a difference.

We’re being told that  “climate change is the deadliest legacy we will leave the young’. It’s powerful to see children taking the issue into their own hands, before they are handed it.

  Embed from Getty Images

 

Food for thought – record number of people cut down on animal products.

Easily dismissed as a craze, this year veganuary ended on a record high with 250,000 participants.

From ethics to health, there may be many reasons that gave participants the impetus to start the year by switching their diet to include local and plant based choices.

In 2018, it was hard to ignore the impact of our food systems on the world. Whether beef, avocados, quinoa or palm oil products, the huge range of products on the shelves are having a range of environmental issues from deforestation to transport emissions. An increasing awareness of the choices we make saw Britain’s supermarkets reporting a surge in sales of vegan food and drink, which they expect to continue throughout the year.

They are tapping into not only the blossoming vegan market but also the UK’s estimated 22 million “flexitarians”, who enjoy meat but wish to cut down on their meat consumption.

These things don’t happen overnight, and few may extend the vegan lifestyle past the winter months. But it’s all about positive steps in a direction to being aware of the choices we are making, starting conversations about the systems we rely on to get food to our table.

We are becoming increasingly attuned to our impact on nature and the positive collective action we can have in our daily choices.

 

Educating the rainforest conservationists of the future

The Cool Earth team in Papua New Guinea has been busy planning the exciting year ahead for rainforest communities. It’s been a hive of activity, with Gellie and Ricky full of enthusiasm and drive for creating as much access to education for the rainforest villages as they possibly can.

“We cannot do conservation without education. Education is the vital ingredient in every conservation programme.”

– Cool Earth’s PNG Project Manager Gellie Akui

Access to education in forest and coastal communities is often limited. But the importance of an education to the futures of individuals and the environment around the world cannot be underestimated. It helps create choice, and improve an individual’s resilience to exploitation from loggers or land grabbers brandishing complex contracts. That’s why this year, the focus is on making significant strides in the education and options of the young people of the communities of Sololo.

 

In a clearing, houses constructed from wood are raised off the of the ground from stilts and surrounded by rainforest. © Cool Earth | Lewis Gillingham

We’ve also just heard the exciting news that Javina Wimu and Wolly Danianada have passed their teacher training with flying colours. That means two new teachers for the community of Sololo. Both children and adults will benefit, with an adult literacy programme for those who never had the chance for an education.

In March, on World Wildlife Day, there will be a pan-community gathering with a difference. Hosted by Cool Earth’s newest partner community, Sololo, the two-day wildlife festival will see games and education helping spread the word about their importance of their forest. With football and volleyball for the adults, education activities for the children and colouring in for the little ones, we can’t wait to see the photos of Wabumari, Gadaisu, Sololo and other neighbouring communities come together.

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