Climate Joy Week #17: Greta Thunberg and The 1975 Release a Climate Change Anthem, Air New Zealand Scraps Single-Use Plastic and more…

Climate Joy Week #17: Greta Thunberg and The 1975 Release a Climate Change Anthem, Air New Zealand Scraps Single-Use Plastic and more…

Welcome to yet another edition of our Climate Joy series. This week, as in all others, we will briefly examine some of the cool developments happening across the globe for (not against) our planet.

From creative music and further limitations on single-use plastic, taking you from Indonesia all the way to Estonia; we bring this short list of positive news as it relates to our environment. Here’s what’s making headlines this week:

1. Greta Thunberg Collaborates with British Band The 1975 to Release an Anthem for Climate Change

Our favorite climate activist Greta Thunberg has made her musical debut on a single by the British band 1975. The 16-year-old environmental activist teamed up with the band to create an anthem for the fight against climate change; and on a track called ‘the 1975’, she restates her position on the need for public action to fight the climate crisis.

In her much admired bold style; Greta maintained that ‘We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.’

This music reaches new audiences in a creative way, calling for mass civil disobedience because even though we have failed our planet, there is still time to turn everything around. 

The proceeds from the track will go to environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion at Greta’s request; and the message of the song has found home in the hearts of a wider audience. The environmental group released a statement welcoming the collaboration:

Music has the power to break through barriers, and right now we really need to break through some barriers if we are to face this emergency.”

1975

2. Court Rules That Indonesian Government Responsible for 2015 Forest Fires

A few days ago the Supreme Court of Indonesia ruled that the government is responsible for the wildfires that ravaged the country in 2015. The apex court also ruled that the government must take stringent and mitigating measures to prevent any further fires in the country. The ruling is on a case filed by a coalition of private citizens and environmental activists in 2016.

The fires blazed over hundred thousand square miles of the country. Much of the land was carbon-rich peat forests with the resultant cloud haze billowing across large parts of the country. 

While the government has said it still intends to appeal the ruling; this crucial victory demonstrates clearly that when people unite, they can hold erring governments (alongside the other ‘big dogs’) accountable for their environmental misdeeds.

This Supreme Court ruling is especially timely for Indonesia as the country approaches yet another wildfire season.

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3. Soviet-Era Houses to be Converted into Smart, Eco-Friendly Houses

When you think of smart eco-friendly houses, Estonian houses built in the Soviet era don’t exactly come to mind do they? Still, that is exactly the case with the European Union project ‘SmartEnCity’.

Smart houses are the newest frontiers for green living and in the Estonian city of Tartu; the SmartEnCity project aims to develop a highly adaptable and replicable systemic approach for transforming European cities into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments. 

Related Post: Future Design Series: Sustainable Houses and Building Designs

This will be achieved through the integrated planning and implementation of measures aimed at improving energy efficiency in main consuming sectors in cities, while increasing their supply of renewable energy and demonstrating the benefits. 

This project aims to create high-quality living environments that will encourage residents to move towards an eco-friendlier style of living. The apartments in Tartu will receive new insulation, windows and ventilation systems, as well as new central heating systems and solar panels. Each apartment will also get a smart home system which will enable residents for the first time to monitor and control their own energy consumption levels, putting sustainable consumption firmly in their hands.

4. Air New Zealand Reduces Single-Use Plastic on Flights

Air New Zealand has announced its intentions to get rid of a series of single use plastic items from its flights. The list includes plastic cups, lids, and Koru cheese plates, along with plastic bags across the network. Speaking at the Sustainability Breakfast in Wellington, the New Zealand national carrier relayed that it would be removing a further 14 types of single-use plastic products from its flights over the next year. The airline currently burns through more than 25 million of these items per year.

Plastic Pollutes tweets about Air New Zealand’s commitment to using less plastic on flights. Credit: Twitter.

Low impact alternatives and other reusable options will be replacing these items and we can expect to see these new products on flights within the next 12 months. It is worthy of note that Air New Zealand has already removed 3,000 straws, over seven million coffee stirrers, and half a million eye mask bags and toothbrushes from its lounges and aircraft since committing to flights with less plastic. So by its continued efforts to rid its flights of even more of plastic items, they are raising the bar to even greater heights and hopefully other airlines follow suit.

Bravo Air New Zealand!!

And that’s it for this week folks. Be sure to drop by next week for another round of cool, positive climate news.

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Feature image of climate activist Greta Thunberg taken in Stockholm in June 2019. Image via Liv Oeian / Shutterstock.

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