Climate Joy Week #14: Sustainability Takes Centre Stage at Glastonbury Festival, Vanuatu to Ban Disposable Diapers

Climate Joy Week #14: Sustainability Takes Centre Stage at Glastonbury Festival, Vanuatu to Ban Disposable Diapers

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Climate Joy Series. All through this past week, various regions of the world have been heating up with climate change issues; literally. For one, the heat wave in Europe has been quite the downer on the news, and has propelled more people to join the conversation about the future of our planet. Cheer up though, because this right here is a collection of joyful climate news from around the world and we hope it brightens up your new week. 

1.Denmark Commits to 70% Emissions Cut by 2030

The new Danish Prime Minister has announced that the country will be pursuing a new policy direction revolving around greater climate action. With the new policy agreement, the government says it will now commit to binding goals towards decarbonization. In addition, the earlier target of 40% carbon emissions reduction by 2030 would now be increased to 70%. 

This announcement came in the wake of a coalition agreement between the Social Democrats and other leftwing parties after an election described as having “the most detailed and vigorous debates about climate and energy policy ever in Denmark”.

Other measures in place include energy efficiency improvements, a broad electrification strategy, a ban on the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars from 2030, and cooperation with other North Sea countries to exploit offshore wind potential.

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The Danish government also committed to increasing its climate diplomacy efforts aimed at promoting better climate action in the European Union.

2. Sustainability Takes Centre Stage at Glastonbury

This year’s Glastonbury Festival has come and gone. But alongside the issue of music and fun was the consistent theme of the climate crisis and sustainability. For starters, before the festival even began, the organizers announced a ban on single use plastic bottles. Instead they urged participants to refill their cans from any of the 850 available refill points.

Next, climate action advocate Sir David Attenborough, took the stage to wow the audience with a trailer of his upcoming film; and to commend the efforts of the organizers in this fight against plastic waste. Extinction Rebellion, the UK’s prominent climate activists, also made an appearance and various artistes such as Norwegian singer Aurora, performed songs dedicated to the climate crisis. All these on festival grounds that had murals of Greta Thunberg with the question, “What would Greta do?”

Now it is true that at the end of the day, the entire festival venue was still a mess of garbage and plastic waste. The great thing here was that the entire conversation around this year’s festival was centered on sustainability and climate action. Put differently, the awareness of the general public on these issues was greatly increased and narrative was expanded to encourage inclusivity.

3. Vanuatu to Ban Disposable Diapers

The Pacific nation of Vanuatu has announced its intentions to ban the use of disposable nappies within the polity. This ban is expected to phase in at the end of this year and is the aftermath of research work demonstrating that organic waste and disposable nappies accounts for three-quarters of the total weight of waste. 

There has been an understandable uproar by parents, especially by mothers, and the country is now in consultation with businesses, NGOs, and civil societies to come up with acceptable alternatives.

This nation of about 300,000 people has been called a champion in the fight against waste plastic crisis. Just last year, they enacted one of the strictest laws ever made against plastic shopping bags, straws and polystyrene containers. In March earlier this year, a ban on other single-use plastic items including plates, cups, stirrers, food containers, egg cartons and flowers followed suit. 

Once enacted, the disposable nappy ban will be the first of its kind around the world and as long as there are suitable alternatives, it’s a ban many believe will stick. 

4. Another Coal Plant to Be Replaced in the US

In New Mexico, the state’s largest utilities company has filed papers with the state government seeking to replace its coal-fired generation plant. The proposal, if accepted would save residential customers an average of $7.11 a month in the first year and would allow the company to operate on about 42% renewable energy in four years.

The proposal also clearly sets out the replacement options for the company one of which is a combination of new solar facilities (including a 300- megawatt installation proposed for San Juan County); a new wind farm near Estancia, new energy battery storage facilities around the state and more natural gas from a long-planned 280-megawatt project located near the soon-to-be-shuttered coal-burning plant.

Some environmental groups have had mixed feelings about this plan, citing its reliance on natural gas. The company though has stated that this reliance is necessary to guarantee reliable power supply, while better plans are put in place for the future. Steve Michel, the deputy director of Western Resource Advocates’ Clean Energy Program, applauded these steps relaying that the proposal “…shows how good outcomes can be achieved when people work together to solve problems.”

That’s all for this week. Feel free to share this good climate news and if you do, you’ll be part of the climate movement spreading hope!

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