Climate Joy Week #35: Black Friday Climate Protests, British Party Leaders Participate in a Climate Debate and more…

Climate Joy Week #35: Black Friday Climate Protests, British Party Leaders Participate in a Climate Debate and more…

Welcome to a brand new month and another edition of our Climate Joy series. We began collating these positive new stories to share the bits of good news severely lacking in climate change and environmental reporting. The aim is to inspire and uplift you, and that despite the negativity presented by mainstream news media, it’s not all doom and gloom.

So without further ado, here’s what we’re celebrating this week:

1. IKEA to spend over 200 million euros to go climate positive

The world’s biggest furniture maker IKEA has announced its 200 million euros climate plan, part of its overall strategy to to go climate positive.

It will invest 100 million euros in supporting its direct suppliers to switch to renewable energy sources. According to IKEA’S Chief Sustainability Officer Lena Pripp-Kovac, the focus would be on textile, ceramics, glass and metal producers.

The company has also pledged to spend an additional 100 million euros on projects that will remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. This will include projects such as reforestation and forest protection.

Read more: How Sustainable Is IKEA, Really?

Credit: Unsplash.

In 2018, the company announced a 2030 target of cutting more greenhouse gas emissions than the IKEA value chain emits. This target, encompasses the entire value chain from raw material production to customer purchases (including IKEA’s around 1,000 direct suppliers) and shows a level of commitment few global companies have dared to make.

2. LOL Surprise toys to make packaging sustainable

Popular toy maker, LOL Surprise! has announced that it is working towards making its toy packaging more sustainable. LOL Surprise! is a hugely popular toy brand with an estimated US$500 million in sales in 2019. Five different types of its toys was named by Amazon as bestsellers. 

LOL toy kits, made by MGA Entertainment,  normally come in layers of plastic with with individual trinkets each shrink wrapped in plastic. This is a plastic nightmare when you realise that the toy kits can contain anything from four to two hundred trinkets.

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“We are working on a brand new biodegradable plastic for 2020,” MGA Entertainment’s CEO Isaac Larian exclusively told CNN. He also shared that the company is planning to swap plastic for paper for all the inner packaging of the toys.

3. South Korea to shut down coal plants in winter to curtail air pollution

The South Korean government has announced that it will be shutting down a quarter of its coal-fired plants over the coming winter. The move is in an effort to reduce fine dust air pollution currently being faced by the city. 

The country’s energy ministry said 14 plants would be idled between December and February, and as many as 27 in March, but added that the closures would not affect energy supplies during the coldest months of the year.

It should be noted that these closures are temporary. However this is still positive news for a couple of reasons. Firstly, its residents and the environment get a much-needed respite from air pollution. Secondly, this action may lead the city to find sustainable ways to curtail the pollution problem, such as moving to cleaner forms of energy. With any luck, this may just lead to longer-lasting environmental laws in South Korea.

4. British party leaders participate in climate debate ahead of general elections

In the run up to the general elections, British TV channel, Channel 4, organised a climate debate for the leaders of five parties: Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party, Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats, Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party, Sian Berry of the Greens and Adam Price from the Plaid Cymru.

Sitting Prime Minister and Tory Leader Boris Johnson did not show up for the debate. This however seemed to be the big highlight of the night as his place was taken up by a sculpture of melting ice.

The positive thing here is not just in the debate itself, but in the fact that in just a few years, climate debates have become a prerequisite for elections. From Australia and the USA, down to Britain, it appears that politicians across the globe are increasingly coming to terms with the fact that climate issues are a central concern of their electorate. This matters because in the near future, world leaders may no longer be able to get away with empty words and glib remarks about climate action. They will have to put in actual work and solid climate policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Black Friday climate protests

Capitalist’s consumerism holiday, Black Friday has come and gone but this time around, there was something more meaningful than 60% off fashion and homewares. This year’s Black Friday saw climate protestors around the world disrupt the American-turned-global shopping phenomenon in order to draw attention to climate change days before the United Nations are to meet at COP25 and discuss the issue of climate action in Madrid. 

Related Post: 32+ Materialism and Consumerism Quotes to Help You Mentally Prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Beyond

From Australia to Canada, thousands streamed out to protest against the overconsumption that Black Friday represents. Protesters gathered at the Amazon headquarters in France. In Montreal, protesters marched in mock funeral processions and the protest in Germany drew around 630,000 people. The increased awareness on the environmental impacts of overconsumption as was raised by these protests is crucial because our world has become an endless  loop of consumerism. This must be checked to avoid our communal acceleration towards an ecological catastrophe, amongst other things.

And that’s all from us this week. Please share the good news with your networks to inspire them to keep going!

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Feature image via Shutterstock.

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