Climate Joy Week #39: Golden Globes Goes Plant-Based, Comedian Celeste Barber Raises $32 Million in Bushfire Appeal and more…

Climate Joy Week #39: Golden Globes Goes Plant-Based, Comedian Celeste Barber Raises $32 Million in Bushfire Appeal and more…

Happy New Year! Welcome to this week’s edition of Climate Joy, the first of the year. In a sense, this year began appallingly from an environmental sense; the Australian bushfires are still raging and the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison doesn’t seem bothered by it. But at times like this, more than ever, we are proud of why we started this series.

The Climate Joy Series is a weekly roundup of positive climate news brought to you from various corners of the world to remind you that there’s good news amongst the bad. We hope you kickstart the New Year with our favorite stories listed below:

1. Prince William announces environment prize, calls for ‘decade of action to repair the Earth’

Prince William has announced a multi-million pound prize for “visionaries” working to solve “Earth’s greatest environmental problems,” from climate change to air pollution. The prize was designed by and will initially be handled by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — headed by Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

This year, the initiative will debut a series of “Earthshot challenges,” with a goal of seeking answers to the biggest issues currently facing the planet. The Earthshot Prize will be awarded to five winners, every year, for the next 10 years. The initiative’s goal is to provide at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest problems by 2030. Starting the decade off in this way, we hopefully will be able to keep global warming to under the two degree Celsius, in line with the Paris Agreement.

2. Meat has been taken off the menu at this year’s Golden Globes

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the Golden Globes, has announced that this year’s award feast will be plant-based, a decision made out of concern for the climate. 

“The climate crisis is impossible to ignore and after speaking with our peers, and friends in the community, we felt challenged to do better,” said Lorenzo Soria, president of the organization, in a statement to CNN.

“The decision to serve an entirely plant-based meal was embraced by our partners at the Beverly Hilton, and represents a small step in response to a big problem.”

Guests will be served a vibrant chilled golden beet soup topped with shaved candy-striped beets and pistachios. For the main course, mushrooms are taking center stage, featured King Oyster mushroom “scallops” and wild mushroom risotto. In a final flourish, a vegan opera dome dessert will provide a sweet ending.

In addition to making veggies the star of the pre-show dinner, event organizers have also taken steps to eliminate single-use plastic and water bottles. These changes will undoubtedly raise awareness about the individual actions we can take to protect our planet, the sort that we all can make. And we can’t wait for other award shows to follow suit this year. 

3. Norway’s electric car sales reached record highs

Electric cars’ share of new registrations in Norway surged to record levels in 2019, helped by Tesla Inc.’s best year ever in the Nordic country.

Last year, battery electric cars accounted for 42% of new car sales in Norway, up from 31% in 2018, the Norwegian Road Federation said. Tesla sold a record 18,798 cars, led by demand of its new Model 3 in the first half of the year.

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Norway is already the world’s largest adopter of electric cars per capita, thanks to generous incentives such as tax exemptions. The country — also western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer — has a target of zero-emission cars making up all new sales by 2025.

The country was also Tesla’s third-biggest market by sales in the first nine months of 2019, according to the U.S. carmaker’s third-quarter report. Tesla’s Model 3 was by far the best-selling model in Norway last year taking over the top position from Nissan’s Leaf. Norway’s impressive level of adaptation to renewable energy is one that other countries should follow.

4. Celebrity comedian Celeste Barber raises millions for Australian firefighters

As far as the Australian bushfires go, there’s been a huge surge of donations over the last six to eight weeks. Comedian Celeste Barber tops the list of spectacular efforts by managing to raise more than $32 million (at time of writing) for volunteer firefighters – in just three days. Barber set up a Facebook fundraiser on Friday and by late afternoon it had received a staggering amount of donations, in the tens of millions, from people across Australia and around the world.

Asked if she was surprised by the response to her fundraiser, her response was that, “People are amazing. Someone needed to do something and the people have done something.” 

This fire is Australia’s war at the moment. Various other communities are also taking pains to raise funds and the result so far is an unprecedented scale of donations in the wake of the crisis many Australians currently face.

At the end of last year, Australia actually came out as the fourth-most generous country in the annual World Giving Index. This generosity is certainly an Australian trait; the spirit of backing a mate at a time of need.

5. Tesla to open Supercharger Network across remaining corner of Europe in 2020

In an electric end to 2019, electric car giant Tesla announced that the only remaining blank-spot corner of Europe without superchargers will get so in the course of 2020. The network is geographically well-distributed throughout the region and the chosen locations are at the main cross-roads.

The new chargers are already mapped by Tesla. In Finnmark, superchargers are to be opened in Karasjok, Kautokeino, Varangerbotn, Olderfjord and Alta. In Lapland, Karesuvanto and Inari are chosen, while Abisko in Norrbotten will get a supercharger.

In a similar development, other electric vehicles are set to benefit from a network of 17 high-power 150 kW chargers and eight fast chargers in Finnmark as previously reported by the Barents Observer. The upcoming year will be the biggest one yet for EVs as consumers choose sustainable modes of private transport, and governments more willing to subsidise the industry.

And on this note, we wrap things up for this edition of our climate joy series. Thank you for dropping by, and don’t forget to spread the good climate news by sharing this post!

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Feature image of Lady Gaga at the 2019 Golden Globes. Photo: Paul Smith/Featureflash.

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