Climate Joy Week #44: SeaWorld Ends Dolphin Surfing, the Oscars Embraces Plant-Based Menu and more…

Climate Joy Week #44: SeaWorld Ends Dolphin Surfing, the Oscars Embraces Plant-Based Menu and more…

Welcome to this week’s edition of Climate Joy. This roundup of positive climate news also comes right before Valentine’s Day and for this reason, if you recognise and celebrate the day, here’s to a wonderful Valentine’s in advance.

Now here’s the good news we’re celebrating this week:

1. SeaWorld ends dolphin surfing and related show stunts

SeaWorld Entertainment says it is ending the longstanding practice of trainers dolphin surfing in its marine park shows. This announcement comes nearly a year after animal rights activists began pressuring the company to ban “circus-style” show stunts.

The decision to move away from these dolphin show theatrics was disclosed in a letter earlier this month by a SeaWorld attorney to the Securities and Exchange Commission addressing a proposal made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which asked for the company to prohibit trainers from riding on dolphins’ backs and standing on their faces.

A trainer surfing on dolphins at SeaWorld (2007). Photo: Stig Nygaard.

In the letter, the company states that it “no longer demonstrates ‘surfing’ (on dolphins) at any of its locations, and plans to phase out the demonstration of standing on rostrums within the next few months, despite its belief that neither of these behaviors are harmful to the animals in any way.” The letter acknowledges that one of SeaWorld’s 12 parks — SeaWorld San Diego — continues to allow trainers to stand on the bottlenose dolphins’ snout.

2. The Oscars embraces plant-based

Hollywood’s biggest night is going vegan. The Academy announced its commitment to becoming carbon neutral after guests at the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon were treated to an entirely plant-based menu which included vegan cheese, roasted maitake mushroom and kumquat pavlova.

Now, while there is no food served at the Oscars itself, the Academy confirmed that all food served in the lobby prior to the ceremony will be entirely plant-based. Meanwhile, the menu at the post-ceremony Governors Ball will be 70% plant-based.

The move comes after the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards both served all-vegan menus. There’s nothing like the power of creatives to contribute to the climate cause– go Hollywood!

3. H&M launches collection made of wine leather and natural coffee dyes

Almost 11 years, H&M debuted its first ‘Conscious Collection’ range made of organic cotton and recycled polyester to great fanfare. The brand is hoping to replicate that success with its latest collection featuring its new star biomaterial ‘VEGEA’ a soft vegan leather alternative made from the byproducts of wine which the retail behemoth discovered through its own Global Change Award in 2017. You’ll find the VEGEA “leather” on chain-strap handbags and a few pairs of shoes.

Spell ad 2019

Also worthy of note is the new natural dye made from the coffee grounds that the company is developing in its offices in China. “Going forward, we need to be using more bio-based materials and use more waste in our collections,” Pascal Brun, H&M’s sustainability manager, explains. 

H&M has been slammed by critics and sustainable fashion advocates for its greenwashing attempts given its reliant on the ‘fast fashion’ business model and the huge volume of textile waste it produces outweighs any sustainability efforts.

Related Post: Can H&M Ever Be Sustainable?

4. Paul Smith bans exotic leather

British fashion brand Paul Smith has announced it will no longer use exotic skins in its future collections. The ban follows appeals from PETA UK, regarding the treatment of animals to produce exotic skin products. 

The brand confirmed that this exotic skins ban also includes its use of “K-leather” made from kangaroo skin. According to the brand, “[Our] new policy, which has very recently been uploaded to our website … does also include [kangaroo] as well as exotic skins.”

PETA welcomes the ban: “We’re happy Paul Smith made this compassionate move given the ecological nightmare that has ravaged Australia and destroyed huge swathes of kangaroo habitat… behind every accessory made with kangaroo, python, or alligator skin is an animal who did not want to die,” said Yvonne Taylor, PETA’s Director of Corporate Projects.

According to PETA, some 2.3 million kangaroos are reportedly killed every year for their skin. Since Australian wildlife and habitats have been decimated by recent bushfires in Australia, more people are demanding an end to the government-sanctioned slaughter of kangaroos in Australia.

Paul Smith joins a growing list of fashion brands which includes Chanel, Victoria Beckham and Selfridges, that have banned exotic skins. 

And that’s it for this week. 

Thank you for stopping by and do come around for another episode next week. Until then, don’t forget to share these joys with the ones you love.

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Feature image of SeaWorld trainer surfing on dolphins in its Blue Horizons Show. Photo via Flickr.

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