ELT publishers – are you listening?

It’s wonderful to see a printing company like Seacourt taking its responsibilities seriously and turning a business crisis into an opportunity: “Our stability as a green business has been a key factor in helping us to weather this storm. Business cannot ignore climate change and need to focus on the triple bottom line – Society – Environment – Profit.” ELT publishers – are you listening?

Curious About the Planet

Starts today. Curious About Our Planet is a 3-day virtual festival by Glasgow Science Centre that celebrates the diversity of the planet and the dangers it faces. There’s a Sustainable Cocktail Making Class (18+) event with music from Tide Lines, on Saturday 20th February at 8pm and many other activities, games, workshops and projects for all ages to enjoy.

Mad World

‘A Backwards Catastrophe’ is a BBC Radio 4 production that is part polemic, part satire, part lyrical collage. Beautifully produced, it travels in reverse through the BBC archives to trace some of the present problems and oblique antecedents of the environmental crisis. The programme rolls along to variations on and reversals of the appropriate Mad World melody. Highly recommended. The best way to escape for an undisturbed hour and really appreciate the sound experience is by using head phones.

Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

Here’s a really simple and clear explanation about the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. It’s a great chance to build consensus both inside and outside parliament on a road map to an environmentally sustainable future. In a year when the UK Government seeks to persuade the rest of the world that it is serious about the Climate and Ecological Emergency, the least you can expect from your MP is that they support the bill. Here’s a letter I wrote to mine:

Dear Laurence Robertson,

As one of your constituents I am writing to ask you to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill – see https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/57374/climate-and-ecological-emergency-bill.

Scientists are increasingly sounding the alarm as to the inadequacy of governmental response to this real and urgent problem. I am deeply concerned for the future of our planet and the wellbeing of my children and grandchildren.

In a year when the UK Government seeks to show the rest of the world at COP 26 that it is serious about the climate and ecological emergency, the least I can expect from you as my MP is that you support this bill.

By so doing you will help to propel action and signal to the increasing number of environmentally concerned people in this constituency that you care about their future.

Yours sincerely
Christopher Etchells

Writing to your MP is easy: just enter your postcode at https://www.writetothem.com/?a=westminstermp then follow the simple instructions. MPs really do listen to this kind of thing, so please take a few minutes out of your day to let your MP know how you feel on this vital issue.

Rethinking the future

Blot on the landscape

Good news from Cumbria where the local council has said it will reconsider the planning application for a new coal mine – see previous post. While one can sympathise with the need for employment in the area, new jobs must consider the wider climate change impacts and be environmentally sustainable. Anything else is an abdication of responsibility by the council to the long-term welfare of its residents and us all. And while the potential damage from this mine may look small compared to other mines around the world, its damaging effects will last well into the future. The time has passed for fudge, compromise and back room deals. Everyone – including local councils – needs to act now to safeguard the future. You can add your voice by signing the petition here.

Climate hypocrisy

Derived from Greek actors who used to ‘interpret from underneath’ a mask, the word hypocrisy today has a more general meaning referring to “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.”

It is the right term to use for a government which, in 2021, seeks to show the rest of the world at COP 26 that it is serious about the climate and ecological emergency while simultaneously allowing the opening of a new coal mine in Cumbria.

The mine is projected to increase UK emissions by 0.4Mt (megatonnes) of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per year – greater than the level of annual emissions projected from all open UK coal mines to 2050 (by which time the UK government will supposedly have reached net zero carbon emissions) – more info here.

The UK government has the power to stop the mine, but has argued it is a local issue. This is patently absurd as the emissions will form part of the overall production of greenhouse gases which threaten us all. The decision sends a very poor signal at a time when we are all trying to transition to a green economy.

A top climate scientist has today warned that the decision shows “contemptuous disregard for the future of young people”.

If enough people protest this decision, the government will have to listen or risk further accusations of hypocrisy. Please use your voice to ask the government to rethink. Sign the petition here.

 

Language Teaching for the Planet

Do you incorporate climate change into your lessons? Do your course books have enough environmental content? Do you ever experience resistance from students? Please take a few minutes to complete this British Council survey for English Teachers. It aims to find out how English teachers are integrating climate change issues into their teaching, raise awareness of good practice and help support the development of new initiatives to help tackle the climate crisis. Take the survey here (takes 5 – 10 minutes to complete).