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Activists of all ages and from all corners of the planet demanded concrete action Friday against climate change from leaders and negotiators at a global summit in Madrid.
A march was led by dozens of representatives of Latin America’s indigenous peoples — a mark of deference after anti-government protests in Chile, the original host of the summit, resulted in the talks suddenly being moved to Europe for the third year in a row.
Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg declared from a stage that “change is not going to come from the people in power, it’s going to come from the masses.” A crowd of thousands responded, chanting, “Greta! Greta!”
Organizers said 500,000 people turned out for the march, but authorities in Madrid put the number at 15,000 without an immediate explanation for the disparity in the count.
The Swedish teen was followed on her first day in Madrid by a swarm of cameras and reporters, as well as curious members of the public wanting to take video of her on their smartphones, from the very first step she took out of an overnight train from Lisbon.
Two young activists earned cheers as they abseiled from a bridge and strung out a banner saying: “Just 8 years till 1.5 degrees C. HOW DARE YOU?” — a reference to scientists’ forecasts of rising temperatures and what activists complain is a lack of a convincing political response to the threat.
The crush as people tried to get a glimpse of Thunberg led her to pull out shortly after the start of the march, saying police had advised her to leave for safety’s sake, and she climbed into an electric car.
A Madrid police spokeswoman who spoke on condition of anonymity because she wasn’t authorized to be named in media reports said that it had only been “suggested” that Thunberg leave after she appeared “overwhelmed” by the attention and that police never ordered the activist to abandon on safety grounds.
Earlier in the day, the 16-year-old had said at a press conference that calls for real action against climate change were still being “ignored” by political leaders despite their continuous praise of the global environmental youth movement she helped create.
Thunberg hoped the COP25 summit would lead to “something concrete” and “increasing awareness among people in general,” but she said that after more than one year of student strikes, “still basically nothing has happened.”
“The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power,” she added.
Carbon market rules, compensation
During the December 2-13 talks, nearly 200 countries are meant to streamline the rules on global carbon markets and agree on how poor countries should be compensated for destruction largely caused by emissions from rich nations.
An official directly involved in the negotiations said that despite a few setbacks, the technical negotiations were progressing, although many issues were being left for ministerial-level meetings in the summit’s second and final week.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the discussions, added that a political declaration on greater “ambition” — a buzzword at the summit — was shaping up to be “difficult to achieve.”
“A summit that doesn’t end with enhanced ambition would be something that nobody would understand if we take into account what the streets and science are telling us,” the official said.
The talks came as evidence mounts about disasters that could ensue from further global warming, including a study published Friday predicting that unchecked climate change could devastate fishery industries and coral reef tourism.
The study commissioned by 14 nations whose economies rely heavily on the sea says climate change could cause hundreds of billions of dollars in losses by 2050, adding that limiting global warming would lessen the economic impact for coastal countries, but that they also need to adapt to ocean changes.
Leaders ‘afraid of the change’
Demands for greater action by nongovernmental organizations and a whole new generation of environment-minded activists were expected to take the spotlight with the presence of Thunberg in Madrid.
Past appearances have won her plaudits from some leaders and criticism from others who’ve taken offense at the angry tone of her speeches.
Asked about the skepticism on global efforts to fight the warming temperatures expressed by some world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, she said: “Some people want everything to continue like now. They are afraid of the change that we, the youth, are bringing.”
“They try so desperately to silence us,” she added.
Next to her, Vanessa Nakate, a 22-year-old member of Uganda’s chapter of Fridays for Future, said that young activists don’t want more promises.
“We are tired of the praises that you keep giving the activists,” she said. ”We want you to act.”
During a brief visit to the summit venue earlier Friday, Thunberg did not appear unsettled by the commotion surrounding her presence.
“It’s absurd. I laugh at it. I do not understand why it has become like this,“ she was quoted as saying by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.
“I don’t like being at the center of the focus all the time, but this is a good thing,” she told Aftonbladet. “As soon as the media writes about me, they also have to write about the climate crisis. If this is a way to write about the climate crisis, then I guess it is good.”
Separately Friday, an alliance of American states, cities, academic institutions and companies opened its own venue at the U.N. climate talks, aiming to show that despite the federal administration’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris accord, many Americans remain committed to the treaty’s goal of curbing global warming.
Elan Strait, who manages the “We Are Still In“ initiative for the environmental group World Wildlife Fund, said the movement is “a short-term band-aid not only to get those carbon dioxide emissions down but also to encourage policymakers to lay the ground for further achievements.
Over 3,800 organizations and corporations representing 70% of U.S. economic output have joined the coalition, organizers claim, amounting to roughly half of the country’s emissions. (VOA)
Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of Coal India will set up a 50 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Odisha's Sambalpur at a total cost of Rs 301.92 crore, moving steadily towards its goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024. MCL has placed a turnkey order to set-up a 50 MW solar power plant with a Chennai-based firm M/s Hild Energy Ltd, which will establish this green energy project within a timeline of 10 months, the MCL said in a statement on Saturday.
This solar plant would cater to the captive power requirement of MCL. The Central PSU had successfully set-up a 2MW solar power plant in Sambalpur in 2014. The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024 in order to become a net zero energy company, aligning itself to use cleaner forms of energy for coal production.
The company said it has pledged a target of installing 182 MW of solar power by 2024. | Photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash
This 50 MW solar power project will reduce CO2 emission by 91,020 tonnes per annum and carbon offsets of around 24,824 tonnes per annum, claimed the MCL. MCL is the leading production subsidiary of Coal India, having mining operations in Angul, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts of Odisha. Having achieved the highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 2,419 crore in the financial year 2020-21, the company has coal production and dispatch targets of 163 million tonnes and 182 million tonnes, respectively.
MCL was the coal mining company to introduce environment-friendly surface miner technology, which contributes over 95 per cent in coal production. As another environment-friendly initiative, the company has successfully introduced vertical rippers for blast-less over-burden removal in Hingula and Kaniha opencast projects. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: solar plant, carbon neutrality, Odisha, Sambalpur, Coal India, subsidiary, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, solar energy
As the nation celebrated the 114th birth anniversary of his father - renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan - megastar Amitabh Bachchan remembered his dad as he penned a heartfelt note for him. The actor took to his blog where he poured his heart out and also shared an unseen photo with his father. The image in question is from Big B's wedding in 1973, where the two are caught in a sweet moment as they look at each other.
Amitabh Bachchan wrote on his blog,
"My Father , my all .. November 27th his birth in the year 1907 .. Which makes it his 114th Anniversary .. He is in the heavens, with my Mother and they celebrate .. as do we , in thought word and deed .. (sic). But first."
He then posted the picture followed by elaborate paragraphs. The megastar wrote,
"Those rare moments when one would find himself rushing against the winds to prevent the distance between us and to close it down as soon as it can be. The day of my wedding and his expression of fulfilment to not just be in congratulation but instead to be in the face of a belief, a chime, an ultimate season of love and great passion, of the quarries of the fears and conditionings of these deprived gym routines kart ..(sic)". "This could have been unknown for long facilitating years, to give not expected versions and lastly large scale informations of the insides ; but as time passed by, as does now , they explained purposely, the values of education and similarity .. Be in peace and love .. (sic)",
the veteran actor concluded his note. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Amitabh Bachchan, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, actor, blog, birth anniversary, 114th birthday
By Plabita Sharma
The World Vegan month of November usually brings with itself an increased amount of dialogue and searches about Vegan lifestyle, sustainable living and clean beauty. Before pondering any further, it is important to understand what the Vegan lifestyle is and how it goes beyond the concept of consuming a plant-based diet. Veganism essentially is a lifestyle that is driven by compassionate choices and an increased awareness of one's actions on the world. Thus motivated by the two, a vegan individual usually carefully curates their day-to-day practices in a manner that does little to no- harm to the planet, the people and all of its inhabitants.
Beauty as industry has time and again been scrutinised for its effects on the consumers and the ecosystem - this can be during the manufacturing process or the effect it has on the consumer's thought processes. Now, as the world moves towards adopting Global Sustainability Goals, committing to a world that works with the natural resources instead of against them - it is only fair for each individual to be curious about making the right choices to make their beauty bag as consciously curated as possible. With multiple brands coming up with new standards of vegan and sustainable beauty, many consumers are left confused and doubting the authenticity of these claims. So here is a quick guide that can help you make the right choices:
Vegan and cruelty free labels: Keeping true to the traditional meaning of Vegan - any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. Similarly, cruelty-free as a label means that the ingredients or the final product did not test on animals or harm any animals during the production process. One way to test the authenticity is to check if these products are legally certified by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), or verified by Vegan organisations as The Vegan Society and others. Cruelty-free and vegan products are also generally categorized by having cleaner and gentler formulas as they are mostly deprived of harsh chemicals and solvents.
Any vegan beauty product means that it is completely plant based and has no animal ingredients or any of their by-products like honey, beeswax, dairy product etc. | Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham on Unsplash
Ethical and natural ingredients: It is equally important to invest in products that use ethically sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients. Since most vegan products tend to be plant derived it is of utmost value to ensure that while the source is nature, the impact of manufacturing is also minimal so that there is no harm done to the environment. Often the face scrubs used by us are most damaging not just to the face and to the marine life as well; thus opting for more natural ingredients rather than synthetic ones is quite beneficial. Some natural scrubbing ingredients are sugar, salt, coffee which are safe for the coral reefs and far gentler than synthetic scrubs.
It is equally important to invest in products that use ethically sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients. | Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Sustainable and ecofriendly packaging: While the ingredients and formulation can be certified, it is also important to pay attention the quality, material and nature of the packaging in which the product is being stored. With an increase in clean-beauty standards, the consumption of such products has also increased, thus giving brands the opportunity to further develop their packaging in a manner that is sustainable and its increased quantity does not harm the environment. This could translate into using raw materials that are recycled and can be renewed or even introducing the concept of up-cycling the product packaging for decoration or storage purposes. Fore example, The Body Shop has recently launched a new line of vegan hair care and body butters; that are not only made of 95 per cent ingredients of natural origin but the packaging is made of recycled plastic that can further be recycled thus continuing the recycling system. Their makeup brushes also have wooden handles instead of plastic ones this adds to their classy appearance and use of ecofriendly material.
The Body Shop has recently launched a new line of vegan hair care and body butters; that are not only made of 95 per cent ingredients of natural origin but the packaging is made of recycled plastic. | Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash
The above is a small snippet in a long list of things that can help contribute to a cleaner and more consciously lifestyle. Where demand increase, supply follows - as people begin to demand ethical, responsible production and products, more and more brands have begun to deliver. Household names such as The Body Shop have pioneered conversations on clean, green and sustainable beauty for decades - thus making them a frontrunner for several old time vegan people.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Beauty, makeup, clean, November, World Vegan month, New Standards , Vegan, Conscious