Category: sustainable development
“Climate change is as big a threat to world peace as war,” the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, recently told the UN Security Council, as he committed the UK, host of this year’s key climate conference, COP 26, to leading the world on action. Yet the UK’s own influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) comprised of UK Members of Parliament says ministers have “no plan” to meet climate change targets, two years after setting them in law. Renowned economist Andrew Simms lays all of this bare in a brilliant article settings recent UK spending commitments in perspective: “What that leadership currently looks like is a government which announced an increase in its military spending of £16.5 billion in November 2020, and in 2020-21 spent at least £41.2 billion on the military and just £3.1 billion on reducing carbon emissions.” Strip away the green rhetoric and what lies beneath looks very much like business as usual with all its toxic legacy for our children and grandchildren.
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.
It’s good to know where we stand. ELT Footprint UK is part of sustainable education and sustainable education is part of sustainable development. Just take a look at the UN’s sustainable development goals to see the connections. So in that light, the UK government’s recent decision to break its manifesto promise by cutting overseas aid by one third should concern us all. A recent radio programme – The Moral Maze – allowed its speakers to expose some of the spiteful justifications for the decision. Why is it? – asks one person – That some of those who call most ardently for charity to begin at home often have that very belief desert them when it comes to increased welfare spending? But to be honest, the arguments are not always black and white and the programme aired some persuasive views on the actual efficacy of foreign aid. In the end though, considering the subject from every angle, every right-minded person will surely agree that the decision to reduce overseas aid was a shockingly poor one. BBC radio at its best.
No need to ask who we support in the upcoming US elections. Joe Biden has promised to implement a $2 trillion green energy plan if he wins. And while we all know there is a difference between what politicians say and what they do in power, at least Joe Biden is able to talk intelligibly on the subject. Fingers crossed..
Do not miss this incredibly important video. It puts climate change into the context of a rapidly changing and developing world, offering hope for us all.
We are now accepting registrations for our TEDx Countdown event on 14th October. We will be presenting talks from famous and leading thinkers on climate change, discussing aspects of these and proposing ways for UK English Language Teaching to help play its part in tackling the climate and ecological crisis. View the programme here.
Edition 2 of Bloomberg Green magazine is out now and makes for some very interesting reading. When organisations like Amazon, Apple and Walmart move towards carbon neutrality – and have the evidence to support this – we can be sure things are changing. Nevertheless, it’s still ‘A race against heat, and humanity is losing’ – so don’t get too comfortable.
There is a wealth of material out there for people who want to bring the environment into their lessons. But there are also things you can easily do to give your lessons an environmental twist, regardless of the syllabus. For lots of ideas, why not sign up for Language Teaching for the Planet with ELTSustainable? Next course begins tomorrow, 22 September.
A terrific article from the ever interesting Open Democracy website on resisting ‘machine mind’ in creating a better future.