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POSITIVE NEWS - What went right this week: Indigenous climate wins, plus more positive news

Posted 17th September 2021 • Written by •

How Indigenous resistance reined in fossil fuels, why Britain is more united than we think, and the rise of edible playgrounds, plus more positive news

Indigenous resistance helped slash emissions – report

Indigenous-led resistance to fossil fuel projects in North America has prevented emissions equivalent to 400 coal-fired power plants from entering the atmosphere in the last decade. 

That’s according to a joint report by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Oil Change International, a non-profit that promotes green energy. It analysed the impact that Indigenous resistance had on proposed fossil fuel projects in the US and Canada, highlighting 20 that have been cancelled or delayed following protests from Native American groups.

Combined, the shelved projects would have belched out the equivalent of 25 per cent of the US and Canada’s annual emissions, the report’s authors estimated. Their findings are welcome news after it was revealed that a record number of environmental activists were killed in 2020. 

“Indigenous communities resisting oil, gas, and coal projects across their territory are demonstrating true climate leadership,” said Kyle Gracey of Oil Change International. “Respecting and honouring the wisdom and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples is a key solution to the climate crisis.”

Generational divide over climate is a myth – study

Older generations in the UK are just as worried about the climate crisis as younger people, and are equally willing to make sacrifices to protect the planet. 

So found a study, published this week, which debunks the myth that a generational war is playing out over the climate emergency. The research, by the Policy Institute at King’s College London and New Scientist magazine, found that 68 per cent of baby boomers are willing to change their habits to save the environment, versus 70 per cent of generation Zs. 

“There are many myths about the differences between generations – but none are more destructive than the claim that it’s only the young who care about climate change,” said Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute. “If we want a greener future, we need to act together, uniting the generations, rather than trying to drive an imagined wedge between them.”

A report suggested Britain is ‘moving closer together’

On the subject of shared values, another report this week concluded that people in Scotland, England and Wales are well aligned on many social issues, despite the politically fragile nature of the union and the divisive culture wars playing out in the UK. 

Strengthening the NHS, reducing inequality, slashing emissions, improving pay and challenging racism are among the shared priorities for people living in the three nations, according to research by Our Scottish Future. The organisation was founded by the former UK prime minister, Gordon Brown, to make a positive case for the union. 

Brown said the report showed that the UK was “moving closer together, not further apart”.

California is set to launch a mental health hotline

Californians experiencing a mental health crisis will soon be able to call a three-digit number for support, after the service secured funding last week.  

The 9-8-8 hotline is set to launch in July 2022, and will direct callers to a mental health response team. The $20m (£14.5m) funding announced last week was less than some had hoped for, but was enough to get the service going. 

Darrell Steinberg, mayor of Sacramento, said the money was “a first step towards creating an easier to access system for mental health care”. He added: “Our jails and emergency rooms can no longer be our primary treatment for people in crisis.”

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