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POSITIVE NEWS - What went right this week: UK ‘culture wars’ don’t reflect genuine divisions, plus more positive news

Posted 16th July 2021 • Written by •

A report found culture wars in the UK aren't as deep-seated as some would believe, ‘person of colour’ is added to official Irish lexicon, and giant pandas are no longer classed as endangered, plus the week’s other positive news

A report found UK culture wars don’t reflect genuine divisions

In a week when societal division, particularly along racial lines, again reared its head, a report found that ‘culture wars’ are not as deep-seated as some make them out to be.

After England’s defeat to Italy in the Euros on Sunday, and the racist abuse directed at three of its penalty shootout players, footballer Tyrone Mings criticised the home secretary Priti Patel of ‘stoking the fire’ of racist abuse.

But besides the fact that studies have found most people in the UK aren’t even sure what a culture war is, this week’s report – published by the Fabian Society – concluded that cultural divisions are prone to being inflated by the media and politicians. They therefore do not necessarily reflect what is actually happening.

Roger Harding, who co-authored the report, told the Guardian: “Culture-war peddlers often use contrived stories to pit working-class communities against one another and caricature movements for racial and LGBT equality.”

“The public deserves better than fabricated fights,” added Kirsty McNeill, a charity executive and fellow co-author of the report.

The UN set out a Paris-style plan to halt biodiversity loss

Details have emerged of the targets to be included in a new wide-reaching UN plan to halt biodiversity loss in its tracks. The latest draft, set out by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) includes goals such as eliminating plastic pollution, protecting a minimum of 30 per cent of the world’s oceans and land, and reducing pesticide use by two-thirds.

2030, a year for which an increasing number of sustainability goals are now earmarked, is the goal date – with further targets set for 2050.

The draft could take some time to be ratified, however. A meeting where the goals were meant to be discussed has already been postponed twice and is expected to be delayed a third time, to the first half of 2022. Once agreed, it will be signed by the 196 parties to the CBD, Paris-style.

The government backed a flight-free holiday platform

As UK travellers currently in the Balearic islands scramble to adapt their plans after a change to the traffic light system this week, many may be wishing they had opted for a less stressful trip closer to home.

Enter Byway, the “world’s first flight-free holiday platform”, centred around personalised, slow travel with a minimum carbon footprint. The startup has just announced the closing of a funding round which saw £1.1m raised from a combination of angel investors and the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Since launching in mid-2020, more than 7,500 trips have been built through their platform. It offers trips in the UK and across Europe.

Cat Jones, founder and CEO, said: “We’re taking the time, and the work, out of planning and booking off-the-beaten-path trips by train, boat and bike – and the reception we’ve had has been glowing.”

The company aims to use the funding to accelerate growth, hire more staff and further develop the technology behind the platform.

A baby beaver was born in Exmoor for the first time in 400 years

After two adult beavers were successfully reintroduced into a National Trust estate in Exmoor in January 2020, park authorities announced this week that the female has given birth.

Hunted to extinction in the 16th century in the UK, beavers have been making a slow comeback since the early 2000s, thanks to reintroduction efforts at several sites.

Since settling in at the Holnicote estate, the mother, ‘Grylls’, and her mate have transformed the unmanaged woodland in their enclosure into a more open wetland, creating diverse habitats that benefit a plethora of wildlife.

The National Trust is currently taking suggestions for names for the new arrival.

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