IN A NUTSHELL 5/2019-20

SIX DEMANDS OF YOUTH CLIMATE STRIKE

On Friday September 20, 2019 tens of thousands of young people gathered in the streets of over 60 cities in Poland to take part in Youth Climate Strike, a global movement initiated by a Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg who became famous after she protested every Friday in front of the Swedish parliament against the government’s indifference towards climate change. Her initiative grew immensely and now 150 countries take part in it. This year Greta demonstrated in New York giving everybody her key message: ”together we are unstoppable”. Participants of the Polish strike worked out six demands which they declared during the demonstration. In the first place they want climate policy to reflect the present state of scientific knowledge on climate change and they require that solutions suggested by the scientists are implemented without delay and within international cooperation. Secondly, they demand that Poland declares the state of climate crisis so that climate change no longer is subject of ideological debate. What is more, they expect complex and up-to-date knowledge about climate change to be part of the school curriculum and they want the media to take responsibility for informing society about the dangers that await us if no action is taken. Also, they want the Polish Parliament to establish an independent Climate Council which will work out a strategy helping Poland to reach climate neutrality by 2040 and, finally, they think steps should be taken to transform our economy so that emission of greenhouse gases is reduced. Well done, young people!

NEW LAW WILL HELP TO REDUCE WASTING FOOD

Data about how much food is wasted in developed countries must make impression on everyone. In Europe we are talking about some 89 million tonnes per year (179 kilograms per person on average), in Poland the numbers are even worse – 9 million tonnes per year which is 235 kilograms per person. On September 18, 2019 a new law has been introduced whose aim is to reduce these numbers. The law means shops bigger than 250 square metres (bigger than 400 square meter for the first 2 years) who earn more than 50% of their income from the sales of food will have to sign a contract with an NGO (non-government organization) which will collect from them all food considered as waste. Most of these products are still good to eat but just have damaged packaging or their expiry date is coming. From March 1, 2020 sellers will have to pay PLN 0.1 for each kilogram of wasted food and if they do not comply with this rule they will face fines of PLN 500 to PLN 10,000. NGOs hope now the food which would otherwise end on a landfill will reach those who need it. They estimate some 100,000 tonnes of products will be saved.

Source: bankier.pl, an article from September 18, 2019 about new law helping to reduce wasting food

SON SHOTS FATHER DURING HUNTING

A real tragedy happened on Sunday September 22, 2019 near an Italian town, Postiglione. Two local men went hunting for wild boars. When the 34-year-old saw a shadow nearby he open fire and soon afterwards realised he was aiming at his own father. The bullet hit the lower abdomen of the 55-year-old Martino and although his son immediately called for help and tried to keep his father alive doctors had no chance of saving him. What makes the case more complicated is the fact the men were there illegally — the territory is a national park and hunting there is prohibited. The police took away the rifles of the two men and criminal trial is likely to follow. According to a BBC report cases of illegal hunting have become more and more common in the country. Unfortunately, this is not the first tragedy of similar kind as earlier this month a 56-year-old and a 20-year old were killed.

Source: bbc.com, an article from September 23, 2019 about a son who shot his own father while hunting

THOMAS COOK GOES OUT OF BUSINESS

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Thomas Cook brand is a tourism equivalent of the Boeing Company in aviation or Daimler-Benz in car industry. Named for its British founder and the inventor of modern tourism, it was the oldest and one of the largest travel businesses in the world. Why „was”? Well, on September 23 it officially went bankrupt, leaving 600,000 people stranded on vacation worldwide. The simple explanation is that the company ran out of cash, but there are of course many reasons behind that. For one, it’s online competitors were cheaper: Thomas Cook had 500 high-street retail stores in the UK. Some also say it wasn’t managed well, others that the uncertainty over Brexit and improving weather (Thomas Cook could be viewed as another victim of climate change), has made people in Britain (and the rest of Europe) swap their vacation for staycation. The GBP 1,6-billion debt forced the company to close its operations with immediate effect, which also means that around 21,000 people worldwide lost or very soon will lose their jobs. The largest peace-time repatriation in the history of Great Britain is underway as the UK government tries to bring back home its 150,000 castaways.

Source: cnn.com, a September 24, 2019 CNN10 material on the downfall of Thomas Cook.

DISCUSSION:

  1. Young people will persuade politicians to take more decisive action on climate change.
  2. Shops should pay for food they waste.
  3. Hunting should be totally banned.
  4. It’s safer to put organize your vacation by yourself.

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