3 Eco-Friendly Moments From Sunday’s Academy Awards
The Academy followed this year's Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards in embracing plant-based menus, while stars spoke up for animal rights and recycled past red carpet gowns.
"The Academy is an organization of storytellers from around the world, and we owe our global membership a commitment to supporting the planet," the group wrote in a Jan. 27 statement reported by The Independent. "For the past decade, the Academy has been committed to reducing its carbon footprint. For the past seven years, the Oscars show has had a net zero carbon imprint. We continue to expand our sustainability plan with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral."
Here’s the plant-based menu for today’s Oscar Nominees Luncheon. #oscars https://t.co/02NQtYp2ls— George Pennacchio (@George Pennacchio)1580157317.0
No dinner is served at the Oscars itself, but the Academy committed to serving only plant-based snacks in the lobby before the show, as well as at annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon in January.
The menu at the Governors Ball after-party, meanwhile, was 70 percent vegan and 30 percent vegetarian, meat and fish. But the Academy was mindful of the environment when selecting its animal-based dishes.
"All food served will be responsibly sourced and sustainably farmed. All fish served are listed on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommendation list," the Academy wrote in its statement.
"For a long time, vegans were seen as weirdos," Turnball said. "But now, with a ton of amazing documentaries, books, and media it has become more widely understood that being vegan or eating a plant-based diet is beneficial to the environment, our own health, and of course the animals."
The Academy considered other environmental concerns as well: It also pledged to eliminate plastic bottles at all of its events.
Joaquin Phoenix Speaks for the Cows
Joaquin Phoenix, who continued his awards-season sweep when he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Joker Sunday, has also been victorious in encouraging various award shows this year to go vegan. He has been credited with proposing the idea to the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which organizes the Golden Globes, according to Salon. And he also convinced the Hollywood agency WME to give up animal products at its pre-Oscar party, Page Six reported.
In addition to his behind-the-scenes lobbying, Phoenix has used his acceptance speeches this year to highlight environmental issues. At the Golden Globes, he thanked the HFPA for "recognizing and acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change."
In his Oscar speech Sunday, Phoenix said he was grateful for the opportunity people in the entertainment industry had to "use our voice for the voiceless," as The Guardian reported. He then went on to give an impassioned defense of human and animal rights:
JAW DROP. Sending a HUGE congratulations to #vegan Joaquin Phoenix for winning Best Actor! Joaquin has dedicated… https://t.co/cwCnB5QxOI— PETA (@PETA)1581308631.0
I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we're talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we're talking about the fight against injustice.His words won him the praise of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which retweeted his speech.
We're talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity.
I think we've become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe that we're the centre of the universe. We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk that's intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.
Not all Oscar guests used words to make a statement.
Glamour writer Talia Abbas named sustainable fashion the "red carpet's best trend."
Actress Saoirse Ronan recycled the black part of her Gucci dress from another dress she had worn at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards last week. And actress Elizabeth Banks wore a red Badgley Mischka dress she had donned for the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in 2004.
"It's gorgeous and it fits…so why not wear it again?!" she wrote in an Instagram post, going on to explain that she was trying to raise awareness about "the importance of sustainability in fashion and consumerism as it relates to climate change, production & consumption, ocean pollution, labor & women."
Actresses Kaitlyn Dever and Léa Seydoux wore new Louis Vuitton gowns that were nevertheless ethically made as part of the Red Carpet Green Dress initiative, which has been promoting ethical, sustainable fashion at the Oscars for 11 years.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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