Greta Thunberg Chastises European Parliament for Prioritizing Brexit Over Climate Change
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old who has inspired young people around the world to strike from school over climate change, addressed the European Parliament's environment committee Tuesday, The Guardian reported.
At one point during her speech at the parliament's seat in Strasbourg, Thunberg choked back tears as she discussed the sixth mass extinction.
"The extinction rate is up to six times faster than what is considered normal, with up to 200 species becoming extinct every single day," she said. "Erosion of fertile topsoil, deforestation of the rainforest, toxic air pollution, loss of insects and wildlife, acidification of our oceans — these are all disastrous trends."
Here are some other highlights of her talk.
1. Brexit: Thunberg faulted European leaders for spending more time addressing the UK's departure from the EU than the climate crisis, saying that they were not treating the latter like the emergency it is.
"If our house was falling apart, you wouldn't hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment," she said.
"It's 30 years too late for that kind of celebration," she said.
2. EU Elections: The next elections for members of European Parliament (MEPs) will take place in late May. Thunberg addressed this in her talk, mentioning that she and other young people worried about their futures cannot vote.
"You need to listen to us, we who cannot vote. You need to vote for us, for your children and grandchildren. What we are doing now, can soon no longer be undone. In this election, you vote for the future living conditions of humankind," she said.
3. Notre Dame: Thunberg made two references to the fire that caused the spire of the historic Paris cathedral to collapse Monday.
"Yesterday, the world watched with despair and enormous sorrow how the Notre Dame burned in Paris. Some buildings are more than just buildings. But the Notre Dame will be rebuilt. I hope that its foundations are strong. I hope that our foundations are even stronger, but I fear they are not," she said at the beginning of her speech.
She referenced the church again towards the end, saying that the vision and courage required to make the necessary changes to combat climate change would require "cathedral thinking."
You can watch her whole speech here:
MEPs decided not to invite her to address the parliament's debating chamber in February after it was proposed by the Greens. Liberal and center-right MEPs argued against it on the grounds that the spot should be reserved for politicians or officials and that a child would be too vulnerable in that environment, The Guardian reported.
MEPs responded well to Tuesday's speech, giving her a 30 second standing ovation. Individual members also thanked her after the speech, as The Parliament Magazine reported.
"I speak as a mother of two and I feel the same as you, Greta," Maltese deputy Miriam Dali said. "But when it comes to the crunch we, here, often end up backing down from our climate ambitions."
Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout also thanked her.
"I hope we all remember this day when we speak of an end to the world in July when we vote on new EC [European Commission] president and whether we really want to change our policies, phase out coal and make aviation pay," he said.
Please Retweet: The Youth Have Seen Enough https://t.co/dv1UzAGk0B— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1547377931.0
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By Jessica Corbett
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
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