Big Box Stores Remove Products Used to Violate Human Rights

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Two of the largest retail chains in the United States have stopped the sale of Chinese-made surveillance products used by the Chinese government to violate human rights. This move to ban the sale of particular Chinese surveillance goods is a direct reaction to those companies benefiting from the ongoing Uyghur genocide happening in China. Indeed, Chinese companies are both using forced labour to produce products and using those products to further suppress the Uyghurs.

The pressure from human rights groups seems to have worked to convince Best Buy and Home Depot to stop selling these goods made to oppress people.

The U.S. government says Beijing relies heavily on Hikvision, Dahua and other technology companies to supply the surveillance equipment to surveil the Uighur population. The Biden administration called the human rights abuses in Xinjiang a “genocide,” and blamed Chinese video surveillance manufacturers of having “been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups.”

Dolkun Isa, the president of the World Uyghur Congress, welcomed the “meaningful actions” by the U.S. government with bans on forced labor and sanctions for Chinese companies, but said that it’s “unacceptable that there are still American companies directly helping further the repression.”

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Greenland Bans Oil Extraction

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Greenland will no longer allow exploration for new oil fields in their territorial waters and newly exposed land. Climate change obviously impacts the country greatly with their ice fields melting at increasing rates. They’ve been experiencing the effects of burning too much oil first hand and refuse to participate it in to protect future generations. This change in policy shows that Greenland is serious on climate change as they’re giving up potential billions of dollars to protect the planet.

“The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect we have much more to gain,” the Greenland government said in a statement. The government said it “wants to take co-responsibility for combating the global climate crisis.”

The government’s decision to stop oil exploration was welcomed by environmental group Greenpeace, which called the decision “fantastic.”

“And my understanding is that the licences that are left have very limited potential,” Mads Flarup Christensen, Greenpeace Nordic’s general secretary, told weekly Danish tech-magazine Ingenioeren.

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Glenfiddich Whisks Whisky Waste into Fuel

The whisky distiller Glenfiddich has converted its fleet of trucks to be powered by waste products from making whisky. It’s a classic bio waste to bio gas setup. The trucks were converted from diesel to biodiesel engines and the waste from distilling was gathered and converted to biodiesel.

With such a high profile distiller taking this logical, cost saving, and planet saving action we will hopefully see others follow.

Experts now add that its waste products could also benefit the environment. The biogas emitted by whisky’s production process cuts CO2 emissions by over 95 per cent compared to diesel and other fossil fuels and reduces other harmful particulates and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 99 per cent, Glenfiddich said.

The trucks Glenfiddich is using are converted vehicles from truck maker Iveco that normally run on liquefied natural gas. Each biogas truck will displace up to 250 tonnes of CO2 annually, according to the distiller.

Glenfiddich has a fleet of around 20 trucks and Watts believes the technology could be applied throughout the delivery fleets of William Grant and Sons’ whisky brands. It could also be scaled up to fuel other company’s trucks.

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A Small Diet Change Makes a Big Difference

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Absolutely no one is shocked by new research that concludes beef is the worst thing to eat. If we’re going to feed billions of people on the planet while also having a livable planet for billions then we all ought to consume less meat. Raising cattle only to slaughter is a wasteful use of land that can otherwise feed way more people and cause a lot less damage to the environment.

The production of food makes up a third of greenhouse gas emissions so just by making a small change to your diet you can make it easier on future generations to survive. Eat less meat, eat more vegetables.

The researchers built a database that provided a consistent emissions profile of 171 crops and 16 animal products, drawing data from more than 200 countries. They found that South America is the region with the largest share of animal-based food emissions, followed by south and south-east Asia and then China. Food-related emissions have grown rapidly in China and India as increasing wealth and cultural changes have led more younger people in these countries to adopt meat-based diets.

The paper’s calculations of the climate impact of meat is higher than previous estimates – the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization has said about 14% of all emissions come from meat and diary production. The climate crisis is also itself a cause of hunger, with a recent study finding that a third of global food production will be at risk by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current rate.

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Make Believe Ideas and the City

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The mayor of Toronto, like other 20th century mayors, believes in mystical solutions to urban problems. In the 21st century smart mayors are shedding the myths and make-believe thinking around urban design. In forward looking places we see neighbourhoods made livable and large swaths of land made into the human scale. Paris is opening more areas for people and even New York reclaiming useless land. What am I referring to? Cars. The magic ability of cars to solve all problems. Over at Spacing they have quite the piece on this make-believe notion we should abandon.

In the make-believe world, the car is a necessity, which allows many planners and politicians to resist changes that adversely affect “traffic” on roads. Thirty percent of Toronto households nonetheless manage to get around without owning a car, even while their transit journeys are routinely blocked by cars. A measurement of traffic volume by all modes along the Bloor corridor in October 2019 showed 267,000 daily trips, among which there were only 17,000 cars. Politicians nonetheless claimed that a proposed bike lane in the same stretch would prevent people from going downtown.

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