This was a terrible week for sustainability, punctured only by the hope that Greta Thumberg gave us with her arrival in New York.
That’s about it for the good news, (save a ray of light provided by an unexpected source).
Forests can save us so why are destroying them?
Amazon rainforest fires continued to rage against humans while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro blamed everyone but the folks with the matches while refusing to accept international help to save the world’s lungs.
Forests further north were also under attack as “Donald Trump’s administration (sic) has turned its all-consuming maw to Alaska’s 16.7-million-acre Tongass National Forest”, with plans to exempt the forest from 2001 logging restrictions.
The Forest is the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. Allowing forestry, energy, and mining activities will have devastating impacts on this near unique ecosystem. Most distressingly, the forest has become an obsession of Trump. And when was this good for the environment (or anything for that matter – but I digress)?
Nothing good about methane
We also learned this week that Trump and Co. are planning to sharply cut US methane emission regulations.
Methane is a major contributor to climate change, emitted primarily through the extraction and use of natural gas. Natural gas, of course, is seen by many as a cleaner alternative energy source to coal.
That is partially true, but methane is bad. While spending less time in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (good), the stuff is 84 times more dangerous (bad). It’s complex. So let’s just say solar and wind are best and be done with it.
If you want to learn more about how bad methane is, see the Environmental Defense Fund’s summary of 16 research papers on the topic.
An unexpected light of questionable confidence
The glimmer of sustainability hope offered by the Business Roundtable announcement last week committing its corporate members to stakeholder over shareholder primacy was overshadowed by the $572 million fine against Johnson and Johnson for its role in the American opioid tradgedy.
If you had a hard time trusting big companies before, consider this: the Roundtable commitment was drafted by none other than Alex Gorsky, CEO of….. Johnson and Johnson. Somehow I find it hard to shake the image of a corporate vampire standing over its bloodless victim offering to be a wellness guru.
Empty as the chair…
Possibly the most depressing sustainablity news of week is all about a chair. Or rather, the empty chair that belonged to the US at the G7 summit climate discussions last Monday.
Can the US withstand another five years of vacuous, vacant, and destructive Trump environmental policies?
Without American environment (and more) leadership, many fear the world will become like the chair: barren, desolate, devoid, uninhabited, abandoned.
A sadly similar wrap…
So that’s the week.
Companies promise reform only to be caught doing shameless nasty (again).
Gangsters of the short-term continue to successfully prod the inept administration of the most powerful country in the world to destructive ends.
Meanwhile, a girl sails halfway around the world to spread hope and inspiration.
Related – Check out the Sustainability Week in Pics.….
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