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e waste green is the new black

The Conscious Scoop: Divestment is Winning, Southeast Asia’s E-Waste Crisis, and UN’s Leaked Report on Climate Change and Land Use

This week: how many environmental activists are killed each week? What does Southeast Asia’s fast-growing e-waste crisis look like? And the world’s biggest investor is losing how much from investing in dirty energy?


1. Special report on Southeast Asia’s e-waste crisis sheds light on the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.

What’s the impact of our increasing obsession with electronics? East and Southeast Asia generated 12.3 million tonnes more e-waste trash in 2015 than in 2010. A 63% increase isn’t something we should be ignoring. Eco-Business’ new special report goes in-depth about how and why the waste stream is growing. (Hint: increasing consumption, illegal dumping, insufficient policies, planned obsolescence, and more.) With many parties complicit in this crisis, it’s no wonder the solution isn’t straightforward.

Read the report for the low-down and learn some #LittleGreenSteps you can take while you’re at it too!


2. Leaked UN report says we must change food production to save the world.

You heard it here first, folks. The report, which is currently being debated, states that we have to transform the way we produce food and manage lands to keep global temperatures at safe levels. It highlights that around half of all emissions of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, come from cattle and rice fields. Additionally, deforestation and the removal of peatlands cause further significant levels of carbon emissions. The report puts forth various measures, such as restoring peatlands, cutting meat consumption, and reducing food waste. It also, more crucially, proposes a major shift towards vegetarian and vegan diets. (By the way, check out our plant-based guides here and here.)

We’ve been saying it this whole time, but in case you needed the proof, here it is!


3. Three environmental activists killed every week in 2018.

Isn’t defending the Earth a universally good thing to do? Apparently not. According to international NGO Global Witness, 164 environmentalists were killed for their efforts in 2018. They also say we’re likely to be underestimating the number. These environmentalists were fighting for the preservation of natural resources and defending the rights of indigenous people to their native lands, among other causes. It’s apparently a lower overall number than the previous year, but this only “masks another gruesome reality”. Attacks, often “so brutal they’re just shy of murder” have been increasing. Who’s behind these acts? Governments and corporations.

Are we really surprised, though? Because we’re hearing reports of arrests of activists every day anyway… Find out more here.


4. The world’s biggest fund manager lost $90bn investing in fossil fuel companies.

No, this is not fake news. The divestment movement, which encourages governments and corporations to support cleaner energy, is winning. Blackrock is the world’s biggest investor. And if Blackrock is getting the warning, then it’s definitely a good sign for the world. Apparently, they’ve eroded the value of its $6.5 trillion funds by betting on oil companies that were falling in value. And consequently, missing out on growth in clean energy investments. Who’s responsible for the bulk of their losses? Only the world’s largest oil companies (think ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP). And big US fossil fuel companies. If this isn’t the wake-up call investors need, we don’t know what else would be. Divest now!

Say it louder for the rich people in the back.


5. Google pledges carbon-neutral shipping and recycled plastic for all devices.

Speaking of e-waste… Google just announced that they would neutralise carbon emissions from delivering consumer hardware by next year and include recycled plastic in each of its products by 2022. The head of sustainability for Google’s devices and services unit said last year that their carbon emissions per unit fell 40% last year. The reason? By relying more on ships than planes. Google added that it would be offsetting its remaining emissions by purchasing carbon credits. While it’s not the revolution we hoped for, this is at least a big step in the right direction.

Apple, where you at?