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The scientific community needs to defend itself against political interference, no matter how cleverly it is concealed. For our planet to remain habitable for our grandchildren, science must come first. We don't have a choice about whether to become politically active. If you’re scientifically aware but inactive you’re just colluding in someone else’s politics.

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A World Without Plastic Pollution
Earth Day 2018 Campaign

From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.

In response, Earth Day 2018 will focus on fundamentally changing human attitude and behavior about plastics and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution. 

Our strategy to End Plastic Pollution will: 

  • Lead and support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution
  • Educate and mobilize citizens across the globe to demand action from governments and corporations to control and diminish plastic pollution
  • Inform and activate citizens to take personal responsibility for the plastic pollution that each one of us generates by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics
  • Work with universities, school teachers and students to End Plastic Pollution
  • Work with other organizations and networks and make Earth Day 2018 a platform to End Plastic Pollution by developing resources that others can use and build partnerships.
  • Promote the work that cities and local governments are doing to tackle plastic pollution
  • Empower journalists across the globe to report on the problem and its emerging solutions.

Earth Day Network will leverage the platform of Earth Day, April 22, 2018 and the growing excitement around the 50thAnniversary of Earth Day in 2020. We will work with key constituencies and influencers to build a world of educated consumers of all ages who understand the environmental, climate and health consequences of using plastics. 

We will engage and activate our global network of NGO’s and grassroots organizations, campus youth, mayors and other local elected leaders, faith leaders, artists and athletes, and primary and secondary students and teachers.

We will organize events in all continents of the world, build a global following and activate citizens to join our End Plastic Pollution advocacy campaigns. 

In sum, we will use the power of Earth Day to elevate the issue of plastic pollution in the global agenda and inspire and demand effective action to reduce and control it.

Send your ideas or propose a partnership to plastic@earthday.org

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Labour's current policies on the environment

by Rebecca Newsom and Rosie Rogers (Greenpeace)

Here is our analysis of the good, the bad and the missing aspects of the Labour Party’s most recent manifesto commitments in relation to climate change and the environment.

The good:

Energy and climate: Highlights include “aiming for 60% of the UK’s energy to come from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030”, “insulating 4 million homes” to make them more energy efficient and banning fracking.

Air pollution and transport: a commitment to a Clean Air Act, electrifying our railways and investing in electric vehicles.

Oceans: a commitment to prioritise money for farming and fishing that is small scale and sustainable and  a promise to safeguard the habitats and species in the seas and oceans in a ‘blue belt’ around the UK and its overseas territories.

Nature: luckily for our bees, there is a clear policy from Labour to “protect our bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids”. There are also strong statements to protect our environment by promising to “plant a million trees” and promote and protect animal welfare.

International climate leadership: a commitment to the Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement.

Peace: it’s good to see policies such as “publish a strategy for protecting civilians in conflict” and “lead multilateral efforts with international partners and the UN to create a nuclear-free world.”

Overall: good policies on issues ranging from sustainable fishing, to tackling plastic pollution, a sustainable energy system, air pollution and defence of the Paris Agreement.

The bad:

Continue to promote North Sea oil and gas: of course we need a transition from oil and gas to sustainable energy, but this policy sends the wrong signals to the industries. Labour should be moving away from dirty, old fossil fuels towards backing the thriving offshore wind and smart technology, which could deliver thousands of new skilled jobs.

Continue to support further nuclear projects across the UK: this makes no environmental or economic sense, given the absurdly expensive costs of nuclear technology, in contrast to the dramatically falling costs of safe and secure renewable alternatives.

Cautious support for expanded airport capacity in the South East: Expansion anywhere is incompatible with our climate change commitments. It is promising, however, that Labour has guaranteed that any airport expansion must adhere to tests on noise pollution, air quality and climate change

Support the renewal of the Trident weapon system – Nuclear weapons are incompatible with a green and peaceful world. There are 196 countries in this world and only 8 have nuclear weapons. We promised the international community we would negotiate ours away. It’s a promise we need to keep.

The missing:

Devil in the detail: what’s really missing is proper detail on the policies Labour would adopt to deliver their environmental vision. Some of this detail is clearer for energy, which is fantastic. However, it’s not quite clear how Labour plans to do things like “invest in rural and coastal communities” and “safeguard habitats and marine species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and ocean. More detail on how Labour plan to do things like this could make or break their policies on our natural world and the creatures in it. For example, does “guiding targets for plastic bottle schemes” mean introducing a deposit return scheme with ambitious targets; does safeguarding habitats mean matching the current Government’s commitments to 127 marine protected areas, or even going beyond? Equally, it’s great that Labour promise to “guarantee the protection and advancement of environmental quality standards”, however it’s unclear how they will do this, especially in a post Brexit world.

Diesel: when it comes to air pollution, Labour’s manifesto is disappointingly weak on plans to tackle the root of the problem: diesel. We know that toxic emissions from diesel vehicles are a large cause of the air pollution on our roads, but the manifesto fails to recognise this, or outline substantial measures to address it, like revising Vehicle Excise Duty for new diesel cars. While more investment in electric vehicles is vital, it is also unclear how much Labour is prepared to put into this.

The world's first artists were Neanderthals

New discoveries in Spain have shown that the Neanderthals were not stupid.