This week our Social Impact Briefing covers the city at the forefront of a Green Revolution, stopping Islamophobia, and Fairtrade Fortnight.
| One city at the forefront of a Green Revolution
They were crowned the European Green Capital in 2015. They became the first major UK city to declare a climate emergency in November 2018. They pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030 (20 years before the government’s target of 2050!). This Friday, Bristol, which has been flying the flag of the UK’s environmental efforts, will be visited by Swedish environmental activist and 2020 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg, who will lead a school climate protest on College Green.
Earlier this month, the Stop Bristol Airport Expansion group won a historic victory in defeating Bristol Airport’s plans to expand passenger capacity from 10 to 12 million a year. The decision to reject the airport’s plans follows hot on the heels of a rejection last month of plans to increase the cap on passenger numbers at Stansted airport.
North Somerset County councillors rejected plans for expansion of the airport by 18 to 7 with 1 abstention on the 10th February. A vote turn out like this is closely connected to the loosening of a Conservative grip on local authority, as more Independent and Green representatives entered the council after the 2019 elections.
Greta’s presence in Bristol this week is a huge boost to environmental campaigners, as they anticipate the airport appealing the decision or submitting new plans. We hope that Bristol’s example will have a domino effect and other UK cities will start to implement high environmental standards and commit to further improvement and sustainability.
How green is your hometown? Join the conversation on Twitter.
| Stopping Islamophobia with more than just rhetoric
Comments made by Michael O’Leary, Ryanair CEO, made the news this weekend. In a Times interview, O’Leary claimed that if terrorism prevention tactics were deployed, it would “generally be males of a Muslim persuasion”,singe and travelling alone, who should be profiled at airports because “that is where the threat is coming from”.
This statement risks normalising divisive rhetoric and comes only days after the stabbing attack in London’s Central Mosque, Regent’s Park and the attacks on two shisha bars in Hanau, Germany by suspected far-right extremist leaving nine people dead. The Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, Khalid Mahmood, labelled the remarks absurd and questioned the logic behind profiling Muslim men by asking whether white people should be profiled to see if they’re being fascists?
As the Muslim Council of Britain condemns O’Leary for encouraging institutional discrimination against Muslims, perhaps it’s also time to move beyond rhetoric and take preventative measures that are:
(similar to the steps taken by Germany for the protection of Muslims) and
Symbolic in a show of solidarity
(following South Oxfordshire’s District Council example of accepting international definitions of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia last Thursday).
Ways to report a hate crime in the UK:
Call 101 – a national, non-emergency telephone number staffed 24/7. Call and ask to speak to your Community Safety Unit. You can report a hate crime directly to them or simply ask them for support or advice. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
Is it an emergency? If it feels like the situation could get heated or violent very soon or if someone is in immediate danger and you need support right away, call 999.
Tell MAMA is a national project that supports victims of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate. They offer support for harassment and abuse received online, as well as discrimination at work, school and university. Check them out here!
| She deserves fair trade
Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual promotional campaign by the Fairtrade Foundation to increase awareness of Fairtrade products begins today, Monday 24th February.
Fairtrade has seen support increase from businesses adopting Fairtrade products. Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis confectionery coming from 100% fair trade sourced ingredients. More surprisingly perhaps, JD Wetherspoons announced they will only serve Fairtrade sugar in pubs.
The campaign runs from the 24th February to 8th March, International Women’s Day. This year it’s focus is on continuing the call for cocoa farmers to earn a living income, as well as sharing stories that show the positive impact Fairtrade has on the women behind your chocolate bar. The campaign is advocating for women to have a greater voice in their community, are represented in decision-making, and benefit from Fairtrade.
This year the campaign is deploying the innovative approach of a story-bombing treasure hunt, placing 35,000 stories about female farmers in local communities across the UK in the shape of bookmarks and leaflets. We’ve already come across one of them (Edith’s story) at the Shape History office. These stories of inspiration are brought to life further by the stunning artwork of DorcasCreates, whose passion about representing and uplifting Black women references her own Nigerian heritage in her work.
Our team pledge is to buy Fairtrade coffee, tea and bananas for our weekly office needs (we eat a lot of bananas) moving forwards.
What do you pledge for Fairtrade? Join the conversation on Twitter.
| More in social impact
As we witness a rapid growth in Coronavirus cases around the world, most recently in Iran and Italy, we are also seeing a worrying rise in xenophobia. Last week, dozens of protesters in Ukraine attacked buses carrying evacuees from China. Why we must halt the spread of xenophobia surrounding coronavirus
> Recommended read: Letters from Dr Jayshree Pillaye and Maria Jaschok to the Guardian.
One of the first stories we covered last month when we started following social impact as it is reflected in the news was that of BBC presenter Samira Ahmed’s win for equal pay. Today, Ahmed has reached a settlement with the BBC after winning her employment tribunal.
> Tracking social impact: Samira Ahmed reaches settlement with BBC
Earlier this month we spoke about the 6 women testifying against Harvey Weinstein, and hoping to end a history of sexual exploitation in Hollywood. Today, we learn that Weinstein will face prison time as he is found guilty. We hope this verdict will encourage more women to come forward.
> Tracking social impact: Harvey Weinstein found guilty at rape trial
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