Is Anyone Free To Give Greta Thunberg A Lift Back Across The Atlantic?
Leonardo DiCaprio isn't available.
If you thought you had a productive weekend, wait until you cop a load of Greta Thunberg’s schedule. The Swedish teenage activist spent her weekend rallying against climate change and comparing notes with Leonardo DiCaprio in Los Angeles, and now she needs a lift to the next stop on her low-emission journey around the world.
Thunberg took to Twitter on Saturday to quite literally stick out her thumb in hopes of hitching a ride to Spain now the COP25 climate summit has been moved from Santiago to Madrid.
“As #COP25 has officially been moved from Santiago to Madrid I’ll need some help,” she wrote. “It turns out I’ve travelled half around the world, the wrong way 🙂 Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November…If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful.”
If you’re thinking – why doesn’t Greta pay for an overpriced economy seat like the rest of us? You’re way off the mark. Thunberg has been travelling across the Atlantic in the most eco-friendly way she can: in a zero-carbon yacht, via train, and even an electric car she borrowed from none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Thunberg’s Tweet was met with plenty of low-emission travel suggestions including flying via a hot air balloon, hitching a ride on the back of a dolphin, or floating to Madrid in a humble pedal boat.
While most of Greta Thunberg’s followers were happy to humour her request for a lift, others took the opportunity to tell her she should “stay in school and get an education” – an insult which is starting to sound like a broken record.
Teresa Ribera, Spain’s ecological transition minister responded to Thunberg’s plea for a lift, tweeting, “Dear Greta, it would be great to have you here in Madrid. You’ve made a long journey and help all of us to raise concern, open minds and enhance action. We would love to help you cross the Atlantic back.”
Sounds like Thunberg’s will make the journey to Madrid after all: whether it’s via a makeshift bicycle, or a lift from Spain’s government. Where’s Leonardo DiCaprio when you need him?
Listen to the GOAT team’s take on Greta Thunberg and her request to hitch a ride on episode one of our brand new podcast, It’s Been A Big Day For… below:
Washing Your T-shirt Is Wrecking The Planet More Than Plastic Straws
"We need to be more critical, and less political.”
How often do you wash your t-shirts? What do you think about when you do your laundry? If it’s how you’re going to pay your next electricity bill, or why you’ve got so many god damn socks, your attention could use a healthy shift – if you care about the environment, of course.
According to new research conducted by apparel brand Icebreaker and the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, over 700,000 synthetic microplastics are currently entering our waterways from just one load of washing.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute.
For one third of Aussies, laundry day occurs between three and four times a week – and to make matters even worse, 49% of us wash our t-shirts after just one wear.
The environmental impact of single-use plastic products like straws, shopping bags, coffee cups, and bottles has dominated our headlines and newsfeeds in recent times. However, not many people are aware that 85% of ocean debris is made up of microfibers – synthetic microplastics that are consumed by wildlife, ocean organisms and even humans.
UNSW’s Senior Research Associate Dr. Mark Browne says these common misconceptions about our environmental impact “are often generated by non-government organisations who don’t take the time to look at what’s good, what’s bad and what’s ugly, and then try and find out what we do and don’t know.”
Dr. Browne says these plastic fibres are found “in every single shoreline, in every single sample we look at around the world,” and if consumed by humans or wildlife can cause serious harm. “They can transfer from their stomach or lungs into their tissues,” he says. “The transfer of those plastics and also the additives and pollutants you find in the environment can cause organisms inflammation, fibrosis – if you give organisms bits of plastic, some of them die, some of them grow slightly slower.”
Sadly, there seems to be a lack of awareness around the issue, which Dr. Browne chalks down to information overload. “Consumers are bombarded with lots of information – some of it useful, some of it not so useful. I would imagine when they’re given all that rubbish, they might miss vital points.”
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Scott McNab, Icebreaker’s NZA General Manager says “we believe that with knowledge comes choice, and we aim to educate to create that choice and fuel a movement towards more natural apparel solutions.”
McNab says while we’ve seen the positive impact of consuming organic food and skincare, most of us still wear synthetic clothing on a daily basis. “There has never been a better time to wear your sustainability on your sleeve and live a life less plastic.”
I know what you’re thinking. But where do I start? According to McNab, there are few simple ways we can all minimise our environmental impact. First, we need to start understanding what our clothing is made from and start incorporating natural fibres, like merino wool, into our wardrobes.
Icebreaker is also encouraging consumers to take part in the #7DayTeeChallenge by wearing one t-shirt for seven days with zero washes.
“Small steps really can provide long-term positive solutions for the environment,” McNab says. “By moving towards clothing made from natural fibres and wearing more but washing less, Aussies can help lead a more sustainable future for our planet.”
While UNSW’s Dr. Browne says he’s “positive” about the future, he says “people need to ask some serious questions of the people who give them information,” including the government and the companies and brands you’re buying products from.
“Of all the problems we’ve got, we need to understand the priority, and how we’re going to solve them,” he says. “Diverting lots of money into places where there’s not a major problem causes major issues because we don’t have the resources available to deal with more pressing issues.”
Dr. Browne says our planet is working with limited financial and environmental resources so “we need to start taking better care of how we allocate those resources.”
“We need to challenge the scientists and engineers to come up with the research that will provide answers and guide us in our behaviour,” he says. “There is a lot of blame on the consumer at the moment, but we haven’t got enough information to make an informed choice.”
As for the future? Dr. Browne says if we can “stop with the greenwashing and we can actually get some proper science and engineering done, we can understand the problems and actually solve them.”
“Putting your head in the sand and diverting money into white elephants is not useful. People need to be more critical, and less political.”
Oh, and for the love of all that is good in the world, stop washing your t-shirts so much.