The frightening face of regional weather change is increasingly evident among the record-breaking heatwaves plaguing Southern Europe. Even if it were reasonably predicted that our climate would get more extreme, it is nonetheless uncomfortable to see it up close. It hurts for those in the West to see global warming transform from a vague concept that belongs in research journals and protests to a fully realized picture of our impending extinction.
The fact that temperatures in Europe are reaching previously unimaginable heights of warmth—the high 40s—while local meteorologists predict that this will be the coldest summer on record is very unsettling. These facts are acutely felt by many younger people who are aware of how time is working out to change the tide. Furthermore, when our climate becomes increasingly extreme, local weather activists’ acts also become so. In Europe, both men and women (mostly younger, but not exclusively) are adopting an increasing number of drastic, and often illegal, actions to draw attention to local weather breakdowns. Their activities are well reported. They deface artifacts. They interfere with sporting events. They release the air from SUV tires. They overrun airport runways. They are seated on freeways.
Given that their objective is to bring about change, and since in the majority of Western countries, this is a prerequisite, the question that has to be answered is:
How effective are these protests?
Regardless of the amount of airtime they get, there’s a strong case to be made that their methods are often not very effective in winning people over. Teams like Final Technology, Extinction Riot, and Just Cease Oil have often received harsh criticism from locals whom they have irritated by not fully enlisting them in their cause.
But is that really the point?
Any activist’s duty is to avoid courtrooming on the middle floor. It’s to expand the parameters of our conversation, to go beyond what we would consider appropriate, and to yell when speaking becomes impossible. Positions that are deemed excessive should be modified into the “new regular.” The onus then shifts to political officials to reconcile this new narrative. Perhaps the most well-known local weather activist, Greta Thunberg, started her career in campaigning by not attending high school.
The author of this temporary has seen many Brussels communications supervisors present a naive plan to get Greta’s endorsement in the best possible manner for Nike to handle a top athlete. At first, the institution attempted to accept her. Rather than being assimilated into the system, Thunberg chooses to remain mostly outside of it. Instead of uniting with business and political institutions to forge a “sensible” course forward, she keeps criticizing leaders for their lack of meaningful progress.
Greta Thunberg doesn’t seem to think that it’s her job to persuade doubters by bending the story in a way that makes sense (“It’s okay to fly if you actually need to journey!”). “You probably live in a huge household, so it’s okay that you drive an SUV!” adequate sincerity. Politicians need to build the necessary bridges and make the necessary changes rather than attempt to force activists to the middle. Throughout history, activists have been involved in contentious disruptions. The English suffragette Emily Wilding Davison died as a result of her mishaps after she flung herself in front of the King’s horse in 1913.
Many of her peers disapproved of her act of self-harm. But five years later, lawmakers passed legislation giving women the right to vote. Politicians should be more nuanced in their local weather activism in 2023 in order to get support for the changes that are needed to prevent disasters. This may feature critiques from both the left and the right on occasion. Still, it’s an important job. It is said that activists have a binary perspective on the world. It is the responsibility of our elected officials to add hues to this vision that almost everyone can embrace.
The head of Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence organization pleaded with Russians horrified by the fighting in Ukraine on Wednesday, July 19, to “be a part of palms” with his intelligence agency and put an end to the carnage. As bilateral relations sank to all-time lows, US State Secretary Wang Yi, the chief Chinese-language diplomat, told the previous administration in Beijing on Wednesday, July 19, that the US wanted “Kissinger-style diplomatic knowledge” in its insurance policies toward China.
In recent weeks, the Italian coastguard has been delegating several rescue missions to non-governmental organizations in international seas between Tunisia and Sicily, in violation of an Italian government directive that only permits one rescue to be conducted prior to disembarkation. According to Hungary’s agriculture minister, five Central European EU states will request on Wednesday, July 19, that the EU extend the ban on Ukrainian grain imports until a deadline of September 15 in order to prevent major market disruptions.
The European Parliament’s proposal to expand the scope of a proposed EU law that forbids the transfer of coerced labor items from the EU market to major suppliers and to implement victim rehabilitation has drawn criticism from conservative and right-wing political factions. The commerce committee of the European Parliament has endorsed a limited reform of the electrical energy market inside the union, facilitating the earliest possible start of final discussions with EU foreign locations.
The Romanian government is under increasing pressure to control its growing budget deficit, and if it doesn’t get the deficit under control by the end of the year, it might face penalties from the European Commission. This week’s briefings on health and inexperience should not be overlooked.
Keep an eye out for…
Volker Türk, the UN Excessive Commissioner for Human Rights, was received by Fee Vice President VĔra Jourová on Thursday. On Thursday and Friday, Commissioner Nicolas Schmit is present for the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting. Views belong to the author.
[Edited by Benjamin Fox and Nathalie Weatherald]