The environment

Diary of an engineer

Author

Emma Rickman

I’m a first year engineering apprentice at a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in Sheffield.

The plant takes domestic black bin waste and burns it at high temperatures to heat steam, which drives a turbine and an electricity generator.

The excess steam from the turbine is then used to heat water, which is pumped around the city to heat buildings — such as the local swimming pool.

Climate campaigning, large and small

Author

Mike Zubrowski

A record breaking – and dangerous – heatwave swept much of Europe in the closing days of June, affecting the UK too, with a lighter touch.

For once, complaints of it being “too hot” seemed more than an excuse to grumble. But these unnatural temperatures are the benign end of repercussions of the global climatic instability caused by rising greenhouse gas levels.

HBO’s Chernobyl: a service to us all

Author

Les Hearn

Chernobyl was a disaster — there is no doubt about that — but what lessons should we learn from it?

Though the catastrophic meltdown and explosion of the RBMK Reactor No 4 happened almost half a lifetime ago, when police states claiming to serve the workers ruled eastern Europe, the recent HBO mini-series Chernobyl has brought that time back to life.

Though partly fictionalised and sometimes wrong (according to survivors and experts), the basic facts are correct.

Outsourced workers’ strikes

Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (personal capacity)

Outsourced workers at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) began a five day strike from 17 June, immediately following an outsourced workers’ strike at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (F&CO). Both strikes have had exceptionally lively picket lines.

Green politics and lifestyle change

Author

Mike Zubrowski

The Committee on Climate Change report, which I wrote about in Solidarity 506, tags 53% of the carbonemissions reductions as “requiring some change from consumers”. What are the changes in individual lifestyle which may be needed to get rapid cuts in carbon emissions?

Socialism or extinction!

Author

Mike Zubrowski

One million species are threatened with extinction, 23% of all land has suffered degradation, hundreds of millions of people are at greater risk of floods and hurricanes due to loss of coastal habitats, and a huge proportion of global food production is at risk due to pollinator loss.

Capital and the Amazon

Author

Mike Zubrowski

A report by Amazon Watch released on 25 April 2019 indicts the role of global commodity traders and financiers in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest – provides 20% of our oxygen, houses 10% of the planet’s biodiversity and 20% of its flowing freshwater. It stabilises global climate through driving weather patterns, and is home to many indigenous peoples. Preventing its deforestation is crucial in curtailing global warming and other world-wide climate catastrophes.

Where the Wasteland Ends

Author

Alan Simpson

Ugly scenes outside parliament have made the place look and feel like the Siege of Troy. But around the country bigger issues already fill the landscape.

A 'climate emergency' conference in Lancaster drew in some 200-300 local authority and climate groups (along with similar numbers live-streaming their way in). All were anxious to talk about existential survival. I've done similar meetings recently in Norwich, North Notts, Stroud and Hebden Bridge; each making the same point. It is climate change that most threatens our children's prospects, not Brexit (...or the Spartans).

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