Youth climate activists influenced Labour’s policies, says campaign group

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Green New Deal Rising says Starmer’s green policies prove its proposals and pressure on MPs bore fruitYouth climate activists have claimed a checklist of environmental policies proposed this week by Keir Starmer and his shadow cabinet is proof organising and movement pressure can still sway Labour.At a Labour conference under the banner of “a fairer, greener Britain”, Starmer on Tuesday announced a “green prosperity plan”, aimed at “tackling the climate head on, and using it to create the jobs, the industries and the opportunities of the future”. Continue reading...

Green New Deal Rising says Starmer’s green policies prove its proposals and pressure on MPs bore fruitYouth climate activists have claimed a checklist of environmental policies proposed this week by Keir Starmer and his shadow cabinet is proof organising and movement pressure can still sway Labour.At a Labour conference under the banner of “a fairer, greener Britain”, Starmer on Tuesday announced a “green prosperity plan”, aimed at “tackling the climate head on, and using it to create the jobs, the industries and the opportunities of the future”. Continue reading...

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Is your company making this foundational mistake?

For more than 15 years I’ve worked as a C-suite brand strategist for Big Retail executives. My purview has included everything from compiling dossiers for new product launches to scouting locations for new branded hotels to writing CEO speeches. As the years went by, I did more focused work for fewer executives, becoming integrated into their individual careers and not just their current corporate affiliations. With every ascending professional shift, they moved key members of their current team from one company to the next. And I was part of that luggage set. Whether a brand president or CEO, the people I worked with were hired as transformational leaders, charged with making change. And an early signal of that impending change in the organizational structure was a revision of foundational materials: mission, vision, values (MVV). What surprised me at first, and then grew to frustrate me, was how automatically these leaders hired outside agencies to do this elemental work. Why did such smart businesspeople, proven achievers with a gut sense of the market, doubt they could do this on their own? Maybe they considered this elemental work as solely creative—therefore outside their leadership domain—rather than squarely strategic, integral to identifying long-term goals and how to achieve them—something top executives are very good at. To be clear, I don’t think that external agencies are the enemy. There is real value in making solid partnerships, and plenty of work that can be sent their way. But when it comes to foundational materials, it is better to lose the layers and stay as close to the bone as possible. Or, as I would tell my clients: Please. Use your words. Outsourcing a company’s core identity often results in a kind of corporate word soup full of trendy buzzwords and phrases rather than the kind of clear and authentic language that can articulate a new vision, designed to meet changing needs: straightforward and streamlined language connected to a specific business, grounded words with clarity and utility that people can understand, rather than virtue-signaling phrases (“empowerment”) or obfuscating clichés (“paradigm shift”). Working on foundational materials with colleagues as part of a brand evolution can also help transformational leaders understand how the people around them think, and ultimately develop their own company language to better reflect their changing position. Whether outsourced or produced in-house, the process is always a challenge. Misalignment can occur whenever an MVV is altered arbitrarily (often by committee) to fit specific agendas rather than the overall corporate identity and purpose. Careless language—such as inserting a buzzword like “sustainability” without considering the commitment required—inevitably causes a disconnect between principles and practices. When ill-informed changes, no matter the source, are not challenged by transformational leaders, a mission statement can be reduced to a mere marketing message rather than a progressive management tool. After 45 years with the mission to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis,” Patagonia issued a new mission statement: “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.” That’s as close to the bone as words can get, yet a significant declaration of evolving environmental activism. There’s no escaping jargon. It’s an occupational hazard for those of us who work in communications, and here’s an example of my own: When an MVV works together as three interlocking documents, it forms a Purpose Pact. These documents contain the principles that tell outsiders who a company is, what it does, and how it gets that work done. In addition, they can also provide employees with an action framework and simple common vocabulary: bedrock company philosophy that guardrails group behavior and gives creativity a place to stand. When written in practical and realistic language with actionable core values and quantifiable objectives—instead of vague and even misleading language with unidentifiable and unachievable goals—these statements create alignment by becoming the default way of thinking for the whole company. They can inspire staff, attracting and retaining talent, and help to fuel growth. Ultimately, that’s just good business. Francine Maroukian, two-time James Beard Award winner, is a former food and travel writer-turned-commercial-pragmatist, who now works as an operative researcher for C-Suite executives in big retail.

For more than 15 years I’ve worked as a C-suite brand strategist for Big Retail executives. My purview has included everything from compiling dossiers for new product launches to scouting locations for new branded hotels to writing CEO speeches. As the years went by, I did more focused work for fewer executives, becoming integrated into their individual careers and not just their current corporate affiliations. With every ascending professional shift, they moved key members of their current team from one company to the next. And I was part of that luggage set. Whether a brand president or CEO, the people I worked with were hired as transformational leaders, charged with making change. And an early signal of that impending change in the organizational structure was a revision of foundational materials: mission, vision, values (MVV). What surprised me at first, and then grew to frustrate me, was how automatically these leaders hired outside agencies to do this elemental work. Why did such smart businesspeople, proven achievers with a gut sense of the market, doubt they could do this on their own? Maybe they considered this elemental work as solely creative—therefore outside their leadership domain—rather than squarely strategic, integral to identifying long-term goals and how to achieve them—something top executives are very good at. To be clear, I don’t think that external agencies are the enemy. There is real value in making solid partnerships, and plenty of work that can be sent their way. But when it comes to foundational materials, it is better to lose the layers and stay as close to the bone as possible. Or, as I would tell my clients: Please. Use your words. Outsourcing a company’s core identity often results in a kind of corporate word soup full of trendy buzzwords and phrases rather than the kind of clear and authentic language that can articulate a new vision, designed to meet changing needs: straightforward and streamlined language connected to a specific business, grounded words with clarity and utility that people can understand, rather than virtue-signaling phrases (“empowerment”) or obfuscating clichés (“paradigm shift”). Working on foundational materials with colleagues as part of a brand evolution can also help transformational leaders understand how the people around them think, and ultimately develop their own company language to better reflect their changing position. Whether outsourced or produced in-house, the process is always a challenge. Misalignment can occur whenever an MVV is altered arbitrarily (often by committee) to fit specific agendas rather than the overall corporate identity and purpose. Careless language—such as inserting a buzzword like “sustainability” without considering the commitment required—inevitably causes a disconnect between principles and practices. When ill-informed changes, no matter the source, are not challenged by transformational leaders, a mission statement can be reduced to a mere marketing message rather than a progressive management tool. After 45 years with the mission to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis,” Patagonia issued a new mission statement: “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.” That’s as close to the bone as words can get, yet a significant declaration of evolving environmental activism. There’s no escaping jargon. It’s an occupational hazard for those of us who work in communications, and here’s an example of my own: When an MVV works together as three interlocking documents, it forms a Purpose Pact. These documents contain the principles that tell outsiders who a company is, what it does, and how it gets that work done. In addition, they can also provide employees with an action framework and simple common vocabulary: bedrock company philosophy that guardrails group behavior and gives creativity a place to stand. When written in practical and realistic language with actionable core values and quantifiable objectives—instead of vague and even misleading language with unidentifiable and unachievable goals—these statements create alignment by becoming the default way of thinking for the whole company. They can inspire staff, attracting and retaining talent, and help to fuel growth. Ultimately, that’s just good business. Francine Maroukian, two-time James Beard Award winner, is a former food and travel writer-turned-commercial-pragmatist, who now works as an operative researcher for C-Suite executives in big retail.

SA Teen Honoured at Young Activists Summit at UN in Geneva

A South African teenager – Zulaikha Patel (19) – who protested against her school’s hair policy is one of just six youngsters from around the world who has been honoured at the 2022 Young Activists Summit (#YAS22) at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The awards took place today during a live event with participants from […] The post SA Teen Honoured at Young Activists Summit at UN in Geneva appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.

A South African teenager – Zulaikha Patel (19) – who protested against her school’s hair policy is one of just six youngsters from around the world who has been honoured at the 2022 Young Activists Summit (#YAS22) at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The awards took place today during a live event with participants from 134 countries, to honour six young laureates from all around the world who are working tirelessly to advance inclusivity and solidarity. Zulaikha – along with the other five – received a donation to carry out a field project and advance her cause on the ground. This was the fourth edition of the Young Activists Summit – ‘Together we thrive’ – which has reached over 3 million people on social media. Zulaikha is an anti-racism activist who led a protest against her school’s racist hair policy in Pretoria, which made nationwide and worldwide news. She said: “What triggered me to start to organize this protest was that (…) we were being forced to assimilate to what we were not, we were being told we couldn’t wear our hair as it grows naturally, we could not speak in our own groups with our friends in our African languages. That became a war on who we are, we were forced to erase our blackness, and it triggered me to do something. I knew I had to defend my identity, (…) I had to take a stand, not just for me but for my identity and the identity of my ancestors.” The others honoured at the 2022 Young Activists Summit are: Pashtana Durrani, 24, Afghanistan – Founder of LEARN Afghanistan, a network of underground schools for girls. Keely Cat-Wells, 26, UK/USA – Founder of C-Talent, a talent agency which promotes disabled talent and changes mindsets through entertainment. Sameer Jha, 21, USA – Founder of the Empathy Alliance which advances safe classrooms for LGBTQ+ students. C’est Prévue Emmy Lusila, 22, DRC – Founder of an orphanage for street children. Sebastián Benfeld, 21, Chile – Co-founder of Escazu Ahora, a movement advancing a pollution-free environment and protecting environmental defenders. The Summit is co-organized by the United Nations Office at Geneva, the NGO dev.tv, Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) and its Genève Vision label, and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. The post SA Teen Honoured at Young Activists Summit at UN in Geneva appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.

An infusion of cash from Congress could keep the lights on in Puerto Rico

Here's what $3 billion could do to avert the next tropical storm blackout.

Puerto Rico could get $3 billion dollars for rooftop solar energy and battery storage if Congress approves a Biden administration request made earlier this week. The help is sorely needed.  The archipelago has been repeatedly hit by blackouts after a series of devastating hurricanes that crippled the electricity grid. In 2017, Hurricane Irma, which narrowly missed the main island but caused widespread blackouts, was followed by another — Maria — which killed over 4,000 people. Maria’s damage to Puerto Rico’s grid was so great that it took 11 months for power to be fully restored to the main island.       Both Puerto Rican activists and United States officials believe that investing in solar energy systems will help residents keep power on in their homes during what are certain to be more frequent and destructive storms in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico’s energy grid has been criticized for years for its unreliability under normal circumstances, even without the storm damage to power lines and generators. While a growing number of Puerto Rican households are taking the initiative to install solar panels on their rooftops, the majority of households continue to rely on electricity through the mainstream power grid, or run diesel-powered generators. Generators, however, are expensive and pollute the air.  But high costs and environmental considerations are only part of the picture. Electricity blackouts on Puerto Rico in the wake of tropical storms have exacerbated the already devastating public health and safety crises that followed. Researchers have estimated that in the three months after Hurricane Maria there was a 62 percent increase in mortality,  Many deaths following the hurricane occurred in isolated and mountainous regions where residents were unable to access outside water or medical facilities. But the lack of electricity at home may have been the biggest factor in the high mortality, as residents were unable to boil water, refrigerate food and certain medicines, or run air-conditioning in their houses. While a growing number of Puerto Ricans are installing solar panels on their rooftops, it remains too expensive for many. Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo via AP Images After Hurricane Fiona hit in September, residents who had installed solar panels on their homes were able to maintain their power even as the energy grid failed yet again. In spite of this, most households in Puerto Rico simply cannot afford to switch to solar without financial assistance offered by the federal government. The majority of census tracts in Puerto Rico are defined as disadvantaged, frequently due to high local energy costs coupled with low household incomes. Puerto Ricans as a whole pay some of the highest energy bills in the United States. In San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, the average cost to install solar panels for a household is nearly $12,000. While that’s less than what the average household on the U.S. mainland would have to pay for home solar, the cost is too much for most Puerto Ricans; the territory’s median household income is around  $21,000.  Before Hurricane Maria in 2017, household adoption of solar energy on Puerto Rico appeared to be more motivated by reducing electricity bills. Now, simply being able to turn the lights on has become just as strong a motivation. The archipelago is also considered a favorable location for widespread solar power adoption. A preliminary study in 2021 from the National Lab of Renewable Energy concluded that transitioning to rooftop solar energy could produce up to four times the current energy needs of Puerto Rico. This potential is largely due to its high amount of exposure to sunlight throughout the year.  While some Puerto Ricans may acknowledge the value of allocating financial resources to rooftop solar energy, others are not convinced that relying on federal funds will lead to any fundamental changes on the ground.  “Since Maria, the U.S. government has made many allocations of funds that never arrive or their impacts are not seen in Puerto Rico,” said Arturo Massol Deyá, the executive director of Casa Pueblo, a Puerto Rican organization that supports community self-management projects. Instead, Massol Deyá said, Casa Pueblo and other organizations are working to develop an independent electricity grid centered on solar energy projects that are run for and by local communities in Puerto Rico.   “We’re working to break the dependency model,” he said.  This story was originally published by Grist with the headline An infusion of cash from Congress could keep the lights on in Puerto Rico on Dec 2, 2022.

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