The Green Generation: The Furious Energy of Young People and the Global Climate Strike

21.9.19

Children taking part in the Global Climate Strike in London on September 20, 2019 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

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If you’re reading this, and, like me, were comfortably born within the long reach of the 20th century, then pause for a moment and imagine what the future looks like for those born this century, those who aren’t even able to vote yet, and who make up a large part of what has been termed ‘Generation Z’ — those born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s — as well as those born more recently, who trend-watchers don’t even seem to have a name for yet, although they might want to think about calling them the ‘Green Generation’ if yesterday is anything to go by.

Yesterday’s Global Climate Strike — the third this year — was the biggest yet, and the biggest climate protest ever. In 185 countries, at least three million people — mostly young — took to the streets to demand urgent action to prevent the worst effects of an already unfolding environmental catastrophe.

By now, no one should have any doubts about the urgency of the crisis. In the Northern Hemisphere, where 90% of the earth’s population lives, the last five summers have been the hottest since records began in the late 19th century, with this summer being the hottest yet. Globally, the only year that was hotter was 2016.

Anecdotally, everyone knows that something is badly wrong. In the heatwaves of the ’90s, it was still possible for complacent westerners to joke about “global warming”, but in recent years this has changed. The heatwaves in June and August were difficult even in northern Europe, where temperature records were broken in numerous countries, and it also became apparent that, increasingly, other, hotter countries — the locations of wealthier westerners’ beloved summer holidays — were becoming off-limits. For those living in these countries, the reality is, of course, considerably more alarming.

A huge boost for this unprecedented global climate change movement came last October, when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark report, in which, as the Guardian described it, “The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.” The authors of the report added that “urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target”, which they called “affordable and feasible although it lies at the most ambitious end of the [2015] Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C.”

That report, with its unambiguous “12 years to doomsday” message — now 11 years — fed the urgency of two new movements: school strikes inspired by the teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who, last August, began taking time off school to call on her government to take urgent action on climate change, and Extinction Rebellion (XR), which began occupying public spaces last October, calling on governments to “Tell the Truth”, and to to commit to urgent measures to tackle climate change. Two manifestations of the Global Climate Strike — in March and May — revealed young people’s massive enthusiasm for urgent action, and in April Extinction Rebellion showed a glimpse of an alternative future when activists shut down central London for a week after occupying several key sites — Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Parliament Square — with a base at Marble Arch.

To be blunt, it is unsurprising that young people, their futures already ransacked by the eye-watering greed and inflexibility of the neoliberal idiocy that has dominated politics and economics since the 1980s, are rising up in unprecedented numbers to demand urgent action on climate change.

Yesterday, at Parliament Square, it was inspiring to see so many young people with so many wonderful hand-made placards revealing their understanding of the urgency of the environmental crisis, and their disgust at the politicians who have so dismally failed to do anything about it. What impressed me the most, however, was when, despite the Metropolitan Police imposing geographical limits on the protest, absurdly suggesting that this was based on “intelligence reports that suggested that a large number of protesters were planning on causing serious disruption and criminal offences that would stop Londoners, and those visiting, from moving freely around the Capital”, a group of young people marching up Whitehall broke off, heading towards Northumberland Avenue, where the police scrabbled to contain them. They ended up returning to Whitehall and convening by a cordon marking the Met’s limits on the protest south of Trafalgar Square, and on both occasions dozens of those present directly confronted the police, while the crowd as a whole staged noisy sit-downs, with call and response chanting from whoever wanted to take the mike.

A campaigner using a traffic cone as a megaphone during the Global Climate Strike in London on September 20, 2019 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

As well as regularly singing, “Where the f*ck is the government?” to the tune of ‘Seven Nation Army’, some of the speakers, in the call and response with their fellow protesters, poignantly pointed out how they are both scared and furious — two key concepts to which those in power need to pay close attention. This is a movement that is not going away, composed of significant numbers of young people who are rebelling against the complacent greed and stupidity of those in charge — mostly, it should be noted, old white men like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Brazil’s Amazon-destroying Jair Bolsonaro, with whom they genuinely appear to have absolutely nothing in common.

Yesterday’s Global Climate Strike was also the first to which adults had been specifically invited, and they too turned out in significant numbers — parents, grandparents and concerned citizens in general, as well as trade unions, and some corporate workers. As the Guardian noted, “Trade unions representing hundreds of millions of people around the world mobilised in support, employees left their workplaces, doctors and nurses marched and workers at firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook walked out to join the climate strikes.”

Architects opposing climate change

I was also pleased to see that there were engineers opposed to climate change, and, closer to my heart, architects, as the building industry is a major polluter, and yet, hypocritically, although the industry as whole trumpets the ecological benefits of the new buildings they’re designing, they completely ignore the much more colossal environmental cost of demolishing existing buildings — and, my particularly bugbear, existing, and structurally sound council estates — and the environmental costs of removing the debris of demolition, and of manufacturing and transporting the materials used in building the environmentally sound buildings they have designed.

Recently, Rowan Moore, the architecture critic of the Observer, wrote an article entitled, ‘Where are the architects who will put the environment first?’, following the launch, earlier this year, of Architects Declare, in which, as he put it, “17 winners of the Stirling prize proclaimed a set of principles by which they and – they hoped – others would from now on work, and by the debate that followed.”

As Moore also explained:

The argument of Architects Declare … goes something like this: architects (and for that matter contractors, clients, engineers and everyone else involved in making buildings) have no excuse for not giving their utmost to make their work have as little impact on the environment as possible. They have to consider everything – how far stone might have to travel from quarry to site, for example, and whether or not a building’s components will end up as landfill when it is demolished.

It is not enough to reduce what are called the “in-use” costs – heating, ventilation, lighting, water, waste, maintenance – but also the “embodied energy” that goes into construction and demolition: quarrying cement, smelting steel, firing bricks, shipping materials to site, putting them in place, taking them down again and disposing of them. Until recently the construction industry has concentrated on in-use costs. The British building regulations, for example, set reasonably high standards for the performance of buildings, but are silent on embodied energy. This makes no sense – there’s little point building something that performs magnificently in use, if it takes decades or centuries to pay back the expenditure of energy that went into its construction.

Painful choices may be required – giving up some dearly beloved brutalist-style concrete or a favourite brick. It might mean some genuinely difficult dilemmas: concrete, if used right, slows the rates at which a building cools down and warms up (good) but is made with cement, a material that singlehandedly accounts for about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions (not good).

As he also put it, “the architectural profession needs to reconsider its value systems, what is considered good and what bad. Architects are still trained from studenthood to perform in what Steve Tompkins, one of the driving forces behind Architects Declare, calls a ‘competitive and individualistic profession.’ They get more glory for designing a singular new building than they would if they worked out a good way of insulating old houses. Yet, as most of the building stock of the future is already with us, and as demolition and rebuilding entails the chucking away of whatever went into making the original building, the latter is likely to be more useful than the former.”

Another group visible yesterday was the Architects Climate Action Network, who declare on their website that they are “a network of individuals within architecture and construction who are taking action to address the twin crises of climate and ecological breakdown.” Recognising that they “can no longer remain secluded within our personal and professional silos”, they explain that, “In the UK, the built environment as a whole is responsible for 42% of national emissions. The manner in which we produce our built environment continues to curtail biodiversity, pollute ecosystems and encourage unsustainable lifestyles.”

Their launch event is on Tuesday October 1st, at 6.30pm, at The Jago, 440 Kingsland Road, London E8 4AA, with an Architects Assembly following on Tuesday October 22 at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT, also starting at 6.30pm.

Naysayers – and negativity

Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, who have an International Rebellion beginning on October 7 and running through to October 20, are not without their critics — and not just from the right of the political spectrum. A particularly influential critic is Cory Morningstar, an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, whose series ‘The Manufacturing of Greta Thunberg – for Consent’, seeks to expose the manner in which well-meaning, would-be environmental activists are actually being manipulated by what she describes as “the non-profit industrial complex.” XR has also been subject to criticism — although less for being an unwitting front for opportunist capitalists than, it seems to me, for mistakenly positing mass arrests as a way to bring down the system.

Nevertheless, while anyone interested in changing the current economic system as swiftly as possible needs to assess the credentials of those involved, there is something fundamentally deflating about the manner in which most critics of both Greta Thunberg and XR have simply embraced inaction as a virtue. While I don’t dispute the hard work of Cory Morningstar, most of the people following her are doing nothing more than being cynical on social media, and dismissing movements that have managed to galvanise public opinion on a huge scale while doing nothing remotely constructive themselves.

To my mind, the more the protests continue, and the bigger they become, the more chance there is that some of those involved will contribute in a way that no one can foresee, and that may be genuinely transformational in a way that the results so far — appeals to politicians and public ‘happenings’ and disruptions — may not be able to achieve.

We are in uncharted waters, but already the campaigns have pushed the authorities in numerous countries — at central government and local government level — to declare climate emergencies, instead of, as they have been doing for decades, burying their heads in the sand. These climate emergencies are almost entirely toothless, and more often than not colossally hypocritical, as the homicidal, capitalist ‘business as usual’ continues almost entirely uninterrupted, but our leaders’ hypocrisy can now be very publicly exposed, while those concerned with us having a future — as opposed to the suicidal visions of Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro and all the other poisonous old white men in positions of power — can continue to work out how to effect the swift and unprecedented political change that we all so urgently need.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from seven years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the resistance continues.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

39 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article – about the Global Climate Strike yesterday, September 20, 2019, which was the largest ever global climate protest, with over three million people taking part in 185 countries.

    In particular, I discuss my reflections on the protest in London, applauding the young people fighting for their future with energy and righteous indignation, as well as fears about the environmental devastation that, at present, that future will bring. I also discuss the architects who were amongst the adults joining in yesterday’s global strike, and ask what benefit there is in the criticism of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion by some anti-capitalists.

    I hope you are as inspired by these young people as I am.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Nafisa Haji wrote:

    Am sharing. Thanks for writing. 🙏🏽

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Nafisa. Glad you liked it!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Susan Hall wrote:

    Shared – Thank you.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your interest, Susan! Good to hear from you.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Valerie Jeans wrote:

    Thank you for writing this, Andy!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Valerie. Thanks for your interest. There is a movement building – it now particularly seems to have become clear that it’s crappy old white men (and sometimes the women who support them and their children, sadly) versus everyone else, and the future of the planet is at stake.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Suzanne Bauman wrote:

    Andy I know some old white men who are not crappy at all. They are part of the Make Love Not War generation, and we love them. The future of the planet has been at stake since World War I. I thank you for the article, and thank the children for leading the Global Climate Strike.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Oh, absolutely not all of them, Suzanne. I’m at the young end of being an old man myself – I’m older than Boris Johnson! I’ve found my whole life that lots of people of the ‘Make Love Not War’ generation were, and continue to be an inspiration!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Deanna Gorzynski wrote:

    Thank you, Andy, comrade and friend 💛

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    You are most welcome, Deanna. Great to hear from you!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Richard Clare wrote:

    Thanks Andy! Great article highlighting passions, urgency and complexities of Climate Change.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Richard. The forthcoming XR International Rebellion will be interesting, I think. Clearly a lot of the teenagers on Friday were enthusiastic XR supporters. Now the question is whether the authorities will be allowing a certain amount of disruption, or whether, still stung by the right-wing allegations that they did nothing in April, they will be moving towards greater intolerance of anything that stops “business as usual.” There are worries that the establishment as a whole is moving towards an acceptance that the police need new laws to criminalise even non-violent direct action, and all eyes need to be on Sadiq Khan. If, having declared a climate emergency, he endorses a clampdown, he’ll be rightly called out as a hypocrite, as the whole thrust of people’s pressure for urgent political change is for the establishment to acknowledge that “business as usual” cannot continue. We need urgent political change, and we need it now – but sadly, of course, we’re still mired in the distraction of Brexit, and the no-deal enthusiasm of the very forces who will do the most environmental damage if they get their way, and we become little more than an impoverished satellite vassal of Donald Trump’s America.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    Thank god for those teenagers those switched on teenagers and wot a legacy we’ve left them especially my generation business cannot continue as usual everything must stop trump Boris netanyahu bolsanaro all those bankers all the ceos their to dangerous to be left alive their on a suicidal binge and they want to take everything with them

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, they are either colossally stupid – or they’re collaborators, Damien. And it’s not just the right-wing figureheads you mention, it’s also Sadiq Khan and all the councils declaring a climate emergency and then doing nothing about it. They may not be as depraved and suicidal as Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro and the other destroyers, but their feebleness and hypocrisy is in some ways even worse. The centrists and the left have to get on board with the demands for urgent political change now, or they really are the worst sort of collaborators.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    And of course Brexit continues to pollute efforts to do anything meaningful in the UK, Damien. I doubt there was a single Lexiteer amongst the young people protesting on Friday. To save humanity we need to be working across borders, not isolating ourselves and submitting to the greed of US multinationals.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Good article here by the Australian climate activist Jeff Sparrow – ‘This isn’t extinction, it’s extermination: the people killing nature know what they’re doing’: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/commentisfree/2019/sep/20/this-isnt-extinction-its-extermination-the-people-killing-nature-know-what-theyre-doing

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Jeff quotes environmental academic Justin McBrien, who wrote for Truthout that to call the environmental crisis the “sixth extinction event” is misleading, because it “make[s] what is an active, organized eradication sound like some kind of passive accident.” Instead, he explains, “We are in the midst of the First Extermination Event, the process by which capital has pushed the Earth to the brink of the Necrocene, the age of the new necrotic death.”
    See: https://truthout.org/articles/this-is-not-the-sixth-extinction-its-the-first-extermination-event/

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Donnachadh McCarthy wrote:

    wow – powerful words – first constructive critique of the climate strikes/Extinction Rebellion movement’s language and terminology. .. I like it.
    First Extermination Event
    The Necrocene …
    Will add it to my usage of climate genoicide and climate breakdown for what I believe is core to XR – Truth telling

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Donnachadh. I’m glad you appreciate the description. I think it moves things forward in a helpful manner. A year ago we were talking about the ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’, and we got politicians to take it on board, and to acknowledge the climate emergency, but they’ve done nothing about it, of course. So now, I think, it will be helpful to stress that this is actually the ‘First Extermination Event’, premeditated and man-made, and to call out those who resist the furiously ticking clock as either collaborators or deluded dinosaurs in denial of the facts. The spotlight is very much going to be on Sadiq Khan when Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion starts on October 7.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote, in response to 16, above:

    Brexit is the big distraction but there’s something so so so dark and sinister under it.. THEY KNOW.. What’s happening if you look you see all these governments all these f*ckers going for grabbing grabbing grabbing all the last resources.. Because resources mean power oil food and water _ power it’s starting to look very mad max beyond thunderdome there are immediate emergencys happening right now from Fukushima to global human overpopulation apart from getting out there I’ve no more words

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, definitely, Damien. Just as people need to truly feel the impending environmental catastrophe, so they need to be aware of the encroaching darkness from the dangerously anti-democratic forces of those on the political right, which is increasingly becoming the far-right. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to consider that those in charge are fully utilising what the liberal media shamefully describe as “populism” to steer us towards an endorsement of, and compliance with, a new form of fascism.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Donnachadh McCarthy wrote, in response to 20, above:

    Andy, calling out collusion is important but also, whilst challenging, I think we need to avoid terms like dinosaurs?

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I take your point, Donnachadh – “those still in the grip of a powerful neoliberal delusion” might be a more tactful way to describe them. I’ve learned over 13 years of campaigning on Guantanamo that it’s generally better to let the facts speak for themselves, but in terms of nudging people towards outrage I also believe in sometimes defining wrongdoing in blunt terms. I basically assess my writing as news reporting with the addition of indignant adjectives – and sometimes nouns; exactly what the mainstream, ‘liberal’ media fails to do via its obsession with ‘objectivity’, which only plays into the hands of the right, who openly use the news as propaganda. I’d like all news outlets – broadcasters and newspapers – to permanently promote clocks counting down how long we have left until the point of no return environmentally, for example, just as I’d like the US media to constantly point out how long Guantanamo has been open. Tell the truth!

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    Donnachadh, being pc when it comes to these destructive men and their enablers is over they need to be removed by any means nessisary and destroyed they are killing everything

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    The big question, I think, Damien, is how we remove them if the democratic process fails us and we’re left unable to elect leaders who will do what is necessary. This is what , fundamentally, everyone’s trying to work out – some see green capitalism as the solution, some see a political ‘Green New Deal’, while some think that the only way out will be something more revolutionary. We need to be having these conversations as much as possible, and to find ways in which we can work together, or, if not, to establish clearly how different groups will be taking different approaches – and to hope that the differing opinions about how best to proceed are not totally irreconcilable with one another.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    Personally I’d have them ….d because their maniacs and too dangerous to live it’s just so complicated but we have to show people the truth as harsh as this sounds you’ve got to give people a stark choice: carry on, your futureless or do this this this and this and we could get out of this

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Agreed, Damien. And it’s why the UN’s urgent message in a few days needs to be amplified as much as possible, and, nation by nation, western countries need to demand the immediate implementation of drastic measures to deal with the climate emergency that our leaders are already acknowledging. I was interested to see that Jeremy Corbyn fully grasped the urgency when interviewed at the Global Climate Strike on Friday: https://twitter.com/BBCNewsnight/status/1175076088462094336

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    UN Climate Summit info here – “UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on all leaders to come to New York on 23 September with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050”: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/un-climate-summit-2019.shtml

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Today, as the Guardian explains, a report by United in Science, coordinated by the World Meteorological Organisation, states that “commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions must be at least tripled and increased by up to fivefold if the world is to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement”, which called for “limiting global heating to at least 2C, and as close to 1.5C as possible, compared with pre-industrial levels.” The report was launched prior to the UN climate action summit in New York today.
    UN secretary general António Guterres asked world leaders “to come to the summit with new commitments” to the Paris agreement, explaining that countries need “to cut emissions by 45% by 2030, end fossil fuel subsidies and ban new coal plants after 2020.”
    Donald Trump, meanwhile, is not even attending the summit.
    See: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/23/countries-must-triple-climate-emissions-targets-to-limit-global-heating-to-2c

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    My friend Anna, who is having trouble accessing the site, wrote:

    Hi Andy, not having offspring of my own – apart of course plenty dearly loved ones among family and friends – my increasingly urgent panic is for the ‘state of world population’ in a few decades time. We now have some 60 million Displaced Persons, soon they will be more like 600 million. Then what? If we cannot even manage the most basic wellbeing of those 60, what will happen with 10 times more, while in addition our own countries will also be suffering from floods and droughts? An all-out war? Will we look the other way and just let them drown, starve, die from thirst and preventable diseases? Will we build gigantic concentration (‘refugee’) camps and there keep them – barely – alive but out of sight? It literally keeps me awake, as I cannot see any positive change on the horizon, which could only happen if we, the happy well-off, agree to move over and make some space for those who will lose all but their lives in the global climate disruption that we have caused.

    That includes physical space for refugees but also giving up countless unnecessary gadgets. Why does a home espresso machine need to grind the coffee (good exercise to do it by hand) and have 15 buttons of which 14 are unnecessary? Why must people have each new smartphone that hits the market? Or fly to the other end of the world for an IPhone selfie holiday? Or buy their pre-school kids computers, while these are happiest playing with a few sticks & pebbles or mum’s sieve?

    It also means stopping to exploit the poorest countries and truly let them develop their economies by giving up our monopolies which stiffle any true local development.

    The same applies on a different level within our own societies.

    Sooner or later it will be down to bend or bust.

    So let’s bend while there’s still a little time instead of building ever more and higher walls & ever increasing exploitation of the poorest.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Anna also wrote:

    The architects initiative is very important, as the ecological impact of our current ways of building are far more destructive than we can even imagine. One of the far from self-evident drama’s being the amount of sand used for concrete, far too often for buildings which then remain empty.

    Apparently all the ‘sand quarries’ have long been emptied and now ‘free’ sand is harvested on sea bottoms, beaches etc, which endangers sea life and increases coastal erosion :
    https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2017/12/sand-wars-171213082235210.html

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Anna.
    I am perplexed, however, as, for no apparent reason, my website – this website – wouldn’t allow me to post the third and last part of your message, which included a link to another Al-Jazeera show. What on earth is that all about?!?

  34. Anna says...

    So that was why the whole comment kept being refused.
    That other link is a wonderful short documentary about a Togolese guy who worked in Italy for a few years I think in chocolate production and decided to go back home and activate Togo’s cocoa farmers not to sell the raw cocoa, but to form cooperatives which proicess the cocoa into chocolate bars and market those, with the added value.

    If anyone is now additionally interested, try googling AlJazeera English, choose ‘documentaries’ and then ‘People & Power.’ The chocolate revolution will show up 🙂

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    So I wonder what the problem was, Anna. I’ve never had that before. Is it because you mentioned the famous Swiss-based chocolate manufacturer? Do they have online police? The first Al-Jazeera link you posted was fine, so I don’t understand what the problem was with the second one.

  36. Anna says...

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    So the link’s OK, Anna, so what was it? mention of N*stle in connection with something critical? Is that possible? Or just one of those weird, inexplicable, techy glitches?

  38. Anna says...

    Let’s check at least one option :- ).
    Exploitative Nestlé has a long track record of putting profit before human livelihoods or even lives. From agressively promoting powdered milk for babies by handing it out for free in maternity clinics in countries where not only most women could not afford to keep on buying it, but – what is far more serious and criminal – where no safe drinking water is available, so babies died from waterborn diseases which would have been avoided if fed with breastmilk, to ‘allowing’ Ivory Coast’s coffee growers who are among the suppliers of Robusta coffee for Nestlé’s Nescafé to produce Nescafé but only for their own local market, not for the – much more profitable – export one. I wouldn’t be surprised if ‘privatising’ water wells for their bottled mineral water were yet another of their social crimes.

    If this does not do the trick, then it must have been an unexplicable technical glitch 🙂

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    We’ll have to go for the inexplicable technical glitch, Anna.
    And here’s the link to the programme: https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2019/09/chocolate-taste-independence-togo-190918085430984.html

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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