Thursday this week seems to have been a key day for environmental protest.
Chinese pollution protest
In Fujian Province, eastern China, villagers blockaded a road to protest against high levels of lead in the blood of their children. Local residents are convinced that the children’s excessive lead levels are the result of pollution from the Huaqiang Battery Factory. Authorities have ordered China’s environmental protection bureau to increase oversight of the plant. The protest comes in the wake of several similar protests against industrial plants that have succeeded in getting polluting factories closed down.
And in the UK, journalist and television presenter Jeremy Clarkson found his own bit of global warming, on his doorstep! Seven members of group Climate Rush visited his home and left steaming piles of horse manure on his drive, along with a message reading ‘This is what you’re landing us in’. The protestors, all women, chose Clarkson because he has a sceptical attitude to climate change. Clarkson is the presenter of Top Gear, a car programme, and has recently driven to the Arctic. In the past he has made inflammatory remarks about the effects of climate change, describing walkers who demand access to land as ‘urban communists’ and cyclists as ‘Lycra Nazis’.
New Zealand animal foods protest
And finally on the same day, 17 September, a New Zealand protest against palm kernel imports ended inconclusively. The company, Fonterra, is a dairy supplies specialist and also a cooperative with over 11,000 dairy farming members in New Zealand. Greenpeace claims there is both local and international concern about the nature of the palm oil industry globally and protestors chained themselves to the cranes of the ship delivering the imports. Feed imports for livestock are an increasing contentious issue – Greenpeace says that corn and grain farmers in New Zealand have supported their action because their own products have been outpriced by cheap imported livestock foods and that endangered species are being further threatened by land clearance fuelled by the palm oil export industry. 14 protesters, charged with unlawful boarding of a ship, will be appearing in court next week.
New Zealand sheep courtesy of PhillipC at Flickr under a creative commons licence