Sustainable The Week Door 19: half knowledge and chasing the climate

peter van vliet editor-in-chief Sustainability through the week

Striking news of the week viewed through the sustainable lens of the editor-in-chief of, Peter van Vliet.

Monday: Not my city

London was already ironically called Moscow on the Thames because of the large number of Russian billionaires who reside there. After the coronation of Charles III, the nickname acquired an extra dimension due to the crackdown by the police against demonstrators who spoke against the monarchy. Shouting “Not my king” was not allowed and was answered with an arrest for “conspiracy to cause public nuisance”. In response to the public pressure, the MET, the police of the English capital, apologized to the leader of Republic, the peaceful protest organization against the monarchy. But the picture fits a worrying trend of increasingly tougher police action against protests in Europe and the US. Not my system.

Tuesday: Hope evaporates like methane

Turkmenistan’s methane emissions are through the roof, and not a dog gives a damn in the government there. The customer doesn’t seem to mind either. That customer is China, and the Turkmen are their largest gas supplier. Chinese climate promises should apparently be taken with a cloud of methane. And the last glimmers of hope for climate change to some extent evaporate as quickly as methane spreads into the air.


Wednesday: Half knowledge is not enough

If the Netherlands was already known for its culture of sixes, it could all be a little less. Students are also allowed to continue in scientific life with half credits. That proposal is, of all things, supported by one of our smartest scientists, Robbert Dijkgraaf. But in a world that is becoming increasingly complex and where problems are increasing in size and number at the speed of light, what we need above all is smart go-getters, not half-hearted party animals who get overwrought at the first stress signal. But yes, if party students are in the majority and they form an important group of new voters for declining political mop parties, then the conclusion is quickly drawn. Also by smart scientists who have gone into politics.

Thursday: Elastic journalism

Can you imagine a live TV show where a pathetic liar is given free reign for an hour to spout blatant falsehoods and conspiracy theories? CNN did it with Donald Trump, further undermining what’s left of her once trustworthy image. The criticism, notably on its own website, on the other hand, does not lie. The question of conscience is how far you can stretch journalistic principles to apply adversity to opposing opinions. My rubber band has snapped here: an opinion is an opinion in a discussion. Lies are just lies and should not be magnified in the media. Especially when they come from a potential presidential candidate who wants to disrupt society and the planetary ecosystem.

Friday: Climate killing fields

That Twitter has become the wild west of social media is no news. The fact that this development can have major consequences for support for climate measures is a direct consequence of this. Climate scientists are hunted like wild game by climate skeptics and conspiracy theorists. In The Guardian, some report on their experiences of insult and abuse on stage, which are ramping up and nothing is being done about them. These go so far that several scientists are already complaining about mental problems because the psychological pressure of the often personal and organized attacks cannot be sustained.

Missed an episode? Here you will find the overview.

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