News & Personal Impact | August 2022

Mainstream news in The Netherlands is depressing. It has to be shocking, sensational and topical. This way news gets negative and people feel like the world around them is changing for the worse. They lose trust and feel powerless. Yet, sciences proves it over and over again: the world is getting better every day for humans. And so, I share 7 news-article once a month in these posts. A mix of positive and bad news, but mostly positive, to make sure that positive news has the upper-hand. Along, I share a practical tip on what you can do to change that news. This could be a lifestyle change, a petition to sign or a campaign to support, anything. To make you feel in power, because we are! This way you’ll know about the positive news, how to keep it that way, the negative news and how to change that!

United Nations recognizes healthy environment as a human right | 2-8

During a meeting of the United Nations something historical has happened. With a majority of votes a new human right has been established, the right to a healthy environment. This new human right does not end all environmental destruction all of a sudden. I mean, all around the globe human rights are being violated. However, I still think this is good news because it is at least recognition. It’s a step closer to the end goal: a clean environment for everyone. This new human right, announced by the United Nations, can now be used as an argument in court cases and politics. It’s a step forward.

Personal practical tip

This is a tough one. I don’t know any personal tip for the whole category of human rights. The subject is just too large this time.

Plant-based Meat and dairy Alternatives Healthier | 3-8

The British University of Bath has done a meta-analysis on the health implications and environmental impacts of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. This meta-analysis includes 43 individual studies. The results proved again what vegans have been saying all along: plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy are better for the environment, but they are also healthier. Now that this meta-analysis is out there, the evidence for choosing plant-based is piling up and that’s a good thing.

Personal practical tip

If you won’t go vegan out of compassion for the animals or because it’s better for the health of our planet, then go vegan for yourself. It’s healthier and so you personally benefit from going vegan as well.

MBO students in Utrecht can join introduction week for the first time | 11-8

The Netherlands knows 3 levels of education after the age of 18. Middle education, high education and university. It’s a little hard to explain if you’re not Dutch. Anyway, student from MBO (middle education) were always excluded from introduction weeks. Only high education and university students were invited. That is the weirdest thing, since all students should be introduced to the city they will live or/and study in. Why exclude the middle education students? Anyway, Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands, has now changed that. MBO students are welcome there to join the introduction week for the first time. Let’s hope other cities will follow!

Personal practical tip

This is something we should do in all cities, to stop the division of students. We’re all students, so why separate us? One thing you can do is send this information of what is happening in Utrecht to the organization of the introduction week in your own city. Most cities have one overarching organization which you can contact. Unfortunately, not all cities have this. In Amsterdam the introduction week is organized per school. But in Amsterdam a petition has been started to make all the schools do one introduction week together. I’ll sign it and so can you.

Malta prohibits production of fur and foie gras | 16-8

Malta has announced a ban on the production of fur and foie gras, both very cruel practices. Right now, there are no companies in Malta which produce either fur or foie gras. The ban is implemented to prevent these companies from starting in the future and it’s also symbolical. Malta hopes that more countries will join the ban. So far, 12 countries in the European Union have banned the production of fur. I could not find any information on foie gras. But this is great news. Hopefully more countries will join.

Personal practical tip

If you buy fur or foie gras, please take a look of footage of how that’s produced. The Dutch documentary Bont Girl (on Videoland) is a good option. And after watching that, please stop buying fur or foie gras. It’s extremely cruel. If you’re already avoiding these products, you can also become an activist at stores which still sell either fur or foie gras. Animal Rights has a great campaign which you can join.

5 Days of Strikes in Public Transportation in The Netherlands | 24-8

People in the Netherlands working in public transportation sector, in the train to be precise, are underpaid. The trade union representing these workers wants a higher minimum-wage in the sector. They want 100 euros a month more. The board of NS, the train company in the Netherlands, has refused this demand. And so, the workers are striking. It’s very uncomfortable for the people using public transportation every day. Also, it is bad news that it is necessary. But hopefully something good will come out of these strikes.

Personal practical tip

I support these strikes, but there’s not much I can do on a personal level.

Doctors Without Borders operates in The Netherlands for the first time ever | 25-8

Doctors Without Borders is a Dutch charity which offers medical care in crisis situations. It’s usually abroad in areas where there is either famine, war, earthquakes, etc. However, for the first time ever, they have to help somewhere in the Netherlands today. That’s because the Dutch government does not offer enough space for people seeking asylum in our country. People arriving in the registration center, in Ter Apel, had to sleep on the concrete floor, outside, in horrible conditions. It’s horrible and that’s why Doctors Without Borders had to show up.

Personal practical tip

Like I wrote in this post, it’s important to donate to charities like Doctors Without Borders. So if you have the resources, please donate. Something else we can do is vote for parties which are welcoming to people who have to flee from their home country. 96% of the people seeking asylum in the Netherlands come from unsafe countries. The parties which are in power right now are hostile to these people.

Free dairy alternatives at Starbucks | 27-8

Maybe this has been announced early, but the news only reached me a few days ago. From now on, dairy alternatives like soy milk, oat milk or almond milk for example, are free when you order a coffee at Starbucks. Before today, you had to pay extra if you wanted plant-based milk instead or cow milk. That’s just ridiculous, since it’s both milk. Now, Starbucks has finally done the right thing and has made the plant-based milks free as well. The next step for them would be to eliminate the cow milk completely, but that’s another story. For now I am happy. Hopefully this way, more people will choose plant-based milks at Starbucks.

Personal practical tip

Cow milk is unethical for us humans to drink, read why that is so here. If you want to show compassion to the cows and the environment, always choose plant-based milks. Or go entirely vegan, even better.

Yours sincerely,

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