News & Personal Impact | June 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!

Bat-friendly Bridge Built in Amsterdam | 2-6

A new bridge was built in the eastern part of Amsterdam. That in itself is not per se special. However, this is a bridge that does not only support humans, it also does something for other species. It’s called a bat-friendly bridge by the media, but this bridge actually support to way more species, from kingfishers to bats. The bridge is built with hiding places for them, like holes, nests and insect hotels. There is also a big lane of flowers on the bridge. There is a water reserve in the bridge too, so that the flowers have water in hot periods too. The materials used are also quite sustainable, a big part of the bridge is built from wood. It really shows that we’re slowly moving towards a world where humans live together with nature, instead of destroying it. It’s a small win, but important.

Personal practical tip:

There’s a lot you can do to make your own home more friendly to biodiversity. The main thing is to have as little concrete or tiles as possible and as much green as we can. Even if you only have a balcony this helps! Maak Grijs Groener is a great website with tips.

Mandatory camera surveilance in Dutch slaughterhouses | 2-6

Over the past decades there have been hundreds of scandals in slaughterhouses in the Netherlands (but it happens all over the globe). And those were only the cases that were documented by undercover investigations done by animal rights activists. Finally, this work has led to a small win! In the Netherlands camera surveillance in slaughterhouses by an independent party will be mandatory from hopefully 2024. It’s a baby-step forwards again.

Personal practical tip:

With this new law the footage will be available to the inspection services, but I wish they were public to all people in the Netherlands. Most people do not know how their food is murdered, but I think they should. In the end, there is only one good way to reduce the suffering: go vegan!

Party for the animals is expanding nature in The Netherlands | 13-6

A national political party in the Netherlands is buying up land to convert it to nature. 111.000 m2, which was previously used for agriculture, is being sold. The Party for the Animals has decided to buy up part of that land to reserve it for nature. They bought one third of the ground and with a crowdfunding they want to re-gain the expenses so they can buy another third and so on. This way we can contribute to nature, since we need more of that, especially in the Netherlands. Right now, 54% of the land is used for agriculture, since we have an immense amount of livestock here. The Party for the Animals will convert the ground to nature and make it inaccessible to humans too.

Personal practical tip:

Preserving nature in your own country is great, I’ve written more about that here. You as an individual can contribute to this by supporting the crowdfunding. I myself have also bought up 2 m2. Each m2 costs 9,50 euros. You can support the project here.

Dutch Soccer federation Will Pay Men and Women Team The Same | 20-6

In September 2021 the US soccer federation announced to pay men and women* equally. The Netherlands has looked at their example and is following, finally. The Dutch soccer federation has announced that they will pay both the men’s’ and women’s’ national teams the same base premium. This way, the women get the exact same amount of premium for everything they do for the Dutch soccer federation as men do (examples are portrait rights). However, this is only the base. The women’s main salary is paid by individual soccer teams. Also, the money gained from external factors, like tv-rights, money from FIFA or UEFA is by far from equal yet because men’s soccer is much more popular right now in 2022. But progress is progress.

personal practical tip:

Ooch, this is a tough one. I guess the key here is to not make a distinction in gender. For me personally that means that when I love a sports (which currently is handball mostly) I choose to watch both the men’s and women’s National team. If there was one team I’d be a fan of, I could do the same thing. However, women’s sports are still far behind. Therefore, until it’s equal, I guess it’s best to only watch women’s sports to help them gain popularity.

Earthquake in Afghanistan | 22-6

Horrible news, there was a big earthquake in Afghanistan. 7,7 on the Richter scale and it was estimates that 1000 people died. The people in Afghanistan have suffered so much the past year. Now that the Taliban has power in the country again, human rights are violated. And now this earthquake. Such sad news.

Personal practical tip:

There is nothing we can do about the natural phenomenon of earthquakes. However, we can prepare ourselves for it by building earthquake-proof if we have the resources. However, most people in Afghanistan do not have those resources. So, besides structurally donating to charities which effectively combat poverty, we can also incidentally donate to charities which help in emergencies (like Doctors Without Borders) when earthquakes like these occur.

US Supreme Court Ends Federal Right on Abortion | 24-6

I try to make these news flashed mostly positive, because the world is getter better. However, this news is so extremely sad and shocking that it overshadows all the good things. The US Supreme court has overruled the Wade vs. Roe ruling from 1973, which gives people with an uterus the rights to have an abortion. Such a dark day in history. It’s now up to the individual states to allow abortion or not. It’s a disgrace to the democracy. And banning abortion does not end abortion, it only end the safe ones.

Personal practical tip:

I could write a 3000 word essay on why this news is so wrong (and why it’s not democratic either, since most people do not want it). And maybe I will in the future, in a separate blogpost. But since I’m not an American citizen, there’s not that much I can do. The only thing I can think of are donating to Women on Waves, an organization which provides safe abortions on sea, just outside of territorial waters.

DUtch governement to tackle exces of nitrogren | 28-6

The new cabinet which is in power in the Netherlands has finally made new plans regarding the exces of nitrogen we have. Nature is suffering, because there is too much nitrogen ending up in the environment. Therefore the ministers of Agriculture and Nature have announced that the level of nitrogen has to go down by 70% in areas close to protected nature. The second chamber supported the plan, even though cattle farmers have been protesting. Cattle farming is the biggest contributor the nitrogen exces we have in the Netherlands, it accounts for 46%. Consequently, the amount of cattle needs to be reduced. Therefore, a lot of farmers have to quit their cattle farming. This is good news, since it will help nature and at the same time reduce animal suffering.

Personal practical tip:

Of course I am not against all farmers, but I am against cattle farmers since I’m vegan and I think their business is ethically wrong. Therefore, the best I can do is follow a vegan diet and vote for parties which do not support cattle farming. It’s the best thing we can all do if we want to tackle the nitrogen issues.

Yours sincerely,

*I try to avoid using binary language when writing these articles. It’s not just men and women on this planet and the gender spectrum is broad. However, some articles don’t give me room to do that. This article about sports unfortunately does not because sports are still very binary.

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