News & Personal Impact | October 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!

MCDonalds launches vegetarian McPlant | 3-10

I don’t know whether I should list this news under positive or negative news. I guess overall this is a good thing. Years ago, there was a McVeggie on the menu of MacDonalds, which was 100% plant-based. MacDonalds took that burger off the menu and replaced it with a vegetarian burger (based on dairy). Now, years later. They replaced those vegetarian burgers for the so-called McPlant. I find the McPlant extremely misleading, since the burger is not plant-based, there’s non-vegan cheddar on it, standard. The McPlant can only be plant-based if you order it without the non-vegan cheese. I tried the burger and it’s delicious, of course! However, I am very disappointed that McDonalds added dairy to this MacPlant. A McPlant should be plant-based and right now, the McPlant is misleading.

Personal practical tip:

I personally try to avoid multinationals like MacDonalds, which destroy the world. However, it’s not always possible. I mean, I have weak moments too. If you then visit MacDonalds, please order the McPlant without the non-vegan cheddar. Choosing plant-based is necessary to combat the climate crisis and dairy causes immense suffering among cows.

Burger King Launches Multiple Vegetarian/Vegan Burgers | 3-10

In response to the new McPlant (at least that’s what I think), Burger King also expanded their vegetarian options. They already had two plant-based burgers and now they added an immense list of vegetarian/vegan products. Since all products are called veggie, it’s hard to find out which ones are entirely plant-based. You have to ask for it. I think it’s a good thing that these multinationals are competing for vegetarian and vegan customers. It really says we’re growing in numbers. That’s good news. However, I am also a bit disappointed in Burger King, since they did not make all veggie products vegan. They really had a chance here to beat MacDonalds.

Personal practical tip:

The same advice goes here: I personally try to avoid multinationals like MacDonalds, which destroy the world. However, it’s not always possible. I mean, I have weak moments too. If you then visit Burger King, please order a vegan burger. Choosing plant-based is necessary to combat the climate crisis and dairy causes immense suffering among cows.

PFAS Found in Insecticides in the united states| 7-10

Next, some bad news. Researchers from the University of Texas tested 10 types of insecticides for PFAS. In 7 of these 10, the researchers found PFAS. PFAS are chemicals which are known to cause cancer and are also known as forever chemicals, meaning they will never degrade. Insecticides are used to kill insects and other bacteria on non-organic food. So, most of the food grown in the United States is sprayed with these insecticides, which contains PFAS. The United States is literally spraying something that causes cancer on food. Insecticides are already a disaster. Having found PFAS in them, makes them even worse.

Personal practical tip:

Wherever you live, if you buy food that does not have an official organic label on it, you’re buying foods with chemicals on them. These chemicals kill all bacteria, insects and other life. On the long term this is extremely harmful for biodiversity. The only solution is to buy organic food. And if you can, buy biodynamic, that’s even better.

Dutch City Zupthen will help 360 house-owners to make their home more sustainable | 11-10

This is great news. In Zutphen, a Dutch city, the local municipality has announced that they will help 360 house-owners to make their homes more sustainable. They will do so by paying for 2500 euros worth of energy saving measures, like isolation, getting new glass, getting solar panels, etc. Only house-owners in Zutphen who earn up to 150% of the minimum wage can use this fund. The municipality has reserved 1,2 million euros for this project. Zutphen hopes to decrease the energy use of these people and make their homes more sustainable. I think it’s a step in the right direction. Of course I have some criticism too, because what about people who rent their home? I did not find any project or plan for those people. I hope it’s the next step for the municipality.

Personal practical tip:

If you have the resources, do whatever you can to decrease your own energy bill. This can be done with small measures, like installing LED-lights, turning down the heat or isolation foil on the radiators. But also with big things like isolation, heat pumps and solar panels. In the Netherlands there are a lot of subsidies in place for these measures, use them.

Students to pay interest on their student loan in the Netherlands | 19-10

Up until 2015, all students in The Netherlands got money from the government to study. This way they could pay for a big part of their expenses. However, in 2015 the Dutch government decided this money was not going to be given away anymore, it was going to be a loan. All students from 2015 on had to pay back the money they got from the government. But, in defense of the government, they said, the loan did have an interest rate. The past year the government has decided to get rid of these student loans. From 2023 onwards, students will get free money to study again, from the Dutch government. That’s good news. However, the people who studied in the period from 2015 to 2023 still have these loans and will have to pay them back. And to make matters even worse, the Dutch government has now announce that the interest rate on those loans will go up from 0% to 0,46-1,78% (this depends on your specific situation). It’s so unfair that I have no words for this.

Personal practical tip:

We have to protest these decisions. A few months back, I went to a protest, demanding compensation for the students who have loans. On the 7th of November there is a new protest, to show that we don’t accept this interest increase. It’s part of the #nietmijnschuld campaign. If you have the time and resources, please visit the protest.

Dutch Energy Efficient Houses Sell better | 21-10

Two big parties in the real estate market in The Netherlands, Funda and NVM, found that houses with a good energy label sell better. The opposite is true too, houses with a bad energy label don’t sell as much, or for a much lower amount of money. This news shows that the energy-efficiency of houses is finally playing a crucial role for people who are looking for a house. I think this is a good thing. I hope it’s an incentive for people to get a better energy label and make their homes more energy efficient.

Personal practical tip:

If you have the resources, do whatever you can to decrease your own energy bill. This can be done with small measures, like installing LED-lights, turning down the heat or isolation foil on the radiators. But also with big things like isolation, heat pumps and solar panels. In the Netherlands there are a lot of subsidies in place for these measures, use them.

Lula new president in Brazil | 31-10

In 2018, Jair Bolsonaro won the presidency in Brazil. In my opinion, Bolsonaro had disastrous plans for the country. He is in favor or harsh laws against crime and wanted to make it easier to obtain weapons for people. He wanted to privatize state companies (see: why neoliberalism does not work) and was okay with companies destroying the Amazon and other nature. Now, in 2022, someone else has won the presidency, Luiz Lula. He has been a president before. If you’d ask me, I’d say he has good plans. Lula wants to reduce hunger in the country, reduce poverty and stop the destruction of the Amazon forests. This is hopeful for the next 4 years in Brazil.

Personal practical tip:

The leading cause of deforestation in Brazil is the demand for soy. Now, beware, this is GMO-soy which can’t be used for human consumption (under EU-laws). This soy is used as animal feed. So, the leading cause of deforestation is our demand for animal products. The best thing you can do is go vegan today.

Do you have more good news to share from the past month?

Yours sincerely,
Romee

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