Month: June 2020 (page 1 of 1)

What I’m streaming during the lockdown

As of writing, the British government has begun easing the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions and will continue so as long as the infection rate keeps decreasing. (Fingers crossed.) Even non-essential shops are open now.

But I (Emma) am still mostly inside. There are many reasons; starting with the fact that I live with immunocompromised people and ending with the fact that the current easing still requires you to stay six foot apart from the people outside your household that you’re allowed to meet with. I don’t see how I’m supposed to have a conversation with my friends from that far apart.

“SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR GIRLFRIEND CHEATING ON YOU.”

I know the idea is that people can get back to playing tennis with their friends, but do I look like a tennis person to you? (I realise you can’t see me. Tamara will tell you.) Or that you take your own drinks to someone’s back garden, but how many people do you know that have separate entrances to their back garden?

So, what am I doing now that I’m stuck inside until… probably the end of summer? Well, I’m writing a- [Edited out by Tamara because she can’t bear to listen to Emma talk about her novel anymore].

I’ve also been watching a lot of eco content on streaming services, which  I wanted to share with you today, so read on for some eco streaming recommendations that should tide you over for the rest of the lockdown.

BBC iPlayer

Climate Change: The Facts

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that climate change is real and caused by humans. But in case, you’d like to have the facts ready so you can drop some knowledge on your Daily Mail reading Aunt, who’s spent too much time in Facebook groups during the quarantine, check out this David Attenborough documentary.

Also, there’s a whole host of Attenborough docs on there, including Plant Earth, Blue Planet I & II, Seven Worlds; One Planet, Life on Earth, Frozen Planet, Life, and Africa.

ALL 4

Apocalypse Cow: How Meat Killed the Planet

I’ll admit that as a vegetarian, I’m very happy with any documentary that exposes the environmental impact of eating animals, particularly through the use of factory farming. (I did put the Earthlings documentary on every computer in my media classroom after my lesson finished so that every single person in the next class would be subjected to it. I was insufferable at 19.)

This programme also does some research on creating more fake meats to replace all those dead animals on our plates. (I said what I said.)

Also watch: Australia on Fire: Climate Emergency

Netflix

Blue

Pollution, plastic, and people are causing massive damage to oceans. Here experts will tell you what needs to be done to clean the seas and save the planet. And don’t worry, it’s not just about what the individual needs to do, but also what international governments need to do because it’s not just

Also see: Blackfish, Attenborough’s Our Planet, A Plastic Ocean, and the uplifting Born to be Free.

Disney Plus

Paris to Pittsburgh

What seems like a million years ago now, that sentient confederate flag in the White House pulled out of the already far- too-lax Paris Climate Agreement. (For no reason, considering there was no way to legislate whether countries met the 2% goal. I guess, some people don’t just want to be thought of as an asshole; they want to prove it.)

… Oh yeah, back to the blurb.

This documentary covers the efforts of people, action groups, and local governments  are taking to counteract the horrific decision to just basically abandon all efforts to combat climate change. It shows us, if we need the reminder, that people are not their governments. (I wouldn’t want anyone to mistake the Tory’s government’s policies for mine.)

Also watch: Before the Flood and Jane.

Alright, this short and liht-hearted article is done. Leave extra recommendations in the comments. (Not Prime shows though, Tamara’s husband cancelled his account.)

An Open Letter to Councillor Linda Symes

This is a response from Portsmouth Green Party representative, Tamara Groen, on the racist social media posts by Councillor Linda Symes, the Conservative councillor for Eastney and Craneswater, as reported in The News, Portsmouth on June 3rd 2020.

Though Cllr Symes has been suspended from the national Conservative Party; to date, the councillor has not apologized for her actions, while the local Portsmouth Conservative party and their Leader Cllr Donna Jones have remained silent. After waiting a week for a local acknowledgement, Tamara writes directly to Cllr Symes.


Dear Cllr Symes,

I am sure you feel under attack right now. I’m sure you feel abandoned by your party, as your local conservative peers fall silent, wondering why there is such a furore about a few shared Facebook posts. After all, this was to your private Facebook profile and you did nothing wrong. You are not a racist.

Racists are bad people who bay for the blood of people with darker skin than theirs. That is not you. You care about British soldiers, British children, and British values. After all, that is why you are a councillor. Because you care enough to stand up and represent your community. How is it racist to say, ‘All Lives Matter’? Because surely, all lives do matter. And anyway, racism is an American problem, it’s not even relevant to us in the UK.

When I composed this letter to you in my mind, I was going to school you about institutional and systemic racism. I was going to explain to you that this is a massive issue here in the UK and it permeates all aspects of our society. Protesters are not just demonstrating in solidarity with their American counterparts against the US police force. They are protesting against the racial injustices black people experience every day, right here, in Britain. In the UK, black people are 9.5 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police, more likely to receive custodial sentences on conviction and be given longer sentences than their white counterparts for the same offence

I was going to explain to you that having white privilege does not mean that your life is not hard, but it does mean that the colour of your skin is one less obstacle you experience. I was going to talk about the problematic nature of the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ and how it misses the point entirely – how you are missing the point entirely. I was going to share resources that will help you educate yourself on the systemic racism in British society* and hopefully teach you how to be actively anti-racist because it is no longer enough to be just ‘not racist’, if it ever was.

But Cllr Symes, I am tired. I am so so tired of white people shouting us down, of refusing to see how slavery and colonisation directly impact how society is formed and how we live today. I am so tired of explaining when it is not my job to teach people why they should see value in the lives of others who are different from them.

Oh, and by the way, I am a brown woman (Indo-Caribbean to be precise) – I am not black. Most of the time, I am the only person of colour in the room but the Black Lives Matter story is not my story. I try to be an ally – I am flawed but I try – and even I am tired. I cannot imagine how it feels for black people right now.

I do feel sorry for you Cllr Symes. You must be feeling bewildered and upset and probably angry. It is uncomfortable to come face to face with your privilege and prejudices in such a public way. You have a lot of unlearning to do.

Unfortunately, when corrected about your behaviour, you were defensive and unapologetic. You had an opportunity to stop and really listen. And you chose not to.

Sure, do diversity training or social media training. But that is only useful if you open your mind and heart to experiences that are not your own. 

I want you to listen.

I want you to learn.

I want you to apologise for your actions and demonstrate that you understand why what you shared was wrong.

I also want you to stand down as a councillor because this is learning that will take time and dedication. It would not be appropriate for you to continue to represent all the people of Portsmouth until you have learned this. Or rather, unlearned the systemic nature of white supremacy that benefits all white people, no matter how not-racist (or even anti-racist) they are. Words become actions.

Show the black people of Portsmouth that you are not just another privileged white person in power throwing untruths into the ether. I hope you are better than you appear.

Yours Sincerely,

Tamara Groen

Portsmouth Green Party

Portsmouth Green Party
* I particularly recommend Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’, which you can order from local independent booksellers Pigeon Books for £8.99 or can borrow from the library in e-book form for free.

For enquiries, contact press@portsmouth.greenparty.org.uk


Written by Tamara, a Green Hairy Feminist