Is Earth Day Dead?

5 July 2005

The death of Gaylord Nelson on Sunday seems soberingly symbolic for the future of environmentalism.

The former Democratic senator from Wisconsin was an avid campaigner for environmentalist causes and propelled the movement into the mainstream by founding Earth Day. The first Earth Day occurred in 1970, the same year Richard Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency. Read the Washington Post’s obituary here; Daily Kos has the links and some interesting comments. WisOpinion gives the local angle.

Nelson’s death foreshadowed President Bush’s statement on Monday that Tony Blair was to expect no favours in the climate change deal. Clinging to economic concerns, Bush cautioned that we need not expect another Kyoto – not that Kyoto was ever truly global or fully implementable, depending on who you speak to.

This surely bodes ill for the climate change discussion, and many have abandoned hope of concrete decisions from the Summit. Bush seems to be forgetting what Nelson long advocated: environmental consciousness demands a collective movement.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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