Country Life Today: How Greta Thunberg shifted the dial on climate change — and the backlash shows just how much

This morning we ponder whether Greta Thunberg is the Joan of Arc for the environmental movement, look at a key election — one from 19 years ago — and ponder the marvel of 'dad tidying'.

Greta Thunberg gets praised by the world — and criticised by the man presiding over Brazil’s environmental atrocities

You may not agree with Greta Thunberg on the environment, but this is a young woman who has inspired millions — if not billions — and deserves respect. Time magazine’s editors clearly understood this as they named her their ‘Person of the Year’ on Wednesday.

The citation in the Instagram post above says it all. Environmental fears have bubbled up for decades, but 2019 is the year that climate change went to the top tier of the political agenda and ‘no one did more to make that happen’ than Thunberg.

The young Swede is doing anything but resting on her laurels — instead she tweeted about people being murdered in the Amazon as they try to stop deforestation. The accusation led to Brazil’s extremist right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, taking aim, as reported in The Guardian:

‘Greta’s been saying Indians have died because they were defending the Amazon,’ a smirking Bolsonaro told reporters outside the presidential palace in Brazil’s capital, Brasília.

‘It’s amazing how much space the press gives this kind of pirralha,’ Bolsonaro added, using a Portuguese word that loosely translates as ‘little brat’ or ‘pest’.

Bolsonaro had initially failed to remember Thunberg​’s name, labelling her simply “that girl”.

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Shocking. It’s bad enough when any over-privileged, middle-aged man tries to stomp on the incredible efforts of a young girl who has put them to shame (and everyone from Jeremy Clarkson’s daughter to one of his co-presenters have put him in his place over that). For the head of state of one of the biggest countries in the world to follow suit is sickening — yet in a sense it also shows what an incredible job Thunberg is doing. It’s hard not to think of Joan of Arc inspiring France against the invading English forces.

Read more (Guardian)

On This Day… in 2000

The United States Supreme Court rules on the George W. Bush v Al Gore court case which decides the outcome of the Presidential Elections in Florida, and thereby the election as a whole.

The result made Bush only the fourth president in US history — and the first since 1888 — to lose the popular vote but win the electoral college votes necessary to take office. In 2016, Donald Trump became the fifth.

Read more (Wikipedia)

The sad case of the Anglesey starlings

Some 300 starlings fell dead out of the sky earlier this week — a mystery which prompted all sorts of speculation and fear, particularly in a week when bird flu has reappeared in Britain for the first time in four years.

Police now think they’ve figured out what happened — though they are awaiting a toxicologist’s report to confirm. It seems that the flock may have swooped onto the road to feast on some sort of contaminated food.

Full story (Daily Post)

Nonsense of the Day

Every day, we get sent all sorts of press releases. Some are interesting. Some are worthy. Some are worrying.

And some are… well, let’s just say that they make us stroke our chins in disbelief. On the plus side, they offer a bit of light relief in a sometimes-grim-and-gloomy world. Here’s one great example.

‘Half of British women will spend ten hours getting ready for the office Christmas party this year,’ we’re told today, according to a survey of 2,000 women carried out by a ‘lift and shape tape brand’ called Perky Pear.

The tables set at the Holborn Dining Rooms for a Country Life Christmas Party back in the 1920s. (And yes, it’s just as grand these days. Well, almost…) Pic: Country Life Picture Library

It gets better. ‘Liverpool ladies spend longest on their festive party routine on average – typically 12 hours compared to speedy Gloucester gals, who take an average of just five hours.’

Sorry — did we read that right? Just five hours…?

How to throw a great Christmas party (Country Life)

And finally…

…this is true: