Oil, energy prices, & corporate destruction (What’s Happening newsletter 04/08/22)

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We All Want To Just Stop Oil (coalition march)

As there was no newsletter last week, we begin with an ICYMI about our coverage of a new coalition of groups and a launch march and gathering in London last weekend.

Just Stop Oil are known for blocking oil refineries and distribution depots, sports and track invasions, and a recent series of protests at art galleries, but they are also at the heart of a wide network which includes Fuel Poverty Action, Disabled People Against Cuts, Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Movement, and an increasing number of trades unions, under the banner of We All Want To Just Stop Oil.

Watch Real Media’s film report of the march and gathering and read about the coalition’s plans and its five demands here.

On 2 August, Just Stop Oil hosted a Zoom meeting, joined by climate scientist Bill McGuire, naturalist Chris Packham, black activists Lee Jasper and Chantelle Lunt, climate activist and educator Zoe Cohen, and MP Jeremy Corbyn. Due to thousands of subscribers, the event was also livestreamed on YouTube and can be watched back here.

McDonald’s kill trees

Photo: Courtesy Sabrina Merolla

During the week when temperatures in the UK topped 40ºC, 11 mature trees disappeared outside a McDonald’s drive-through outlet in Haringey and the culprits then covered the area with plastic grass. All done apparently as part of a refurbishment.

Studies show the important cooling effect of trees, while artificial grass is an environmental disgrace – a barren habitat for wildlife, a fossil-fuel product, and it helps raise urban temperatures.

We take a look at McDonalds’ bold sustainability claims, the PR company making them, and whether they are still killing trees globally as well as locally. Read the full Real Media article here.

Fuel poverty – Don’t Pay

The pressure on government and energy companies is growing, ahead of huge energy bill rises in October, and the Don’t Pay campaign (which threatens a payment strike of a million people in October) is gaining ground and receiving more support almost daily.

As Shell (£11.5bn) and BP (£7bn) publish their quarterly profits, and British Gas owner Centrica announces its profits have increased five-fold, campaign group Fuel Poverty Action has published a letter of support, linking its members with the Don’t Pay initiative.

Recently the Trades Union Congress announced support for radical changes in energy delivery, joining a call for renationalisation and the establishment of a universal ‘free energy band’.

Real Media will be covering the Don’t Pay campaign in the coming weeks.

Other news


  • NATO member Turkey recently assassinated four members of the defence forces of the Rojava revolution in northern Syria (a green, gender-equal, and democratic system that has long been isolated and attacked by fascist forces like Daesh (Isis) and the Turkish regime). As we’ve previously mentioned, Turkey is planning to invade northern Syria once again, in yet another attempt to weaken the struggle for progress in the region. The NATO member is also currently occupying northern Iraq, where artillery shells recently killed nine civilians. Autocratic Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan torpedoed peace talks with Kurdish militants in 2015, leading to at least 6,000 deaths in the following years and numerous war crimes.


  • As Monkeypox spreads, it’s important to remember that there are incredibly serious threats that aren’t getting as much attention as they should. And the story, as it is too often, is that more resources and attention tend to appear when it’s the Global North that’s affected. In 2020, for example, the ongoing tuberculosis pandemic – which mostly affects people outside the Global North – killed 1.5 million people. And the World Health Organization suggests that deaths and infections “could be much higher in 2021 and 2022” due to the significant disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the second deadliest infectious disease after COVID-19, TB really should be much more prominent on the world’s radar.


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