Palm Oil; XR update

It is not normally convenient for me to shop at Iceland, but this week I went out of my way to buy palm oil free margarine, following the ‘rang tan’ advert ban. All their margarines contain palm oil, one as much as 30%.

The explanation – they don’t do their own brand margarine. I have written to Iceland’s head office to query their future plans. Here is their reply:

I have to advise that our No Palm Oil campaign promotes that all Iceland own label products should be free of Palm Oil by 2022. This is an extensive campaign with considerable efforts from all teams across the business, therefore it is taking some time.

In the mean time to make it easy for customers to keep up with our progress we are using the clear labelling system where we put the green orang-utan on all products which are already Palm Oil free.

But we still have a long way to go. Last week, a gleaming new bus appeared in a pedestrianized precinct in Leeds. Passers by were invited to inspect it. So I asked a council official could he confirm that it was state of the art all electric?

No, it is state of the art bio diesel, he proudly explained – no fossil fuel. Could he disabuse me of my concern that most bio diesel is from palm oil grown on former rain forest? ‘Fraid not.

Today was my fourth outing with XR., but on the last two occasions, last night at the Leeds German Christmas Market, and today in Manchester, I didn’t personally break the law in any way. I may have made one convert in conversation with a passer by. The Manchester police were remarkably restrained in their handling of three cross roads sit-ins, but one Leeds member did not come back on the coach with us.

Experience warns me to be wary of false dawns, but I am surprised at the sheer numbers, last week in London, and today (yesterday as I write) in Manchester. Activists are relatively free from political starting points, but I fear that many are as naïve as I was when I started crusading for what became the Green Party.

Can we keep up the momentum, where Occupy Wall Street did not? The anti-austerity marches  in 2011  were far more massive, but that did not last either. l observed at the time that (in my opinion) those demonstrations would have been far more powerful had they included a forest of placards saying ‘Basic income, not Universal Credit’. The same applies now.

Saving the ecosphere involves downsizing, which can be frightening if you are not well off. The latest straw I am clutching at (I do it all the time) is that the organizers of XR will see what I am driving at, and think of some way of incorporating a basic Income into their so far terrific campaign.

Here is a link for the attention of XR-USA [inserted 23.18 GMT 25.11.18]

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