Welcome back to C8’s top stories of the month! This is our recurring blog where members of our team are invited to explore a story they found particularly interesting or ‘game-changing’ in the world of tech or surrounding areas.
In September, we explored a range of stories, from the success of the German three-month train subsidy to the questioning of the intentions of Yvon Chouinard in his decision to “give away” Patagonia.
Read below and let us know what you think. What was your top story of September? Use #C8storytellers and explain why!
Hannah Richards – Junior PR Executive
My story this month highlights an important, yet perhaps unconsidered, debate: is it better to install sustainable tech in the effort to fight climate change, or protect the wilderness the sustainable tech is trying to preserve? For the locals of Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands, this debate is close to home. Scotland’s wilderness watchdog, NatureScot, has withdrawn an objection made by locals, regarding the installation of an onshore windfarm, on the grounds that there are “so many turbines there already… the land is no longer wild”.
I began to ask questions: aren’t wind turbines supposed to be promoting renewable energies, providing an alternative, sustainable technology to replace fossil fuels, all in order to protect green spaces? And yet, there are “so many”, that this particular green wilderness isn’t wild enough; the turbines are impeding biodiversity. I would argue that in our mission to protect the green spaces, we risk encroaching on them. The Scottish Highlands are, arguably, one of the UK’s last truly wild areas, unrestricted by infrastructure and human development; shouldn’t we keep it that way?
John Vignaux – PR Executive
My story for this month is a little bit different; a story highlighting statistics I didn’t know I needed, but now could not be without. Statistics I have now brought up multiple times throughout the month, in the office, in the pub and at family dinners (plural); statistics, I will, most likely continue to bring up for the foreseeable future.
The story, discovered in The Times, highlights the research findings of a YouPoll survey that asked people in Britain and America whether they felt they could overcome 15 animals, wild and domestic, in unarmed combat. Ranging from a rat or housecat all the way to a lion or elephant the findings are interesting, intriguing, and at points ridiculous. I won’t delve any further into the findings (I don’t want to spoil it), but I assure you it is worth a read, and maybe you too will find your new go-to statistic for any lull in conversation.
Megan Mackintosh – Senior PR Executive
At the start of this month, the success of the German three-month train subsidy scheme, in which the public was offered €9 tickets for nationwide travel, made inspiring news. More than 50m tickets were bought, saving an estimated 1.8m tons of CO2. A survey found that 10% of the journeys made on the €9 tickets would have been made by car, meaning that, when given the right incentives, car users can and will make more sustainable mobility decisions – even in a country where cars are immensely popular.
Echoing this news, Spain is offering free tickets on all local and medium-distance intercity rail routes until the end of the year, while Austria has launched the Klimaticket, which covers nationwide travel on public transport for just €91 per month. I can only hope that it has also sent a message to the UK that investing in public transport and combatting rapidly rising train ticket prices can pay off in more ways than one.
Liam Hodgson – PR Executive
Before the start of the Russian “Special Military Operation”, many commentators feared the potential effect of Russian cyber warfare. Yet luckily, these fears have so far failed to materialise and interestingly, this article highlights how many cyber professionals never expected ‘cyber armageddon’ to occur in the first place.
Within this article, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) CEO, Lindy Cameron, discusses why Russia’s cyber-attacks have had little effect so far, attributing this to:
- Ukrainian cyber defences.
- Support from the cyber security sector.
- Collaboration between major players within the EU and NATO.
At a time when cyber-attacks are increasing globally, businesses should follow the basic steps which the NCSC proposes, including verifying all software is up to date, checking backups and preparing an incident response plan. Small steps can lead to huge positive outcomes.
Of course, while on a larger and more sustained scale, this proactive approach has no doubt aided Ukrainian infrastructure and businesses in defending against Russian cyber-attacks. Here in the UK and elsewhere, we would be wise to follow them.
Ameesha Patel – Senior PR Executive
One of the biggest stories of September was the news that the Patagonia owner gave away his company to fight the climate crisis. And yet, Bloomberg states, the billionaire who gave up the privately held company skirted a $700 million tax hit as a result, with the transfer of assets a “complex entanglement of tax exemptions and designations”. The unusual move comes amid growing criticism of some billionaires and large corporations for leaning on messaging about making the world a better place while obscuring their own contributions to the very problems they claim to want to solve. I think that, no matter which way you look at it, real climate action is expensive and, although Yvon Chouinard has allegedly skirted a rather large tax bill, Patagonia’s value far exceeds that.
Yvon has quite literally put his money where his mouth is, showing the world that businesses really can be a force for good, but does that mean we’ll be seeing other billionaires follow in his footsteps in the name of sustainability? Only time will tell…
Jim Pople – PR Director
This story on ice cream innovation, based in a typically chilly Danish town (probably) was a welcome change of pace from the doom and gloom that often fills our Twitter feeds and news broadcasts these days. I mean, imagine being Tetra Pak’s Torben Vilsgaard, who has the job title ‘Ice Cream Academy Manager’? It feels like an indulgent bit of escapism and a purely feel-good story – think Mr. Whippy meets ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’.
I wonder if they all go home and scoff a big tub of Wall’s? Probably not.