Something awesome happened recently.
I live next to a spot in the outskirts of Copenhagen called the Amager Commons, a 223-ha national park that is home to a number of animal and plant species. There’s falcons, hawks, owls, grebes, foxes, deer, tormentil, marsh orchids, and a bunch of others, some of which are protected by law. Amongst them is the humble Northern Crested Newt, which is about the size of my palm.
There’s much to love here. Copenhagen isn’t a large city, but it can tire you out. There are hiking and bicycle trails through the forest and a lot of my Instagram pictures are shot while walking through it and clearing my mind. It’s a place we need in a country that doesn’t have the awe-inspiring vistas of Norway or New Zealand, or the old-growth forests of the US and Canada.
Part of the Commons was rezoned at one point with the intention to knock down the vegetation and natural habitat and replace it with residential buildings. Since then, various nature protection organizations have been trying to stall development and, I’m suspecting, part of the reason why it took years for construction to begin at all was the public outcry and how this one case has always been brought up during communal elections.
Last year, the project started.
The nature protection organizations keeping an eye on the development argued that it went against nature protection laws. A court ordered the development company to cease until it could be determined whether construction was impacting protected species, which the company ignored and pressed on. I’ve had dealings with that company before and I can tell you they are a bunch of criminals that have outright lied in court in various cases and cheated to squeeze as much money as possible out of locals. Nothing ever happens to them because it’s a joint public-private venture that affords the company a certain amount of immunity.
Enter the newt.
The Friends of Amager club managed to get a court to put a stop to the construction by providing evidence that the endangered Northern Crested Newt’s habitat would be wiped out. Only catch was that the club had to pay a guarantee of 2 million Danish Kroner (roughly 320k USD) in lost earnings in case the developer appealed and won the case, and the club had to do so within 7 days.
We managed to get the money in 36 hours through Facebook-driven donations alone. The machines went packing.
Now, there’s a couple of things to note here. One is how capitalists can’t be trusted. The development company has been vocal in their intention to fight the decision “because how can a damn newt stop a multi-million project?” Companies don’t care about you, they don’t care about your well-being, and if they had it their way free-market style they’d turn the world into a huge slum if it meant more money in their pockets. Keep in mind, the guarantee that was asked for in court was 12 times higher and was based on false statements, which thankfully the judge laughed off.
The other is, piss off enough people and I don’t care how big you are. We’ll end you. It doesn’t take more than a newt to stop lying companies, after all.
I’ll put some articles below on how companies have been lying and cheating their way to contribute to the climate emergency throughout time. I want to make a point that any positive environmental action will always be facing one main opposing force; people sitting in a board room trying to take more resources out of the world than they are giving back to it. And they won’t care if it means your stress levels will go up because you only see trees on TV or that newts will be wiped out of existence or that the seas are emptying or that we’re all getting more cancer or that large parts of the world will become uninhabitable in a few years’ time. The only language they speak is stock prices and bonuses.
Also, just in case some smart-ass asks me if I have an alternative to capitalism that doesn’t involve murderous communism, I do. It’s called social entrepreneurship and my publisher, Inspired Quill, is a company functioning in this manner. Making money and not selling your soul to Satan are not mutually exclusive.