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What we learned this week

This week was International Ozone Day, and the story of the Montreal Protocol remains the best evidence that the international community could act on climate change if wanted to. And the good news on the ozone layer itself is that it is on the mend. A French designer is experimenting with deliberately inconvenient furniture – […]

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tiny house

Building of the week – the tiny house

In Britain, the pressure of the current housing crisis has led to smaller homes. Developers are packing more homes into the same space, and the average house size is shrinking. In some cases, especially for families on lower incomes, this can lead to overcrowding and that can be serious. More often it’s just an inconvenience. […]

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Scotland – it’s about democracy

I’ve thought about it a lot over the last few months, but I’ve chosen not to engage in the Scottish independence debate on the blog. I’m not Scottish, don’t get a vote, and since I think Scotland wins either way, I haven’t felt the need to add my comments. But a couple of readers have […]

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emissions imports

EU emissions – decoupling or outsourcing?

Over the couple of decades, the EU’s carbon emissions have fallen, with some countries reporting fairly significant declines. This is what was hoped for, and indeed promised, through the Kyoto Agreement. As the world meets again to try to come to a new international climate agreement, the EU will be keen to champion its successes. […]

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myth gap

The importance of myths

Prompted by John Fosters’ book After Sustainability, I’ve been doing some reading around myths over the last few days. We usually use the word ‘myth’ to disparagingly describe something that is widely believed, but untrue. I’m interested in myths as underlying stories, broadly held understandings of the world. Myths have an important sociological function, helping […]

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The Limits to Growth report – still on track

Even among environmentalists, it’s standard to insert the words ‘now discredited’ in front of any mention of the Limits to Growth report of 1972. The criticisms tend to be drawn from a hatful of recurring objections, most of which would never be made by anyone who’s ever actually read the book. Among the most common […]

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How On Earth

The not-for-profit world – speaking tour

Donnie Maclurcan is a man with a fascinating idea – that not-for-profit business models are inherently more competitive than for-profit businesses, and will be at the heart of the global economy by 2050. And in the process, that global economy will become more sustainable, and more fair. It’s a relatively new idea, and Donnie’s book […]

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Visit a superhome this month

When looking at household CO2 emissions, our homes are the single biggest factor. Energy use around the home is the largest slice of our carbon footprints, with heating particularly important. It’s why insulation and household efficiency are such priorities in addressing our emissions. We know the basics – loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, double or […]

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after sustainability

After Sustainability, by John Foster

Over the years there have been a number of notable books on climate change that have bucked the trend and taken the view that the climate can’t be saved. Clive Hamilton’s Requiem for a Species is one, Hell and High Water by Alistair McIntosh is another. Paul Kingsnorth didn’t give us a book, but hung […]

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The best ideas from the left and right

Across the street from the Houses of Parliament is Westminster tube station, where a good few MPs arrive every morning on their way into work. Given the number of influential people guaranteed to walk past them, the advertising hoardings of Westminster tube do good business. Heathrow Airport likes to put ads up here, so to […]

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