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The gardeners of Elephant and Castle

On my way to my London office, which I frequent a couple of times a week, I get off the train and walk through Elephant and Castle. It’s a distinctive and slightly odd part of the city, dominated by a down-at-heel shopping centre and an enormous roundabout. I actually quite like the shopping centre, which […]

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Shareholder activism or divestment?

In a couple of weeks the inaugural Global Divestment Day will take place, calling on investors and organizations to divest from fossil fuels. Universities have been the main target of the divestment campaign so far, and I was pleased to see that my local Bedfordshire University is the second in the country to sign up. […]

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The strengths and weaknesses of the killer fact

Earlier this year a striking fact made the news: Most cancers, about two thirds in fact, were down to bad luck rather than lifestyle or environmental factors. Cue a whole pile of discussion, with some declaring that we might as well take our chances, and others wanting to pick the ‘fact’ apart. It’s a classic […]

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earth deeds

What is carbon onsetting?

You’ll be familiar with carbon offsetting – that’s the strategy of calculating the CO2 from an activity and then neutralising it by funding a project that reduces greenhouse emissions. We might fly on holiday, for example, and then balance out the world by planting three trees, or paying for four efficient cookstoves for African families. […]

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Let’s make fossil fuels history

That’s the rallying cry of the first Global Divestment Day, planned for the 13th and 14th of February. It’s a day of action to call on companies, universities and public bodies to withdraw their investments from fossil fuels. It’s an initiative from, who have chosen to focus on fossil fuel companies as one of […]

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bikini atoll

Why the Marshall Islands took on the world powers

In 1970, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons came into effect. It was signed by the majority of the world’s countries, committing them to halting the advance of nuclear weaponry and working towards eventual disarmament. Nuclear powers signed it too, recognising that the nuclear arms race was perverse, and not a world that […]

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Green policies for party manifestos

There’s a general election in Britain next year, and that means we’re into wishlist season, where every interest group starts to lay out what they’d like to see in the parties’ manifestos. One of those groups is the Green Alliance, which comprises a number of environmental charities from the Campaign for Better Transport to the […]

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feed the world

The Real Junk Food Project

Earlier this year I wrote about Britain’s first zero-waste restaurant. Here’s its opposite: a 100% waste cafe. Not because it throws everything away, but because everything it serves is food that would otherwise have been wasted. That aspect of the Real Junk Food Project isn’t entirely new – there have been pop-up restaurants on that […]

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When development campaigns go wrong

Last week I got the latest mailing from the World Development Movement. They’re an organisation that does some useful work, their campaign on the tar sands in Madagascar being one that I personally got involved in. But their latest mailing is on the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and it made me […]

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this changes everything

Book review: This changes everything, by Naomi Klein

After her previous books on consumerism and disaster capitalism, the transformative ‘this’ of Naomi Klein’s latest book is climate change. It will change everything, either by changing the planet, or by us changing society and the economy in radical ways. There are no get out of jail free cards, Klein argues – no new dawn […]

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