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A healthcheck on England’s wildlife

Last week I wrote about how wildlife is in decline globally. One of the reasons for the grim statistics is development in previously untouched areas. As countries develop and populations expand, forests are cleared, swamps are drained, and habitats are lost in the process. Nature is squeezed to the margins. Today we see those processes […]

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A one-planet Switzerland by 2050?

As you may know, Switzerland has an unusual tradition of direct democracy, with citizens able to propose laws and policies and put them to a referendum. It can be abused, and bad ideas turn up as well as good ones, so it would be wrong to idealise the system. But one thing we can say […]

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energy transition

The energy transition is underway

Here’s a graph that NEF created recently, showing the changing landscape of Britain’s energy. It’s an encouraging picture: There are a couple of trends to note here. The first is the peaking of electricity consumption, with demand now falling due to efficiency improvements and the decline in energy-intensive industries. The second is the growing share […]

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What we learned this week

Who owns England? is a new crowd-sourced project aiming to map land ownership in England. That could be a valuable tool in making the case for land reform or land based taxation, so if you’re able to chip in, take a look. I had an email this week from Choolip.com, which aims to be a […]

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prisoners of geography

Book review: Prisoners of Geography, by Tim Marshall

Geography has always shaped politics, determining where borders fall, where empires expand and where their ambitions stop. Perhaps it was more obvious in the past, and one might think that it is less important in an age of global connections, the internet and drone warfare. But here is journalist and author Tim Marshall to explain […]

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A world without wildlife?

Of all the things I’ve written about on the blog, this statistic stands out as one of the most stark: since 1970, the world’s wildlife populations have halved. That’s an extraordinary thought. The figure is from the WWF’s Living Planet Index, and it is derived by monitoring the numbers of over 10,000 different populations. Some […]

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Back from holidays…

I’m back from my holiday this week. We’ve been in Snowdonia and the Welsh coast. We went up the mountain, into the cloud. It’s a well-trod mountain. The sense of achievement one feels at conquering the highest peak in Wales is tempered somewhat by the presence of a cafe at the summit. Kilimanjaro doesn’t have […]

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What we learned this week

I’ve written before about how drones could be a leapfrog technology in Africa. Here’s the Guardian on how that’s turning out. In a fascinating reminder of how interconnected our national stories can become, The Smithsonian explains how the American Civil War shaped the nation of Egypt. Great to hear that disposable plastic bag use has […]

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Book review: The Switch, by Chris Goodall

The Switch: How solar, storage and new tech means cheap power for all is the optimistic title of Chris Goodall‘s latest book. If you haven’t come across Goodall before, he’s one of the most astute energy writers and commentators out there, and always worth hearing. The Switch is his latest book, and it’s all about […]

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Three insect food pioneers

Last week I wrote about if and how ordinary consumers could ever be persuaded to eat insects – a potential protein source for a growing global population. There are any number of articles written every year about how insects are a food of the future, and reports from food research institutes outlining the benefits. But […]

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