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This weekend I built a solar panel

Demand Energy Equality is an organisation that encourages energy literacy and teaches practical skills. They’ve developed a very straightforward way of helping people to understand the opportunities of renewable energy: build it yourself. You can book in for a day long workshop and learn how to make a solar panel, and that’s what I was […]

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How BlaBlaCar fills empty car seats

One of the biggest problems with private cars is that they are underused. The average occupancy of a car in Britain is 1.2, and globally it’s 1.5. Most of the world’s car are driving around with empty seats, often taking just one person to work, or out on an errand. Every empty seat in a […]

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What we learned this week

Land ownership is one of Britain’s most enduring unresolved justice questions, so it’s always good to read news of new community land ownership projects like this one in the Scottish Highlands. . George Monbiot on why we need more inspiring language around ‘the environment’, something I agree with entirely. . The Economist hails the end […]

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Building of the week: the plastic bottle house

An engineer in Algeria has developed an ingenious new house building technique on a desert refugee camp. He wanted to build a home for his grandmother that would beat the heat and sandstorms, and plastic bottles were readily available. Filled with sand and straw and encased into the walls, the bottles make a sturdy and […]

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Tasting notes: Bugsolutely cricket pasta

“The edible insect revolution is served” say Bugsolutely, and in week two in my series on insect based foods, I’m serving up their pasta. There are a couple of different cricket pastas on the market, but Bugsolutely were the first and I wanted to try it. The company are based in Thailand and it’s not […]

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How Riversimple sell mobility as a service

Back in 2010 I wrote about RiverSimple, a company in Wales making a hydrogen fuel cell car on circular economy and open source principles. It was a radical business model and a cute little prototype, but everything went rather quiet for quite a long time. Then I was in the Science Museum recently and saw […]

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What we learned this week

It’s striking how quickly nature can take back the land when we humans abandon it, as this footage from Fukushima shows. . The ReTuna Återbruksgalleria, the world’s first mall for recycled goods, has finally added an about us page in English. . Did California’s Death Valley just record the hottest month ever measured on earth? […]

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Why have I never heard of the Ene-Farm?

While reading up on architecture in Japan recently, I came across a technology that I hadn’t heard of before: the Ene-Farm. It’s a domestic energy system that is being used in Japan and so far doesn’t seem to be available elsewhere, and it makes me curious. What is it, and why doesn’t anyone know about […]

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Tasting notes: Sens energy bars with cricket flour

Yesterday I wrote about my plans to try some insect based foods over the summer. If your first reaction was ‘never!’, then you are not alone. That’s what most readers will have thought, I expect. But insects are not going to enter the Western diet as insects. If it looks like a bug, there’s a […]

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Let’s eat some insects!

When I was at primary school in Madagascar, I had a game that I played with a friend of mine in the playground. We’d get thin canes, about six feet long, and go out into the long grass to look for grasshoppers. You couldn’t get close to them or they’d fly away, but if you […]

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