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Restoring soil in Bangladesh

Soil loss is the environmental crisis that gets the least attention from the media or from environmental campaigns. That’s why I did a whole week on it last year, and wrote up a report as an introduction to the topic. Last week Practical Action released a short documentary on soil in Bangladesh. It makes a […]

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Kenya’s bike culture – and how it can survive development

If you’ve spent any time in East Africa, this bike will be familiar to you: You will also know that they easily lend themselves to carrying sacks, crates, stacks of firewood, or passengers. Cargo platforms can be added front and back, making them very versatile machines. Like Ford’s Model T, they come ‘in any colour […]

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Where are your ten trees?

I was writing up some details about Wangari Maathai’s life this week, for a talk that I’m preparing. If you’re not familiar with Maathai, she was a formidable Kenyan woman who set up the Green Belt Movement of community tree planters. The organisation has planted 50 million trees since its founding in the late 7os, […]

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#dailyclimatedenial and the invisibility of climate change

In 2012 Laura Bates started the Everyday Sexism Project, a website where women could report incidences of sexism they had experienced in their everyday lives. It was a way of highlighting the issue at its most subtle, in our little interactions around the workplace and in public life. We know sexism, or racism too for […]

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What comes after the stages of economic growth?

According to the traditional theory, countries go through a series of ‘stages of growth‘. They were first codified by Walt Rostow in 1960 as he observed American capitalism in full swing. Nations start out as traditional societies, he suggested, with limited technology and a subsistence economy. From there come the ‘pre-conditions’ for growth, as commercial […]

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Transport innovation of the week: Emmy Scooters

A growing number of cities have bike schemes these days – bikes readily available for short term lease, so that citizens and tourists alike can get around with ease and convenience. Lots have car sharing schemes too, so you can have all the benefits of a car without the hassle of owning and parking one […]

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What we learned this week

China switched on the world’s biggest floating solar farm this week. (Here’s why floating solar is a good idea.) . Earth Overshoot Day will land on August 2nd this year. That’s when we’ll have used up a sustainable quantity of the earth’s resources and services, and any further use is pushing us further into ecological […]

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Grenfell Tower mustn’t stop renovation plans

This week’s headlines have been dominated by the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London. I imagine it has made the news internationally too, as it’s been a dramatic and striking incident. The fire may be out, but in many ways the story is only beginning. So many questions need answering about how it started, […]

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How do we call for a better Brexit?

Earlier this week I wrote about the need for a national conversation on Britain’s future, and how we shouldn’t leave it to a small group of politicians to define Britain’s place in the world for us and our children. What I didn’t do is say how we could create such a conversation. That was remiss […]

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Mapping Europe’s embedded carbon footprints

I’ve written before about how official national carbon accounts don’t capture the whole picture. They focus on carbon emissions generated within a country’s borders, through housing, transport, etc. What’s missing is imports – if a product was made in another country, the greenhouse gases will have been emitted elsewhere. This distorts the global picture. Countries […]

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