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What we learned this week

I have made a lot of work for a mall manager in Sweden. That post from a couple of weeks ago on the ReTuna mall, where everything is recycled and refurbished, went viral rather spectacularly. When Lars Wiklund told me about it, I Googled it and there were no results in English. Now there are […]

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Is today Britain’s first day without coal?

Coal use has been declining in Britain over the last couple of years, but today could mark another major landmark. Right now there is no electricity from coal going into the national grid. There hasn’t been any all day, and if it continues this way, it’ll be Britain’s first day without coal power since the […]

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Talk: What makes a good life?

This isn’t the sort of thing I normally post, but a couple of weeks ago I was asked to contribute a lecture to a new series that’s running in London. It’s called LDN talks @ Night and it aims to get Londoners out to hear something a little different after work. Other speakers are talking […]

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Make a difference this week with a green microloan

Climate change affects the poor most of all, even though they are least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. So when the opportunity arises to do something that benefits the climate and the poorest, those are opportunities we should take. In the run-up to Earth Day this weekend, Kiva.org are encouraging people to make a climate […]

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Transport innovation of the week: hydrogen trains

This is Alstom’s new zero-carbon train, the Coradia iLint. It is powered by hydrogen fuel cell, and designed to replace diesel trains on regional routes. For many rail routes, the path to lower climate emissions lies with electrification and renewable energy. But on smaller routes it won’t be cost effective to electrify, and that’s where […]

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Building of the week: Chototel

By 2025, an estimated 1.6 billion people will be in substandard and overcrowded housing. That’s an extraordinary number to provide houses for, and it’s hard to know where the funds or materials will come from to deliver them. The existing housing industry, whether private or public, doesn’t look equipped to build that many homes. That […]

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Book review: The Struggle for Democracy, by Roger Mason

I have been, of late, rather disappointed in the state of democracy in the English speaking world. I’m frustrated by partisan divides, the way campaigns can lie with impunity, and parties that only support reform that would directly benefit them. When the British government finds itself in court fighting for the right to make major […]

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Building a long term perspective

I was in a meeting with RSPB Scotland last week, and the subject of long term planning came up. As an example, they mentioned a project in Abernethy that has a particularly bold time scale. The Abernethy Forest is the largest remaining pinewood forest in the Scottish Highlands. It’s home to a variety of wildlife, […]

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Lower emissions with pay as you go car insurance

Car culture is one of the big obstacles in the transition to a lower carbon future. Dangerous climate change can’t be stopped without breaking the addiction to fossil fuel motoring – but it’s easier said than done. Cars are hugely convenient, many people can’t get by without them, and they’re a real status symbol as […]

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Building of the week: house of sand

The foolish man built his house upon the sand, goes Jesus’ parable. But if he’d built it out of sand, that would have been a different story altogether. Assuming he was using Mike Tremeer’s sandbag building techniques, that is. Developed in South Africa, sandbag buildings are an affordable do-it-yourself approach to sustainable housing. The House […]

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