Greetings all, I hope you’re enjoying the Christmas season, whatever it may entail for you and yours. I’m writing from the in-laws, surrounded by scattered pieces from the new Playmobil sets that the kids opened yesterday. I’m fine with this, as I liked Playmobil as a child and I still do.
Did you know that Playmobil was developed as a response to the 1970s oil crisis? Toy makers faced crippling prices for plastic, and the lead designer at Germany’s Geobra Brandstatter knew he had to come up with something new or face up to bankruptcy. The new toy would have to use much less plastic than the ride-on toys they had been manufacturing. The solution to maximum play value for minimum materials came in the form of a little person, sized to fit in a child’s hand.
That is not of interest to our two today, but it is to me. A toy designed for durability, resource stewardship and imaginative play is one I will not resent picking out of the sofa cushions.
Anyway, some other things happening around the world… Thanks for reading this past year, and I’ll be back to writing more regularly in a few days time.
- Access to mobile phones can help to lift people out of poverty, research in Kenya shows.
- How to harvest fog for clean water – a new take on an old idea in Morocco.
- The world’s first crowd-sourced train service is now running in Germany, and it’s powered by 100% renewable energy.
- The International Energy Agency now recognises that coal consumption has peaked in China, and that further investment in coal will be money down the drain.