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9foundations

The 9 foundations of a healthy building

This week I was talking to a family member about ‘sick building syndrome‘, a vague but nonetheless real phenomenon where a building makes people feel uncomfortable or unwell. There was a famous example in Stoke-on-Trent when I lived there. Unity House was built in 1973 as a new home for the council, but from the […]

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zuckerbergs

Why the Zuckerbergs need to be more boring

A couple of years ago I wrote about the Gates’ Foundation competition to reinvent the toilet. The aim was to find an innovative design that would leapfrog 2.5 billion people past the classic flush toilet to something better suited to the 21st century – something affordable that could work without a sewer system. The winner […]

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mosquito

Steps towards the end of malaria

There was some hopeful news from Sri Lanka this month, as the WHO reported that Malaria has been eliminated in the country. There hasn’t been a locally transmitted case for over three years, down from over a quarter of a million cases a year at the turn of the millennium. It’s a major victory, the […]

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Streetlight

Building of the week – Malaysia’s smart street light

If you don’t subscribe to 10:10’s #itshappening newsletter, then you’re missing out on the most inspiring climate change email of the week (Carbon Brief and Chris Goodall’s Carbon Commentary being the other two must-reads in my top three). Here’s something from the last email that I wanted to share – a brilliant hybrid street light […]

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refugee camp

Energy access for refugees

The world faces all kinds of energy challenges, but here’s a specific one: refugees. When people are displaced in large numbers, they are likely to end up in makeshift camps. Those offer only the most rudimentary shelter, and while there are ways of providing safe but simple sanitation facilities, energy provision is more complicated. Consequently, […]

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traffic india

The overlooked problem of road safety

Last week I mentioned the Millennium Development Goals, reviewing progress as they reach the end of their run. Discussions about what goals we should implement in their place are ongoing, but here’s a more leftfield suggestion: road safety. With 1.24 million people killed every year, death by road accident comes 8th in the world’s top […]

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co-benefits-for-health

The health benefits of stopping climate change

One of the aspects of climate change that is least discussed is its effects on human health. We still have it pegged as an environmental issue in the media, and talk about ‘saving the earth’. There are of course quite wide-ranging health implications to climate change, from moving disease vectors to heatwaves, to increased risks […]

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solar taxi

The African solar taxi

A few months ago I wrote about what is probably the world’s most sustainable car – the Catecar dragonfly, which runs on off-grid solar. It’s aimed at airports and resorts at the moment, so it’s not something most of us are going to get to see on the roads just yet. I recently came across […]

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stilton_and_port_150

Kettle chips, Coca Cola, and a cure for ebola

Yesterday I came across a new word that I can’t unsee: premiumisation. I read it in an article about Coca Cola, which is planning to move into the world of dairy with a new milk-with-bells-on called Fairlife. “It’s basically the premiumisation of milk” said company exec Sandy Douglas. It’s “a milk that’s premiumised and tastes […]

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Future-diets-Obesity

Global malnutrition is not what you think

When we think of malnutrition, the chances are we think of hunger, of people who don’t have enough to eat. But one of the striking facts about our global food system is that there are now more people who are overweight than there are underweight. In 1980 there were 857 million overweight or obese people. […]

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