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half-house-after

Building of the week: the half-house

Architecture is often the preserve of the elite. Many of the world’s leading architects work on flagship developments for the richest in society, and RIBA’s house of the year was built for Lord Rothschild, after all. Most of the rest of us make do with off-the-shelf boxes, so I’m always interested in architects that want […]

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m-power shop microgrid

Kiva celebrates ten years

I’m a big fan of Kiva, the peer-to-peer micro-lending platform, which is marking ten years since its founding. Kiva’s innovation was to bring two major trends together into one – crowd-funding and microfinance. Their website allows ordinary people to chip in towards a small business loan for an entrepreneur in a low income country. Since […]

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basic-income

Can you help to pilot the basic income?

I write about the basic income (or citizen’s income) from time to time on this blog. It’s an idea that is being discussed quite seriously in a number of places at the moment, but we’re a long way from seeing it implemented in Britain. You can support the idea elsewhere, however. If you’re an advocate […]

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water

The cost of water

Something to think about next time you get your water bill. Here’s how our water prices compare to those in developing countries: That’s not the cost people are paying every day, but the cost for 50 litres, which is what the World Health Organisation considers an adequate level of consumption for health and hygiene. It’s […]

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plastic bank

Making plastic too valuable to throw away

As we saw a few weeks ago, world plastic usage has soared in the last couple of decades, but only 14% of plastic is recycled. 40% of it goes to landfill, and a depressing 32% leaks into the natural environment. The solutions to this include reducing plastic use, finding biodegradeable alternatives, and of course increasing […]

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basic income eu

The citizens’ income: Means to an end

Interest in the citizens income (or basic income) seems to be cyclical. It’s been discussed a few times in the past, got quite a long way in some instances, and then disappeared again. A few years ago there was very little about it on the internet, and it almost felt like a lost idea. That’s […]

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Share of Wealth - Radial

Extreme inequality is getting worse

With the World Economic Forum starting this week, Oxfam are back with their now annual update on global inequality. Last year the charity warned that the world’s richest 1% owned 48% of the world’s wealth, and that they would likely own a whole half by this year. And so it has proved. Despite the attention, […]

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poverty-over-200-years

The decline of poverty

If it sometimes feels like we should have solved poverty by now, here’s a bit of a historical perspective. When we cast back and look at the progress made on poverty in the last 200 years, here’s what we see. (Full size and more detail here) There is no single data-set going back 200 years, […]

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pumpkin

The difference a pumpkin can make

Every year the monsoon rains come to Bangladesh, and rivers flood. With climate change, the flooding has become more severe, destroying crops and eroding topsoil. This has devastated local communities. The failure of farming in the area has left many with no means to make a living, and malnourishment has increased. One of the main […]

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solar-india

How climate change can undo development

Progress on extreme poverty has been a success story over the past 20 years. Though it has happened faster in some places than others, millions have been lifted out of poverty and are enjoying better health, education and life expectancy. Unfortunately, climate change threatens that progress. According to the World Bank, climate change could push […]

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