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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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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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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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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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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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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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Give Directly – the direct way to reach the poorest

A billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day. It’s a slowly decreasing number, and there are any number of programmes to accelerate that decline. One of the most straightforward is cash transfers – just giving poor people a sum of money. It’s an idea that gets all sorts of knee-jerk reactions, usually […]

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The Restorative Economy

One of my most interesting freelance jobs over the last couple of years has been a series of background papers for a new Tearfund campaign. I’ve been waiting to see what would come out of it at the end of the process, and last week the campaign finally launched. It’s called ordinary heroes, and it […]

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Take a bite of Oxfam’s UK doughnut

In 2009 Johan Rockstrom and colleagues at the Stockholm Resilience Center published the Planetary Boundaries report. It identified nine environmental boundaries, and within them, a ‘safe space for humanity’. Kate Raworth, at Oxfam at the time, then added another element. Looking at the famous circular chart of the boundaries, she realised that no environmental impact […]

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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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