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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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Why the world needs waterless toilets

The other day I was opening a charity magazine and found an insert from Practical Action inside. It’s about toilets in Bangladesh and I’ve seen it a couple of times now. Before I start, a word of warning – if you’re reading this over lunch, maybe come back later. The story in the flyer is […]

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Review: The Wealth of Humans, by Ryan Avent

The world is on the cusp of a digital revolution, argues Ryan Avent, and it will be just as transformative as the industrial revolution. It will overturn long held traditions about work, income, and politics. Depending on how we respond, we could end up with a more equal, more fulfilling future, or we could resort […]

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Wealth, greatness, and Donald Trump

Yesterday I read what is probably the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever heard from the mouth of someone running for office. No prizes for guessing who was speaking. Yes, of course it’s Donald Trump. “My whole life has been money. I want money, I want money. Greed. I was greedy, I want more money, more […]

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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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Finland plans a citizen’s income

For decades people have been discussing the citizen’s income – a guaranteed minimum income paid by the state to every citizen, with no strings attached, and replacing much of the welfare system. In Britain it was most recently raised as a Green Party policy, but it’s one of those rare ideas that has been championed […]

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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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A larger we, a longer future, a different good life

If you could sum up the change in values that we need to see in the world in ten words, what would you choose? Yesterday I came across a three point summary from Alex Evans, who will be exploring it further in a forthcoming paper for Tearfund that he’s working on with Rich Gower. I […]

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Why the Marshall Islands took on the world powers

In 1970, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons came into effect. It was signed by the majority of the world’s countries, committing them to halting the advance of nuclear weaponry and working towards eventual disarmament. Nuclear powers signed it too, recognising that the nuclear arms race was perverse, and not a world that […]

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EU emissions – decoupling or outsourcing?

Over the couple of decades, the EU’s carbon emissions have fallen, with some countries reporting fairly significant declines. This is what was hoped for, and indeed promised, through the Kyoto Agreement. As the world meets again to try to come to a new international climate agreement, the EU will be keen to champion its successes. […]

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