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Building of the week: International Space Station

On Fridays I generally write about sustainable buildings and architecture. Does the International Space Station count as architecture? Or a building for that matter? I’m not sure, but I do know that there’s a good reason for including it: it’s a neat example of circular principles and closed loops. It’s hugely expensive to get things […]

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Celebrating Tanzania’s food heroes

In Britain, millions of people tuned in to the X Factor last year, or followed along with the Great British Bake Off. Meanwhile, over in Tanzania, people were turning on their TVs to catch Mama Shujaa wa Chakula. It’s a TV talent contest that celebrates women farmers, and pits 16 contestants against each other in […]

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How the Refill app is cutting plastic use

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a distinct uptick in the amount of attention plastic waste is getting. We’ve known about ocean plastics and recycling for years, but it suddenly seems to be on the agenda. I overhear conversations on bottle deposits or microbeads. A growing number of businesses are getting involved, from […]

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When will we reach electric car price parity?

For several years, the energy world has been waiting for the point at which solar power becomes as cheap as coal power. From this moment of ‘grid parity‘, it makes little sense to keep building fossil fuel generation. Solar power becomes the default option. It’s been predicted for a while, and most of the world […]

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What we learned this week

If you fancy a creative writing challenge, have a look at the Green Alphabet Writing Prize, who got in touch this week. . Testing on external cladding on English high-rise blocks has been a disaster this week – 100% of them apparently failed fire tests. In Scotland, none of them have, proving that good cladding […]

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Building of the week: the Koda house

Britain has a shortage of affordable homes and doesn’t build nearly enough new houses every year. Here’s a useful way to accelerate the provision of new homes – the Koda house. It’s made in a factory and delivered on site, where it can be assembled in just 7 hours. Foundations aren’t required. It’s lightweight enough […]

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Restoring soil in Bangladesh

Soil loss is the environmental crisis that gets the least attention from the media or from environmental campaigns. That’s why I did a whole week on it last year, and wrote up a report as an introduction to the topic. Last week Practical Action released a short documentary on soil in Bangladesh. It makes a […]

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Kenya’s bike culture – and how it can survive development

If you’ve spent any time in East Africa, this bike will be familiar to you: You will also know that they easily lend themselves to carrying sacks, crates, stacks of firewood, or passengers. Cargo platforms can be added front and back, making them very versatile machines. Like Ford’s Model T, they come ‘in any colour […]

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Where are your ten trees?

I was writing up some details about Wangari Maathai’s life this week, for a talk that I’m preparing. If you’re not familiar with Maathai, she was a formidable Kenyan woman who set up the Green Belt Movement of community tree planters. The organisation has planted 50 million trees since its founding in the late 7os, […]

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#dailyclimatedenial and the invisibility of climate change

In 2012 Laura Bates started the Everyday Sexism Project, a website where women could report incidences of sexism they had experienced in their everyday lives. It was a way of highlighting the issue at its most subtle, in our little interactions around the workplace and in public life. We know sexism, or racism too for […]

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