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Book review: Just Conservation, by Adrian Martin

When the first conservation efforts were undertaken, it was often to create reserves that restricted or even banned access for local people. Then over the decades a new focus emerged that held development and conservation as twin goals, and local people were included and consulted. In the neoliberal 90s new market-based approaches to conservation took […]

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Transport innovation of the week: truck platooning

Last week there was a flurry of articles about self-driving trucks on British roads, following a government announcement of a feasibility study. Although all the stories referred to self-driving trucks, it’s one step removed from that at this stage, a semi-autonomous technique called platooning. As the name suggests, this involves creating a ‘platoon’ of trucks […]

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Visit a superhome near you this September

The Superhomes programme is celebrating its tenth year in 2017, and the season starts again in September. If you haven’t come across it before, Superhomes is a scheme where ordinary people with extraordinary homes make them open to the public, and you can come and look around and learn from their renovation efforts. There are […]

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First past the post isn’t working any more

In 2010 Britain had a referendum on its voting system, and rejected a switch to the Alternative Vote system. Until Brexit came along and blew it out of the water, it was the most depressing moment in British politics that I can remember. It was depressing because, like the EU referendum, campaigns were run on […]

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Tasting notes: chapuline salts

As I’ve been investigating insect foods over the summer, one thing is strikingly obvious – squeamishness about insects is a uniquely Western phenomenon. 80% of the world already eats insects in one form or another. Insect protein already is feeding the world, and an estimated 2 billion people eat them regularly. So really, it’s just […]

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This weekend I built a solar panel

Demand Energy Equality is an organisation that encourages energy literacy and teaches practical skills. They’ve developed a very straightforward way of helping people to understand the opportunities of renewable energy: build it yourself. You can book in for a day long workshop and learn how to make a solar panel, and that’s what I was […]

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How BlaBlaCar fills empty car seats

One of the biggest problems with private cars is that they are underused. The average occupancy of a car in Britain is 1.2, and globally it’s 1.5. Most of the world’s car are driving around with empty seats, often taking just one person to work, or out on an errand. Every empty seat in a […]

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What we learned this week

Land ownership is one of Britain’s most enduring unresolved justice questions, so it’s always good to read news of new community land ownership projects like this one in the Scottish Highlands. . George Monbiot on why we need more inspiring language around ‘the environment’, something I agree with entirely. . The Economist hails the end […]

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Building of the week: the plastic bottle house

An engineer in Algeria has developed an ingenious new house building technique on a desert refugee camp. He wanted to build a home for his grandmother that would beat the heat and sandstorms, and plastic bottles were readily available. Filled with sand and straw and encased into the walls, the bottles make a sturdy and […]

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Tasting notes: Bugsolutely cricket pasta

“The edible insect revolution is served” say Bugsolutely, and in week two in my series on insect based foods, I’m serving up their pasta. There are a couple of different cricket pastas on the market, but Bugsolutely were the first and I wanted to try it. The company are based in Thailand and it’s not […]

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