What we learned this week

Can the Olympics go ‘carbon positive’ from 2030?The IOC has announced plans to reduce its impact, including creating an ‘Olympic forest’ in support of Africa’s Great Green Wall.

Meanwhile, an underwater forest is being created off Britain’s coast through the Seagrass Ocean Rescue Project. 90% of Britain’s seagrass has been lost, and putting them back could bank a huge amount of carbon.

A couple of years ago I wrote about Q-bot, who insulate the underside of suspended timber floors with a small robot. They were focusing on housing associations at the time, but I chatted to them at the FutureBuild conference and they are now doing individual homes. Not sure I can afford it myself, but it’s a really good solution.

The National Trust are among the many businesses and organisations responding generously to the Coronavirus lock-down. They are closing their houses and cafes, but will be keeping their parks and gardens open, free of charge, so that people can benefit from some beauty and outdoor space.

A question I’ve been pondering this week: should I write more about the current crisis and how businesses and society are responding? (Especially with a Solutions Journalism perspective.) Or is it more valuable to focus on other important things at a time when everyone is talking about the Coronavirus all the time? I don’t have a particular resolution to those questions, but if you have a view or a preference, let me know!


  1. I LOVE your blog. I am getting a great deal of Corona virus information from emails, Facebook, radio, TV, newspapers. I would say when you feel there is a Corona virus story that is a real WOW tell us about it, otherwise please share the amazing stories you have always shared.

  2. It would be useful to monitor how Government restrictions and concomitant responses, are/will feed/ing into greener ways, less carbon emissions for sure, but also keeping an eye on any neoliberal (Tory) sleight of hand that will further bulster the wealthy. Despite some genuine signs of cooperation here in North and NE London the general pillage in favour of ‘me first’ is depressing.

  3. I would be especially interested in learning about any efforts to carry this unprecedented mobilization forward in a way that takes advantage of the global disruption to mitigate climate change. We have seen that people can change their behavior in drastic ways. We’ve seen how focusing on society rather than economy has had immediate payoff for cleaning up air and water. Although most people seem to be hoping “this is over” as soon as possible, this kind of mass effort is exactly what’s needed re the climate emergency–but I have a hard time finding info about whether anything is happening in govt or the private sector to connect those dots and harness the emergency mentality toward possible climate solutions. Would love any links or analysis that you might have to share. Thanks!

  4. I would greatly welcome a Solutions Journalism perspective from you. Possibly it could help to demarcate between covid-related and non covid articles, just for those who wish to avoid reading it all the time, but please don’t let that inhibit you doing it.

  5. Hiya Jeremy, I would love to see how COVID-19 can be used to support climate action and global systems for better outcomes… I have my ears open for that sort of thing at the moment. I would say you don’t have to do either or both but I know there are some good things coming up about the overlapping of COVID and climate change / alternative economics / etc. šŸ™‚ Thank as always for the information and inspiration!

    Cheers, d’Arcy – in my self-sufficient tiny home in Adelaide and not flying anywhere!!!

  6. In past economic recessions (the cotton famine, for example), major public works programmes have been used to create employment and so feed money into the economy. This isn’t being considered now, in the UK, but it could be, to some extent at least. Are there any current examples of Governments using major ‘green’ projects to help offset some aspects of the present crisis?

    1. We don’t want major public works right now. The whole point is to damp down economic activity whilst supporting living standards to keep people at home.

      The question is whether we can afford a major programme of works after this is over and over half a trillion extra in debt.

  7. Thanks for your perspectives folks. My instinct is to keep writing about what I normally write about, and perhaps dip into the COVID-19 crisis where there might be some crossover with sustainability. But I think we’re all hearing enough about it otherwise!

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