What we learned this week

France will ban domestic flights that could be done by train in under 2.5 hours. This is a slightly weaker version of a policy that came out of their citizen’s assembly on the climate, and the opposite of the Conservative government of Britain, which wants to waive taxes to encourage more domestic aviation.

Nevada is considering banning ornamental lawns in order to protect water supplies. I can imagine the tabloid headlines should such a thing be proposed in Britain, but ultimately this is what climate adaptation looks like in a desert location.

Last year I wrote about BrewDog‘s first sustainability report, as they launched their plans to be a carbon negative brewer. Here’s an update a year on, and a sustainability report to learn from.

In 2018 I wrote about Engie’s plans to turn their old Rugeley Power Station site into a sustainable housing development through an exemplary bit of participative place-making. The scheme finally got planning permission this week.

This week Arkbound Books wrote to tell me about Tangled Yet Coiled, by Tom Burgess, a collection of poetry about beauty, hope and transcendence at a time of climate emergency. It’s not the kind of book I’d review (how do review poetry anyway?) but I liked it and I asked if I could share a poem from it instead. If you like it, buy a copy of the book – it’s being sold in support of the Word Forest Organisation, who are doing fine work.

On These Things and More

When all about you is tornado
And despair
Think on the unrelenting scale of space
And the persistence of a seed
Think on those eyes shut melodic moments
On limbs everywhere responding to rhythm
Think on those who share what they have
And when more room is made at the table
Count the ways we look beyond ourselves

When all about you is indifference
And cruelty
Dwell on ravished land restored
And moments of play and creation
Dwell on the glimmering touch of rain
And the vulnerability of honest communication
Live in the unfurling flourish of a fern
In that spiral eddy of a lazy river
Then measure the scale of our collective imaginations

When all about you is shaking
And sorrow
Keep pace with the surging voices for fairness
And the flight path of a swift
Keep pace with roads blocked in the name of peace
And every night spent under an open sky
On taking a stand and being stood by
See the shape of smoke at fireside cooking
Weigh the immediate joy of gratuitous giving

When all about you is yawning
And broken
Meditate on our distance from the stars
And your footprint on the sand
On the expediency of a feather
Hear stillness and singing and laughter
Meditate on first smiles and last smiles
And a gaze returned
On lifting up another’s voice, on pause, on listening
Sense the pleasure in logic and the art of intuition

Yes, ruminate on justice, purity and goodness
Know the quiet truth of your changing feelings

Know that people are taking risks for beauty.

Tom Burgess, from Tangled Yet Coiled

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