What we learned this week

I’ve been writing in defence of electric vehicles recently, but the importance of EVs needs to be kept in perspective – this article argues that cycling is ten times more important in the transition to sustainable transport.

If you know and like ‘story dice’, you may be interested in this crowdfunder to make ‘climate dice‘ as a way of helping children to tell positive stories about the future.

I came across the Borgen Project for the first time this week, a campaign to direct US foreign policy towards global poverty. While projects named too directly after their founder make me twitchy, there’s loads of great under-reported good news stories in their magazine.

The UK is second only to the US in the amount of plastic waste produced per person, and dumps much of it overseas – Greenpeace have a petition to stop waste exports and get a grip on single use plastics.

The Walk is an international theatre event that caught my eye this week. It involves a 3 metre tall refugee girl ‘walking’ from Syria to the UK, from July to November, and looks like a creative artistic response to Britain’s ugly ‘hostile environment’ approach to refugees.

This week’s highlights if you missed them:

Why cutting the aid budget is a racist policy

For someone with an interest in global poverty and development, overseas aid was one of the high points of the coalition government under David Cameron. After years of unmet promises, the UK finally reached the target of 0.7% of national income spent in overseas aid, and then wrote it into law in 2014. It was…

Lithuania’s renewable heat revolution

In the government’s latest public attitudes tracker, they asked about district heat networks. Local heat networks are proposed as part of shifting UK housing onto sustainable forms of heat – instead of having your own boiler in your home, you would tap into a network that provides heat and hot water to your neighbourhood. Fewer…

Guest post: What’s the opposite of neoliberalism?

I reviewed Martin Whitlock’s book Human Politics, Human Value a few years ago, which I thought approached some familiar political problems in an imaginative way. When Martin got in touch about revisiting the idea of a more human politics, I suggested a guest post. Here it is. The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog…


  1. The article on cycling briefly mentions e-biking, but I’m curious to know how electric bikes stack up in these emissions comparisons. Also if anyone has begun to study how much e-bikes might be encouraging cycling for longer/farther trips about town, increasing the appeal of cycling for more people and more often.

    1. Yes, it would be interesting to dig into ebikes a bit. Obviously it uses more energy and raises the embodied emissions of each ebike, but if it gets people cycling who wouldn’t otherwise, it’s could make a big difference. I’ll have to see if I can find any research.

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