What we learned this week

Other places are offering a round-up of COP26, and I will offer some considered opinions later. So business as usual on my own weekend collection of miscellaneous links.

It was great to see some attention on the Great Green Wall at COP26, a project I’ve had an eye on for a decade now. The UN put $143 million behind land restoration and reforestation in the Sahel. Jeff Bezos also added a billion to what I think is one of the most ambitious environmental projects ever attempted.

Last year I wrote about Ethiopia’s church forests, and it’s nice to see a photo essay about them in the Guardian this week.

Global Grad Show is back, with dozens of ideas from students around the world, across waste, materials, healthcare and food.

Earlier this year I read the extraordinary book The Brutish Museums by Dan Hicks, on the Benin bronzes and the politics of repatriating colonial loot. France and Germany are now taking steps to return their bronzes. Britain, which is the main culprit in this particular story, should follow suit.

An event coming up this week that you might like to join – I’ll be talking to Fairer World Lindfield about climate change and race. Thursday 18th November at 7:30pm GMT, and you can register on Eventbrite.

COP26 and the paradox of last chances

It’s been a popular refrain in the run-up to the Glasgow climate talks: this is the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change. Boris Johnson told his audience it was “one minute to midnight”. John Kerry says it’s our “last best hope.” My personal favourite is Prince Charles, who said “literally, it is the last…

Learning from the Happy Planet Index

Critiques of GDP as a measure of progress are as old as GDP itself. Its originator, Simon Kuznets, was among the most vocal critics of those who used his index in that way. Despite decades of inadequacy, no replacement has yet been found, and economic growth remains the one number to rule them all. Personally,…

Book review: Curbing Traffic, by Melissa Bruntlett and Chris Bruntlett

I post one book review a week and had this one scheduled for later. But it’s transport day at COP26 today, and I decided I’d bring it forwards. Certainly in British government circles, the most prominent sustainable transport ‘solution’ is electric cars. And while I am all in favour and drive one myself, electric cars…

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