miscellaneous

What we learned this week

The Guardian has published a map of air pollution in America, showing a clear and consistent pattern of environmental systemic racism: “A major finding is that residents of the neighborhoods facing the most air pollution in America are twice as likely to be people of color as those in less polluted neighborhoods.”

“The drought has underscored the problems of international aid: its unaccountability, its focus on short-term intervention, and its perpetuation of a social and political system built on tribalism and corruption.” Really good piece from Somali journalist Liban Mahamad on the famine in Somalia.

Green Economy Coalition have surveyed the youth climate movement in order to understand its extent, priorities, and whether or not it has recovered the loss of momentum post-pandemic.

We know cycling is a green transport choice, but how sustainable are the bicycles themselves? Kris de Decker investigates in typically thorough and creative detail in Low Tech Magazine.

There’s a swimming pool in Devon where the water is heated by a data centre. Not only is this a clever waste-heat solution, it’s saving the pool a small fortune at a point when councils are having to close pools due to rising bills.

And a bird species that hasn’t been seen for 24 years was spotted in Madagascar. The dusky tetraka was on a top ten list of ‘lost birds’, and was last sighted in 1999.


Here’s a book that the children and I enjoyed recently. Ajay and the Mumbai Sun is a story about a homeless boy in Mumbai who starts his own newspaper with some friends. They use it to give ignored slum residents a voice, to expose injustice and call the powerful to account.

I really liked it – though I will admit to being biased, as a journalist married to a journalist, and who started a newspaper with my friends when I was at school. It prompted some really interesting conversations with the children about the importance of a free press, and its role in fighting corruption and challenging abuses of power. One of the stories they cover is a building collapse at an unsafe garment factory, which has real world parallels, along with land rights, poverty, and the lives of street children. Despite its serious themes, there’s a lot of warmth in the storytelling, with likeable characters who you root for. Recommended for the 8-12 olds you may know.


Highlights from this week

The climate impact of rice

After 15 years of marriage, my wife has finally stopped grumbling that I’ve cooked too much rice for dinner. I have not cooked too much rice – I have cooked enough for breakfast as well. Having grown up in Madagascar, I am at least partly Malagasy, and the part of me that is most Malagasy…

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods work

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been in the news a fair bit recently, often for the wrong reasons. They have become something of a bete noire for motorists with a right wing bent, and there’s a lot of angry shouting about them. That all gets in the way of what should be a grown-up conversation…

Electric cars can be stupid too

A couple of weeks ago I was observing a workshop on climate solutions, and the room was discussing the merits of various transport options. A well meaning and environmentally-minded fellow started laying into electric cars. They were no kind of climate solution, he insisted, because they still cause pollution and the batteries cannot be recycled.…

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