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Showing posts from July, 2019

Forest 404: A chilling vision of a future without nature

Binge-watching of boxsets on BBC iPlayer or Netflix is a growing habit. And binge-listening isn’t far behind. Podcast series downloadable through BBC Sounds are all the rage (with a little help from footballer Peter Crouch). Enter Radio 4’s ‘Forest 404’ - hot off the press as a 27-piece boxset on the fourth day of the fourth month (4 April 2019). This is something I’ve been involved in recently: an experimental BBC sci-fi podcast that’s a brand-new listening experience because of its three-tiered structure of drama, factual talk and accompanying soundscape (9 x 3 = 27). 

Try to imagine a world in which not only forests but every last trace of the natural world as we know it has been erased (almost……). This eco-thriller by Timothy X. Atack (credits include ‘Dr Who’) is set in the 24th century following a data crash in the early 21st century called The Cataclysm (404 is also the error message you get when a website is unavailable). The action follows lead protagonist Pan (University o…

Why the time may be ripe for a Green New Deal

On the 8th July, parliamentarians, researchers and practitioners gathered in the House of Commons to discuss and debate the possibilities and practicalities of a Green New Deal in the UK. Drawing on insights and experience from both the UK and the USA, speakers included Caroline Lucas MP, James Heappey MP, John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, and Hannah Martin of Green New Deal UK.

The Green New Deal is a policy concept that asserts the need for wholesale, sustained and state-led economic investment to address the challenges of climate breakdown. Whilst it may often feel that these demands for a Green New Deal have come out of the blue, its entrance into the language of environmentalism can be found in 2007, when those concerned with climate breakdown and environmental problems argued that policies centred on improving the environment had important social consequences also.

2019 is, in many ways, the year where environmentalism has taken a radical step into the popular c…

Bristol and the Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are often referred to as “the closest thing the world has to a strategy.” The 17 Global Goals, agreed at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, set out 169 targets to be achieved by the year 2030. These targets cover a wide range of issues, such as poverty, inequality, gender equality, education, health, infrastructure, energy, climate change and more. Underpinning the Goals is an ambition to reduce our impact on the planet and reduce divisive inequalities in society without making anybody poorer or worse off.
Progress towards meeting the SDGs is normally monitored and reported at the national level through the production of Voluntary National Reviews which are presented to the United Nations at an annual event known as the High-Level Political Forum.
However, there has been a surge of interest in ‘localising’ the SDGs in cities around the world by promoting their use, integrating them into city plans and policies, and monitoring progre…

Decarbonising the UK rail network

Caboteer Dr Colin Nolden blogs on a recent All-Party Parliamentary Rail & Climate Change Groups meeting on ‘Decarbonising the UK rail network’.  The event was co-chaired by Martin Vickers MP and Daniel Zeichner MP. Speakers included:

Professor Jim Skea, CBE, Imperial College LondonDavid Clarke, Technical Director, RIAAnthony Perret, Head of Sustainable Development, RSSBHelen McAllister, Head of Strategic Planning (Freight and National Passenger Operators), Network Rail
The meeting kicked off with a broad overview of the global decarbonisation challenge by Jim Skea. As former member of the UK’s Climate Change Committee and Co-chair of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which oversaw the 1.5C report published in October 2018, as well member of the Scottish Just Transition Commissions, he emphasized that the net-zero target ‘is humongously challenging’. We need to recognise that all aspects of our land, economy and society require change, including lif…