‘Everybody gets paralysed by bad news because they feel helpless,” says Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who delivered the landmark Paris climate change agreement. “It is so in our personal lives, in our national lives and in our planetary life.” But it is becoming increasingly clear that it does not need to be all bad news: a series of fast-moving global megatrends, spurred by trillion-dollar investments, indicates that humanity might be able to avert the worst impacts of global warming. From trends already at full steam, including renewable energy, to those just now hitting the big time, such as mass-market electric cars, to those just emerging, such as plant-based alternatives to meat, these trends show that greenhouse gas emissions can be halted. “If we were seeing linear progress, I would say good, but we’re not going to make it in time,” says Figueres, now the convener of the Mission 2020 initiative, which warns that the … [Read more...] about The seven megatrends that could beat global warming: ‘There is reason for hope’
Just as we are getting to grips with trying to live less wastefully (carrying reusable cups, eating less meat, flying less and buying less) along comes Christmas. The festive season is a frenzy of spending: in 2018, according to a survey by Deloitte, we spent an average of £299 per person on gifts in the UK, many cast aside on Boxing Day. There are signs that shopping habits are changing. This year, more than 60,000 people pledged to take part in #SecondHandSeptember, a campaign promoted by Oxfam, which estimates that more than two tonnes of clothing are bought in the UK every minute, generating the carbon emissions equivalent to driving a car round the world six times. Extinction Rebellion’s Boycott Fashion group has more than 18,000 followers. Hashtags such as #buynothingnew, #lovedclotheslast and #secondhandfirst are sources of inspiration. This year, the message isn’t shop till you drop: it’s slow down before it’s too late. Some people, including the … [Read more...] about Gifts that keep on giving: a guide to preloved Christmas shopping
Boris Johnson’s self-identification as the new Winston Churchill invites widespread scepticism. But, if the member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip forms a government this summer, he will, in one respect, immediately emulate Churchill, and indeed Benjamin Disraeli – as a Conservative prime minister who is also a novelist. Disraeli had published 14 works of fiction by the time he took the highest office, while Churchill was a one-off novelist – an African adventure yarn, Savrola (1900) – in common with his modern Tory impersonator. Seventy-Two Virgins – A Comedy of Errors came out at the start of September 2004, when Johnson was MP for Henley, shadow arts minister, and simultaneously editor of the Spectator, in contradiction of an apparent undertaking to the then proprietor not to combine the editorship with parliament. A hostage thriller in which an ambulance plays the role of the wooden horse the Greeks built to fool the Trojans, Seventy-Two Virgins is … [Read more...] about What does Boris Johnson’s terrible novel Seventy-Two Virgins tell us about him?
Passengers on Thomas Cook’s inaugural trip, 175 years ago on Tuesday, didn’t travel first class... and they certainly travel thirst class either! That small step on the road to becoming a global holiday giant saw Cook – a Baptist minister in Market Harborough, Leics, who developed an eye for a business opportunity – host 500 paying people on a 12-mile trip by train from Leicester to Loughborough for a Temperance meeting. That’s about as far as you can get from jetting off on an all-inclusive five-star holiday to the sun in 2016! By 1845 Cook was diversifying, with railway excursions to Liverpool from Leicester, Nottingham and Derby. A decade later and he was leading overseas trips for the first time. Two groups travelled from Harwich to Paris via Antwerp, Brussels, Cologne, Heidelberg and Strasbourg. More innovation followed in 1865, with the arrival of the first high street travel agent in Fleet Street, London. Over the next 14 years, Thomas Cook … [Read more...] about Travel and tourism trailblazer Thomas Cook celebrates its 175th anniversary
We can feed an extra 4 billion people a year if we reject the bloated and wasteful factory farming systems that are endangering our planet’s biodiversity and wildlife, said farming campaigner Philip Lymbery on Monday night, launching a global campaign to Stop the Machine. At present, 35% of the world’s cereal harvest and most of its soya meal is fed to industrially reared animals rather than directly to humans. This is a “wasteful and inefficient practice” because the grain-fed animals contribute much less back in the form of milk, eggs and meat than they consume, according to Lymbery, the chief executive of Compassion in World Farming (CIWF). “The food industry seems to have been hijacked by the animal feed industry,” he said. In recent years the developing world in particular has seen significant agricultural expansion. According to independent organisation Land Matrix, 40m hectares have been acquired globally for agricultural purposes in the last … [Read more...] about Calls to reform food system: ‘Factory farming belongs in a museum’