Tag Archives: climate change

Carbon footprint expert wants ‘thinking’ at the core of climate change solutions

12 May

One hundred years ago we couldn’t smash the planet if we tried, Mike Berners-Lee told his Swindon Spring Festival audience on Friday evening. Fifty years ago, we could if we tried. But today we can do it without trying.

In other words, if we don’t watch it, we will blunder into destroying our liveable planet.

And we’re stuck here.

Mike has calculated that the energy required to send one person to the nearest liveable planet, with all the accoutrements to survive in space and to set up a colony, would take the equivalent amount of all humankind’s energy for a year.

Fortunately, earth’s a pretty nice place to be stuck. But it won’t be by the end of the century if we don’t act now and act hard.

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A grass-fed message of hope

3 May

Graham Harvey

Graham Harvey (C) Calyx Picture Agency

I feel guilty about coming here with a gloomy talk, said Graham Harvey at the Swindon Festival of Literature.

Gloomy to me means pessimistic, lacking in hope. This talk, however, had a very clear idea of what we could do to fix things. And I hope this account gets all the facts right and does justice to his excellent talk.

The problem, according to Graham, is with modern agriculture. And the answer is to look back at the past. He showed us a Thomas Gainsborough painting, Mr & Mrs Andrews, in an idyllic North Essex setting. Gainsborough would have probably recognised the landscape right up until the 1960s, Graham told us, demonstrating with another picture – this time an aerial photo of the same, unchanged countryside – courtesy of the wartime Luftwaffe. In fact, the countryside hasn’t changed much since at least Roman times.

So what happened? Continue reading