metrics & data

When red is green and up is down

George Monbiot, in today’s Guardian, also links the financial crisis and the ecological crisis.”The financial crisis shows what happens when we try to make the facts fit our desires”, writes Monbiot. “The two crises have the same cause. In both cases, those who exploit the resource have demanded impossible rates of return and invoked debts […]

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Measuring what matters

Totally lost amongst the financial news last week was discussion of a new report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb). According to this EU-commissioned study, the global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis. The report puts the annual cost of forest loss at […]

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Toxic sludge machine

I was critical last week of commentators who describe the financial crisis as “psychological”. Those who blame a “lack of transparency” are on stronger ground – although ignorance of the facts or the law is not a valid excuse in other domains of life. The process chart above describes something called a Financial Products Markup […]

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Tribal currencies

[Source: http://www.complementarycurrency.org/ccDatabase/les_public.html ] According to Illargi over at Automatic Earth, although today’s contested $700 billion+ plan will probably get the go-ahead, it does not even begin to address the true scale of the global problem.”Far more money than that will be needed to keep the present financial structure standing”, he writes, adding surreally – but plausibly – […]

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Green noise: expert meeting

The biggest challenge we face in City Eco Lab (see below) is the explosion of public events, media channels, reports, platforms, trade shows, and government initiatives, at all levels, to do with sustainability. Paul Hawken’s WiserEarth web portal, alone, alone lists over 100,000 non-profit projects and organisations. In the UK, the Transition Towns movement is […]

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Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

“Nature provides human society with a vast diversity of benefits such as food, fibres fuel, clean water, healthy soil, protection from floods, protection from soil erosion, medicines, storing carbon (important in the fight against climate change) and many more. Though our wellbeing is totally dependent upon these ecosystem services they are predominantly public goods with […]

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Eco ‘standards’ blitz

“These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others”. Groucho Marx could have been talking about environmental standards. Visit any supermarket and you’ll encounter hundreds of labels and displays making claims about the environmental attributes of different products. Organic, Fairtrade, FSC Certified, “sustainable”. This blizzard of assertions is confusing – in some […]

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Pssst: how much do you weigh?

California’s strategy for sustainable mobility is to run sixteen lane traffic jams on ethanol. In Sweden, Volvo have launched this hybrid-drive trash truck which I saw in Goteborg yesterday. It’s silent at low speeds when it’s collecting bins: the all-electric drive is for moving off from standstill and for acceleration up to 20 kph (12 […]

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From food miles to fabric miles

Killjoy environmentalists would have us stop shopping to save the planet. What a relief, then, to find a website, shopmodify.com, that teaches us how to shop and save the planet at the same time. I especially like their green shopping tips for Spring: “buy a hot eco-friendly outfit, or choose not to take an ATM […]

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