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Land, water, sea, air

  • homes
  • food - agriculture and fishing
  • materials
  • sources of energy
  • transport routes
  • places of recreation
  • influence weather and climate
  • support other animals and plants with which we co-depend for life on this planet.


Moorlands, grouse, burning

Bonfire of the Verities George Monbiot; 10 Mar 2016

several people have asked me to comment on an opinion piece due for publication in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. It is called The role of fire in UK peatland and moorland management; the need for informed, unbiased debate. The paper (by Matt Davies et al) names me, and the associated press release boasts that it contains “criticism of the journalist George Monbiot”. So here, briefly, is my response.

grouse-shooting industry further enraged by chris packham video Raptor Persecution UK; 14 Jul 2016

Yesterday, four organisations (BASC, Countryside Alliance, Moorland Association and the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation) united in their efforts to silence Chris by publishing a joint statement calling for the BBC to ‘rein in Packham’.


A world on fire (The Economist; 27 Feb 2016)

Indonesian forest fires

The solution for the melting polar ice caps may be hiding in the rainforest

Reducing carbon emissions is truly important to mitigating climate change. But in the meantime, it’s faster and cheaper to save and regrow tropical trees

Poland approves large-scale logging in Europe's last primeval forest Agence France-Presse / Guardian; 26 Mar 2016

Poland has approved large-scale logging in Europe’s last primeval woodland in a bid to combat a beetle infestation despite protests from scientists, ecologists and the European Union.

becomes first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation Sadie Levy Gale; Independent; 4 Jun 2016

The Norwegian parliament pledged the government’s public procurement policy will become deforestation-free after a committee of MPs recommended imposing regulations to ensure the state did "not contribute to deforestation of the rainforest". Norway funds forest conservation projects worldwide and also supports human rights programmes for forest communities.




How bears help trees climb mountains Patrick Monahan; AAAS Science mag; 25 Apr 2016

If you’re a plant, there are only two places you can go to escape a warming world: toward the poles, or up a mountain. But because you can’t move, you need to rely on animals to get you—or more accurately, your seeds—there. And what if they aren’t going your way? In a new study, scientists looked at a specific example: a species of Japanese cherry tree (Prunus verecunda) that needs mammals to spread its seeds. Asian black bears (Ursus thibetanus, pictured) eat most of the cherries, and the researchers could determine where the bears—um—deposited the seeds by measuring the seeds’ levels of a variety of types of oxygen, which change with altitude. The bears moved the seeds an average of about 300 meters up in altitude, the team reports today in Current Biology, likely because the timing of cherry fruiting coincides with the bears’ springtime trek up the mountains to follow fruiting plants. That’s a 2°C temperature drop, meaning cherry trees will likely be able to keep up with climate change thanks to the behaviors of their seed-spreaders. Other plants may not be so lucky.

Re-wilding *

flood control

Tree planting 'can reduce flooding' Roger Harrabin; BBC; 11 Mar 2016

Planting trees around rivers could reduce the height of flooding in towns by up to 20%, new research suggests. A study for the Environment Agency concludes that trees round a feeder stream can slow the rush of rainwater and save properties from flooding. But it warns that natural flood prevention methods do not always work. And it urges a strategic approach because foresting a whole catchment would be counter-productive. The report - from the universities of Birmingham and Southampton - says that with increased building on flood plains and climate change increasing the risk of heavy rain, many places can't be completely protected by walls of concrete.

Drowning in Money George Monbiot; 13 Jan 2014

The hidden and remarkable story of why devastating floods keep happening.
Vast amounts of public money – running into the billions – are spent every year on policies that make devastating floods inevitable.


Did Russ George's Geoengineering experiment actually work?

facebook thread




Rajendra Singh Wikipedia - and popular article This Man Single Handedly Revived 5 Rivers And Brought Water To 1000 Villages In Rajasthan

Fog Harvesting


Sustainable Materials - With Both Eyes Open Julian M Allwood, Jonathan M Cullen

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization – Vaclav Smil

Uncertainty in the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from U.S. Production of Three Biobased Polymer Families

peak stuff

‘Peak Stuff’ Did the UK reach a maximum use of material resources in the early part of the last decade? A research paper by Chris Goodall; chris@carboncommentary.com; 13 Oct 2011

Empirical evidence presented in this paper supports a hypothesis that the UK began to reduce its consumption of physical resources in the early years of the last decade, well before the economic slowdown that started in 2008. This conclusion applies to a wide variety of different physical goods, for example water, building materials and paper and includes the impact of items imported from overseas. Both the weight of goods entering the economy and the amounts finally ending up as waste probably began to fall from sometime between 2001 and 2003. ... If correct, this finding is important. It suggests that economic growth in a mature economy does not necessarily increase the pressure on the world’s reserves of natural resources and on its physical environment. An advanced country may be able to decouple economic growth and increasing volumes of material goods consumed. A sustainable economy does not necessarily have to be a nogrowth economy.

'Peak Stuff' again Carbon Commentary; 02 Jul 2014

Carbon sequestration*