Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for July 12th, 2009

Twenty ideas that could save the world

leave a comment »


A good positive way to start the week. Humanity faces a crisis, and much angst is spent on the dithering of our politicians who seem to be incapable of grasping the importance of actually doing at least some of the things they keep talking about.

The Guardian organised a meeting in Manchester to review some of the “countless ingenious ideas for tackling the problem emanating from universities, thinktanks, front rooms and sheds across the planet” and to select some of the best of them.

Not all were technological. One or two I have actually heard of, and in one case an organisation I volunteer with is already implementing. has been distributing the ONIL energy efficient woodstove to impoverished Mayan villages in Guatemala. Global warming was not our first concern – but a useful by product. Women who have the stoves do not need to spend so much time collecting firewood, their children are healthier since the stoves get the woodsmoke out of the house, and the damage to the forest  of fuel collection is reduced. There is also a much reduced risk of children burning themselves which happens a lot when there is cooking over an open fire.

Two ideas that I find immensely appealing are Rosemary Randall’s ““carbon conversations” in which she encourages people to explore their attitude to consumption, identity and status. People who have been on her course of six meetings typically reduce their emissions by a tonne immediately and then plan to cut in half within two to five years. Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation offered an even simpler prescription: consume less. It might even make us happier too.” But I am sure that you will have your own ideas and I encourage you to check out the links and learn more, a well as voting for your favourites.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 12, 2009 at 9:42 pm