The future will be handmade? The prospects for craft skills in ‘developing’ countries
The Future will be handmade? In the information age, the question has an absurd ring. But I ask after listening to Ashoke Chatterjee at the Artisans House in Mumbai. As a long time President of the Crafts Council of India, Chatterjee tells us that ‘The Future will be handmade’. The question mark is mine. Read more
How Julius Nyerere’s Ujamaa idea could form the basis of a new global political system
In 1991, I spent a couple of months in two Ujamaa villages in Tanzania. The Ujamaa system was introduced by Julius Nyerere in the early 1960s, and the World Bank effectively killed it as a system in the late 80s, although a few independent Ujamaa villages survived into the 90s. I’m going to briefly describe… Continue reading How Julius Nyerere’s Ujamaa idea could form the basis of a new global political system Read more
Visit to the Gransfors Burks forge in Sweden – makers of the world’s best axes
Standing outside Huddiksval train station, it’s pouring with rain and I am beginning to wonder what the hell I am doing here. Having been travelling for 12 hours I’m tired and hungry, there is no one here to collect me, a taxi is more expensive than my flight from the UK and not a bus… Continue reading Visit to the Gransfors Burks forge in Sweden – makers of the world’s best axes Read more
Is hanging out in nature therapeutic?
As the founder of Nature Therapy CIC I am often asked ‘exactly what is nature therapy?’ Having studied the subject for a Doctorate and travelled extensively across the UK, Europe and the USA to research how nature is used to improve human wellbeing, I am sometimes at a loss to give a short answer. Read more
Announcing Sharenergy’s largest ever community energy share offer
Sharenergy is happy to announce the launch of its largest ever share offer. We’ll be raising £1.35m to add to the £450,000 already subscribed for Heartland Community Wind in Scotland. Shares will attract EIS tax relief under the extension to EIS recently announced. Read more
Ecological Land Co-op plan 20 (!) new settlements, and you can get involved – new community share offer launches today
We’re excited to announce an opportunity to invest in the development of ecological smallholdings in England. Our key aim is to widen the access to land for sustainable use through the creation of affordable low-impact smallholdings. We’d love you to join us in making this possible. Read more
What’s the ‘next system’ going to look like?
I want to bring your attention to this group, if you don’t know them already. They’re called ‘The Next System Project‘ – very slick, very American and very new (founded in March this year), but what they’re saying is rare and, I believe, essential. Read more
Art and the apocalypse: do artists and writers have a duty to raise the alarm?
Sometime last year I took my youngest son for a walk along the beach. I’d been reading an article about climate change and the acidification of the oceans. Bad timing you might call it. Read more
Can degrowth help stop the slide towards ecological collapse?
Climate justice. A global basic income. Equitable distribution of wealth. Do these seem like wild utopian ideas? A growing body of research suggests that not only are such ideas possible, they may actually be necessary to prevent us falling off any environmental, social or economic cliffs. Read more
Incredible ‘Frackogram 2015’ shows the many links of vested interest within the fracking industry and government
In July 2013 I produced a very rudimentary ‘map’of the connections related to un/conventional fossil fuels at the heart of Government. Finally, after two years of research, I have now produced the final detailed version – the Frackogram 2015 Read more
What I’ve learnt from talking with City bankers
Recently I’ve had more contact with bankers than I usually do – proper, Square Mile, City bankers. From the things I’ve written on this blog, you’d think we wouldn’t get on. But we did, and we had some really interesting conversations. I want to paraphrase those conversations for you as best I can, and talk… Continue reading What I’ve learnt from talking with City bankers Read more
the Ecological Land Co-op have produced a much-needed, free overview of research on ecological agriculture in the UK
The Ecological Land Co-operative recently produced an overview of research on ecological agriculture in the UK. We’ve used this to create a new online resource, freely accessible via our website. Read more
Restoring a Victorian water wheel to generate hydro-electricity and produce local organic flour
When building works were completed on the Queen’s Mill in 1888, it became the world’s largest water powered stone grinding flour mill. The water wheel was a 20 foot diameter piece of iron and timber Victorian engineering, large for its type and with high efficiency features. Read more
Tribute to my friend Martin, who died yesterday
My friend Martin died yesterday. I drink at his bar – the Little Bar – and dance. I danced with my partner there many times. He put music on, people danced – and sat and talked. Everyone talked to each other. He sold beer made in a brewery on an industrial estate up the road Read more
Let’s stop subsidising giant, damaging agri-business – join the Landworkers’ Alliance on April 29th
Join the Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) as we celebrate Via Campesina’s International day of Peasant Struggle. Weds April 29th, British Sugar Factory, Bury St Edmunds, 1.30pm Read more
Health warning about breathing on Friday
It’s becoming quite a regular thing, this health warning on breathing. Friday this week, in large parts of the east and south-east of England, air pollution is forecast to rise to dangerous levels. You can check these air quality forecasts out here. Read more
Are schools just for preparing kids for a corporate world, and should home education be the norm in a future, non-corporate society?
There was a time when it was much easier for me to stumble into an argument over the choice to home educate than almost any other subject. People who would hesitate to call me a fool for being an anarchist or a vegetarian would wade in with all kinds of Read more
Our partner Janet’s upcoming knitting, spinning, sewing & craft tour of Scotland by folding bicycle
Knit 1 Bike 1 – a journey, a book and an exhibition: Janet Renouf-Miller of Create With Fibre sets off on 29th June 2015, on a Brompton folding bicycle to cycle 850 miles round Scotland, giving free talks and workshops in exchange for accommodation. Read more
Braziers Park community wants to set up a university completely independent from the corporate sector, and you can get involved
‘When a university becomes a business the whole of student life is transformed. When a university is more concerned with its image, its marketability and the ‘added value’ of its degrees, the student is no longer a student – they become a commodity and education becomes a service.’ Read more
How new straw-bale homes could help solve the housing crisis
In an ordinary street in Bristol, UK, something extraordinary is happening. All of the seven houses are made with straw. Read more