Archive by category | Sustainability

The Colorado: elegy for an overused river

The Colorado River in xxx

The Colorado River in the US West proves the adage that you never step into the same river twice. Lined by a vast array of landscapes, communities and industries it has shaped, its waters run variously aqua, navy blue, muddy brown — or not at all. Over its 2,334 kilometres, it sustains some 40 million people, 2 million hectares of farmland and the Hoover Dam. It is also polluted, depleted, diverted.  Read more

The making of science

Some of the mycorrhyzal materials made by Maurizio Montalti for Officina Corupuscoli

Scientists are makers. The specialized skills they hone in the lab over many years – from assembling robots and circuits to growing microbes and cells – mirror the practices of artisans such as seamstresses and potters. Chemists may melt, stretch and snap a glass tube to make a pipette. Jewellers rearrange silver atoms each time they warm the metal to anneal or soften it.  Read more

A world of change

A world of change

Watching the new IMAX 3D documentary film A Beautiful Planet, I was struck when astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti noted how contemplating the planet for months on end from the International Space Station (ISS) convinced her that it is a spacecraft. ‘Spacecraft Earth’ may be an old theme, but Cristoforetti spoke with passion about how humanity, as its crew, must look after the ship. The film, which showcases spectacular footage of Earth shot from the ISS, is intended in part to spur awareness of the negative influence we are having on the planet.  Read more

Share the repair

Share the repair

A few decades ago, a broken radio, fan or kettle generally triggered a trip to the repair shop. Now, it often means a journey to the dump. In Britain alone each year, over 2 million tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment are discarded; in Europe and the United States, repair services have been in decline for some decades. This ‘take, make and dispose’ approach sits uncomfortably with shifts towards closed-loop thinking and policy, such as the European Commission (EC) package on the circular economy, which emphasises repair, recycling and reuse.  Read more