Friday, March 29, 2019


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Hello I'm Anthony Day and this is the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday, 29th March and for the avoidance of doubt this is the date on which the UK did not leave the EU. This is not a political blog, at least I'm more concerned with global politics than local difficulties, so I won't be mentioning the B-word. 
The Sustainable Futures Report
The Sustainable Futures Report is an independent round-up of sustainability news, which comes to you without advertising, subsidy or sponsorship. I do get help from my patrons and I’d like to thank them all for their continuing support. Anyone can be a patron. You can show your appreciation of the Sustainable Futures Report by donating $1 per month or even more. You’ll get a shout-out on the podcast at the very least but there’s more - you’ll find all the details at By the way, I’m finally getting round to a major revamp of the website and patrons will be identified on the roll of honour on the site.
In this Episode
In this episode I'm talking about energy: coal, Hinkley C and hydrogen; about transport, specifically the future of HS2; about cleaning up Canada and about pollution: plastic pollution and air pollution. And how we can avoid the jaws of death. 
First of all, though, let's talk about water. Why there’s sometimes too much, sometimes too little and what we can possibly do about it.
Cyclone Idai
Britain has been preoccupied by domestic politics for months now to the exclusion of almost all else. Nevertheless, you may have seen reports of a catastrophic storm on the borders of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and the island of Madagascar. Cyclone Idai made landfall on 4th March at the port of Beira with winds gusting up to 175mph. It hovered over the area for about a week, destroying buildings and killing up to a thousand people. The torrential rain which accompanied the winds has flooded vast areas of the countries and rain continues to fall. A BBC reporter took a helicopter 15 miles inland and could still see water in all directions. Beira itself remains an island of destruction in the middle of the waters. In the countryside people’s houses have been destroyed, their crops washed away and their livestock, if not drowned, left with nowhere to graze. The people themselves have nothing to eat, no clean water to drink and relief efforts are held back by the floods and by roads and bridges which have been washed away. Many telephone masts have been destroyed and communication breakdown has made relief even more difficult. Is this the consequence of climate change? Once again it’s impossible to link it directly but it’s wholly consistent with forecasts of extreme weather as the world warms.
The immediate concern is that people are starving, people are at risk of cholera and people are dying. How is the international community responding? Help is on the way but a million people are in need of aid. All the usual charities are involved so you can support them as you see fit. Our governments should send aid too. I think we have an obligation, because if this disaster was caused by climate change that certainly wasn’t caused by emissions from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi or Madagascar.

The Jaws of Death
At the other extreme, Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the UK Environment Agency, gave a speech to the Waterwise Conference earlier this month. He called it “Escaping the jaws of death: ensuring enough water in 2050” He was talking about avoiding drought.
He started by making the point that water companies see climate change as their biggest operating risk, which, as he said, is another good reason to believe in climate change. This is how he explains the jaws of death. He's describing a graph. The demand for water rises steadily from left to right. As climate change causes more frequent droughts the supply of water declines from left to right and the point at which the lines cross is the jaws of death. That point could apparently be 20 to 25 years from now.
There is pressure from both supply and demand. By 2050, the amount of water available could be reduced by 10-15%, with some rivers seeing 50%-80% less water during the summer months, which will mean higher drought risk, caused by the hotter drier summers and less predictable rainfall. At the same time UK population is growing with a particular concentration in the south-east of England.
We can reduce demand, he says, by reducing leakage, by more water metering, sustainable drainage systems, insisting on new building regulations to drive greater water efficiency, and finding ways to cut down the amount of water we each use as individuals. Electrical devices now come with labels to show how efficient they are. In future, appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and even toilets could be marked with a label to show how effectively they use water. 
To bolster supply the UK will need pipelines to transfer water from one region to another, desalination plants, new reservoirs and the political will to get these things built.
You can find a link to the full text of the speech on the Sustainable Futures Report blog at  
In closing, Sir James Bevan said, “The issue for me is not whether water companies remain privatised or are taken back into public ownership: it’s what will deliver best for the public and the environment. That is where the debate should start and finish.”

Talking of toilets, have you ever thought about all the clean fresh drinking water that you flush down the loo?
This week I’ve been talking to David Emslie of Novaloo who has an answer to the problem.

David Emslie of Novaloo. 
If you’re anywhere north of Birmingham in the UK David can help you save water each time you flush. His contact details are on the blog. 01904 891213

If you save water you save the energy needed to filter it, purify it and deliver it to the point of use. You save the energy needed to take it away and treat it in a sewage plant. If saving water saves energy it almost always saves a carbon footprint as well. Of course if you can use nothing but renewable energy for the process there’s no carbon footprint involved. Sadly, as we noted last week, most of the world’s electricity still comes from fossil fuels.
Not in the Orkney Islands, though, off the north coast of Scotland. Up there they have more renewable energy than they can use and the interconnector cable is not big enough to take the surplus back to the mainland. This has been very frustrating for communities which have invested in renewable energy and find that they cannot sell it. And there is currently a moratorium on new windfarm developments although the present farms are exploiting only a very small percentage of the total potential. Last year, a new tidal energy turbine generated more electricity in its first year than the whole of Scotland’s wave and tidal sector produced before it. 
The answer to all this is hydrogen. Hydrogen is being produced on the islands by electrolysis, which involves running a current through water to split it into its components of hydrogen and oxygen. This is not a very efficient process, but if you have got abundant renewable electricity it's a sensible solution. It's much better than extracting hydrogen from natural gas, which leaves carbon dioxide.
The original idea was to use the hydrogen as an energy store which could be called on at times of peak demand, but now hydrogen boiler heating systems are being fitted into a primary school and Orkney Islands Council, a significant force in the development, is running a fleet of hydrogen-fuelled vans. A new car-ferry to serve the islands is being built and will run on hydrogen and an existing ferry is to be converted.
The eyes of the world are on this new hydrogen economy.

At the other end of the UK, in Somerset, work continues on the new nuclear power station at Hinkley C. One of the first things that Mrs May did when she became prime minister was to put the project on hold. This station uses an unproven design and two other stations using the same technology - one in Finland and one in France - were both way over budget and way behind schedule. The plant was to be built by EDF of France and China’s General Nuclear Power Group on the promise of an index-linked energy price at about twice the current market rate. In the event Mrs May changed her mind and the project proceeds. Assuming the technical difficulties experienced in Finland and France can be overcome the station will produce zero-carbon electricity for many years to come when it finally comes on line. It’s already several years late. Hopefully that will eventually offset the carbon footprint of the 3m tonnes of concrete that will be needed as well as all the other emissions associated with the construction and with the eventual decommissioning. 
EDF is planning to build a similar plant at Sizewell in Suffolk where there is strong local opposition. Campaigners point out the decision to halt the Wylfa B and Oldbury B projects as evidence of the state of the new-build programme. You’ll remember that Toshiba closed its nuclear development arm and walked away from a planned nuclear power station near Sellafield. Hitachi abandoned plans to build the nuclear station at Wylfa B in North Wales.
Construction of Hinckley C began in 2016 so it would be very difficult to stop it now. The government still needs to find capacity to meet future electricity requirements and from clean sources. Of course the alternative is to manage demand. The government’s best effort so far seems to be the promotion of smart meters (I must look at that again in the future.) Alternatively maybe we should exploit the full potential of the wind and waves in places like Orkney and upgrade the interconnector to bring the power ashore. After all, if we are talking about importing electricity by cable from Iceland, and that is a serious suggestion, Orkney is very much closer.

Still on energy, in Cumbria, halfway between Orkney and Hinkley, development of a new deep coal mine has been approved. It was approved unanimously by the council in the face of strong local opposition. The key issue is that it will create 500 jobs in an area of chronic and high unemployment. Each year it will produce 2.5m tonnes of coking coal for steel production. Helpfully the mine promoters suggested that some of the steel could be used for wind turbine masts. 
It’s undoubtedly a dilemma. There has been limited employment in the area since the steelworks and the coal mine closed decades ago. There is limited help from the faraway Westminster government and there won’t be any help from the EU if the government’s Brexit plans go through in the next few weeks. If I lived there I’d seize almost any opportunity of work. But coal mining itself, as well as the actual burning of the coal, creates greenhouse gases and we’re on notice of climate catastrophe if we don’t cut emissions rapidly and dramatically. 
What would I do if I were in government? Put a moratorium on new coal mines - and on fracking for that matter. Recognise that regions such as Cumbria need support - and deliver that support. Unfortunately the UK’s present government doesn’t look far outside London, doesn’t believe in intervention, doesn’t understand industry and doesn’t have an industrial strategy and doesn't have much of a social policy either. 

Some would argue that the UK government’s parochialism is demonstrated by its commitment to HS2, the new high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham and eventually beyond. Studies have shown that such lines usually benefit the larger city, in this case London, which will effectively add Birmingham to its commuter belt. Meanwhile the cities in the North, like Leeds and Manchester, cannot expect to be connected to the line until 2033, although it’s not absolutely certain that the second phase will actually be built. Apparently there is no money at present to upgrade the trans-pennine line which links Newcastle, Hull, York and Leeds with Manchester and Liverpool. On some sections of that line trains manage little more than walking pace.
According to pressure group STOPHS2 the company has admitted that HS2 will increase rather than reduce emissions.
New Economics Foundation
A report from the New Economics Foundation suggests that HS2 is looking like an expensive answer in search of a question. Let me share a few paragraphs from the overview of their recent report:
“The problem with HS2, [however,] is that it is the product of decades of government retrenchment from the fiscal realm and strategic planning, and of a fragmented rail network, with multiple private sector and public stakeholders. It is also the product of an economy in crisis, an economy desperately trying to unhook itself from London-centricity and all its malcontents, but actually compounding the problem by starting the project in London. 
“Following a shambolic 18 months on the railways, with disastrous timetable changes, the wrong kind of weather, and the cancellation of planned electrification schemes, the government has launched a ‘root and branch’ review. However, the review is missing some key roots and branches, two of them being HS2 and the latest package of maintenance and upgrades agreed with Network Rail. These have been deemed out of scope but should be included. 
“There are two fundamental problems with the railways in the UK that, in the interests of ensuring immediate and long-term value for public money, need addressing before the much-needed major investment is committed. The first is the absence of an overarching rail or transport strategy, which leaves HS2 looking like the solution to a problem that has not yet been defined. It is what many in the rail industry call an engineering-led project rather than something that enjoys strong strategic or economic justification. The second fundamental problem is the chaotic ownership and management structures that will almost certainly lead to the squandering of investment capital.”
In conclusion it says:
“£4 billion has already been spent, but this sunk cost is not a reason to spend a further £50 billion or more of public investment. Before further cost is sunk in HS2, a full and independent inquiry is needed – the government’s root and branch rail review could perform this function if its scope and method were broadened and taken out of the DfT.
“We also conclude – with absolute certainty – that the existing rail network as a whole needs significant investment; it is not a choice between HS2 or nothing but a question of strategically purposeful investment everywhere. Critically, this should benefit the widest number of passengers possible and not just the relatively wealthy, those travelling long distances for business, and those in London.”
You can find a link to the full report on the blog.

Looking Abroad
They do things differently in other countries. Patron Eric de Kemp sends me details of the latest Canadian budget and what it means for Natural Resources Canada. (NRCan) 

Allocations include:
  • $1 billion to drive energy efficiency,
  • $10 billion over nine years to support 42,500 new energy-efficient housing units across the country.
  • $5 billion from the Canada Infrastructure Bank for green projects, including those that will push electricity deeper into the national economy, including the Taltson hydroelectricity expansion and the Halagonia Tidal Energy project.
  • $130 million for NRCan to build more fast-charging and refuelling stations for zero-emissions vehicles, as well as new incentives for Canadians to purchase eligible electric and hydrogen vehicles
  • 100-percent write-off for companies that buy these vehicles.
  • $150-million for related skills development and training.
  • $15.2 million over five years to establish a virtual Canadian Centre for Energy Information.
  • New funding to support work in such areas as the Polar Continental Shelf Program, the United Nations Convention for the Laws of the Sea, and contaminated sites.
  • $100 million over four years for the Clean Resource Innovation Network, to make Canada the global leader in sustainable resource development.
Sounds like a strategy. But is it possibly designed to head off criticism of the nation’s determination to exploit the Alberta tar sands and export the oil to Asia?

Climate Change
I couldn't finish an episode without commenting on climate change and pollution. David Attenborough has been criticised in the past for his wild life programmes giving the impression that there’s nothing really to worry about. To be fair, he was very direct when he addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos this year. 
[.  ]
His latest offering, Our Planet, an eight-part documentary series, starts on 5 April. Let’s hope it will raise awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis in the same way as he focussed our minds on plastic pollution. I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to Netflix so I won’t be able to comment on the programme. However, a 60-minute film, Climate Change – The Facts, will be screened this spring on BBC One. I’ll look forward to it.

Plastic Pollution 
Talking of plastic pollution, all that glitters is not gold. In fact the glitter used to decorate greetings cards, gifts, craft projects and fashion accessories is actually made from etched aluminium bonded to polyethylene terephthalate. It’s another form of micro-plastics, easily washed into watercourses and eventually the sea, and increasingly found in the stomachs of all sorts of animals and fish.
Supermarkets have been urged to stop selling it but are accused of dragging their feet.

Air pollution
Don’t forget air pollution. I reported last week on a new asthma research centre ideally located in London where the air is so bad. But that’s nothing compared to a report from the BBC on air quality in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia. Reporter Stephanie Hegarty had a particulate counter counting PM2.5s. These are minute particles which get lodged in the lungs and can pass through into the blood stream. Children exposed on a daily basis to such pollution can suffer significant developmental problems. The report told us that a safe level of such particles was 25. Her counter showed 999 - it couldn’t register anything higher. The problem in Ulan Bator is that climate change is driving nomadic herders off the steppe and into the city. The city is growing in an uncontrolled way and in winters where the temperature falls to -25 families are burning raw coal to keep themselves warm. Hundreds of these small stoves cause the blanket of pollution which hangs over the city.
Back in London the pollution is nowhere near as thick as in Ulan Bator where it blocks out the sun, but it’s still at dangerous levels as it is in many other cities across the world. Something for the owners of the new Woodhouse Colliery to think about perhaps.
Global emissions
Meanwhile global emissions continue to grow as recorded in the Global Energy & CO2 Status Report from the IEA. (I’m sure I mentioned that in a recent Sustainable Futures Report but I can’t for the life of me find it.) There’s a link to the report on the blog and also a link to a thread which discusses it in detail. Thanks to patron Tom de Simone for this.

And finally,
If you’ve ever been to Brussels you’ve probably seen the Manneken Pis. It’s a statue of a small boy relieving himself, just off the Grand’ Place. It’s just been calculated that he’s peeing between 1,000 and 2,000 litres of water down the drain every day. At least he’s not flushing it as well! Anyway, the powers that be have decided to install a recirculating system to save water. 
We lived in Brussels for 10 years. During that time he must have passed some 3.5m to 4m litres. That’s up to 4,000 tonnes of water.

And on that note… 
…I leave you for another week. Thank you for listening. Thank you particularly to my patrons and don't forget
Next week, on Friday, 5th April there will be another episode of the Sustainable Futures Report. Please let me have your thoughts and ideas and suggestions and I'll do my best to incorporate them - but for the moment I'm Anthony Day, and that was the Sustainable Futures Report. 

Till next time!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Vox Pop

Find the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud or via www,

I’m Anthony Day and this is your Sustainable Futures Report for Friday 22nd March. Remember, the text version of every episode with links to all my sources is on the blog at
Vox pop–the voice of the people. 

And that was the voice of the young people who came out of school last week to protest against the lack of action on climate change. More about that later.
Thank You
First of all, thank you for listening. More than twice as many people listened to last week’s episode as to any previous episode this year. The total number of downloads for March has already exceeded the total for February and is well on the way to exceeding December and January. So, as I say, thank you for listening and, if you are, thank you for being a patron. Patrons help me cover the costs associated with this podcast, contributing anything from one dollar per month upwards. If you'd like to be a patron, you'll get a shout out on the podcast and you may qualify for a unique Sustainable Futures Report enamel badge. There are other benefits. Find the details at Apart from that I’m completely independent. There’s no advertising, no subsidy, no sponsorship and no support. And I’ve never heard of Cambridge Analytica.
This Week
This week I've been reading There is no Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee and I'll tell you how it compares with The Uninhabitable Earth which I reviewed earlier. I’ve been in touch with Jem Bendell who I spoke about last week. I’m told he is totally overwhelmed by responses to his paper but I hope to be able to interview one of his colleagues later in May. He sent me a whole lot of information and I've added the links to the blog, which you know can always be found at www.sustainable This week I've also discovered a lot of information about denial. Why do people deny things and what can we do about it? And there's other news: about air pollution, Coca-Cola bottles, gas heating and a few gripes about my abandoned PhD.
On The March
Last Friday 1.4 million students in 128 countries across the world marched for climate action.
Here’s what I heard at my local protest, and then I spoke to sixth-former Maisie Outhart who organised the Youth Strike 4 Climate in York. She’s York’s representative on the Youth Parliament.
[Hear the interviews on the podcast - unfortunately there is no transcript]
A fundamental problem with getting the climate message across is denial. No one will support solutions if they believe that the problem doesn't exist. 
People deny the Holocaust, HIV, the safety of vaccines; some even deny that the Earth is round. And of course they deny climate change. You may remember that I started researching for a PhD last year. I wanted to look into why climate change deniers seem to get more attention from policymakers than scientists do. My supervisors told me that this was far too vague and difficult to prove and that I should look for something else in the sustainability field. Maybe it's because sustainability falls within the School of the Built Environment at Leeds Beckett University that I was finally pushed towards studying smart meters instead. Once I realised that countless academics had already done smart meters to death I abandoned my studies.
The Age of Denial
But last week I came upon a series of programmes on BBC Radio 4 called The Age of Denial presented by Isabel Hardman.  (You can find it on the BBC Sounds app.) I heard researchers talking about different aspects of denial and the books that they'd written about it. Maybe there's a PhD in it after all. Actually, I don’t think I’ve got time to study for a PhD because the climate crisis is so urgent, but I am going to research denial, because we need to change minds, to develop consensus and work together for change. Here's a summary of the points that I have gleaned so far. 
My story so far
Denial can minimise the impact of a shock and can be beneficial at least in the short term. At one extreme people may take the “I don’t care” position in the face of facts that they don’t want to accept. In some cases organisations will go so far as to establish quasi-scientific structures with conferences and journals to promote their particular views. For most people it’s very difficult to distinguish this from mainstream science. The tobacco industry had its academic foundation right up to the 1990s. You can decide for yourself how truly scientific organisations such as the European Research Group and the Global Warming Policy Foundation really are.
Optimism has been classed by some as a form of denial - a denial of reality. Yet without optimism many inventions and discoveries might not have been made. People are more ready to accept optimistic statements than negative ideas. For example: “Climate change is going to make life really difficult,” is a statement most people would like to forget. On the other hand, “There are many ways in which we can tackle climate change and maintain a good lifestyle,” is something people are more likely to listen to and to discuss. Telling people facts is not enough to change their minds. It’s important to find out what we agree on and to understand the facts as they see them. Of course there are some people who will never listen and will never be persuaded. Minds can be changed, but it depends to certain extent on the nature of the denial. Every day we deny things, often trivial, without noticing. Sometimes we are literally in two minds and keep the truth and our beliefs rigorously separate. And sometimes we deny and lie deliberately because we perceive advantage from doing so. 
Bystanders and Fake News
Then there’s the bystander phenomenon. “I’ve a pretty good idea it’s going on, but I’ll keep my head down because it’s nothing to do with me.” That seems to be what politician David Steele has been saying. And there’s autocracy, where denial is policy and dissenters are silenced. Stalin repressed evidence of facts that he did not want to believe. And there’s fake news, which can become so pervasive that nobody can be sure of the actual truth any more.
That’s a very brief summary of what I’ve learnt so far. I have a number of books on order to improve the depth of my understanding. As I see it, denial is the greatest threat to taking prompt action to mitigate climate change. I want to understand it and find ways to overcome it. I’ll let you know how I get on.
A Good Read
As I mentioned last time, I’ve been reading The Uninhabitable Earth, a story of the future, by David Wallace-Wells. Patron Manda Scott suggested I should get another angle on this by reading There is no planet B by Mike Berners-Lee. Mike is the founder of Small World Consulting and a professor in the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University in the UK, where he researches the global food system and carbon metrics.
The thing that marks this book out is that it’s very accessible. As Mike says in the introduction, you can read it all the way through or you can just dip in and out. The book is a series of questions grouped into sections on food, climate change, energy, travel and technology; in fact all the topics that I aim to cover in the Sustainable Futures Report. In addition he talks about growth, money and metrics, people and work, values, truth and trust, and thinking skills. At the back of the book there is a big picture summary which takes us through his main points in three pages. Another two pages answer the question “what can I do?” There's an appendix on climate change basics including the 14 points “which every politician needs to understand before they are fit for office”, and that's followed by an alphabetical quick tour with summaries of all the key points from aeroplanes, animal feed and balloon squeezing, through carbon capture and storage, double-sided photocopying and electric cars to greed, denial, nuclear power, waste food and well-being. An important point that Mike Berners-Lee makes is that we need to develop the way we think about these challenges. We need to specifically develop our thinking skills, he says. “These include big picture thinking, joined up thinking, future thinking, critical thinking, dedication to truth, self-awareness, global empathy and a better appreciation of the small things in this beautiful world that we live in.”
How do these books compare?
The Uninhabitable Earth is challenging from the start. The opening line is “It is worse, much worse, than you think.” At the end of the book the author says, “No one wants to see disaster coming, but those who look, do.” For him, the key question is “How much will we do to stall disaster, and how quickly?” He believes that human action will determine the climate of the future, not systems beyond our control. Nevertheless, we are too ready to run from our responsibilities by assigning tasks to future generations, to magical technologies or to remote politicians. His overall message seems to me to be that things could get extremely bad, but how bad they get is our choice and in our hands.
“There is No Planet B” takes a much broader view than just the climate crisis. After all, there’s no point in saving the planet if it’s not a nice place to live, so dealing with pollution and managing the food supply and energy and transport and jobs are all important. Mike Berners-Lee does not deny that we face a disastrous future or that while we have the means to mitigate and adapt we are not yet doing nearly enough, but he takes a quieter approach than David Wallace-Wells. The eternal paradox, of course, is that if you overstate your case of how really bad things are people will block them out. While if you soften your approach they may say, “No problem,” and do nothing.
I recommend both these books. There’s No Planet B is ideal for your bedside table because you can dip in and out until you drop off to sleep. The Uninhabitable Earth is probably not such a good idea at bedtime. It’ll probably keep you awake.
And in other news…
Air Pollution
King’s College London announces The EXHALE Programme - A London study to identify links between pollution and childhood asthma.
They say: Traffic pollution contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and is an important factor in the increasing incidence of childhood asthma. As a densely populated city with major air quality issues and high levels of childhood asthma, London provides an ideal setting to study the effects of pollution on health, particularly in relation to the Congestion Charging Scheme and Low Emission Zones.”
Well I suppose it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good, but air pollution is increasingly recognised as a cause of premature death across the world.

Less Gas, More Hot Air
In his Spring statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that to help meet climate targets, the government would advance the decarbonisation of gas supplies by increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid, helping to reduce dependence on burning natural gas in homes and businesses. To help ensure consumer energy bills would be low and homes would be better for the environment, the government would introduce a Future Homes Standard by 2025, so that new build homes would be future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. So that’s six years down the line, and affects only new-build, not the majority of the UK’s energy-inefficient housing. Unsurprisingly there was a mixed response from Greenpeace. They supported initiatives as far as they went - including a biodiversity assessment. (Why is that the responsibility of the Chancellor of the Exchequer - he’s the finance minister?) 
Mel Evans, Senior Campaigner at Greenpeace said, “Tackling the climate emergency demands much bigger thinking. Issues like the shoddy state of our existing housing stock and rapid adoption of electric vehicles require serious money behind serious policies. A good start would be banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. Equally, when compared to ideas like frequent fliers paying more and more heavily for trips abroad, carbon offsetting transport falls very short. Paying lip service to action, and piecemeal measures are not an option. It’s time for strong words to be matched with strong action.”

And finally,
You may have seen a recent story in the press about how Coca Cola uses 3m tonnes of plastic packaging including more than 110bn plastic bottles each year. Actually that was only part of the story. It came out of a new report published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on the NEW PLASTICS ECONOMY GLOBAL COMMITMENT. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is dedicated to the promotion of the circular economy, which includes the elimination of waste by recovering used products and materials for reuse as raw materials. 
The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites businesses, governments, and other organisations behind a common vision and targets to address plastic waste and pollution at its source. It is led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment.
Launched in October 2018, the Global Commitment already unites more than 350 organisations on its common vision of a circular economy for plastics, keeping plastics in the economy and out of the ocean. Signatories include 150 businesses, 16 governments, 26 financial institutions, WWF, the World Economic Forum and 50 academics and universities. They have all endorsed one common vision of a circular economy for plastics.
Coca-Cola is by no means the only familiar brand to have signed up to the commitment, although it is the largest user of packaging. Hardly surprising when 1.9 billion people drink their products every day. Nestlé, Pepsico, Unilever, L’Oréal and Mars have all signed up to the commitment, as well as major packaging manufacturers and 5 of the top 15 global retailers.
The Coca Cola PET bottle is 100% recyclable. The company has set a target of 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. It is currently at over 87%, as its predominant packages are already 100% recyclable. 
Similar messages come from the other companies. Using recyclable packaging is great, but we still have to provide the infrastructure so that the consumer can send it back for recycling. There has got to be action - and investment - shared by the government, the manufacturers, the retailers and the consumers. 1.9 billion bottles and cans per day. That’s an awful, awful lot of rubbish to clear up.

That’s all for this week.
I’m Anthony Day and that was the Sustainable Futures Report for Friday the 22nd of March.
Thank you for listening, especially if you've got this far. Have you thought about being a patron? Your support is always much appreciated and here's a special thank-you to my existing patrons. If you'd like to join their number the website you need is
That indeed is it for now and the next episode is scheduled for 29th March. That was planned to be a highly significant day for the United Kingdom. Whether it will be or not is still up in the air at the time of writing, but that's another story.
I mentioned that I have started looking into the phenomenon of denial and I have a range of books on my shelf. I think the topic is crucial to meeting the challenge of climate change within sustainability so I'm going to spend some time on this. For this reason there will not be a Sustainable Futures Report at the Easter weekend and probably not in the following week either. Writing these broadcasts takes several days each week. I'm going to use the time for research. Oh, and we're going on holiday as well.
As I said, the next episode is next Friday. 
Till then.

Links to ways you can follow Jem Bendell's work and connect with others who are incorporating Deep Adaptation framework into their lives and work. 
(I’m not endorsing this - I’m still at the early stages of understanding his position.)