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Can we get to a post-growth economy?



How do we create a greener society? Can change be inspired by nudging people to behave more ecologically or is a more radical change in values necessary? Debate on a greener future to take place at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

As the world’s politicians prepare for vital talks at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference next month, a debate on 29th October at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas (19 October – 1 November 2015) will discuss whether the post-recession period is the perfect time to rethink our economic policy and question the orthodox position that growth is always good.

In Creating a greener society: Do we inspire change by nudge…or trudge?, chair of Green House think tank, Rupert Read, who recently stood for Parliament for the Green Party in Cambridge, will be discussing the model of a post-growth economy and how we can collective it with environmental entrepreneur and co-founder of sustainability communications agency Futerra, Ed Gillespie whose book Only planet: a flight-free adventure around the world was published last year.

Read will talk about preliminary ideas for a forthcoming Green House report and about findings from its recent first book The Post-Growth Project, which aims to challenge the assumption that it is bad news when the economy doesn’t grow. The discussion is particularly interested in exploring whether we can successfully ‘nudge’ our way to a better future via behavioural economics, leaving people’s values intact, or whether instead there is a more radical need to change people’s underlying ideology.

The event will be chaired by Guardian columnist Zoe Williams, author of Get it together: why we deserve better politics.

Green House is an independent think tank composed of members of all and no political parties. Its Board includes Molly Scott-Cato MEP, Prof. Allysson Pollock, Michael Meacher MP and Sir Jonathon Porritt.

The discussion takes place on 29th October from 7.30-8.30pm at Friends Meeting House, Cambridge. It is one of over 250 events – most of them free – at this year’s Cambridge Festival of Ideas which runs from 19th October to 1 November. They include The Alchemical Landscape, the fruit of a new research project by researchers Yvonne Salmon and James Riley. It will look at how an increasing number of writers, artists and film-makers are re-investing the landscape with esoteric and mythic imagery in an attempt to link to the past and to articulate pressing contemporary concerns such as environmental change. It takes place on 24th October from 6.30-7.30pm.

Established in 2008, Cambridge Festival of Ideas aims to fuel the public’s interest in arts, humanities and social sciences. The events, ranging from talks, debates and film screenings to exhibitions and comedy nights, are held in lecture halls, theatres, museums and galleries around Cambridge.

The Festival sponsors and partners are Cambridge University Press, St John’s College, Anglia Ruskin University, RAND Europe, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Cambridge Live, University of Cambridge Museums and Botanic Garden, Arts Council England, Cambridge Junction, British Science Association, Heritage Lottery Fund, Heffers, WOW Festival, Southbank Centre, Collusion, TTP Group, Goethe Institut, Index on Censorship and BBC Cambridgeshire.

To find out more about Cambidge’s Festival of Ideas, click here.


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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