Sustainability Bites

There is no such thing as a free lunch

science

Fusion energy, if you look too close… you’ll go blind – miracle technology or miserable mirage?

Fusion energy, if you look too close… you’ll go blind – miracle technology or miserable mirage?

Even if fusion power was a reality in 20 years, it is not a solution we should be prioritizing. Climate disruption is with us today and already tearing apart the fabric of our society. We don’t have 20 years; we need to transition away from carbon-intensive energy now. To prioritize the ultra-expensive, highly risky idea of fusion energy as our salvation is really just one more form of climate denialism – we don’t need to change our ways because tomorrow’s technology will save us, so keep on consuming and polluting.

Wanna save Planet Earth? Try ‘thinking slow’. In praise of Daniel Kahneman

Wanna save Planet Earth? Try ‘thinking slow’. In praise of Daniel Kahneman

How do you communicate information to score a sale or bag a vote? You do it by building a simple coherent narrative that you can ‘sell’ with confidence. You scare people about their losses if the status quo is threatened (as will happen if you ‘vote for the opposition’), and you frame your arguments for maximum salience to your target group. These are some of the lessons available if you understand the cognitive biases in how we think. Nobel laureate Danial Kahneman has spent his life unravelling this puzzle.

Trust lies bleeding

Trust lies bleeding

Today leaders are so obsessed with the impact of CoVID on our economic life (which clearly preferences society’s winners). Maybe we should all be rethinking our slavish neoliberal obsession with protecting traditional stocks of capital and investing more in social and environmental capital, and specifically making a few deposits into the rapidly draining trust bank.

I’m so angry I’m going to write a letter!!

I’m so angry I’m going to write a letter!!

Increasingly, scientists are penning public letters to our elected leaders pleading with them to acknowledge the science and act on the evidence (rather than hide within their ideology and continue to prop up vested interests). But is the public letter an effective strategy?