Author Archives: Libby Peake

How green is Sadiq Khan’s new London environment strategy?

London Highgate Hampstead ParkAccording to the RSA, we are living in The Age of the City, where urban areas “are increasingly powerful in national and global politics and are driving economic growth”. In the UK, urban political power has historically been limited, but the rise of directly elected mayors has given strategic powers over wide areas to local politicians, not least in the realm of the environment. Read more

Five simple solutions to Michael Gove’s plastic problem

8598451066_9623d447a0_bThe scale of plastic pollution plaguing our oceans is alarming. Eight million tonnes of the stuff is being lost to the sea each year. At least 136 species of marine life are affected by plastic entanglement, and many more still – at least 250 species – ingest plastic pieces that can be a million times more toxic than the water around them. We are one of those species, with European shellfish consumers ingesting around 11,000 bits of microplastic every year. Read more

Why the UK could soon face recycling chaos

9941576975_eabcc2a873_kIn 2013, China sent shock waves through the recycling world in the west by launching Operation Green Fence, a campaign that rejected at least 800,000 tonnes of substandard recyclable waste imports and withdrew 247 import licenses. This focused minds in the UK, because we have grown dependent on exports of low quality recyclate, which our producer responsibility system accidentally encourages. Unfortunately, no lasting action was taken to fix the problem, and now things look set to get much worse. Read more

The world unites as Trump pulls out of Paris

Eiffel Tower in Paris, FranceFollowing Donald Trump’s announcement to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Green Alliance is publishing a series of blog posts from different voices in response.

On the morning of 12 December 2015, I found myself cycling around Paris, not really knowing where I was going but definitely glad to be part of something that felt momentous. As part of the Climate Kilometre group, 53 cyclists from 13 nations had made the three day, 320 kilometre journey from London to the French capital. Our intention, in coming to Paris, was to take part in a demonstration marking the conclusion of the COP21 negotiations, which were aiming to achieve “a legally binding and universal agreement on climate” for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations. Read more

Why hasn’t the sharing revolution taken off?

2016 Library of Things Launch-22This post is by Libby Peake, senior policy adviser on resources at Green Alliance.

Perhaps the favourite statistic of those advocating for more sharing in our economy is that the average power drill is used for only 12 or 13 minutes over the entire course of its lifetime. This is especially significant as millions of new household power drills are sold in the UK each year, and then simply gather dust in sheds up and down the country. To people thinking about better use of resources, it seems like there’s an obvious problem here, as well as an obvious solution: a nation stockpiling power tools that are hardly ever used ought to share them more. Read more