As regular readers may have noticed, I pick up little series from time to time. They’re often things that are getting overlooked, such as renewable heat, or the ecological impact of meat. Or they aim to take a discussion from sustainability circles and explain it in layman’s terms, as I’ve done with negative emissions recently, or the planetary boundaries.
Generally speaking I’m just following my own curiosity on these matters and sometimes they end up as a series, sometimes they just join the general sprawl of things I write about, and sometimes it goes no further. As an experiment though, I thought I might tell you about a couple of topics in advance, and see if we can collaborate a little. Here are two I’m interested in at the moment, and some of the questions I’m looking to answer.
- Automation: there’s a growing recognition that there’s a new wave of automation coming down the pipe, one that could potentially put millions of people out of work. So I’d like to know how real or how speculative that might be, who would be affected and what the consequences are. Who benefits and who suffers? How will it affect sustainability, equity, and development? How do we adapt? Or this is all a science fiction scenario and there are more important things to think about?
- Transport: the transition to a low carbon electricity supply is underway, but on the transport front we’re still very reliant on oil. I’ve written much more on housing and energy than I have about transport, so I feel like I have some rebalancing to do. How do we decarbonise the transport system? Which countries are making the most progress? How can the pace of change be accelerated? What unusual solutions can we find? Are there any leapfrogging opportunities for developing countries?
I’m doing some reading around those topics at the moment, and I’d welcome your suggestions. What have you read that’s been helpful? Any thinkers, ideas, reports, perspectives, case studies I should be aware of? Don’t worry if you haven’t got a solution to hand either, you can add your own questions, fears or hopes, expressions of frustration or indifference.
You can drop them in the comments below, post them on or , or email me at [email protected] – and thank you to those who already send me things. I’ll have a look at what comes in, do a little round-up of where we’re at, and we’ll see what happens.