Blog

Helping kids to grow their own food - Sow, Grow, Munch.

As someone who grows vegetables and helps others to grow them for their own restaurants I still get really excited by the freshness and flavour that comes from something that’s just picked, that can’t be bought.

Not only is it sustainable in terms of food miles, lowering our carbon footprint and encouraging biodiversity - it connects people to the land, their environment and more importantly where their food comes from. Our food system, and the ingredients that we use do not have to be as complicated as they have become.

Michael Kelly from GIY Ireland has a name for this – “food empathy” - a deeper understanding of food, where it comes from, how it is produced, and the time and effort required.

Book Review: The Positive Deviant: Sustainability Leadership in a Perverse World

Driving to Lake Tanganyika in Zambia, our ancient Land-Rover first stuttered, then ground to a debilitated stop, somewhere outside Mporokoso. A long way from any town and with over 200 kilometres to our intended destination, this was a predicament. We identified the problem as an irreparably broken fuel pump. Our solution, which took some time to conceive, was to rig up a gravity-fed system by means of hanging a 5 litre plastic container of petrol inside the cabin, linked to the carburettor with a length of plastic piping. It was unpleasant, it stank, it used our precious fuel at an alarming rate and it was probably fairly hazardous, but it got us to the Lake. In other words, it was sufficient, it was a good enough solution.  

These words form the key idea that Sara Parkin employs to underpin her call to action throughout this excellent manual for sustainability leadership, The Positive Deviant.

Freiburg – a transport tour de force

In November 1944, much of the medieval centre of Freiburg was flattened by bombs during an air-raid. Yet its magnificent cathedral survived - miraculously unscathed - and many of the buildings in the 'Old Town' have since been rebuilt in their original designs to delight today's residents and visitors alike.

But Freiburg's historical façade sits alongside some thoroughly 21st century technology in what has come to be known as Germany's capital of sustainable living. When the city was re-built and extended, it was with new ideas and on enlightened, carbon-conscious principles. Solar panels are ubiquitous, highly energy-efficient housing is the norm and it boasts the most efficient and integrated transport system you’re likely to encounter anywhere in Europe.