Welcome to my new blog

This is a blog about “Global Problems and Global Solutions”. It arises from a book I’m writing, numerous talks I’ve given over the last 16 months and a course of evening classes that I’ve given twice in Hereford and am about to do again in Hereford and also in Leominster. My work is generally very positive, solution-focused and draws inspiration from many examples of best practice in fields as diverse as architecture, land use, power generation and political organisation.
I see a network of interlinked problems: Climate Change, loss of bio-diversity, desertification, hunger, poverty, pollution, ocean acidification, the meaninglessness of modern consumer driven capitalism to name just a few. There is clear evidence that “Humanity needs to change the way it does business on Planet Earth” if it is to survive as a species. I also see what is emerging as a network of similarly interlinked solutions that show the way to what could be a much better, more ecologically sustainable and socially just future. These changes I’ll write about in subsequent posts represent an epochal shift; from “The Fossil-Fuel Age” to “The Solar Age”.

(River Wye in snow, January 2010)
This morning I’ve been walking by the River Wye in Hereford watching and listening to ice flows on the river crashing against one another in beautiful winter sunshine. Lovely! But perhaps a strange day to be starting a blog that takes Global Warming to be the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.
Many people seem to misunderstand the difference between climate and weather. Weather is what we experience day to day in a particular place and time, and changing by the minute. Climate is a longer term process, measured in decades, centuries or millennia. Of course as the Global Climate warms local weather systems will be changed, but often in complex and seemingly contradictory ways. So for example as polar ice melts the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift that has brought warming waters to the UK for millennia may well be weakened or stop entirely making the UK colder within the context of a warming world. It is usually a mistake to observe the weather in one place and time and think it tells us much about Climate Change; for that we need data from many locations over time. So while we in the UK are enjoying making snowmen and watching the rivers freeze people in Northern Canada are currently experiencing an unusually warm spell. Such are the vagaries of the weather.
Enough for now about the weather and climate!
On this blog you’ll read much more about the shift from “Fossil-Fuel Age” to “The Solar Age” and some of the exciting ideas, projects and developments that are showing humanity the way to go.
Best wishes and a Happy New Year! Richard.