For serious news coverage of bins, the Independent is hard to beat.
I might be the only one who didn’t know about this, but the 1991 ‘Summers memo’ story is absolutely wild. Larry Summers, the World Bank’s Chief Economist from ’91 to ’93, signed off on an internal memo arguing that exporting pollution to countries with lower wages would reduce “foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality,” so that… Continue reading Larry Summers and the Toxic Memo
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David George Haskell’s Sounds Wild and Broken (2022) seeks to establish sound as a new vital sign for the environment. It takes on more than it bargained for.
On 17 October 1956, Queen Elizabeth II opened Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, at Sellafield, on the western coast of Cumbria. The two Windscale Piles preceded it in 1950 and ‘51. Both produced plutonium-239 for early British nuclear weapons.
Nordic Mining admitted that it had no backup silt curtain and had so far failed to fix the leak in a leaked email on Friday evening. The incident puts further pressure on the company after a major investor sold its stake over environmental concerns.
A bog’s curious, ordinary, delicately explosive sounds belong in our narratives of climate crisis just as much as landscapes of epic disaster.
La pelouse spacieuse d’un parc est-londonien, atteignant 37 degrés Celsius, se transforme en vide aride. Le bruissement sec des feuilles mortes se fait entendre partout. Elles se dispersent au parc, sur la rue que je prends en route pour le train, dans les caniveaux, et sur les allées. L’air chaud qui passe comme vente ne… Continue reading Cassant et sec: Londres dans la vague de chaleur
For all the stories and statistics, woods can become distant from everyday life. Micheldever Wood is a mixed broadleaf-conifer woodland in Hampshire that contains many of the signature characteristics of a British forest.
Data sonification is data display using any sound that isn’t speech, offering new and inclusive ways to interact with d
As much as we tried to capture the shock of last year’s events in Halfway to Atlantis: Remembering the 2021 London floods, there wasn’t space to explore the surroundings of each flood location. This photo series gives them a little more context from other angles, and from nearby streets. As we wrote in the anniversary… Continue reading London flood locations in pictures
Rain makes some of the world’s best-loved sounds. They’re even better coming from a giant plywood recorder.
One year on from some of London’s most severe surface flooding, comparative photography can help us trace the cycle of shock, cleanup, and forgetting that surrounds environmental disasters.
Outside an electrical box with an active air vent to stay functional at 37 degrees. Several planes fly overhead, and around 1’12” you can hear a dry branch chrashing to the ground and dispersing a flock of pigeons. Vans and cyclists pass and you can also hear the incredibly dry ground underfoot. by Jay Richardson
Public space is contested visually and sonically17th July 2022 The soundscape is a vital refuge for protesters15th July 2022 Returning the gaze of police surveillance13th July 2022 Even before the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill began threatening protest rights, a red van with the license plate LB21 YNG began turning up at police-attended events… Continue reading July 2022 in sounds and pictures
At 37 degrees, the airy lawns of an East London park have dried into arid emptiness amidst a potentially lethal heat wave. Everywhere is the dry rustle of dead leaves. They’re not just in the park, but on my street on the way to the train, and in the gutters, and on the driveways. It’s… Continue reading Brittle and dry: London in the heat wave
When you describe the sounds of protest as “noise” you deny its democratic function—and admit how much it bothers you.
In an era of disastrous storms and constant fear over coastal defences and flooding, you might expect rainfall to show reliable, multi-decade, climate-influenced patterns. Or at least to swing wildly, as seasonal temperatures do. The actual picture is incredibly complex: precipitation is in fact trending in certain directions and swinging wildly at the same time.… Continue reading UK rainfall variability: It never rains but it pours
Getting to know a place takes time, even with methods like a randomised sound survey. It also takes the courage to throw away your map.
A tiny robin’s song in the dawn chorus approaches frequencies at the limits of human hearing.
There’s much more to a chiffchaff than meets the ear.
The safety violation marks the start of a multi-decade mining project that plans to deposit toxic waste in a protected salmon fjord.
A dawn chorus contains so much joyful chaos: that’s what makes it a chorus. For pure density of sound, most green spaces at dawn in springtime could give Piccadilly Circus a run for its money.
What makes new recordings worthwhile is that they can tell us about our environment by showing how birds interact with it. With that in mind, today’s birdsongification features the humble robin.
A London Plane tree stands outside the Home Office building on Marsham Street during protests against the government’s new asylum policy.
Highbury Fields was bought for a public park in 1885 while various speculators developed the surrounding area into housing. Most of the park’s avenues are lined with London Plane trees.
Planes are actually quite easy to grow from seed if you’re so inclined, and resists pests and diseases much better than sycamores.
Birches probably appeared amongst the first trees in the UK after the last ice age: they spread quickly and grow well in a wide range of soils, including heathland and moorland. They improve biodiversity when mixed into conifer plantations, which now contribute most new woodland planting in the UK. Birch is particularly common in Scotland,… Continue reading Birch, Clissold Park
Warmer spring temperatures are shifting blossoms several weeks earlier than they used to be, so they’re already out during late spring frosts and sustain severe damage. Clissold Park’s blossoms were out nearly a month early this year. Losing blossoms to the late spring frost devastates fruit yields, like apricots and cherries, and the pollinating insects… Continue reading Cherry blossom, Islington
Not even laser imaging can tell you as much about your material surroundings as rain can.
An attitude of ‘duty’ to undertake classical music education from ‘expertise’ arguably demonstrates paternalism under the guise of community care.
Street recordings from the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown tell a tale of quietness, crisis, and the presence of absence.
New woodland is an essential climate mitigation tool. So where is it?
Median house prices in England and Wales are now almost nine times the average salary, bringing the house price to wage ratio to an historic extreme.
The way we hear traffic sounds reveals what we think of as worth hearing.
“It doesn’t feel great to live on a cloud while the rest of the world goes under”: the feelings under the surface of climate safety
As rain spills into destruction during the summer 2021 London floods, the violence and disruption is getting louder.
It doesn’t look like a wild ecosystem, but point your ears at this London park and you might be surprised.
There’s a river here, but not the kind of watery soundscape that you might have expected.
Those paying the largest energy bills have the most to gain from a fast renewable energy rollout.