What happened in GAP-mission related news in July

Climate change, biodiversity and globalisation

Another hot June...

June 2017 was the hottest month for the third consecutive year. Read more. 

Actions for high impact on low emissions ignored

Study finds that government and education ignore the 4 most high-impact actions to reduce personal emissions: having one fewer child, living car-free, avoiding airplane travel and eating a plant-based diet. “These actions have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (four times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household light bulbs (eight times less).”

Increase in greenhouse gas emissions from road transport

Despite an overall reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, GHG emissions from road transport increased for the second year in a row, by just over 1% between 2014 and 2015. 

The Guardian long read

‘Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world’ 

Potential link between global warming and suicides of Indian farmers

This study has found a potential link between global warming and the mass suicides of Indian farmers (60,000 over last 30 years). Researchers found an increase of 5C on any one day was associated with an additional 335 deaths. 

Consumption, trends and buying behaviour

Royal Society focus on material demand reduction

This month’s issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society focuses on material demand reduction – see the collection of articles here , including a literature review from materialism stalwart Tim Kasser.

Curious link between environmentally-friendly behaviours and policy

Why implementing environmentally-friendly behaviours can actually reduce support for environmentally friendly policy

Red meat is in!

After a decline in US red meat consumption over the last decade, low prices, strong disposable incomes and a thumbs up for the healthiness of red meat have combined to give beef a resurgence.  

Not so fast...veganism also on the rise!

This article celebrates a 500% rise in veganism in the U.S. In the UK, it’s a slower but still fantastic 360% over the last 10 years. 

Experiential or material consumption, no difference

A new Hungarian study of 10,000 households found that buying experiences rather than material things isn’t necessarily correlated with greater happiness. 

Stuff vs Services

Interesting quote from Tim Jackson (Prosperity without Growth) in this Triodos interview:

“Business shouldn’t be about making more and more ‘stuff’, it should be about delivering good services that improve the quality of our lives. Rarely do we purchase a thing itself—we purchase what that thing can do for us. For instance we don’t really buy a smartphone, we buy connectivity. When the goal of business is ‘dematerialised’, businesses can figure out how to best serve human and ecological communities rather than trying to extract value out of natural resources.”

Fairphone withdraw support for Fairphone 1

In a surprising move, Fairphone are no longer able to support software or hardware updates for its Fairphone 1 because they are too expensive for them to do. 

UK households have reduce clothing to landfill

A new WRAP report is out on the UK clothing industry (last published 2012). Some good news, households have reduced their clothing to landfill by 50,000 tonnes. Sustainable textiles will be a real priority focus going forward (e.g. fibre to fibre recycling, reduction in synthetic fibre use).

Young People

Empathy deficit

A 2011 university of Michigan study studied empathy in college students between 1979 -2010. What they found was that students’ ability to relate to one another has been declining since 1979. This means “Students are generally less likely to agree with statements such as, “I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me” than they were a few decades ago.” A likely explanation is neoliberal economics placing more emphasis on individualism since the late 70s.

Read the full article ‘Changes in Dispositional Empathy in American College Students Over Time: A Meta-Analysis’ here .

Doughnut Economics

If you haven’t yet watched this animated miniseries (7 instalments) on Doughnut Economics (sustainable development concept created by Kate Raworth), watch it here:

Raworth also published a blog that focuses on a ‘fiery’ response to her work that she received from the World Bank economist Branko Milanovic, who argued growth at all costs is inevitable and essential. She pitches his world view and her world view against each other, and it makes for an interesting (& succinct) read


A recent study demonstrated that people report greater happiness if they spent £30 to save time (e.g. by paying for chores to be done – TaskRabbit style) rather than spending it on material goods.