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United Kingdom - July 4

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The Art of Wishful Thinking or Why The World Cup Finals Won’t Get Us Out of This

Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
... In a nutshell what happened, as shown in the graph above, was that the UK found oil in the North Sea, and either sold it extremely cheaply to other countries or used it to create Thatcher’s ‘economic miracle’ and gave most of the revenues away as tax breaks. Having sold most of ours off cheap, we how find ourselves with North Sea production plumetting, increasingly dependent on imports, just at a time when, as Chris Skrebowski puts it, we are “in the foothills of peak oil”.

Mearns predicts, from data from BERR themselves, that the cost of importing oil and gas to the UK will balloon “to about $200 billion (£100 billion) per annum by 2013″. Zoinks. Of course it is not feasible that we will be able to find that kind of money without bankrupting everything else. The right wing press are currently moaning about the cost of installing renewables and how more renewables will mean higher energy bills all round. Whatever the source, it rather looks like high energy prices are here to stay.

This second graph, again from Mearns’ piece, shows how this will affect the UK balance of trade. Looking at this it is impossible to see where Sugar and Sorrell (actually they sound more like a 1970s folk outfit) imagine the way out of this is. What will power the great new economic powerhouse that will pull us out of recession? I’m not an economist, but it looks to me like this recession is kicking in very fast, and as the BBC report this morning, more and more signs are emerging of this.
(3 July 2008)



Hauliers warn of wildcat strikes over fuel prices

Angela Balakrishnan, Guardian
Fuel hauliers are warning of spontaneous and disruptive action to come as protests continue against record high fuel prices and pleas for cuts in fuel duties.

Hundreds of lorry drivers took part in a police-controlled protest in London today in a bid to get the government to act on petrol prices which freight companies saying are destroying their businesses.
(2 June 2008)



London Biotopes and Body Ecologies
(London water)
Regine Debatty, World Changing
The largest part of the pharmaceuticals and chemicals we take go through our bodies and eventually end up in waste water. As water and waste treatment plants haven't been designed to filter them, the content of our medicine cabinets are eventually passed into the water supply. In London, tap water comes from surface water which implies that traces of our medicine can end up in our drinking water. This results in local differences in tap water, based on the food and drugs we ingest.

Tuur van Balen, one of the graduates of Design Interactions at the RCA, decided to explore this issue in a project which imho had the perfect balance between speculation and solid anchorage into reality.

The way people live and behave in each zone of London can be reflected in the quality of the tap water. Tap water in London Notting Hill very probably benefits from the high density of organic shops found in the area. Tap water in the city of London is presumably enhanced with all kinds of stimulants, from caffeine-rich drinks to cocaine.
(3 July 2008)

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