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Something different this week: these are the most interesting articles on sustainability I read in July, why you should read them, and what I took from them.

Towards the end of this article, I recommend social media accounts you should follow and apps you should use.

Article: Climate denial hasn’t gone away — here’s how to spot arguments for delaying climate action

(The Conversation)

In new research, we have identified what we call 12 “discourses of delay”. These are ways of speaking and writing about climate change that are commonly used by politicians, media commentators and industry spokespeople. Though they shy away from denying the reality of climate change, their effect on the collective effort to respond to it is no less corrosive.

— Stuart Capstick and Julia K. Steinberger

What’s it about?

The language around the climate crisis is evolving, from clear climate denial to other ways to delay or discourage action. This article identifies some of the ways politicians currently discourage action and breaks them down into 12 categories. Take a look, and you’ll be surprised at how many you’ll recognise from official government communications.

The tactics that annoy me are categorised in this article under “push non-transformative solutions”, those that suggest because we’ve taken one small action to mitigate climate change, we won’t need to take other actions, large scale or disruptive or just difficult. Or, the advice that we all need to chill out because technological improvements are going to fix everything any day now. When you analyse what’s being said, you realise just how much of it is a patronising pat on the head and a hope we stop asking questions.

What does it mean to us?

The article draws attention to these tactics and suggests ways to respond, advising that to do so effectively we need to understand them.

I use it as a lens through which to view any government announcement on the climate crisis or the environment. It’s providing me with a level of cynicism and reminding me to not take any communication at face value.

Other thoughts?

I’m new to The Conversation, but I find it an awesome resource. Topical articles based on current research, written well. If you want an objective view of a range of topics, I recommend it. Business + Economy and Environment + Energy get most of my attention, but all of it is interesting.

Other articles from The Conversation:

Flight shaming: how to spread the campaign that made Swedes give up flying for good

Your pension has a huge role to play in combating climate change — here’s how to make it sustainable

How your car sheds microplastics into the ocean thousands of miles away

Article: The Problem With Plastics and Our Oceans


Talk about #PlasticFreeJuly with your partner, children, parents, friends, neighbours, colleagues. Tell your grocery store cashier about it. Post it on your social media accounts. Start a conversation.

— Samiksha Rane

What’s it about?

Samiksha Rane provides a great overview of why plastic pollution in our oceans is such a problem. It’s an argument most of us should be familiar with, but Samiksha presents it in an approachable way and highlights some troubling statistics on marine plastic pollution.

What does it mean to us?

The useful takeaway comes at the end of the article: five actionable tips to help reduce our single-use plastic consumption. Plastic-Free July is over, but they’re great ideas to think about all year. My favourite? #4 Start The Conversation — without this topic becoming part of the normal conversation, most people are never going to make the change.

Other articles on Medium:

The Covid-19 recovery requires a resilient circular economy

10 Products that Hide Plastic in Plain Sight

Simon Sinek Says We Got Global Warming Wrong

Article: Lockdown is a unique chance to see how human activity affects wildlife

(New Scientist)

Rewilding is largely a matter of humans getting out of the way and letting nature take charge. That, of course, has been happening in spades of late due to the sudden suspension of life as we know it …

— Graham Lawton

What’s it about?

An article on the effect that the suspension of normal activities during the pandemic has had on wildlife around the globe, and how this might provide a boost for rewilding initiatives.

What does it mean to us?

To me, it’s highlighted how the pandemic can help us to define a clearer standard for our relationship with nature going forward. We’re all able to demand changes going forward. We can also review our relationship with the environment to inspire changes in our own life. Maybe we can rewild a corner of our garden, assess the impact of our commute when we return to work, or audit how much we’re buying and wasting on a weekly basis.

Another article on New Scientist

Only a fifth of ice-free land on Earth has very little human influence


I haven’t finished anything this month but I have recently started reading Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane and The Circular Economy: A User’s Guide by Walter Stahel.

Social Media

One account I love is furthrlife (Instagram). They post facts about sustainability and tips three times a day. Their grid is one of the best designed I’ve seen. Go now, marvel at the awesomeness of the grid, and follow.

Elsewhere on Instagram, follow myplasticfreefamilyfued for a view on how to balance improving sustainability with family life, rubbishwalks for an inspirational fight against local litter, and consciouslyeco for some great sustainability tips.

On Twitter, Robert Macfarlane’s account is one of the best I follow. I’ve learned a lot about my interactions with nature from his tweets.


Finally, some of my favourite sustainability apps:

  • Refill — find places to fill up your water bottle in water fountains or local shops and restaurants.
  • Treeapp — plant a tree every day for free by viewing content from environmentally friendly sponsors.
  • Giki — scan the barcodes of the products in your cupboards or fridge to find out how sustainable they are.

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