According to Japanese folklore, a celestial love story renews itself every July: only on the seventh day of the seventh month are the parted lovers and star gods Orihime and Hikoboshi permitted to meet across the Milky Way, which usually keeps them apart. In modern day Japan, people celebrate by writing wishes on small strips of paper and hanging them from bamboo trees. When the 2008 G8 summit held in Toyako, Hokkaido, happened to coincide with this star festival – known as Tanabata – Japanese premier Yasuo Fukuda encouraged each G8 leader to write and hang their wish for a better world.
At Isonomia, our version of Tanabata did away with the wasteful use of paper, but we celebrated the festival by festooning our virtual bamboo tree with a string of hopeful blog, and hope that they may too, in some small way, help to bring about a better world. But, if you’ve been too busy wishing on your own star to read July’s offerings, what have you missed?
The brightest star in the July skies came courtesy of Emma Gowing and Steve Watson, who offered some stellar reflections on their work on waste statistics in Wales. Emma and Steve held a focus group in Cardiff to find out what residents felt about waste communications, and shared some of their findings about what people respond to, and what they don’t.
The pinpricks of starlight that arrive on earth of course set off thousands, sometimes millions of years ago, making each glance at the night sky a journey back in time. Rob Gillies, however, took us on a journey in the opposite direction, to explore what waste policy issues may come to the fore in the 2015 general election. Environmental issues have taken a back seat as the UK climbs out of economic recession, but continuing financial pressures on councils to deliver cheaper services along with EU waste targets may lead to shifts in the waste landscape, he argues.
Adam Baddeley introduced us to a range of extra-terrestrial sounding concepts with names like CfDs, FiTs and CHPQAs. An understanding of the constellations they trace is critical to appreciating how government support mechanisms and policies may affect the development of biomass energy. Adam’s question was whether, in all its complexity, biomass policy at risk of subverting itself?
You could perhaps be forgiven for missing Dominic Hogg’s short piece on the relationship between waste policy and the circular economy as it blazed across the heavens like a blog comet, burning briefly but brightly. Although the waste hierarchy and a circular economy should be complementary, Dominic argues that current waste policy creates barriers to achieving economic circularity. And we were very pleased to witness the birth of a new star as first time author Farinoosh Asayesh shone a light on trends in sustainable housing around the globe.
Thanks to all those who commented on our articles; it’s something we and our authors really appreciate. Offering a platform for a variety of opinions and generating debate is what we’re all about, so if anything you’ve read here has illumined your world or sent you into a black hole, please do let us know through our comments section or even with an article of your own. We try to provide an informed but accessible viewpoint on a wide range of environment issues, so whether you’ve got recyclables, renewables or reusables on your mind, please do get in touch.
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What can we possibly wish for the month of August? Well, if we wish very hard we might just get a new piece from Thomas Vergunst on whether the circular economy concept has killed the waste hierarchy; Roy Hathaway may return to ask whether a circular economy is possible at all; and Hilary Vick may be able to tell us about the use of incentives to encourage parents to pick reusable nappies for the children.
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