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Welcome to 'Sustainability by numbers'
Welcome to Sustainability by numbers, a blog and newsletter about using data to understand how we build a sustainable world.
Update (5/12/22): This Substack was initially named ‘Sustainability – without the hot air’. Since then, I’ve renamed it to ‘Sustainability by numbers’ due to trademark concerns.
This is a Substack about how we can use numbers and research to build a sustainable world.
I read MacKay’s book for the first time around a decade ago. It was exactly what I had been looking for. A realistic look at the UK’s chances of powering its economy through low-carbon energy. Not based on instinct or gut feeling. Also not by getting into the niche of a particular energy technology. But instead, with a data-driven bird’s eye view of the whole energy system.
Since then, I’ve found myself using this approach to understand the world around me. From energy to food, climate to health, air pollution to global poverty. One of the best ways to get a clearer picture is to step back and look at the data.
The focus of my work is on sustainability. To build a sustainable future we need to get serious about the solutions that could really make a difference.
The world is awash with recommendations on how we can live more sustainably, and what changes governments, companies and innovators need to use to get us there. It’s hard to sift through to understand what matters and what doesn’t. Many of these recommendations are flat-out wrong. They are, at best, useless. At their worst, they increase our environmental impact.
Understandably, people are confused by conflicting information on what they should eat; consume; buy to reduce their environmental impact.
The frustrating thing is that we usually have the data and research we need to answer these questions. We just don’t communicate them properly.
In my role as Head of Research at Our World in Data I already work hard to make this data and research accessible and understandable. A lot of my research and writing will stay there.
This Substack is more of a personal project. It’s a space for me to share interesting findings, provide some more opinionated or personalised articles, and work through some numbers and thoughts that are more half-baked than might appear on Our World in Data.
If you’re looking for an evidence-based, data-driven approach to understanding how we build a sustainable world, I hope you subscribe and come along for the journey.
This Substack is free, and I don’t have any plans to change that.
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