Episodes
A statement from Dave and Ol: "All Sustainabaubles complied with the rules at the time of recording. Not that there have been any Sustainabaubles. But should there have been, they would have been babble-secure. And, just to be sure, we've instructed Arabella to investigate a Sustainabauble that definitely didn't happen, in case it in fact did." RIGHT, ON WITH IT. **You can still watch Dave and Ol in a livestream event, together with access to watch the wonderful film The Atom: A...
Published 12/15/21
Published 12/15/21
The blood diamonds of Mexico. A hipster's fever dream. Compressed mushy peas disguised as a gonad. Is there *anything* to commend the avocado? A fruit, we'll remind you, that CAN'T EVEN BE BOTHERED TO TASTE SWEET. And that's before we consider 'avolattes', an invention every bit as infuriating as the people who drink them. Well hang on just a vegan-bashing minute. Why does the humble alligator pear cop so much flack? Sure, the practice of growing billions of the blighters is, in many...
Published 12/05/21
It's here! Black Friday-mas is finally here! Thank the lord. Thank Jeff Bezos. Thank f*ck.Sigh. It's probably not OK to go warm and fuzzy in our special areas at the thought of being hoodwinked into buying sh*t we don't need just a month before we all lose our minds over the next orgy of mindless consumerism. And it's probably right and proper to get het up and misanthropic about it.BUT hang on. Is Black Friday actually that bad? And don't all the people who hate Black Friday also hate...
Published 11/28/21
Is it OK to feel sorry for teary Alok Sharma? Which country's delegation parties the hardest? Who put China in the shed? And was anyone at all standing up for the dormouses (dormice?)? Not a single one of the 15,276 hot takes already published about COP26 has addressed these serious and urgent questions, but my god the babble is not in the business of hot takes. So sit back and allow yourself to be taken on a retrospective, warts 'n' all, aural tour of Glasgow's shed of sheds...
Published 11/15/21
"So Dave, Ol, what IS your favourite tetrahedral molecule?" is not the most F of AQs we get, but the answer - since you asked - is of course CH4, or methane to its mates. It may lack the celebrity cachet of CO2, but boy does methane pack a punch in the warming stakes. In fact it packs 84 times as much of a punch, which is one reason sleepy men in suits have started announcing plans to gaffa tape some of the places from whence it guffs. So this week we don our lab technicians'...
Published 11/07/21
There are few childhood rules that continue into grownupness, but 'don't shit in the sea' is definitely one of them. Which is why it's such a shame that all Brits' s***s diligently done not in the sea seem to end up there regardless. Perhaps even more dispiritingly, politicians have proven themselves disinclined to do anything, actively voting *against* a thing that would have forced water companies to stop flooding the oceans with our motions. We role up our sleeves and plunge...
Published 10/31/21
Bugs in all their freaky forms do a staggering range of critical jobs that keep the planet from, among other things, quickly becoming a massive pile of corpses and poo. But humanity is nausing 'em, and we really, really need to stop nausing 'em. Yes, because bugs make it possible for almost all other animal species - including humans - to survive, but also because they are mesmerically wonderful in their own right. At least that's the view of this week's guest, author and head...
Published 10/24/21
A year late, for obvious reasons, but the imminent Glasgow climate shindig is still seismically important. But will this cauldron of egos be any more productive than the previous 25? Yes. No. Possibly. Probably not. Oh Jesus we don't know do we. But what we DO know is that countries were set homework at 2015's Paris get-together, homework that's very much overdue. So we canter through who's the class swot, who's too cool to comply with artificial constructs like 'deadlines', and who's...
Published 10/17/21
What shape best represents the absolute lunacy that is humans and their economic activity? Something Jackson Pollock-esque? Mr Messy off of the Mr Men series, perhaps? Either way, probably not a nice, clean circle. But when you think about it, it really really should be. Cos unless we start (re)learning how to work with what we've got - i.e. sending things round and round in virtuous circles - rather than what we're about to drill / dig / blow up, we're gonna be in an awful...
Published 10/10/21
Everything's running out in Blighty. Gas (as in gas), gas (as in petrol) and everyone's patience. As far as we can tell, the two crises are unrelated, other than their shared connection to the climate. But crikey moses they are getting people in a tiz, not least because - and brace yourself for some advance economics here - when things run out, things get more expensive. So in a daredevil move, and with one eye on the oh-christ-this-could-be-dull-ometer, Ol and Dave simultaneously...
Published 10/03/21
Four wheels good, two legs bad. For a hundred years, the gas-guzzling car has been king. But its days are numbered - no-one seriously disputes that - and what comes next will determine the scale of biospheric butchery in the post. But what if The Car 2.0 turns out not to be flying cars, autonomous cars, or Richard Branson Cars, but instead a happy mishmash of whizzy things and old-fashioned things that you don't own? Y'know, bikes, e-bikes, scooters & hire cars all available at the...
Published 09/26/21
Despite what Assorted Inhofes say, climate change is a) real b) here already c) going to get worse. We'd better get ready. So how come we're - er - not? We chat all things climate adaptation with the eminent Dr Morgan Phillips, director of The Glacier Trust and, even more pertinently, author of a righteous new book about the subject, Great Adaptations. We talk about why despite human resilience, Morgan thinks that without shunting adaptation properly up the policy wazoo it's...
Published 08/22/21
A 'wellbeing economy' sounds like the sort of economy that might not ruin everything, and in that sense we are very much behind it. But it also sounds like the sort of thing that we don't really know what it is. HOWEVER, this week's guest - writer, researcher, and advocate for economic system change Dr Katherine Trebeck - very much *does* know what it is, and is spearheading efforts to get Governments to actually prioritise wellbeing.We sit down with Katherine to find out where this...
Published 08/16/21
Does it really matter how 'fair' the solutions to climate breakdown are? So long as we stop the worst of it, who cares whether a few people have their noses put out of joint, right? Or is that missing the point, as well as being a bit inhofe-y? Is it *only* possible to achieve the radical changes needed if those changes don't, for instance, make the poor poorer? The rather splended Environmental Justice Commission has been talking to people throughout the UK about all this and...
Published 08/02/21
The list of things that enable life on earth is a pretty short one: a dollop of sunshine, drizzle of water, and a soup├žon of air. But for anything fun to happen on land, you're going to need a liberal smattering of soil, too. In fact that 30cm of topsoil is so fundamentally important that it gets a bit scary to think what would happen if it wasn't there. Unfortunately that's less of a thought experiment than it might sound - it's widely quoted that humanity has got only 60 years of...
Published 07/25/21
It's more than 160 years since clever science people first worked out that digging up and burning long-dead bugs made Earth sizzly. So why are we still doing it? Why weren't the early warnings heeded? And was it inevitable that humanity would, at some point or other, combust its way into the current planetary pickle? These questions and zillions more are addressed in Dr Alice Bell's fabulous new book 'Our Biggest Experiment: A History of the Climate Crisis'. Alice joins us for a natter...
Published 07/11/21
A wise person once said that when it comes to buggering up the planet, prison is an underused deterrent. And just why should it be OK to be an Earth-nausing Inhofe with impunity? NO WE AGREE WITH YOU, IT SHOULD NOT. Enter a fearsome bunch of lawyers and campaigners that have been steadily building momentum behind getting 'ecocide' - deliberately harming the environment - adopted as an international crime. And if that's one of those ideas that makes you go 'wow yes, that seems very...
Published 07/04/21
Amster-, E-, Jean-Claude Van-. All splendid dams in their own right, but topics for another time. THIS week we set our babble sights on the massive concrete walls wot stall rivers so we can power our trouser presses. On the face of it, hydroelectric dams seem sensible: produce loads of reliable 'leccy from thing that isn't fossil fuels. But the problem about the faces of things is that they often distract from the armpits of things. And, as we discover, dams get awful armpitty when you...
Published 06/27/21
Grand narratives of history are woven around pivotal moments, and it's just possible that when the history of this period is written, 26 May 2021 will be one of them. A little under a month ago, Royal Dutch Shell got told in no uncertain terms by a Dutch court to stop Royally Ducking up the Planet. Specifically, it got what in legal parlance is known as a hiding. The oil giant stood accused of endangering the rights to life and to family life by its actions, i.e. by continuing...
Published 06/20/21
It's the most successful website in the world, but many of us feel icky about using it. Is Amazon terrible for the planet or is it just, y'know, big? And if it is bad, is it any worse than thousands of little shops selling crap we don't need? Amazon's climate pledges and earnest sustainability marketing notwithstanding, we put our "we don't trust Jeff Bezos as far as we can propel him moon-wards" cards on the table... and then immediately get confused, given we're both...
Published 06/13/21
Boris "Gordon Gekko" Johnson aside, no-one likes greed. But growth - mmmmm, warm, cuddly, economic growth - well, that's another matter. Lesson one in MP school is that our collective prosperity increases as the economy swells. More GDP = more hospitals and schools. It's one of the few things upon which mainstream political parties everywhere agree: growth is unquestionably good. Which makes the life-work of this week's guest, the absurdly big-brained Professor Tim Jackson, all...
Published 06/06/21
Pity our tiny little brains. For some reason that escapes us now we thought it would be jolly interesting and not at all SODDING BEWILDERING to attempt to understand Bitcoin. That sobbing noise you can hear? That's us. Why? Well it may *look* like a harmless bunch of nerds sending each other made up money over the Internet, but it's also playing a not inconsiderable role in knackering the planet. With 1% of the world's electricity - and rising - being spaffed on cryptocurrencies, we...
Published 05/30/21
Pulp, the greatest band of all time, once sang that grass is "something you smoke". Perhaps that was true in 1995, but in the cool light of 2021 we sure as hell wouldn't advise smoking what's appearing in a depressing number of British back gardens. For fake grass is all the rage, despite it being FAKE SODDING GRASS. So this week, sounding like the pair of old codgers they are, Dave and Ol get all worked up and confused about a thing other people apparently like but is very obviously...
Published 05/24/21
Remember the past? A simpler time. A time before doxing and pile-ons and Katie Hopkins. A time when wholesome telly presenters on wholesome telly programmes told us that in the future we'd all be running our cars on chip fat and everything would be fine. Well we're in that future and EVERYTHING IS NOT FINE, PHILIPPA FORRESTER. Chip fat in cars is now a thing.* So much so that Yerp insist a certain percentage of motor fuel is chip fat. Which would be super (and previously supper)...
Published 05/16/21