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How Crypto is Re‑Writing the Rules of Digital Ownership

Shortly after the financial crisis of 2008, a group of tech-minded trailblazers sought a solution to the shortcomings of conventional finance. They envisaged a world underpinned not by centralized power, but by a distributed, democratic system of ownership that was inclusive, transparent and secure. This world, the crypto world, grew steadily in the years that followed. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Global lockdowns have hastened the advance of all things digital and, in this uncertain age of

Peatlands in peril: The race to save the bogs that slow climate change

In the middle of the 20th century, Finland started modernizing. Like most of Europe, the Nordic nation had been left economically bereft by World War II, and needed to ramp up productivity fast. The answer, the Finnish government decided, was forestry, the country’s industrial backbone for generations. Over the next three decades, vast tracts of trees were planted, blanketing the swampy terrain that covers nearly a third of Finland’s surface: peatland.

How might the world meet its clean energy needs

Sixteen miles (26km) off the windswept coast of northern Scotland, the future of renewable energy is taking shape. Rotating rhythmically in the breeze, the five colossal turbines of the Hywind Scotland wind farm look much like any other off-shore wind project, bar one major difference – they're floating. While conventional offshore turbines sit atop metal and concrete towers fixed into the seabed, Hywind's turbines rest on buoyant steel keels that bob with the waves. Carefully balanced, they re

Higher Wages Can Mean Higher Profits, If Staff Have the Right Tools

Some call it the “Great Resignation”; others the “Big Quit.” Since early 2021, around 33 million Americans have parted ways with an employer — the highest ‘quits rate’ on record. And the Big Quit won’t be ending any time soon. Recent job market research suggests a staggering 74% of full time US employees intend to leave their jobs this year in search of new opportunities, more compensation, or better working conditions.

Serbia’s Pedro Arrupe Integration House — Providing Unaccompanied Refugee Children the Childhood they Deserve

Located midway between the Middle East and Western Europe, Serbia was hit hard by the “refugee crisis” of 2015. Fleeing war and chronic economic insecurity, of refugees arrived in the Balkan country, most destined for the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Among their ranks were thousands of unaccompanied children: alone, vulnerable, and in urgent need of specialist care.

How Covid-19 is helping us fight climate change

The arrival of COVID-19 was a crisis that few foresaw. Almost overnight, organisations and individuals had to adapt to the realities of life under a global pandemic. Across the UK, people started doing things differently, seeking solutions to the most pressing problems — from business who pivoted to make hand sanitiser and face masks, to scientists who redirected their research to fight the disease.

Our Hydrogen-Powered Future Is Unfolding at the Edge of the World

Perched atop the United Kingdom, ten miles north of mainland Scotland, the Orkney Islands are a wild place. Encircled by roiling waters — the North Sea on one side, the Atlantic Ocean on the other — and battered by winds year round, the weather-lashed archipelago is bracing, beautiful and has in abundance that which others are scrambling to produce: renewable power. Onshore wind turbines pepper the landscape, working in tandem with wave and tidal generators to supply Orkney’s 22,000 inhabitants

Political Storm Swirls Around Britain’s Refugee Surge

Some held their hands aloft in celebration; others simply slumped to the ground in the 24°C heat, exhausted from the ordeal they’d just endured. That was the scene on the south coast of England this week, when at least 430 migrants — including infants too young to walk — made landfall. They had braved the 20-mile crossing from either France or Belgium, navigating the world’s busiest shipping lane aboard flimsy inflatable boats. Meanwhile, 70 miles away in Westminster, the fate of those who’ll

How flooded coal mines could heat homes

Coal mines were the beating heart of Britain's industrial revolution. Their sooty, energy-dense output gave life to new-fangled factories and shipyards, fuelling the nation's irrepressible march towards modernity. They helped shape a carbon-intensive economy, however, one that took little notice of the natural world around it. They paved the way for a global dependence on fossil fuels, in doing so, fired the starting pistol on the climate crisis that today confronts us all.

Why central banks are getting into the crypto game

From bitcoin to ethereum, digital currencies have been heralded as a new dawn for money. They allow for faster, cheaper transfers, promote financial inclusion and offer greater privacy, according to their proponents. However, the promise of anonymity has also made them a favoured financial medium for fraudsters and criminals. And beset by explosive volatility, they fall far short of being a viable payment method. But what if that wasn’t the case? For monetary authorities worldwide, this is the trillion-dollar question. Spurred by the crypto sector’s meteoric rise, dozens are looking at launching their own central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) — virtual money that replaces cash with electronic tokens. Done correctly, this could democratise finance, clamp down on criminality and offer far greater efficiency. Yet deep in CBDCs’ digital DNA are concerns around state surveillance and individual privacy and the prospect of a cashless society that might not work for all.

How Brexit left small British business out in the cold

It was billed as the rebirth of UK plc, granting British businesses freedom from the high-handed bureaucracy of Brussels. But, for many SMEs with significant EU exports, Brexit feels less like a renaissance than it does the rocky road to ruin. Engulfed by paperwork, taxes and unbearable added costs, some are having to shelve their EU operations indefinitely. Others, unwilling to sacrifice their hard-earned customer base on the Continent, are battling through the red tape, desperate to salvage what business they can. Donna Wilson, a London-based textile designer who runs an eponymous homeware business, is one of the latter, although she is finding it an uphill struggle. “Selling to Europe used to be seamless,” she says. “With the EU agreements in place, we didn’t have to deal with customs and there were no hidden charges. It was a very easy experience for us and our customers.”

This Country Is Finally Teaching Students About Its Ugly Colonial History

Demands to tackle discrimination through education have grown globally over the last 12 months, energised by the murder of George Floyd and wave of racial equality campaigning that followed. In the UK, a petition calling for the compulsory teaching of Britain’s role in colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade got 268,772 signatures – well over the 100,000 needed for the topic to be debated in Parliament. Scotland has an ugly colonial past. It was a ready participant in Britain’s blood-soak

From Indigenous Communities to Faith-Based Organisations, Collaboration is Needed to Tackle the Climate Crisis

There is no greater equalizer than the environment. Regardless of race, religion, gender or geography, we’re all facing a climate crisis — a man-made catastrophe that can only be tackled with collective action. Faith-based organisations and indigenous communities are key actors in this endeavour. With their moral capital and spiritual resonance, they can call for restorative action and greater sustainability, guiding policymakers onto a path that better protects the planet. This was the centra

Small UK firms struggle with post-Brexit hurdles to doing business in Europe

It was billed as the rebirth of British business — a chance to build a brighter commercial future, free of costly bureaucracy. But Brexit is proving far from profitable for many UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Swamped by paperwork, taxes, and eye-watering additional costs, some are having to shutter their EU operations indefinitely. Others, unwilling to cut off European customers, are simply upping sticks, and moving to the Continent. Antos, a Scottish dog chew producer, is one s

Scottish Independence Back In The Limelight As Country Votes In Pivotal Parliamentary Election

Constrained by coronavirus restrictions, there’s an eerie quietness to Scotland’s parliamentary election campaign. No raucous street activism, no mass rallies. Just a peculiar sense of calm before the impending constitutional storm. On May 6, polling day, that storm makes landfall. Voters face a stark choice. Plump for a pro-independence party, and they’re saying yes to ‘IndyRef2’: a second ballot on Scottish independence. Deny the nationalists a majority, and dreams of secession fade away (fo
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