1. BUILD YOUR OWN COMMUNITY
The community-led housing movement has been slowly gaining momentum in the UK, and with the recent commitment of £240m of government funding, 2018 is set to be the year it really takes off. Community land trusts (CLTs) are leading the way, helping small groups of engaged residents obtain land or secure a long-term lease on a site.
A CLT has the advantage of being able to dictate the terms of rent or sale conditions for new homes, like in London, where CLT homes in the east end have been sold at one third of market rates. Baroness Bakewell, chair of the National CLT Network said there was now an exciting opportunity to grow the community-led housing movement “from hundreds of communities building homes, to thousands, and build a proper market for the sector”.
2. EAT SEAWEED
A growing number of scientists are getting excited about the possibilities for the humble algae that washes up around rocks on the beach. Growing giant seaweed farms could absorb a great deal of CO2 and help de-acidify the oceans. And according to recent research in Australia, feeding seaweed to cows can drastically cut their harmful methane emissions.
If our taste buds can adjust, kelp farms could help feed the human population too. Professor Tim Flannery believes it could “play a large role in solving one of our most dire issues – climate change (and) supply huge volumes of high-quality seafood”.
3. PLUG INTO BATTERY POWER
The potentially epoch-defining shift to electric cars has been painfully slow and protracted, with the limits of battery power holding back a consumer revolution in automobiles. That is about to change. Elon Musk’s company Tesla has demonstrated a new level of capability, launching the most powerful lithium-ion battery in the world in South Australia, where it helps pump electricity around the grid. The 100-megawatt battery was built in only 60 days.
According to the latest research by the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, a new wave of cheaper, lighter batteries could dramatically increase battery storage capacity in cars, boosting the range an electric vehicle can travel from 125 miles to 375 miles. Tesla aims to make 10,000 Model 3 electric cars a week in 2018. So it could be the year electric finally goes mass-market, and we begin to wean ourselves off oil dependence. Not a moment too soon.