oh turns out the computer has a ‘yes’ button

I’ve spent a considerable amount of my miserable life sat in airless rooms with bureaucrats and ministers during which they explained to me, with a ‘I hope this is helpful’ expression on their face, why something they were doing which was obviously mind-smackingly stupid was not in fact stupid at all but totally fine and above board and all perfectly in keeping with the Way Of Doing Things.

I’d go in there with a briefing about why e.g. given the mounting climate emergency it makes no sense at all to hack away at tax rates to drill every last drop…


King Willy & Dave have announced you can get £1m for your bestest idea to save the planet, so here’s mine. You can have it for free as long as you make it happen somehow. I can’t be arsed and anyway I don’t know how.

Now this is actually just a Dragon’s Den version of the same thing I’ve always said whenever anyone asks me for my ‘one idea to save the planet’. …


A few of my favourite things

Climate change is like quantum mechanics in that if you think you understand it, you probably don’t. By which I mean that both are vast ideas; far more vast and ephemeral than can be neatly snapped into our brain. Certainly not mine. Climate change is not what my old boss liked to call a ‘thing’, no matter how much people wrap it in the language of statistics in order to try to make it a ‘thing’. …


Dear everyone:

Get some fucking sleep.

What’s wrong with you people? You can’t be Jesus Christ Almighty if you don’t get enough fucking sleep.

I’m 40 now and I don’t want this to sound like one of those muffly ‘things I wish I knew when I was your age’ posts, but Christ: get some fucking sleep.

Look, if you’re out drinking fizzy happy juice and clambering into bed when it’s already tomorrow, you’re not going to be able to sleep properly. …


This is a slightly tweaked version of a column I originally wrote for BusinessGreen, published on 1 August 2018.

My favourite Radiohead song is How to Disappear Completely. That one about Thom Yorke being on stage at an arena in Dublin and seeing himself on the big screen, singing to thousands, having an odd out of body experience:

“That there… that’s not me.”

Yorke imagines himself suddenly unbound from everyday normality: “walk[ing through walls]; float[ing] down the Liffey”. Things aren’t right. ‘Reality’ no longer holds.

We’ve all had moments like that. Not as many as Thom Yorke, I suspect. …


Perhaps, I hope, it was just the general thinklag of being back at work. It’s just that I found myself sitting at work today completely bloody freaking out; sat hunched in front of a computer, unable to do anything useful at all, even though something needed to be done.

The Government had brought out a thing, and I had to write a blog reacting to that thing. And I just couldn’t.

The thing was the thing. I was me. The thing and me were not interfacing.

The thing was fine. A decent enough thing. I mean, just a Government document…


Earlier this year I gave up drink for a month. It was an unambiguously marvellous experience. I’m currently working on writing something proper about the whole thing. Until then, here’s an unexpurgated diary entry for one of the days.

Day 18.

In the pub last night, a shout of aggression — an alarm from a guy at the bar — but it was just bants with the barman. He’d smashed his hand down ferociously to emphasise, in the way I may have once, that he was firmly committed to his choice of beers.

I relaxed, but didn’t it make me…


Written on Orkney, 10 January 2017.

Reading John Vidal’s valedictory letter and it is today impossible to feel anything but despair.

Sometimes I feel this breed of panic, a fraying at the edges, a sinkhole opening — too much has been done, and too many insurmountable things must be surmounted.

Vidal writes what I feel. The nightmare of the Great Acceleration. An unrestrainable whirlwind of impacts: population boom, technological frontiers, ever-expanding GDP, and cultural annihilation.

Steadily linear problems, unfathomably interlinked, are now exponential.

All of this boundless beauty is no longer bounded. Planet Earth II showed us the majesty, made…


Tomorrow is my ten year vegan-niversary. Ten years without meat, dairy, eggs, fish, anything like that. If it had a face, or came out of the sex parts of anything that has one, I’ve tried very, very hard not to put it inside me.

Yay me! Right?

Well I’ve definitely learned a few things. About myself, how my monkey-brain works (or doesn’t), and how my weaknesses can be turned into a kind of scared strength. And about other people, and how bloody weird we all are about what’s ‘normal’ to eat.

And I’ve also thought about whether I want to…


I’ve thought about it and aargh, I think Brexit is going to happen

In my personal opinion — and everything that follows is distinctly that — a vote to leave the EU on June 23rd would be an act of ugly and jingoistic barbarity. We would have been swept pathetically into ourselves, a more shuttered and arrogant island, by an absolute minority of the public.

But yet. I’ve this horrible hunch, you know. I can see it happening.

Here’s five reasons why.

1 The polls are missing something very important

First, look: it could still definitely go either way. Here’s…

David Powell

I write about climate change and the state of the mother-humpin’ planet.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store