Join the Dots
Mainstreaming the environment into economics:  Kerry ten Kate

Mainstreaming the environment into economics: Kerry ten Kate

March 3, 2021
In this episode, we speak to Kerry about how she handles the challenge of bringing different groups who don't normally see eye to eye together around "common problems" and values the emerging generation of people who are able to speak the languages of different disciplines and work with different tools and data. 
You'll notice she doesn't adhere to a traditional job or even a single research area. Carving out where we can be most useful is the future. 
Throughout her journey starting from the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, you will hear the joy Kerry finds in this challenge and grace in apportioning the achievement to all involved.

Kerry was director of the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme (BBOP) and is currently a freelance advisor, a Council Member of the RSPB and a Non-Executive Board Member of Natural England

Choice 10. Electric Vehicles

Choice 10. Electric Vehicles

February 18, 2021

In this episode, we talk comparing costs and benefits; and life cycle analysis and thinking about the full cost 

Hybrid and electric vehicles have been coming to the market for quiet a few years now. In November 2020, the UK government announced a two-step policy:

Step 1 will see the phase-out date for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans brought forward to 2030.

Step 2 will see all new cars and vans be fully zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035.

We talked to someone who is already making the switch. He happens to be an environmental economist ("first a birdwatcher" he would say). 

Why electric vehicles? Because they don't emit the same / as much air pollutants during use - see our episode on air pollution and its effects. In addition, the electricity they use could be largely, and even wholly, renewable, also avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases. We cover the impacts of producing electric vehicles has like lithium mining but we also remind about the impacts of oil extraction. There is no zero impact way of moving about...well not in a motorised vehicle anyway. That's why it's crucial we follow a transport hierarchy: 

  • Travel on public transport - needs more public investment (more, better connected, safe, less environmental impacts)
  • When you can’t use public transport – opt for lower impact: walk, cycle, and when you have to drive a car, choose an electric one…that’ll be hard for the gas guzzling SUV drivers but we still have hope…and the technology and the regulation!

Our guest in this episode is Ian Dickie,  is a Director of eftec and a Director of the Aldersgate Group

Update on Covid19 and masks - February 2021

Update on Covid19 and masks - February 2021

February 9, 2021

Given the new virus variants, we wanted to check out the new advice about masks. Listen to the quick update (we sneak in 'the precautionary principle' too). You can download the references which we used for the update by visiting the episode webpage - click here

Environmental Policy Adviser: Jill Duggan

Environmental Policy Adviser: Jill Duggan

February 3, 2021

In this episode, we hear the varied career history of Jill from fine art to economics; from John Lewis shop floor to her current position as the CEO of Environmental Defense Fund-Europe. Her curiosity and determination not to settle for “the way it is, the way it is done” enabled her to link it all together and how her ‘butterfly mind’ is also what makes her sting like a bee. 

Choices 9. The Air We Breathe

Choices 9. The Air We Breathe

January 18, 2021

Who pollutes the air in our cities?
What can we do about it?
How about the air in our homes? - that's for another episode​

In this episode, we talk about impact pathway to understand the impacts of air pollution and transport policy - transport generally being the main source of air pollution in cities

In December 2020, a court in London decided that air pollution was the cause of death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah (RIP). This was a first in law recognising causality. Science has been aware of the health impacts of air pollution for decades. In London, at least since the 'pea soupers' of 1953 (see below). And air pollution is one of those areas where science has been incorporated into policy - in the UK at least, we now have cleaner ways to generate electricity and heat / cool our homes (still room for improvement of course!) but there is a lot more to do about transport - where emissions are nearest to the people who are affected. 

But what can a household do about air pollution? You can reduce your travel by car, switch to cleaner vehicles (our next episode is on this!), when ordering online choose the slower delivery or click and collect nearby, so your next day delivery doesn't add to the increasing delivery van traffic, and vote for the politicians who take air pollution, transport and everything else that is for your benefit, seriously. 

There is a lot to talk about air pollution - hence a long episode but also more info on our website. 

Our guest in this episode is Oliver Lord, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Environmental Defense Fund Europe

Choices 8. One thing in 2021!

Choices 8. One thing in 2021!

January 1, 2021

The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that we have too many of them and they are too ambitious. Years of making and breaking them leads to disappointment and they either become a joke or are dropped altogether.

So this year, we decided to pick 1 thing and see it through. We’ll let you know how you get on.

If you’d like to share your 1 things, you can find us on Instagram, twitter and facebook – search for join the dots podcast or write to us on our contact page.

Ece aims to reduce the environmental impacts of her cats. 

Sabine will see how she can do less business travel and travel with less impact when she can. 

Jill will switch to rooibos tea. 

We talked about chocolate - apparently it is theobromine that we are hooked on. No one made a resolution about chocolate....

Choices 7. Season’s Greetings 2020 - Together Apart!

Choices 7. Season’s Greetings 2020 - Together Apart!

December 21, 2020

What is the best gift you can give to your loved ones? How can we celebrate with fewer environmental impacts and more love?

In this episode we focus on life cycle analysis, beliefs and a bit of reminiscence

We recorded this episode on 6th December. The UK government had given permission for ‘Christmas bubbles’… as you'll hear our resident scientist, Sabine, was not convinced….she didn’t think permission meant it was a good idea.  

Now that “Christmas is cancelled in the UK”, it is more important than ever to think about what it is we are meant to celebrate this of year. 

December festivities celebrate cleansing, re-start, death and re-birth – closely linked to the change of season and nature.  


We talk about the importance of time and love over giftware (like the tat with your name on it); about regifting something you loved and how about the gift of a donation?  The following are some opportunities to donate in the UK:

Choose love that sends presents to refugees – especially good for that person you know who has everything  

Trussell Trust enables you to donate centrally or find your local food bank – especially if you don’t want to eat when your neighbours go without 

Woodland Trust – to plant a tree to commemorate 2020? The end of. 

Good Law project – uses law  to uphold democracy, protect the environment and ensure no one is left behind – especially if you’re not happy about recent government procurement

For more information please visit our website.

*** The views we and our guests express in this podcast are our own ***

Choices 6. Can many cooks feed the world and save the planet?​

Choices 6. Can many cooks feed the world and save the planet?​

December 17, 2020

"Eat food. Not a lot. Mostly from plants"
Michael Pollan

How do we navigate the food system and help reduce our environmental and social impacts? ​

In this episode we focus on the food system, integrated analysis, almond milk and a little bit of Brexit

It was difficult enough talking about a household’s shopping, cooking, eating habits in our first episode on food. This time, looking at the supply side if you like, it took us an hour to find a way into the conversation (don’t worry we cut that bit!). And once we were in, we went from consumers to farmers to agri-business to government and yes, we had to touch on post-Brexit agricultural policy…

This is not easy but conversations about feeding the world and saving the planet will need to involve everyone, and the solutions are a mix of science, technology and behaviours. So we hope you stay with us as we begin to explore these issues. We’ll get back to food again in 2021!

We talk quite a bit about different farming systems – in particular:

Intensive farming which uses higher levels of input and output per unit of agricultural land area – inputs can include labour, machinery and agri-chemicals. The impacts on the environment and animal welfare depend on the combination of the inputs used.

Extensive farming which uses a smaller amount of labour, machinery and agri-chemicals relative to the size of the agricultural land. Productivity (amount of crops and animal products produced per unit of land) in extensive agriculture depends primarily on the soil’s natural fertility, climate and water availability.

We recorded this episode before the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs updated their announcement on Environmental Land Management Scheme which will replace the EU Common Agricultural Policy in England - you can read the announcement here.

More interestingly, the UK Climate Change Committee published their 6th Carbon Budget. You can see all the reports and a video of the launch event here.  

The CCC report also covers agriculture and makes suggestions as to how agricultural productivity can increase: how we can use the land we have to produce more food but without this increasing environmental damage

Our guest in this episode was Professor Bridget Emmett, CEH Science Area Head, Soils and Land Use & Head of Bangor site. At the UK CEH, Bridget leads land management - Brexit modelling work for the Welsh government which you can read about here.  

*** The views we and our guests express in this podcast are our own ***

See our website for more further reading

Environmental Economics: Ece Ozdemiroglu

Environmental Economics: Ece Ozdemiroglu

November 30, 2020

In this episode, we hear what environmental economics is about; the work of eftec, of which Ece is the Founding Director and the work of the Climate Change Committee - Adaptation Committee, of which she is a member. It is a story of luck and grit and focusing on the positives to keep going. And yes, she is Turkish, but you call her a Turkish delight at your own risk.

Choices 5. Food in an Uncertain World

Choices 5. Food in an Uncertain World

November 18, 2020

Where does our food come from?

How can we change our shopping, cooking and eating habits to be more resilient to risks to food supply and also better for our health, wealth and the planet?


In this episode we focus on the food system, adaptation planning, life cycle analysis, food miles and touch upon market pricing and public goods


The first COVID19 lockdown in the UK made us more aware that we are part of a very complex food system. It is a system that is increasingly subject to more shocks – not only Covid19 but also climate change and Brexit. In fact, given that the UK imports nearly half of its food (and, in the process, exporting the impacts of production), the whole system is worth exploring even in the best of times.

In this first of two food episodes, we discuss our reliance on a small number of food sources; how to weigh up the environmental, health and cost considerations and how we can provide for ourselves in times of uncertainty. We also touch upon how good nutrition and equal access to food are public goods that deserve government support.

We cover

  1. Storing
  2. Growing
  3. Re-thinking sources – food miles and country of origin are important but so is how the food is produced – about which there needs to be more information for the consumer
  4. Eating differently – adding variety to the meals you cook
  5. Wasting less – learning to cook differently, and being mindful of best before and use by labels; false economy of bulk buying that leads to waste


In the next episode on food, in December, we will look into what we eat and its impacts.



Key references we used for this episode are listed in our website – jointhedotspodcast/food-1

***The views we and our guests express in this podcast are our own***

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