The Assassin

Eight people in a citizen’s jury, discussing the most important challenge in the history of humanity – how to save ourselves from the looming climate crisis. Exciting new solutions are proposed, each with their own champions and detractors. What they decide will affect us all. But they each have their own issues to deal with, and what is more, one of them has a hidden agenda. Who is the assassin and who are they there to kill?

The Assassin presents a variety of realistic climate crisis solutions in an entertaining way. Click on the links below to find out more about the solutions included in the story and how to make them happen.

This is available as a stand alone novella as well as being part of the anthology and you can buy the eBook here.

Solution 1: Personal Carbon Allowances
Solution 2: Carbon Offsetting
Solution 3: Sharing economy and libraries of things
Solution 4: Right to Repair
Solution 5: Citizen Juries
Solution 6: On-Demand Buses
Solution 7: Wellbeing Index
Solution 8: Sustainable Farming
Find out more about the author: D.A. Baden

Below are audio files for the 6 chapters

The Assassin Introduction of characters
The Assassin Day 2 Carbon Offsets
The Assassin Day 3 Sharing Economy
The Assassin Day 4 Repair
The Assassin Day 5 On demand buses
The Assassin Day 6 Personal Carbon Allowances

Personal Carbon Allowances: how they work

How does this solution rate on:

Climate impact: tonnes of carbon saved/removed50% of national carbon emissions likely to be saved, depending on type of scheme
Climate adaptation-resilienceHigh as it is likely to encourage local energy/food/libraries of things as less impact if infrastructure/supply chain breakdown.
Social justice i.e. addresses inequalities, diversity, inclusionExcellent. Research suggests that 71% of low income households would benefit from PCAs as people will be responsible for their own carbon footprint
Cost of action needed to progress goalmain costs are administrative (about £30 or $30 per adult). Could be paid by tax payer or as part of the premium paid by over-consumers
Which location is the solution most needed/applicablecountries with low corruption to avoid black market

Personal Carbon Allowances: how they work

Just like managing a financial budget, with the personal carbon allowance (or PCA) we’d be expected to live within a carbon budget. This 3-minute video below gives a good summary:

Our experts have classed this solution as a gamechanger.

Interested in progressing this solution further?

Actions for policymakers  Read the “Personal Carbon Budgeting: What people need to know, learn and have in order to manage and live within a carbon budget, and the policies that could support them?” report by the UK Energy Centre.

Read “An introduction to Personal Carbon Allowances” by Dr Tina Fawcett and Prof Yael Parag.
Actions for funding bodies
Actions for business
Actions for public  

Solution 2: Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting is a way of “making up” for the CO2 emissions countries, companies and people produce. This video from the BBC explains the concept:

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However, there are criticisms that the wealthy are simply using carbon offsetting programmes to avoid responsibility. It is a good mitigation strategy but it cannot be the only solution, which is why personal carbon allowances are a good idea.

If done well, offsetting can indeed contribute to net zero strategies, but if done poorly it only adds to the masses of greenwashing. The University of Oxford has outlined new principles to highlight how offsetting should be done.

These include:

  1. Prioritise reducing your own emissions first, ensure the environmental integrity of any offsets used, and disclose how offsets are used.
  2. Shift offsetting towards carbon removal, where offsets directly remove carbon from the atmosphere;
  3. Shift offsetting towards long-lived storage, which removes carbon from the atmosphere permanently or almost permanently; and
  4. Support for the development of a market for net zero aligned offsets.

An example of a company that successfully offsets its carbon emissions, and has done since 2007 is PwC (or PricewaterhouseCoopers). You can read more about their example here.

Cogo is an example of an app that works with banks to help them and their customers (1) measure, (2) reduce, and (3) offset their carbon emissions. Cogo works with world-leading banks such as Natwest, Commonwealth Bank and TSB. Every transaction contributes to our carbon footprint, by using apps like Cogo we can start to reduce our footprint as we become aware of the individual impact we’re having on the planet.

Nori is a “carbon removal marketplace”. Essentially the idea is that businesses can offset the carbon that businesses can’t yet avoid creating. So far they have removed over 86K of carbon from our atmosphere.

How can I progress these carbon offsetting ideas further?

Draft table: This is a work in progress and with input from experts we will populate each column as we go for each solution.

Have suggestions you’d like us to include in the table? Email us at

Actions for Policymakers
Actions for Funding Bodies
Actions for Businesses(1) Use carbon removal marketplaces such as Nori to compensate for the carbon that your business cannot avoid emitting (yet).
Actions for the Public(1) Bank with institutions that use apps such as Cogo e.g., Natwest, TSB, Commonwealth Bank.

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Solution 3: Sharing economy and libraries of things

Think of all the stuff in your shed, or your attic, or at the back of your cupboard. Your house is probably full of items that you may only use once or twice a year but is still taking up lots of space and you want to keep in case you need it. Think of all the resources and expenses in every household having a drill for example, or large suitcases, bikes etc. Wouldn’t it be more efficient and save a lot of space and resources if we could easily just borrow stuff we only need now and then? What about an Amazon of borrowing rather than buying? Libraries of Things in every neighbourhood? Could the next John Lewis Christmas ad: be ‘Buy a year’s membership to sports department or fashion department for your friends and relatives?’

Did you know that solutions like this exist NOW? We simply need more of them and for them to be better adopted by consumers. But how do we get there? Through policy changes that will incentivise businesses to make the switch to the sharing economy.

We hope the following resources will help encourage you toward the sharing economy model.

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Rachel Botsman TED talk on the case for collaborative consumption (sharing economy)

Article about the Olio borrowing app

BBC Radio 4 programme “buy less stuff”

This programme explores the idea of the sharing economy in detail and helps you to visualise what the future could look like if we all stared to collectively share the things we don’t really need to own.

Academic articles on the sharing economy

Baden, D., Peattie, K., & Oke, A. (2020). Access over ownership: case studies of Libraries of ThingsSustainability12(17), [7180]. DOI: 10.3390/su12177180

Abstract: Over the last decade there has been increasing interest in the concept of the sharing economy, which replaces the focus on individual ownership with a focus on access to goods and services through borrowing, hiring or sharing. This study investigates the efficacy of extending the library concept to include more items, such as those that are used infrequently. The aim is to explore how Libraries of Things (LoTs) operate and the potential to broaden their appeal, reach and sustainability. This study adopts a multiple case study method to provide a snapshot of six LoTs in the UK. Findings indicate that all LoTs shared common environmental and social values, with the most prevalent values being to use the library concept to reduce resource use and waste and to enable more equitable access to goods. All relied on volunteers and public support, in the form of free or discounted space and none were yet economically self-sufficient. This poses important questions about the future for LoTs and whether they could or even should, transition towards the mainstream to make a more substantive contribution to creating a more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable economy.

In terms of environmental benefits, Library of Things London calculated that each year their activities save 11 tonnes of waste from going to landfill and 60 tonnes of CO2. They also anticipate indirect benefits through stimulating wider behaviour and systems change (e.g. amongst manufacturers, retailers, policymakers) resulting from thousands of people being incentivised to borrow rather than buy. Also, the local re-use and repair economy is stimulated by this activity, for example, 60% of borrowers surveyed said they were now 60% more likely to recycle and repair items. This suggests that engagement with an LoT could prompt users into the types of pro-sustainability behavioural “spill-overs”

For example, a study by Skjelvik et al., (2017) found that drills are typically used only 18 minutes per year and emissions from their use are just two percent of the total emissions, the rest coming from their manufacture, distribution and disposal. Five drills each rented six times instead of 30 drills being purchased would save an estimated 700 kg CO2e. The manufacture and transport of goods also gives rise to environmental issues such as deforestation, loss of habitat, loss of biodiversity, pollution, congestion and toxic waste (Castellani et al., 2019).

Castellani, V., A. Beylot and S. Sala: 2019, ‘Environmental impacts of household consumption in Europe: Comparing process-based LCA and environmentally extended input-output analysis’, Journal of Cleaner Production 240 117966.

Skjelvik, J. M., A. M. Erlandsen and O. Haavardsholm: 2017. ‘Environmental impacts and potential of the sharing economy’,  (Nordic Council of Ministers). Read the book here.

Draft table for the sharing economy:

This is a work in progress and with input from experts, we will populate each column as we go for each solution.

You can email with more suggestions to be added to the table.

Actions for policymakers (e.g. central/local governmentFund libraries of things from taxpayers money like book libraries; Make local authority space available at no cost for libraries of things, tax goods rather than labour to incentivise job creation and resource minimisation
Actions for funding bodies Award grant funding to libraries of things
Actions for businessesMake space available for second hand-preloved goods in stores. Make rental/borrowing attractive to consumers e.g. see product returns an opportunity to shift towards the sharing economy.pdf Use your marketing clout to promote re-use over buy-use-disposeManufacture products for quality and long life and easy repair
Actions for publicMake use of your local libraries of things, fashion swap apps, rental services, and car share services {johnny add links to these – be aware this is an international project). Promote sharing solutions via your social networks. Write to your local authority/MP asking them to support the sharing economy (JS – you could ask LOTs for a sample letter)Write to relevant businesses to ask them to make borrowing/renting more financially attractive.

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Solution 4: Right to Repair

It wasn’t always the case that appliances would only last for a max of ten years before they had to be replaced. The concept of planned obsolescence means that capitalist economies keep on spinning, but it’s at the cost of our planet and its future generations. There is a European group that campaigns for us all to have the right to repair. The concept is simple, products should be made to last, and when they don’t they should be easily repairable. This video from Right to Repair Europe explains the concept simply:

By repairing products it means we don’t have to continue to make so many new ones. “Recycling only means that a fraction of the material can be recuperated. It requires a lot of energy and gives rise to waste, and you still need more materials to make a replacement device. Instead, by extending the lifetime of an already existing product by repairing it, you avoid creating waste AND the environmental impact in the making of a new device.” says Sahra Svensson-Hoglund, from Virginia Tech University who researches the circular economy.

You can also take a quiz developed by Right to Repair Europe to help you understand this important legislation.

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Also, listen to this BBC Radio 4 programme called How we broke the future which also explains how we got to where we are now with materials scientist Professor Mark Miodownik of University College London.

An example: France

France has been a pioneer with the right to repair, introducing legislation from January 2021 on the Repairability Index for five categories of electronic devices: laptops, smartphones, televisions, washing machines and lawnmowers. Each product is assessed on five aspects, which are then accumulated into a repairability score that has to be displayed at the point of sale in the store, and online. Most importantly, intentional planned obsolescence has been criminalised.

  • documentation
  • disassembly
  • availability of spare parts
  • price of spare parts
  • product-specific aspects

By providing a repairability score, consumers are able to make more informed decisions about which products they buy, minimising the electronic waste generated in France.

Manufacturers compute the score using a spreadsheet provided by the Ministry of Environment. This webinar with experts on the topic summarises the challenges and opportunities of the repairability index. You can also read an article on this topic on Repair Europe’s website.

Jumana Labib and Dr Alissa Centivany at Western University (Canada) have been researching the Right to Repair in recent years, they have presented their findings in the form of academic posters which can be accessed here:

Swedish Example

Academics from Lund University in Sweden have published a paper titled Repair in the Circular Economy: Towards a National Swedish Strategy which proposes and discusses policies in support of consumer repairs. The paper also discusses other examples, such as the French Repairability Index.

Further resources and reading

List provided by Jumana Labib (Western University)

Draft table for the right to repair actions:

This is a work in progress and with input from experts, we will populate each column as we go for each solution.

You can email with more suggestions to be added to the table.

Actions for policymakers (e.g. central/local government)(1) Strict legislation should be put in place with regards to repair accessibility, corporations’ anti-repair strategies, and waste handling.
(2) Halt or minimize the exportation of waste and e-waste to developing countries. Instead, better (e-)waste disposal methods and stricter (e-)waste laws should be implemented. Waste should be handled locally and responsibly. Source: Jumana Labib and Dr Alissa Centivany (Western University)
(3) Remove VAT (Value Added Tax) on repair to make it more competitive with buying new products. This will also make repair businesses more competitive which will drive the change.
Actions for funding bodies Fund repair projects like Thing Libraries, which promote repair and reuse rather than replacement.

Implement and fund repair education programs in schools that teach children repair skills from an early age. Equally, fund repair education programs for adults.
Actions for businessesRather than perishable, disposable products with short lifespans, corporations should make more sustainable, durable products with the environment and consumer in mind (products with repairable, reusable, or circular designs, like Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop shoe).

Increased company transparency about product manufacturing and distribution as required by the government (ex. France adding repairability scores to products in stores, or companies releasing unfiltered reports about their carbon footprints and what goes into making their products), making greenwashing illegal in the process.

Improved repair accessibility worldwide. More local repair options create more jobs, which fuels the economy in healthy manner. For instance, companies can offer repair themselves (ex. Levi’s offers in-store repair workshops). Creating a circular economy will minimize waste delegation and burden on developing countries, ultimately helping to fight climate change and global warming. Source: Jumana Labib and Dr Alissa Centivany (Western University)

Eliminate manipulative tactics used to generate revenue and obstruct repair; allow consumers to fix their possessions, and give third party technicians more freedom and access to official materials in order to make repair more affordable and accessible. This, in turn, will cause consumers to turn towards repair more often as opposed to replacement. Corporations should stop forcing consumers to use their inadequate repair services or to replace and throw away their old products, when there are clearly more options. (Source: Jumana Labib, Western University)

Tone down advertising – stop the manipulative marketing that conditions consumers to replace their items; promote slower, healthier consumption instead. There are ways to generate profit without harming the planet as much. (Source: Jumana Labib, Western University)
Actions for publicLook out for local repair cafes and apps. For example, in London the Sojo app links people to local seamsters so they can get their clothes altered, repaired or upcycled in just a few clicks. The Restart project empowers people to repair electronic items. 

The following recommendations have been provided by Jumana Labib (Western University)
Modify your consumption patterns.
*Consume slowly and in moderation. Do not be so easily persuaded by good advertising and marketing techniques that convince you to replace and consume constantly, conspicuously, and in excess.  
Repair and reuse items more often! Unlearn this aversion to/fear of repair, pick up repair manuals, instruction books, and YouTube videos, or speak to those around you with repair skills and begin to practice/learn the process of repair.
*Keep working items for longer; using them until their lifespan ends and reusing old items will keep them out of landfills for longer, thus reducing waste and e-waste.
*Do not throw working electronics out if you buy new ones – sell them, donate them, or give them to a friend or family member who needs them.  
*Do your research on all products before buying them – understand how and where they’re made, their lifespans, and the company’s values or practices. 
*Buy sustainable alternatives to most products if possible (ex. Fairphone), but beware of greenwashing. 
*Call and/or write to legislators to help fight for your repair rights and legalize repair. Remember that lowering your individual carbon footprint is important and every effort counts, but it is the government and large corporations that should be held accountable, since their actions have the largest impact on the environment and our right to repair.  
*If you cannot repair your objects yourselves, consider getting them repaired at local independent repair stores or pop-ups. 
*Educate yourself on the topic and stay connected.

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Solution 5: Citizen Juries

Citizen juries have been proven to result in more long-term sustainable thinking, and this is what we need with the climate emergency. After reading The Assassin, you should understand the concept of citizen juries well, although in reality these won’t include attempted murders. Change Agents UK has outlined how these citizen assemblies/juries can work in practice to lead to better decision-making on their website.

Citizen assemblies are being currently used in the UK to address the climate crisis, which Extinction Rebellion have been advocates of for a long time. You can watch this documentary to find out how ordinary people can help to address this issue.

Participedia provides a very extensive explanation of how a citizen jury works, its purpose, origins, how to recruit participants, how it works and lessons learned from our experience so far. You can read it here.

You can also listen to this BBC Radio 4 programme where Sangita Myska hears from David Van Reybrouck, co-founder of one of the first permanent citizens’ assemblies in the world.

How can I progress this idea further?

Draft table: This is a work in progress and with input from experts we will populate each column as we go for each solution.

Have suggestions you’d like us to include in the table? Email us at

Actions for Policymakers
Actions for Funding Bodies
Actions for Businesses
Actions for the Public

Solution 6: On-demand Buses

The on-demand bus could be the new way to reduce the need for private cars altogether.

Currently, public transport does NOT work in most places, except for a few select big cities. Have you ever been in a situation where you have waited forever for a bus to come, and then three come all at once? Two researchers from Mexico City have created a mathematical model to illustrate why this happens:

Background to the research: The equal headway instability phenomenon is pervasive in public transport systems. This instability is characterized by an aggregation of vehicles that causes inefficient service. While equal headway instability is common, it has not been studied independently of a particular scenario. However, the phenomenon is apparent in many transport systems and can be modelled and rectified in abstraction.

Conclusions: The equal headway instability phenomenon can be avoided with the suggested technological and social measures.

This article in the New Scientist also summarises the research findings in an accessible way.

On-demand buses are a solution that uses new technology and algorithms to fix this issue, making public transport more reliable and accessible. It is currently being trialled in rural Britain by Norfolk County Council since March 2022, which you can read about here.

The trial covers 20 villages, where previously there was no bus since 1965 due to route cuts. At the moment, it is too early to say how effective the solution is in the Norfolk County Council case but Niki Park from the council who is leading the project has said the feedback thus far has been positive. The pilot is expected to last four years.

The UK Department of Transport has allocated £20 million to the scheme for local authorities to trial the new on-demand service.

The BBC’s Sangita Myska explored the topic in a recent BBC sounds episode and serves as an excellent introduction to how to make public transport more accessible in locations where it hasn’t always been that way.

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Chris Snyder, the CEO of Via the tech transit company talking about the reality of on-demand transport in both larger cities such as Berlin and also more rural areas such as Kent, UK.

Background information (provided by Via)


Transportation is now the #1 contributor of GHG emissions in the UK since 2016 – with a 27% share in 2019– and it has risen to the #2 contributor of GHG emissions in the EU. Humans have devised ingenious sustainable transport modes, from the bicycle to scooter to the tube or tram, but we remain incredibly attached to the private car. Today, 76% of Americans drive their car to work, while only 11% use public transportation. In Germany, with its significant investments in public transport infrastructure, 65% of people drive to work. Even in the Netherlands, where biking is a way of life, 56% of people choose to commute by car.

At the same time, transportation is a historical source of inequity and injustice. In the United States, 45% of Americans have no access to public transport, and at the same time, owning a personal vehicle is the second highest household expense. We know that efficient, affordable, and sustainable public transportation creates access to jobs and educational opportunities, and connects communities. But traditional public transport infrastructure is hugely expensive, so in far too many cities our investments in public transport haven’t kept pace with urbanisation. The result is that increasing numbers of people aren’t able to live within a reasonable commute of jobs – creating a kind of “mobility poverty” that erects barriers to economic opportunity. In fact, studies have shown that transportation is one of the single biggest barriers to escaping poverty.

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, then, as well as to create more just and equitable communities, we need to fundamentally change how we humans move, which means radically reimagining our relationship with the private car. The good news is that the most important solutions already exist – we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. But we do have to rethink the bus.

TransitTech companies, such as Via, build innovative software to enable cities, local authorities and transport authorities, among others—to transform their legacy transportation systems – which let’s not forget, are based on 17th century technology – into advanced digital networks that run on data. Technology enabled public transport uses algorithms and mobile apps to create more dynamic and resilient services which can be launched in weeks, then adapted and expanded as the needs of communities evolve. In practice, this can mean creating demand-responsive buses which rural riders can hail with an app, or providing tools to help cities plan more efficient transport networks and redesign streets for shared use mobility, or enabling efficient first and last mile connections from suburban transport deserts to existing high frequency rail or bus services.

Over the last decade we’ve paid far too much attention to electrifying (or automating) single occupancy vehicles, and not nearly enough to encouraging modal shift towards sustainable modes – and indeed to making those modes more and more attractive.

Relevant links and resources

Recommended reading:

Nottinghamshire County Council video clip of how an on-demand bus service works

Use cases

  • Rural – connecting up previously isolated rural communities with public transport eg Tees Flex
  • First mile, last mile – connecting up communities with the core transport network eg rail, commercial fixed bus routes etc eg Moorlands Connect, Staffordshire
  • Urban gap filling –  Using on-demand services to fill in the gaps around fixed route services or to meet demand at off-peak times eg MK Connect

Case studies

  • Transport for Wales, in partnership with the TransitTech company Via, launched fflecsi, a nationwide demand-responsive bus system that provides flexible transport options for residents of 11 rural, suburban, and urban communities. When riders were surveyed, 73% said that they had been able to reduce their private car usage thanks to the service, and 9% reported that prior to using fflecsi they had never before taken a bus.
  • Via’s MKConnect service, which today operates city-wide in Milton Keynes, England, is the UK’s first fully-electric, on-demand shared ride service.
    • MKConnect is made possible through a £544,000 grant from the UK Dept. for Transport’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles, and supports the city’s goals to reduce carbon emissions while providing sustainable, efficient transport for residents and visitors.
    • With Via’s MK Connect service in Milton Keynes, UK, residents have access to a demand-responsive service that uses electric vehicles and is fully integrated with the commercial bus network. If a fixed-route service is the most efficient option for a passenger’s proposed journey, they are directed toward the nearest bus stop. Only if fixed lines are not capable of meeting their trip request will a DRT option be shown. MK Connect demonstrates that with smart service design, DRT services can complement, rather than compete with, high-capacity commercial bus routes.
    • Via’s data scientists estimate that the availability of this shared, on-demand, EV service has reduced emissions by 15% and saved over £1m annual budget savings for Milton Keynes.

In the BBC Sounds episode, Chris Snyder talks about how current public transport relies on a system invented in the 17th century (a schedule). This does not work, especially in rural geographies. Just like other industries, public transport needs to move with the times. The big idea is to change the way that we plan the bus, according to Snyder, the solution is DRT (demand responsive transport, or on-demand buses) to focus on demand not supply by routing buses to where bookings are made, the schedule and route would change based on that demand using a mobile phone app and an algorithm.

The key elements of the idea are:

  • Powered by technology, usually an algorithm that uses demand from passengers to plan routes and arrival times.
  • There is no schedule, instead, there is an app or a phone line where users can request a ride just like with current taxi apps such as Uber or Bolt. The system will tell them when the next bus will be, directing them to a virtual bus stop that will be nearby so users do not have to rely on getting to physical bus stops.

Researchers at the University of Antwerp recently published a paper titled “The On-Demand Bus Routing Problem with Real-Time Traffic Information” where they conducted an experiment that found that by using on-demand buses is an overall effective solution, reducing tardiness in both severe and mild traffic conditions:

“Our experimental results show the overall effectiveness of this real-time control under different degrees of flexibility (congestion and number of buses available). Specifically, the average tardiness, maximum tardiness and the number of late passengers are significantly reduced under a wide range of congestion scenarios, from slight to severe. In addition, this effectiveness holds for various ratios of requests to the number of vehicles.”

How can I progress this idea further?

Draft table: This is a work in progress and with input from experts we will populate each column as we go for each solution.

Have suggestions you’d like us to include in the table? Email us at

Actions for PolicymakersProvide policies to subsidise public transportation including on-demand buses.

The very definition of levelling up is ensuring that everyone has fair and even access to job, local services, and opportunity. Transport is key, and the only way we will ensure that we are levelling up in this space is by mandating public transport is accessible for all. It is not good enough that such a large proportion of the UK population is car dependent due to lack of alternative transport.

To facilitate the above, a complete overhaul is needed of how we fund public transport in the UK. We have to create a long-term funding mechanism (that is either centrally or locally administered) that enables the adequate provision of public transport for all. Currently, we have a two tier system in the UK – the commercial bus networks that are provided, for profit, by mainstream operators. We then have local authorities who are tasked with covering the gaps (that are now very significant post-Covid) while facing their own funding crises. Facing an impossible challenge, most authorities have systematically cut transport budgets over the course of more than a decade and now leaving our bus networks in crisis.
Actions for Funding BodiesInvesting in on-demand transport companies such as Via.

While funding is certainly required, simply funding the same solutions that have always existed misses an opportunity to create more efficient, more compelling bus networks. Muscle memory of how transport is delivered is very strong, so funding bodies need to create a strong steer for change.

This means explicitly calling for new, innovative solutions to meet a new requirement for fair and equal access to public transport. It should also mean facilitating the removal of any silos that exist within local authorities of how transport is currently provided. Transport should be funded and provided holistically rather than in disconnected buckets for school services, medical services and regular bus services.  
Actions for BusinessesIn rural locations, employers should support public transportation initiatives to allow their staff to arrive to work comfortably and sustainably, whilst also eliminating social exclusion.

Encourage staff to use public transport to get to work and discourage the use of private cars by limiting available parking where viable alternatives exist.

Lobby your local authority to provide better transport provision to your place of work to ensure you have the maximum possible access to a potential employee pool.  

The authors of “Why does public transport not arrive on time?” recommend the following for transport companies:

(1) It makes little sense to add vehicles if these are not regulated to maintain an equal headway.
(2) Design methods to regulate equal headways. This will improve considerably the system performance. The most common method is to have scheduled arrival and waiting times at stations, with margins for adjustment along the route and also at terminals.
(3) Educate passengers with publicity campaigns to promote equal headways. In many cases, these cannot be achieved because of passenger behaviour. Explain to passengers the equal headway instability phenomenon, indicating that following certain norms will help them arrive earlier and more comfortably at their destination.
(4) Suggest recommendations as those outlined above, adapted to the local culture.
Actions for the PublicThe authors of “Why does public transport not arrive on time?” recommend the following for commuters:

(1) If a crowded vehicle arrives at a station after a long waiting time, it is very probable that empty vehicles are coming close behind. Do not board the crowded vehicle, contributing to its further delay and of all the passengers within. If even some people follow this advice, it is likely that crowded vehicles will be able to go relatively faster, allowing the vehicles behind them also to go faster, improving the performance of the whole system. Waiting at the station for another vehicle might actually contribute to a faster trip.
(2) Give way to people descending a vehicle before boarding. Trying to ‘‘win’’ and enter before others will delay everybody. Sometimes waiting for a second or a third vehicle is faster than attempting to board a crowded one (especially in transport systems that allow passing).
(3) Inside a crowded vehicle, go far from the doors. Giving space to ascending and descending people will accelerate the travel. Make way to the doors not too long before exiting.

Via recommends:

As a society, in almost all areas outside London, we have come to accept that public transport will not be capable of meeting all our transport needs. Demand more! If we are to meet our climate crisis then we need stronger public, shared, transport. Lobby your local authority to ensure they deliver this and prioritise funding accordingly.

Challenge yourself to use the public transport that exists. We are all part of the solution so it isn’t someone else that should be using public transport, it is all of us.

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Solution 7: Moving away from GDP to the Wellbeing Index

One of the potential obstacles that needs discussing in regard to these climate solutions is that GDP may suffer as a result of implementing some of these solutions. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Whilst in most countries, Gross Domestic Product is the way we currently measure economic success, it doesn’t have to be the only way. In fact, it’s disastrous for our planet if we continue to only look at GDP as our only measure of success.

We hope this bank of resources will help to educate you on this solution and give you a starting point for a discussion on how to make it a reality. Perhaps your country could be the pioneer in how we measure economic success?

The idea is to replace the GDP index which measures our Gross Domestic Product with a Well-Being Index (aka Happy Planet Index etc.). Some say that when governments are judged on metrics like the GDP, which are based on consumption this does little to promote more sustainable policies that benefit people. For example GDP increases when there are disasters as more resources are used. It is argued that measuring well-being instead would allow governments to be judged on broader criteria which will lead to more sustainable policies.

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Campaigns about moving away from GDP

In the UK, Caroline Lucas MP (Green Party) has been campaigning to move away from GDP and measuring economic growth as a metric for a country’s success. In her letter published in The Guardian, she says that “a green economy will lead to more than 1m new jobs in sectors ranging from renewable energy to caring in the next two years alone”.

Three UK academics have written an article in The Conversation about the reasons why GDP is not adequate and how we can move beyond using it to measure success in our economies (need to extract more details and resources).

BBC Sounds episode on the Happiness Index (or well-being index)

“How well is your country doing? The GDP – gross domestic product – has long been a measure of growth and success but some argue judging purely on economics is too narrow-sighted. Tom Heap meets ‘chopsy’ Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales who will challenge if a decision being made will be detrimental for children and those yet to be born. If the cost and inheritance to them is high it risks getting kicked out. She takes him to the wetlands she helped save from a planned M4 development. Katherine Trebeck explains alternatives measures of national success, the factors they take in and why many feel happier about using them. Dr Tamsin Edwards assesses what an alternative viewpoint could do for carbon cutting.”

David Cameron’s article in The Guardian talking about the Happiness Index

In the article the ex Prime Minister said: “It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money and it’s time we focused not just on GDP but on GWB – general wellbeing.”

There is also a great article that discusses the revolutionary impact of switching our metrics from GDP to well-being in positive news.

Video on the Happy Planet Index

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network video on World Hapiness Report Report 2017

Resource 4: Useful links for further reading

  • OECD Better Life Index
  • Sustainable Society Foundation Report on “measuring wellbeing and progress towards sustainability”, read here.
  • Read about how the convenience store chain the Cooperative have been using the Wellbeing Index to measure success here.

How can I progress this idea further?

Draft table: This is a work in progress and with input from experts we will populate each column as we go for each solution.

Have suggestions you’d like us to include in the table? Email us at

Actions for Policymakers
Actions for Funding Bodies
Actions for Businesses
Actions for the PublicJoin campaign (add links) Write to your local authority/MP asking them to support moving away from GDP to well being index. Email news programmes to ask them to report more social/environmental metrics (good and bad) not just consumption (as that assumes consumption is good).

Read Less

Solution 8: Sustainable Farming

The Assassin also mention the concept of sustainable farming. The global food system is responsible for ~21–37% of annual emissions. To find out more you can listen to this BBC Radio 4 episode on Zero Carbon Farms.

How can I progress this idea further?

Draft table: This is a work in progress and with input from experts we will populate each column as we go for each solution.

Have suggestions you’d like us to include in the table? Email us at

Actions for Policymakers
Actions for Funding Bodies
Actions for Businesses
Actions for the Public
The Assassin is one of 24 short stories from the anthology No More Fairy Tales: Stories To Save Our Planet. Buy the eBook direct here. The paperback is available on order from your bookshop, via Amazon or direct from the publisher.

Meet the author: D.A. Baden and The Experts

D.A. Baden is Professor of Sustainability at the University of Southampton and has published numerous book chapters and articles in the academic realm, and a eco-themed rom-com Habitat Man. She wrote the script for a musical, performed in Southampton and London in 2016, and has written three other screenplays. Denise set up the series of free Green Stories writing competitions in 2018 to inspire writers to integrate green solutions into their writing ( Denise has written three stories for this anthology, and co-written two others. The Pitch is adapted from her novel Habitat Man. Follow on and @DABadenauthor

Calls to action: what can you do to progress these solutions?

Now that you know about the solutions presented in The Assassin, you may be asking yourself “how can I help further?”. The tables in each section above show you good starting points, but they’re not exhaustive.

Have suggestions for other things that policymakers, funding bodies, businesses and the public can do to progress these ideas further? Email us at