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As the fracking protesters show, a people’s rebellion is the only way to fight climate breakdown | George Monbiot

Our politicians, under the influence of big business, have failed us. As they take the planet to the brink, it’s time for disruptive, nonviolent disobedience

It is hard to believe today, but the prevailing ethos among the educated elite was once public service. As the historian Tony Judt documented in Ill Fares the Land, the foremost ambition among graduates in the 1950s and 60s was, through government or the liberal professions, to serve their country. Their approach might have been patrician and often blinkered, but their intentions were mostly public and civic, not private and pecuniary.

Today, the notion of public service seems as quaint as a local post office. We expect those who govern us to grab what they can, permitting predatory banks and corporations to fleece the public realm, then collect their reward in the form of lucrative directorships. As the Edelman Corporation’s Trust Barometer survey reveals, trust worldwide has collapsed in all major institutions, and government is less trusted than any other.

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Potato spoons, pipe bots and mini wind turbines on Dyson awards list

Many of the 20 contenders for this year’s prestigious global prize focus on ways to create a more sustainable future

Cutlery made from potato peelings and a robotic cleaner that can tackle pollution in rivers, lakes and canals are among the groundbreaking international designs shortlisted for the prestigious annual James Dyson award.

Over half the world’s population currently live in cities, according to the United Nations – a proportion expected to rise to seven in 10 people by 2050 – and the projects share a common theme of aiming to redefine urban living through technology to create a more sustainable future.

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The Human Signature: Edward Burtynsky's Anthropocene – in pictures

Burtynsky’s unsettling large-scale images of industrial-scale extraction, urbanisation and deforestation reveal humanity’s devastating impact on the planet

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UK recycling industry under investigation for fraud and corruption

Exclusive: Watchdog examining claims plastic waste is not being recycled but left to leak into rivers and oceans

The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system amid warnings the world is about to close the door on UK packaging waste, the Guardian has learned.

The Environment Agency (EA) has set up a team of investigators, including three retired police officers, in an attempt to deal with complaints that organised criminals and firms are abusing the system.

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'This is just the beginning': freed activists return to fracking site

Trio of activists freed from prison after appeal get hero’s welcome at site of anti-fracking protest

On Thursday morning, the day after being released from prison, three environmental activists who became the first people to be jailed for an anti-fracking protest in the UK returned to the Preston New Road fracking site near Blackpool.

Related: I’m out of jail after my fracking protest. But justice has not been done | Simon Roscoe Blevins

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