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Showing posts from February, 2020

Research and teaching in the midst of climate crisis

I became a co-convenor of the PSA Environmental Politics sub-group in 2019, against the backdrop of the rise of Extinction Rebellion and the increasing impact of the environmental movement. The convening team decided to reflect this in our workshop on ‘Activism and Academia in an Age of Environmental Breakdown’ at Nottingham Trent which aimed to not only bring together activists and academics but to critically reflect on the intersection between the two and try to explore how to hold academic events in this time of climate crisis. 

As anyone who’s organised an event knows, finding a convenient data is half the battle. Balancing the start of term dates for myself and the other co-convenors was difficult and the date of 20th September 2019 was one of the few that worked for us all. But surely holding an event on environmental activism on the date of the global climate strike was contradictory? After much discussion, we decided that the fit between the theme of the conference and the s…

Cooking with electricity in Nepal

PhD student Will Clements tells us how switching from cooking with biomass to cooking with electricity is saving time and saving lives in Nepal.

Sustainable Development Goal 7 calls for affordable reliable access to modern energy. However, around 3 billion people still use biomass for cooking. Smoky kitchens – indoor air pollution due to biomass cooking emissions – account for the premature deaths of around 4 million people every year. The burden of firewood collection almost always falls on women and girls, who must often travel long distances exposed to the risk of physical and sexual violence. The gravity of the problem is clear.

Electric cooking is a safe, clean alternative which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and frees up time so that women and girls can work, study and spend more time doing what they want.

In Nepal, many off-grid rural communities are powered by micro-hydropower (MHP) mini-grids, which are capable of providing electricity to hundreds or thousands of households…

The case to become a Fairtrade University

In October last year, I visited the Bristol Fairtrade Network to discuss Fairtrade and the Climate Emergency and find out more about how the University of Bristol could become a Fairtrade university. I had never heard of Fairtrade being part of the solution to the climate crisis, but I’m always looking for ways to act on this vital issue. I love the concept of Fairtrade and believe that as consumers we should be more responsible for the impacts of our purchases – Fairtrade empowers us to do just that.

The meeting started off with introductions and ice-breaker facts about the climate emergency. These set the tone for the meeting; the climate emergency is happening right now, and we need to act as soon as possible to prevent disasters affecting all of us. The Global South is feeling the worst impacts of the climate emergency which makes this a justice issue. There was also a great range of people at the meeting – from experts to novices, and even a couple who had travelled from a nearb…

We have the vaccine for climate disinformation – let's use it

Australia’s recent bushfire crisis will be remembered for many things – not least, the tragic loss of life, property and landscape. But one other factor made it remarkable: the deluge of disinformation spread by climate deniers.
As climate change worsens – and with it, the bushfire risk – it’s well worth considering how to protect the public against disinformation campaigns in future fire seasons.
So how do we persuade people not to be fooled? One promising answer lies in a branch of psychology called “inoculation theory”. The logic is analogous to the way a medical vaccine works: you can prevent a virus spreading by giving lots of people a small dose.
In the case of bushfire disinformation, this means exposing, ahead of time, the myths most likely to be perpetrated by sceptics.
Bushfire bunkum Disinformation can take many forms, including cherry-picking or distorting data, questioning of the scientific consensus by presenting fake experts, and outright fabrication.
On the issue of …