Edinburgh Sustainability Jam 2015

Can you solve a global issue in 48 hours?
Jam2015
That was the challenge for 45 participants in the Edinburgh Sustainability Jam this year.
In the face of dwindling natural resources, increased socioeconomic pressures and environmental degradation come motivated individuals ready to tackle these issues. This year’s Edinburgh Sustainability Jam fostered collaboration to find solutions to these rising problems. A theme sparked the imagination of participants.

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Posted in creativity, educational practice, Environmental Education, Environmental Ethics, experimental interventions, Global Challenges, learning, Science Communication, Social Responsibility, sustainability, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

COP21: What is it all about?

Starting in Paris on 30 November 2015, COP21 is tasked to set the world on a path to

Dr Annalisa Savaresi

Dr Annalisa Savaresi

address the greatest challenge to ever face humankind, by adopting a new climate agreement.

The Paris agreement is expected to bring states out of the impasse that has long affected international climate governance. Eversince the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, states have attempted to agree on measures to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.’ The international scientific body entrusted to assess climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has indicated that such a level entails keeping below a 2° C increase in global annual average temperature compared with pre-industrial times.

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Posted in change amangement, climate negotiations, Climate Science, environment, Global Challenges, human-environment relations, impact | Leave a comment

Keeping the buzz on – interdisciplinary reflection on the protection of bees The controversial path: the prohibition of neonicotinoids

Dr Apolline Roger

Dr Apolline Roger

In 1994, French beekeepers started to blow the whistle on the abnormal behaviour and disappearance of their bee colonies foraging on sunflowers and maize. Quickly, beekeepers considered “Gaucho”, a new neonicotinoid authorised the same year for the treatment of sunflower and maize seeds, as the prime suspect.

Were these two events linked by a causal relation or purely coincidental? Neonicotinoids are chemicals which attack the nervous system of all insects, and thus can have a lethal impact on bees. They were nonetheless authorised, under the condition that they are not to be used over a dose previously identified by the industry, and accepted by the regulator, as being non-lethal for bees. However, french beekeepers observations questioned the scientific grounds of this decision. Was the non-lethal dose correctly identified? Furthermore, do neonicotinoid insecticides have chronic sub-lethal effects on bees which were not foreseen when they were authorised?

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Posted in agroecology, bees, chemicals neonicotinoid, colony collapse disorder, environment, Global Challenges, insects, integrated pest management, pollination, precautionary approach, precautionary principle, risk regulation, sustainable agriculture, sustainable development, trade offs | Leave a comment

Keeping the Buzz on – Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Protection of Bees

 

Dr Rebecca Marsland

Dr Rebecca Marsland

We care about bees. Bees are unusual insects in that we humans find them so appealing. The publicity about the decline of bee populations has led to people donning bee costumes and lobbying parliaments about pesticides, the planting of wild meadows and the lobbing of wild flower ‘seed bombs’ into uncultivated ground. Urban beekeeping is fashionable, and bumblebee sightings are recorded on Twitter. Bees contribute to our economy through pollination: one third of the plants that we eat are insect pollinated. Bees are also important for other species. We do not care about other insects (pollinating or otherwise) in the same way as we do about bees, even though other insect species are also under threat. Perhaps we can see bees as the pandas of the insect world: they are charismatic and draw attention to problems that also endanger many other insects.

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Posted in agriculture, arroa, bees, disease, environment, Global Challenges, humans-animal relations, insects, pesticides | 1 Comment

Urbanization of the Oceans – Blue Growth?

Dr Meriwether Wilson

Dr Meriwether Wilson

Dr Meriwether Wilson

Over 100 years ago, a fierce philosophical debate circled the salons, cafes, balls and bars of intellectuals and pioneers alike – often known as the ‘American wilderness’ debate. The legendary icons of this debate included: John Muir (originally from Dunbar, Scotland), founder of the Sierra Club and pivotal in establishing globally famous wilderness areas such as Yosemite National Park in western California; and Gilbert Pinchot, who took the view that these same vast areas of seemingly infinite forest and water resources, were ideal for logging, providing timber for America’s growing cities and towns.

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Posted in Blue growth, Climate Science, Environmental Ethics, Global Challenges, Interdiciplinary conversations, marine, MPA, Science Communication | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Controversies surrounding mega Marine Protected Area

Dr Laura Jeffery

Dr Laura Jeffery

Until the end of the 20th century, most Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were relatively small-scale conservation zones in coastal waters. The past decade has seen a proliferation in the designation of ever larger MPAs. Mega MPAs measuring over 100,000km² now already comprise the vast majority of the total area covered by MPAs worldwide. But why are the world’s powerful leaders – including Clinton, Bush, and Obama – competing to create ever larger MPAs?

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Posted in Citizenship, climate adaptations, Environmental Economics, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Justice, Global Challenges, human-environment relations, impact, Interdiciplinary conversations, island ecologies, Marine Protected Areas, resources, social justice, sustainability, sustainable development, trade offs | Leave a comment

Towards Commercial Seabed Mining – Sustainable or Sacrilege?

Dr James Harrison

Dr James HarrisonThe presence of minerals on the deep seabed was first discovered by the HMS Challenger expedition in 1873. Polymetallic nodules and other seabed resources (polymetallic sulphides and crusts) offer abundant supplies of valuable minerals, including manganese, cobalt, copper, gold, silver and several so-called rare earth elements.

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Posted in deap seabed mining, Energy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Ethics, Environmental Justice, Global Challenges, impact, international law, Marine Protected Areas, Responsible Investment, sustainable development, trade offs, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meeting with Professor Sir John Beddington

 

Last Wednesday along with six other PhD students, I met Sir John Beddington former chief scientificneil chalmers adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government. Sir John was a very pleasant and down to earth academic who showed genuine enthusiasm for the work which the different PhD students presented to him.

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Posted in educational practice, impact, Interdiciplinary conversations, learning, research, Science Communication, Technology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thinking about impact

I was recently asked to consider the question “What will be the impact of your research in 2025?” As a secondAlice Hague year PhD student, the focus of my research is very much on the present (How are my interviews going? Am I finding answers to the question I’m investigating? How am I going to write it all up?). Being asked to take a step back and think about the ‘impact’ of my research ten years down the line was quite a daunting proposal.

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Posted in educational practice, Environmental Education, Environmental Ethics, impact, Interdiciplinary conversations, learning, moral purpose, research | Leave a comment

The climate negotiations process: getting nowhere?

Dr Annalisa Savaresi

Dr Annalisa Savaresi

The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been ratified by virtually all states in the world. The Convention acknowledges that the adverse effects of global climate change are a common concern of humankind, and undertakes to achieve ‘stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.’

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Posted in Citizenship, climate adaptations, climate negotiations, Climate Science, consequences, Environmental Ethics, Global Challenges, Interdiciplinary conversations | Leave a comment