Blogs

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The following Blog was written by students studying for a degree in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, who conducted a project investigating the impacts of social media on mental health in the first months of lockdown. The Blog summarises the findings of their investigation. Please follow this link to read their full report. In March of 2020, the first lockdown began, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. Unable to interact with others in person, many people turned to their devices, with reliance on social media increasing significantly over the first few months. We wanted to look into how this uptick in time ...
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Air of the Anthropocene

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Scientists at the University of Birmingham are exploring the impact of airborne particles on our planet’s atmosphere – working in China, East Africa, India and the UK to examine a human-made phenomenon that results in worsening air quality and ensuing health issues or rising atmospheric temperatures contributing to the effects of global warming. Everyone has an idea of what air pollution is but it can be difficult to grasp the levels of contamination in the air we breathe every day. Backed by the National Lottery, Air of the Anthropocene is a fascinating project that documents air pollution levels around the world through photography. Created by artist ...
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I think it is crucial to discuss how small-scale farming can combat food insecurity through targeted policy that understands specific contexts and cultural norms. I wrote a piece Modi, Money, and Market Deregulation: India’s farming protests for The Perspective Webzine, a branch of UPF Lund (foreign affairs society) whilst currently on my year abroad in Sweden. It continues in The Perspective magazine, where I interviewed Shiney Varghese of the IATP Link to Webzine piece: https://www.theperspective.se/modi-money-and-market-deregulation-indias-farming-protests/ Link to the Perspective magazine issue: https://issuu.com/theperspectivemagazine/docs/issuu_tp_dissecting-development_2_2021__1_ ...
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Reflections on a lecture by Professor Tony Ven a bles (University of Manchester) and panel discussion with Dr Joseph Ma c arthy (Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre), Professor Ya Ping Wang (University of Glasgow), Dr Pa o lo Veneri (OECD) and Dr Vijay Jagannathan (World Resources Institute). Watch the webinar here. By 2050, there will 2.4 billion new urban dwellers. To put that into context, that’s 1.4 million every week. 2 billion of these people will be in the developing world. This will create , and is creating , significant challenges around urban infrastructure, housing, capital and jobs, as was discussed by P rofessor Tony Ven a bles and the panellists ...
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The following Video Blog was produced by students studying for a degree in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, who conducted a project investigating the Implications of Child Poverty and how these affect School Attainment in Birmingham. The video summarises the findings of their investigation. Please follow this link to read their report.
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The following Blog was written by students studying for a degree in Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, who conducted a project investigating cycling culture in Birmingham. Follow the links in the article to see the results of their investigation and their campaign to get Birmingham cycling. Climate change is a huge issue that affects us all. We felt that protecting the environment was important to us and so we wanted our project to reflect this - access the project here . We discussed the positive impacts of cycling both for the environment and one’s physical health which made us realise that there is a lack of cycling ...
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Visibility study of Nairobi, Kampala and Addis Ababa reveals big air pollution problems – read the original article published in the Conversation here by Dr Ajit Singh, Professor Francis Pope, Dr William Avis – University of Birmingham Air p ollution Air pollution is an important environmental problem and a major public health concern due to its significant adverse toxicological impacts on human health. Globally, the  World Health Organisation  estimates that 7 million people die prematurely each year due to exposure to harmful levels of air pollution. More than  90% of deaths  occur in low and middle income countries. ...
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This blog was written by Dr. Caroline Gillett, Community & Public Engagement Manager and Lead for Public Engagement, of the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research. Micro & Macro Acts in Tackling Inequality in Women’s Healthcare Recently the Institute of Metabolism & Systems Research (IMSR) and Women’s Network joined forces to host a webinar marking International Women’s Day. The event was framed around inequality in women’s healthcare and as with any topic this big, it helps to start with a concrete example. As a highly prevalent (1 in 10 women worldwide) and often misunderstood condition, we chose polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) ...
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On the 31 st March 2021, the UK government will convene the Climate and Development Ministerial meeting to discuss practical next steps on priority issues for climate vulnerable countries and communities ahead of COP26. Professor Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development , provides his insights on priorities in conversation with Professor Fiona Nunan. Which major challenges facing low and middle-income countries should be addressed urgently at COP26? Professor Huq suggests that one urgent issue is dealing with the realities of climate change, now we are living in a climate-changed world. ...
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Panel discussion hosted by Dr Rebecca Asare, Director of Programmes and Research at the Nature Conservation Research Centre, Dr Emmanuel Opoku, Deputy CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board, Yaw Kwakye, Manager of Forest Services Division at Forestry Commission of Ghana, and Ethan Budiansky, Director of Environment at the World Cocoa Foundation. It might be simple to finish a chocolate bar in one sitting, but behind every piece is a complex supply chain. As the world’s second largest producer of cocoa beans, Ghana’s government has partnered with cocoa and chocolate companies, NGOs, and civil society to support Ghana’s forests and climate-smart cocoa production. Dr Opoku ...
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Reflections on the panel discussion hosted by Fiona Nunan, Professor of Environment and Development at the University of Birmingham with Mao Amis, Director of the African Centre for the Green economy and George Varughese, former President of Development Alternatives in New Delhi. Watch the webinar here The green economy is supposedly one of the critical solutions to the climate emergency and post-pandemic recovery. It provides the answer to the environmental crisis whilst allowing economic development to continue. Sounds great! Where do we sign up? Well, as discussed by the panellists, it’s not so straightforward. The term itself is hotly contested, being ...
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Plastics have impacted almost every aspect of our lives. From ubiquitous packaging, bulk materials and smartphones to invisible polymers added to cleaning products to improve performance; modern life would be impossible without them. However, the vast majority of plastics are only possible because of unconstrained access to low cost crude hydrocarbons, and. ignorance of the environmental and social ramifications of plastic pollution has been widely highlighted by the negative impacts of microplastics and plastic litter in the global environment. Plastics are a paradox. Plastics pose an urgent, wicked and persistent problem to be resolved. How do we confront the ...
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The world faces multiple challenges – the climate emergency, 700 million people living in extreme poverty and relentless loss of animal and plant species. The global pandemic has added to these challenges and reminds us that global challenges cannot be tackled in isolation. They must be tackled together. Acting on multiple global challenges for a more equal, fair and sustainable world requires communication, collaboration and cooperation. This is the role of the Forum for Global Challenges. What is the Forum for Global Challenges? The Forum for Global Challenges is an international conference that aims to catalyse action on global challenges. It will ...
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