Smart Shorts III: Can eating Quorn help you save the planet?

Have you ever sat down for dinner, started tucking into a Quorn lasagne, escalope or the best of the best (in my opinion) the Quorn nugget, and wondered to yourself… What is this? Well, I have! So to answer my own question (and hopefully satisfy your curiosity too), this blog post will cover what Quorn …

Palaeoecology: how an understanding of ancient savannas helps inform elephant management

Despite their role as a conservation flagship species, elephants can be highly destructive to their natural environment. They play a huge role in the management of savanna ecosystems across Africa, but in some areas, the widespread damage they bring to vegetation and farmer’s land makes them a pest. Two main control methods have been suggested …

Which is the real problem: Overpopulation or Overconsumption?

In 2015, 141 million people were born – 44 million more than was recorded 65 years earlier (Ritchie, 2019).  Our current population stands at over 7 billion, and could reach 9 billion by 2050. This puts a lot of strain on our planet’s resources, and leads many to believe that with fewer mouths to feed, …

What has Boris got against newts?!

Last month (July 2020) the UK prime minister Boris Johnson said the following words: “Time is money. And the newt-counting delays in our system are a massive drag on the productivity and prosperity of this country.” …What’s that all about? What are newt-counting delays, and how are newts linked with societal productivity and prosperity? This …

Mutualism in nature: Fungal friends and finding Nemo

Mutualism is the technical term used to describe a relationship between organisms from which both parties benefit. For example, bees benefit from the nectar provided by flowers, when the flowers themselves are pollinated by the spread of their pollen to other flowers. It differs from symbiosis, a word which is often used alongside mutualism, as …

Land sharing or land sparing? Conservation vs food production

The land-sharing land-sparing framework (LSLS) addresses the issue of providing food for an ever-growing population, whilst maintaining or improving biodiversity (Kremen, 2015). The first of the two ideas is land-sharing, which combines conservation and wildlife-friendly farming practices within the same area of agricultural land (Phalan et al., 2001). England’s Environmental Stewardship policy promotes this strategy …

Knocking out Knotweed: Nature’s weapons

I am sure that a lot of you already know of knotweed – it is the big baddie of the invasive species, as its ability to dominate environments, by killing off and inhibiting the growth and reproduction of other plants (Clements et al., 2016), and by changing the soil chemistry to the benefit of invaders …

Environmental Justice: Why are Indigenous communities worst affected by climate change?

Indigenous communities tend to be best connected to the natural world. They have played a relatively tiny part in emitting anthropogenic greenhouse gases in comparison with Western societies like US and Europe (Green & Raygorodetsky, 2010). Yet the impacts of climate change fall disproportionately on Native people, like those living in the Arctic, in areas …

Indigenous knowledge: the quest for solutions to environmental problems

Indigenous people, also known as First Nations, Aboriginal or Native peoples are ethnic groups who lived in an area before it was included in a nation state – examples include the Inuit peoples of Greenland, the Samoans, the Maori of New Zealand and the Chukchi peoples of Russia. This post will discuss the controversial topic …

Gender biases: Mother nature and the macho man

This post was going to be G for Greta Thunberg. But as usual, I fell down multiple rabbit holes until deciding to instead focus on G for gender, and how it can be a bias in environmental issues. Hope you enjoy! Most research literature on the topic of gender and environmental issues focuses on women. …

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