Dr Ross Cameron of the University of Sheffield outlines his latest book (Environmental Horticulture – Science and Management of Green Landscapes), co-authored with Prof. James Hitchmough and how writing the book can sometimes be easier than settling on a name that everyone approves of.
Yesterday I cherished the start of spring in England by attending an event devoted to pollinators and pollination at the University of Reading. Most presentations at this meeting organised by the Royal Entomological Society were understandably about bees, but we also heard a few talks highlighting the importance of other pollinator groups.
For about five years now the media has been broadcasting alarming news about declining bee populations especially in Europe and North America. While the amounting evidence points to neonicotinoid insecticides being a major cause for the decline, I learnt yesterday that the situation is actually rather complex, other stressors are also involved, and scientists are still eagerly trying to form a complete understanding of the issue.
All national parks in the USA. will be accessible admission-free from April 16 through April 24. The week of free admission during National Park Week is to mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. This year’s celebration brings the grand total of free-admission days at America’s national parks to 16—well above the nine free days offered in 2015.
"It’s about making great connections," the parks service says on its website announcing the celebration, "exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks!"
There were 50-60 delegates in attendance at the meeting, with approximately one-half of delegates coming from various faculties and Research Institutes of Cairo University. The other half of participants came from the UK, including the Pirbright Institute, Woking, Royal Veterinary College (RVC), University of London, Surrey University and Roslin Institute, Edinburgh.
Venue: St. Catherine's College, Manor Road, Oxford
In total, 21 oral presentations, excluding invited speakers, and 17 posters were included in the meeting programme.
A representative of the British Council, Shaun Holmes, was scheduled to provide information on Newton Fund News and Future Funding Opportunities on day three of the meeting. I attended on behalf of CABI on day two of the event.
Traffic congestion is a public health issue. It increases air pollution which is a known cause of asthma, lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and in particular creates "hotspots" of low air quality borne by local residents. It increases the risk of traffic accidents through poor driver behaviour and judgement.
One morning last week, I was stuck in a traffic jam several miles long on the A40 outside Oxford, caused by the super-duper high-flow-thru roundabout at Headington being brought to a halt by roadworks eliminating one lane on one exit and a traffic light failing on another!
Those of you who commute to Oxford will pick up my ironic tone: we have had to endure doubling of commuting times & traffic jams for the past 2 years as Oxford has “improved” each roundabout by turn around the ring road!
Philosophical (I wasn’t going anywhere fast), I found myself wishing the clock turned back to a time when most people lived and worked in the same town, and then I moved on to wishing for a reality where “pass me the floo powder and where is the nearest fireplace?”[Harry Potter], or “beam me up scotty!” [Star Trek] were actual options. These options would improve my quality of life, my health, and my climate. And of course everyone else’s.
It was also not lost on me, in that traffic jam, that this month [March 2016] my colleague and I had made Air Pollution the theme for our free electronic public health newsletter (to receive this, sign up here Global Health Knowledge Base).
I had just written a blog on air pollution caused by traffic jams in India, China, and why it’s the particulates, released by soot & fuel, that we measure for air quality & health. In the blog, Air pollution, can we reduce the impact of cars on urban air quality? , I had hoped that emerging economies were going to learn from the mistakes of the UK and other “developed” countries. And there I was in the mistake.
In January 2016, Delhi, India, improved air quality on its streets when it conducted a 2-week air pollution reduction experiment, with private cars allowed on the streets only on alternate days, depending on license plate numbers. The idea is not new and has been tried elsewhere (Paris and Rome) but I guess its novelty (“who’d have thought” brigade) to the USA explained why it made The New York Times!
Last year, it was all headlines about Bejing [China] and the air quality citizens had to deal with. However it would seem that actually Beijing’s levels of PM10 (particulate matter up to 10 micrometres in size), a measure of air quality, decreased by 40% from 2000 to 2013, whereas Delhi's PM10 levels have increased 47% from 2000 to 2011.
Delhi's PM10 levels are nearly twice as much as in Beijing, and it has the worst PM 2.5 levels of 1600 cities in the world. Thus the need for the license plate experiment. In a BBC article, you can read more about the reasons “Why Delhi is losing its clean air war” and discover the varied & innovative measures China has taken to ameliorate motor car use.
No doubt spurred on by Delhi’s experiment, a health journalist in Bangladesh alerted the HIFA forum to the equally bad situation in India’s neighbour, Bangladesh.
Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while calling action for gender parity. The United Nations campaigns for “Planet 50-50 by 2030” referring to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that are to be achieved in the next 15 years. The goals urge us to, for example, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (SDG 5), and to eliminate gender disparities in education (SDG 4). Below, I focus on these goals in more detail and discuss why they are so important for sustainable development, but let’s first look at how gender equality is measured and distributed in the world today.
Land degradation is the result of a number of largely human-induced factors, such as poor soil and water management practices, deforestation, overgrazing, improper crop rotation and unsustainable land use. In turn, these can significantly affect soil fertility, resulting in diminished crop yields and food insecurity. Traditional methods of modelling and monitoring soil erosion usually require a large number of parameters and many years of taking measurements. However, over the past decade, nuclear technologies and isotopic techniques have been introduced, which can effectively assess the soil and water status of an area, as well as identifying hot spots of land degradation. But how does it work?
About four years ago, I started to get concerned that the full impact of expansion and intensification of the animal production industries worldwide was not understood, by those in power, by scientists and definitely not by the public. The relatively rapid introduction of intensive farming systems over the last fifty years, and their widespread adoption over many parts of the globe has made many people question the ethics and impact on animal welfare, but no-one has considered the impact from all angles and charted the changes over time, including predictions of what would happen if such trends continued. As well as often displaying a disregard for the animals’ needs, modern intensive animal production systems have major environmental impacts, are morally challengeable, have adverse effects on the health of consumers and use large amounts of resources that are in limited supply, in particular cereals and other staple foods for humans, water and fossil fuels. The trade in live animals, which has been growing with the availability of cheap transport systems, such as by container ship, has additional problems, particularly the spread of diseases both to other animals and to people.