Grenfell fire unmasks a tale of two cities

No one in the past few weeks has been left untouched by the series of tragedies that have struck our nation in seemingly quick succession. The shock of the Westminster Bridge attacks was followed all too quickly by the numbing horror of the Manchester bomb and then the London Bridge attacks. Being able to quickly…

The environmental price of fashion

Fashion has never failed to court controversy. If it is not the provocative designs of the clothes themselves (or lack of clothes in some cases) then it is the emaciated figures of its waif-like models that come under fire from the press. More recently, the harsh working conditions behind the cheap mass production of clothing by companies…

War and Famine: South Sudan in crisis

South Sudan may be the world’s newest country but the nation, which only gained independence in 2011, has never really known a period of peace or political stability. The civil war which has raged in South Sudan for over 3 years has cost thousands of lives but the country now reports that it is on the brink…

Last minute save for the British steel industry

Seconds before the whistle blew on the fate of Tata Steel, and with it the British steel industry, there has been a last-minute save in the form of union negotiations. And not a moment too soon. Back in March of this year, Tata Steel announced that it was going to sell off its UK operations in…

The blight of tourism and the Venetian exodus (Venexedus)

Tourism is a staple source of income for many economies including our own. The growth of tourism is generally perceived as a good thing in economic terms but often a bad thing in environmental terms as too many visitors can put a tremendous strain on urban or natural ecosystems. But very often the social impact of…

Seismic shift in the political landscape

Back in June the political geography of our globe shifted when Britain turned its back on the EU in a shocking referendum that has seen financial ricochets bounce across the globe. Today the political geography has again shifted, but this time on a scale so large that it is hard to comprehend. Donald Trump has…

The geography of fate & the challenge of migration

In the summer of 2015 Europe was in turmoil as thousands of refugees seemed to suddenly descend upon various crossing points in the Mediterranean in a perilous attempt to escape conflict in Syria or the social, economic and political strife of their home countries in predominantly Africa and the Middle East. Media reporters oscillated between using the…

The battle beyond borders: Tesco versus Unilever

Since the rapid rise of TNCs (Transnational Corporations also known as Multinationals) in the 20th century,  corporate giants such as Walmart, Pfizer,  Apple and so on have come to dominate our global economy (think of Wall Street) and our global markets for manufactured goods and services (think of Amazon, Tata Steel etc.). These TNCs are so…

A more sinister application of seismography

Seismography is the measurement of seismic waves of energy (like vibrations) that travel through the earth’s layers, most commonly associated with earthquakes. Indeed a seismometer’s main function is the monitoring and measuring earthquakes both big and small and such measurements can be a vital help when predicting, for example, the chance of a volcanic eruption or…

Horizontal fracking gets the green light in Lancashire

It’s hugely controversial and locally very divisive but this week, for the first time, horizontal fracking for shale gas has been approved in Lancashire. The UK government has not given up on its pursuit of natural gas and it is likely that this will be the first of many attempts to access potential gas reserves…

Gentrification and the great social divide

Gentrification is, at least notionally, synonymous with the concept of regeneration. Impoverished and run-down areas of cities are either knocked down and re-built or given a make-over and transformed into a desirable place to live. Or, to be more socially provocative, gentrification is the eviction of the poor from valuable land to make way for…

Regeneration: finally Battersea Power Station is to re-open as new Apple HQ

Battersea Power Station has been a famous London landmark since the 1930s when it was completed and infamous since the 1980s when the coal-fired power station was decommissioned and abandoned. Its fate has been a subject of much discussion and debate over the years but its expensive, erratic and troubled redevelopment phase is at last nearing completion…