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…

We cannot overrate the value of early warning systems

It may have proven to be a false alarm, but the residents of eastern coastal areas of the UK should be very grateful that the local authorities took such a comprehensive and proactive approach to the very real threat of coastal flooding that faced these areas on Friday (13th Jan). Given the heavy rains and strong winds…

Journey to the centre of the crust

We saw it from the distance when we were in Iceland just a few weeks ago, but little did we know just how deep the geothermal well on the Reykjanes peninsular had reached, nor just how incredibly hot it was. Fresh reports from the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) reveal that their newest bore hole has reached a…

How regular landscape monitoring can save lives

With so much loss and destruction following in the wake of Hurricane Matthew and the Italian and New Zealand earthquakes, it is hard to sometimes accept the sheer magnitude of natural processes such as tectonic events or tropical storms. Like a big poke in the eye from Mother Nature, they remind us that we are…

Flooding in the UK: we are finally looking at the whole water basin…

It’s nearly a year since severe flooding devastated parts of Cumbria first in December 2015 and then again in January (2016). Perhaps because as autumn deepens and winter sets in we are again reminded of flood risks, the environment agency is once again coming under criticism for its flood prevention strategy. There have been proposals…

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…

The battle for the Arctic commences…

The North Pole and the frozen seas within the Arctic Circle are melting. We have been living with this uncomfortable truth for decades now and, whichever side of the climate change debate you come down on, there is no denying that year after year, the ice is retreating and access to this far-lung reach of…

Hinkley gets the final go ahead

It has been a decision delayed since July but today the new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point has finally been given the go ahead and looks set to set the tone for future energy sources in the UK: Hinkley Point approved The graph of projected energy use, shared in this article by BBC News from…

Can carbon capture really be compared to renewable energy sources?

The appeal of gas-powered power plants has been waning justifiably under the growing global pressure to cut CO2 emissions and slow climate change. The UK in particular  is under growing pressure to switch to renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar or nuclear energy but the change, as in many MEDCs, is slow to…

That final frontier is fast fading

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Americans would speak of that elusive ‘final frontier’, the wilderness that they were claiming for the present-day USA. Across the globe as population has grown exponentially during the 20th century, wilderness regions, defined as largely untouched by humans, have become increasingly rare. What is much more alarming is the rate at…