Peru’s ancient water systems can help protect communities from shortages caused by climate change

Harvesting wheat in the Peruvian Andes.
Shutterstock.

Susan Conlon, University of Bristol and Kevin Lane, Universidad de Buenos Aires

Water is essential for human life, but in many parts of the world water supplies are under threat from more extreme, less predictable weather conditions due to climate change. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Peruvian Andes, where rising temperatures and receding glaciers forewarn of imminent water scarcity for the communities that live there. Continue reading

Gaslighting: from partners to politicians – how to avoid becoming a victim

Controversial picture of President Trump and the First Lady holding an orphaned child following the mass shooting in El Paso.
The White House

Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol

President Donald Trump’s statement on the horrific mass shooting in El Paso on August 3 that killed 22 people and injured 24 covered a lot of ground. From video games and mental illness to the death penalty, the president drew attention to many variables – but not to the semi-automatic guns that are often used in mass shootings. Instead, he claimed that “mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun”. Continue reading

Remembering Why We Ride – putting a positive spin on the story of cycling

Before Channel 5 aired their broadcast Cyclists: Scourge of the Roads?, described by The Guardian’s Peter Walker as ‘the worst, most scaremongering, inaccurate, downright irresponsible programme on cycling’, I’d already conducted a brief analysis of tabloid coverage of cycling to confirm what I and many other cyclists have felt for a long time: that we get a lot of bad press. Continue reading

The US branding China a ‘currency manipulator’ threatens global stability

“Donald Trump”by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Winnie King, University of Bristol

The US has escalated its trade war with China by accusing the country of devaluing its currency to make its exports unfairly cheap. When China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB) fell below the symbolic seven-per-dollar level on August 5, President Donald Trump reacted by labelling China a currency manipulator on Twitter. His Treasury department followed suit, making it the official government position. Continue reading

Climate-driven extreme weather is threatening old bridges with collapse

The damaged bridge near Grinton. July 2019 Picture: Danny Lawson/ PA
Maria Pregnolato, University of Bristol and Elizabeth Lewis, Newcastle University

The recent collapse of a bridge in Grinton, North Yorkshire, raises lots of questions about how prepared we are for these sorts of risks. The bridge, which was due to be on the route of the cycling world championships in September, collapsed after a month’s worth of rain fell in just four hours, causing flash flooding. Continue reading

Facebook’s Libra: it’s not the ‘crypto’ that’s the issue, it’s the organisation behind it

The founding partners of the Libra Association.
Ascannio / Shutterstock.com

Bill Maurer, University of California, Irvine and Daniel Tischer, University of Bristol

In all the hype that has surrounded its Libra currency, Facebook has been able to distract attention away from an important issue. Libra is being hyped as Facebook’s bitcoin but it’s really a proposal for a global payments system. And that system will be controlled by a small and exclusive club of private firms. Continue reading

Anne Frank and the Holocaust: how death rates varied across the Netherlands under Nazi occupation

Kamp Westerbork.
Shutterstock/Arjen Dijk

Peter Tammes, University of Bristol

The diarist Anne Frank was born almost 90 years ago. But she lived for only 15 years, dying in a Nazi concentration camp shortly before it was liberated by Allied forces in 1945. To mark the anniversary of her birth, a new collection of Frank’s writing has been published, and a “novel” version of her famous diary released in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Continue reading

Institutionalising preventive health: what are the key issues for Public Health England?

By Takver from Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikime

Authors: Paul Cairney, John Boswell, Richard Gleave, Kathryn Oliver

The Green Paper on preventing ill health was published in July 2019, and many have criticised that proposals do not go far enough. Our guest blog explores some of the challenges that Public Health England face in providing evidence-informed advice. Read on to discover the reflections from a recent workshop on using evidence to influence local and national strategy and their implications for academic engagement with policymakers. Continue reading

How can researchers engage with policy?

Policymaking is a complex and messy process; the evidence base is just one factor in decision making. Image from Sausages, evidence and policymaking: The role of universities in a post-truth world, Policy Institute at Kings 2017

Blog by Dr Alisha Davies, Dr Laura Howe, Prof Debbie Lawlor, Dr Lindsey Pike

Policy engagement is becoming more of a priority in academic life, as emphasis shifts from focusing purely on academic outputs to creating impact from research. Research impact is defined by UKRI as ‘the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy’. Continue reading

Extinction Rebellion uses tactics that toppled dictators – but we live in a liberal democracy

XR protesters getting carried away. Image: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA.

Oscar Berglund, University of Bristol

After occupying parts of central London over two weeks in April, Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) summer uprising has now spread to Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Bristol. All these protests involve disruption, breaking the law and activists seeking arrest.

Emotions are running high, with many objecting to the disruption. At the same time, the protests have got people and the media talking about climate change. XR clearly represents something new and unusual, which has the power to annoy or enthuse people. But what led it to adopt such disruptive tactics in its efforts to demand action on climate change? Continue reading