This week absolutely zipped by…A brief look at human health and the urban environment was followed by a whistle stop tour of food security. Both areas are important pieces in the interlinked climate systems puzzle of understanding.
- What are the most important themes you have learned this week? Urban heat islands are a great example of illustrating the consequences of our actions. Building higher, bigger, densely packed buildings that attract increased levels of waste heat are not unproblematic. 70,000 deaths attributed to heat stroke in 2003, due to one summer of exceptional weather is not insignificant. Will we learn from this and plan/adapt our cities accordingly? Heavily monocultured environments also bring a set of unintended consequences with them. Aside from water supply issues, energy costs (including pesticides, transport+ production) and land degradation there can be terrible consequences associated with pests and pathogens. Science is attempting to counter diseases by improving plant immune systems, bio protection from microbes in soil and anti fungal chemistry. Perhaps society should be aspiring to a more sustainable food culture?
- What aspect of this week did you find difficult? Accepting the view that science will possibly have the answers to the technological problems as outlined above opens the ‘instrumental reason’ can of worms. This is true for the GM debate as well. If we accept that progress and technology bring their own set of problems along, such as increased urbanisation or monocultured environments show (intensive animal farming can be particularly disgusting) then I think we need to be far more aware, responsive and ethical in our decision making than we are currently able to be.
- What did you find most interesting? And why? The concept of urban heat islands just seems very relevant as it is something I had experienced/observed without thinking too much about why. Also good to see sustainable issues cropping up in the food security comment section.
- Was there something that you learned this week that prompted you to do your own research? I refreshed myself on soil association website/values that feed into the concept of building a sustainable future for all.
- Are there any web sites or other online resource that you found particularly useful in furthering your knowledge and understanding? As above and another link in comments to sustainable farming practices