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Browsing: Science

Opinion: Reckoning with my own standpoint on the morality of zoos has proven to be a complicated issue. While proponents of zoos herald them for their educational benefits, research funding and conservation efforts, critics argue that they exploit animals and keep them in unsuitable conditions for human entertainment and profit. Without a doubt not all zoos are of equal standing, as there are very few legal requirements enforcing animal welfare and enclosure specifications. Yet, some people take great joy in working for and supporting zoos and some of the past research accomplished through zoo-based funding has proven to be invaluable.…

When referring to the plastic free movement, it is not a discussion of one particular group. Rather it is a general fervour, a siren call, a plea to businesses and individuals alike, made by climate activists across the globe. It has taken many forms such as Plastic Free Friday, Plastic Free July, and Break Free From Plastic, but they all send the same message. The continued use and production of single use plastic needs to end.  These groups focus both on activism and awareness and are fighting to not only convince people to use less plastic but also to educate…

November marks the end of pupping season for the Grey seals of North Wales. Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are one of two species of seals, scientifically known as Pinnipeds, found along our coast. Less commonly seen are the Harbour seals which are considered rare locally and are the smaller of the two species, but the North Wales coast plays host to a relatively large population of Greys that can be seen all year round. Pupping season for Grey seals takes place from late August to November with newborn pups being easily spotted as they are born with fluffy white fur,…

For Ridhima Pandey, environmentalism runs in the family. Her father, Dinesh Pandey, is an activist and victim of the 2013 Uttarakhand floods in India, one of the country’s worst natural disasters. Ridhima is a Haridwar native, raised in the ancient and historically significant Hindu city that rests on the Ganges River, on the banks of which she has often found statues, clothes and plastic: “We say the Ganga is mata (mother), that Ganga is a goddess for us, and we just pollute it.” This sparked her anger and her interest, and she began asking her father question after question about…

At first glance, Halloween and being environmentally conscious do not seem to go hand in hand. We buy socially relevant costumes new each year, meant to be worn once, then they sit in the back of our closets until we finally get rid of them. Individually wrapped Halloween candy is given out and consumed in excess; after all, that’s the spirit of Halloween. Now, I’m not suggesting that we curtail our chocolate and candy intake. There are just a few things that we can do to make our Halloween festivities a little bit greener. When it comes to Halloween costumes,…

Topic: Wrapping up your lunch Going on a trip or packing for your day at school or university? Step away from that cling film and single-use plastic bags. Did you know that in the UK alone, enough cling film is used up each year to wrap around the Earth 30 times! And every second 160,000 plastic bags are used around the world. This has seriously got to stop because it’s so easy to convert to zero waste. Here are some ways you can wrap your lunch guilt-free: Easy way = Use tinfoil. Did you know you can…

An examination of the emerging tiny house movement as a sustainable option for reducing one’s ecological footprint. Sustainability practices have been at the forefront of both global and local efforts to mitigate the negative effects of globalization, urbanization, resource exploitation, and climate change. Understanding its unique characteristics and approaches is essential to utilizing it successfully to implement improvement efforts at any scale. Environmental sustainability can be understood as a method of using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged, so that ecological balance can be maintained. Understanding the concept of sustainability is aided by looking…

As I’m sure you’re aware of by now, climate change is causing a global emergency. This does not just affect the environment and the world: it is a human rights issue. Climate change affects food production and access to food, causes natural disasters that claim thousands of lives and destroys as many homes, and makes sea levels rise, which also displaces thousands of people. It is resulting in fundamental rights such as shelter, food, and clean water being denied to millions of people across the world. Millions of people across the world are standing up for our rights in this…

When faced with the potential of a hard Brexit, climate change may be the least of everyone’s worries. Despite this, it is important to consider what the potential implications of a hard Brexit are to climate change. The UK has been at the forefront of campaigning efforts to steer the EU towards a greener future, pledging to reduce emissions during the EU’s Paris Agreement pledge, and tipping the EU member states towards more ambitious goals to mitigate climate change.  One of the main criticisms of the UK remaining in the EU is the restrictive regulations that UK companies have to…

Plenty of protestors crossed many miles to reach Bangor’s Climate Strike March yesterday. However, only two of those travellers elected to do so under their own power, in a canoe. Luke McNair and Deio Collwyn Williams set off from their homes on the Llŷn peninsula at 6am, in a canoe that would later sit proudly beside that day’s demonstrations in Bangor. From Porthdinllaen to Y Felinheli, the friends paddled over 25 miles (40km) that morning in the name of environmentally-friendly travel. Though smaller scale, the journey mirrored that of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who founded the School Strikes for…

The forest has always been an environment deeply resonant with the human spirit. Since the dawn of mankind, it’s been a place of mystery and darkness, but also shelter and comfort. Few places on earth are richer with life, it buzzes, oozes and beats in every nook and cranny. Ecologically speaking, the forest had long been considered a place of fierce competition for sunlight, food and survival, but over the past few decades a discovery has emerged with profound implications for our understanding of this ecosystem. In 1988, plant scientist E. I. Newman argued the existence of a complex subterranean…

Two important Ukranian exports to Wales are to be combined to produce a drink which is sure to raise a few eyebrows. We’ve long been importing vodka, and since 1986 we’ve had a few years of importing radiation resulting from the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Now scientists at the University of Portsmouth hope to combine these exports by making a vodka using ingredients from Chernobyl’s radioactive wasteland.  After the nuclear power plant exploded, a 30km exclusion zone was declared unfit for human habitation for twenty four thousand years. Three hundred and fifty thousand people were moved from…

Species such as fireflies, cuttlefish and squid light up to camouflage themselves, to communicate and attract each other, as well as for defence. These species produce light in two different ways. Bioluminescence occurs when an organism produces light following chemical reactions. While in biofluorescence, light falling on the organism excites an electron in a protein, raising its energy to unstable levels. When this happens, excess energy is released from the electron in the form of fluorescent light.  Corals use photoprotective biofluorescence to turn harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun into a harmless glow. This light production process could be a…

Tesco and ASDA have become the first retailers to sign up to trials with the National Grid, which will see their hundreds of thousands of aisles of fridges and freezers used as a ‘virtual battery pack’ to reinforce the UK’s electrical supply. The National Grid is responsible for managing and maintaining a steady supply of power to the entire UK. It is especially challenging to maintain this supply during times of ‘peak demand’ where the system’s capacity is pushed to its limits. If the Grid cannot supply sufficient power to an area, the network automatically disconnects to prevent damage to…

Tuna is a staple of the student diet; cheap, easy and healthy… right? A study conducted by the University of California suggests that some students may be eating dangerous amounts of this fishy treat. Fifty four students had hair samples taken and were asked to keep a record of the number of meals containing tuna they had eaten each week. The hair samples were used to measure the levels of mercury, a heavy metal found in most fish, in the participants’ bodies. Out of the fifty four participants, 54% reported eating more than 3 meals of tuna a week, and…

What’s the story behind the ‘fish tube’ meme? The Wooshh Passage Portal, or ‘Salmon Cannon’, has been used to transport thousands of fish safely over dams and other man-made obstacles. Like most fish, salmon stocks are in decline due to overfishing and man-made obstacles such as dams. Salmon migrate from the sea up freshwater rivers to ensure that their young have a safe place away from the many predators that patrol the oceans. Although they are famously proficient at surmounting waterfalls, they fall short at hundred meter high man-made dams. This is where the ‘Salmon Cannon’ comes into play. It…

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