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A consortium led by Bangor University has been awarded nearly half a million pounds for research into monitoring Covid-19 outbreaks using sewage. Dead fragments of the virus’ genetic material can be found in faeces up to two weeks before symptoms appear, meaning mass testing could predict outbreaks before they appear. “I’m delighted that the ground-breaking environmental monitoring work, which combines different areas of expertise at our College of Environmental Science & Engineering, is to contribute to the nation’s vital work to protect communities against Covid-19 and further outbreaks of coronavirus and other infectious viruses.” said Professor Iwan Davies, Vice-Chancellor of…

We are social creatures. The popularity of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have shown how much we want to show off and share with others. We aren’t the first to do this though, as new research has uncovered a social network in Lesotho from 33,000 years ago. Researchers were initially puzzled when they found prehistoric ornamental necklace beads made of ostrich eggs, around 1,000 km from the nearest ostriches. So how did they get there? 33,000 years ago, humans lived in tribal communities. It was important for them to maintain a relationship with their neighbours; this…

Governments all over the globe are asking their citizens to practice ‘social distancing’, but what is it and how does it help? On March 11th, 2020 the World Health Organisation upgraded the COVID-19 outbreak to pandemic status, meaning that the virus had spread to a significant portion of the world. The virus behind the diseases, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (or more snappily, SARS-CoV-2), is highly infectious, spreading easily from person to person. COVID-19 is a new disease and scientists the world over are frantically developing a vaccine, but as of yet one has not been created. Our best…

With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, a lot of us are doing a lot more sitting than before. But should we be sitting down at all? A study has highlighted the differences between how we and hunter-gatherer communities rest, and outlined how squatting may be the key to better health. Rest is good: it allows our bodies time to recover and repair, ready for the next task. We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for example. But sitting seems to be an exception with study after study finding links between extended periods sitting and various health…

New footage released in the journal Marine Mammal Science this month shows Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) ‘clapping’ underwater. The behaviour was caught on camera by marine biologist Dr Ben Burville near the Farne Islands, UK in October 2017. The loud ‘crack-like’ noises had been heard commonly during breeding season after being detected by researchers using hydrophones, but were mistaken for vocal signals for a long time. It wasn’t until researchers witnessed a large male ‘clap’ its front flippers together that they finally definitively identified the source of the sound. Unfortunately the behaviour is rare, quick, and extremely difficult to catch…

We warmly welcome the new Bangor Environmental Action Society that recently started in January of this year. The group emerged as a response to the need to push for greater environmental action, both at home and beyond. They work closely with the students and staff of Bangor University, as well as the local community, in order to promote activism and more concrete steps toward addressing the climate crisis. While it just started this year, the group has already hit the ground running with some major events under their belt, such as the Valentine’s day climate strike and a recent de-turfing…

The state of the climate emergency has come to the forefront in recent years, no longer being a bolt-on issue and instead a centrepiece of news coverage, political manifestos, and public conscience. With experts warning of the rapidly approaching “point of no return”, some have turned to new technology for answers; but will this be enough to turn the tide? In 2019 the Welsh, Scottish and UK governments pledged to achieve a “net zero” emission of carbon by 2050. This would result in all carbon emissions being offset by tree planting, carbon capture and other techniques. But a report by…

Some creatures are able to ‘pause’ ageing or be immune to its effects entirely. This phenomenon is known as ‘diapause’ and a team of researchers have finally uncovered some of it’s mechanisms in the African Killifish. This fish can pause its life processes in response to environmental threats such as its pond drying up. The embryos can halt their development for years, longer than the adult’s entire life expectancy. This has allowed the fish to survive annual droughts. The breakthrough came in revealing that this ‘pause’ has no effect on the fish’s future development, hinting that the processes halts the…

In the last few days of 2019, a new virus appeared in Wuhan, China, and spread at a frightening pace. Since then the new coronavirus, which has since been given the official designation Covid-19, has been the subject of headlines all over the world. But what is this new illness, where did it come from, and how worried should you be? Covid-19 is a member of the coronavirus family, named after the likeness of their appearance to the sun’s corona under a microscope. The coronavirus family also includes influenza and the viruses that cause the common cold. Covid-19 has been…

If you’re at all interested in American politics, you may have heard of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, but what about her daughter? Isra Hirsi is already helping to save the planet at just 16 years old, having started her climate activism by joining her high school’s environmental club. This interest is a new one – even though Isra has been involved with social justice issues from a young age, throughout middle school she was mostly focused on the Black Lives Matter movement. It wasn’t until she realised how disproportionately people of colour are affected by climate change that she began to…

Christmas is considered one of the most wasteful times of the year; in the UK, we produce 30% more waste than usual during the festive season. Here are some tips and tricks on making Christmas more pleasant for you and the environment. Food Food is the staple of Christmas. It wouldn’t feel right without the turkey, roast potatoes and cranberry sauce. You don’t need to cut down on this to be eco-friendly, just be more conscious of what you put in your basket. Try to buy package free food by visiting your local butchers or shopping in stores like Morrisons…

Christmas movies and cartoons alike tend to paint an idyllic scene of Christmas Eve, with a town lit up by Christmas lights and Santa’s sleigh passing through a sky full of stars. Unfortunately, the reality is not as picturesque. Light pollution, the brightening of the night sky due to obtrusive, excessive, or misdirected anthropogenic sources of light, may not be our top priority when considered next to climate change or chemical trash dumping, but it is still keeping us from enjoying a view of the stars. The problem of light pollution increases exponentially during the holidays, when lights and decorations…

Twice a year, the UK jumps an hour forward or back due to the concept of Daylight Saving Time. The idea was originally coined by Benjamin Franklin to reduce the usage of candles but did not become widespread until the first World War, where countries either side of the line adopted it in a bid to reduce coal consumption. So is daylight saving an outdated idea, or still just as relevant today? Many countries ditched daylight saving after 1918, as the reduction in coal usage was no longer a priority. However, the 1970s energy crisis meant that the energy reduction…

Seatbelts, body armour, crash test dummies and even spacesuits; recently it has been realised just how dangerous these things can be to many people. Why? They’re designed around traditionally male bodies, leaving women’s health at risk. For example, a recent paper focusing on body armour for female troops in the US army found that the ill-fitting protection encumbers movement, is uncomfortable to wear, and even leaves gaps which enemies can grab onto in hand-to-hand combat. The issue in designing new armour lies in the curves in the plates needed to better fit female troops. Lt. Col. Fran Lozano explained to…

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…

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