This is the first in a series of blogs from members of our team to give readers a glimpse into the people at Research Features. Chris Temple works in the partnerships team, speaking to researchers around the world on a daily basis. Here, he reflects on the changes to our climate he has witnessed and talks about his hopes for the future of the planet.
I remember growing up in Cyprus. Until I was ten, I basically lived on the beach – swimming, playing, all the stuff that kids do. When I go back there now, I end up swimming in an ocean of plastic. The stark contrast between what I remember and what I see now really makes me worry about the future: what sort of planet are we going to leave to our children?
With the recent hot spell here in the UK, all the headlines have been full of doom and gloom, warning us of droughts, wildfires, hosepipe bans and so on. While this may sound like there’s nothing left but to sit back and watch the world burn, I’m a glass-half full kind of guy, and I am constantly amazed by my children’s generation.
Young people are connected to each other and to current events, and I think that – as parents – part of our job is to teach them the skills they need to change the world, and hand them a world worth living in.
I worked on a fascinating project that highlights the fact that our kids are far more aware and knowledgeable than we give them credit for when it comes to important topics like climate change. The researcher I worked with studied children’s rights, focusing young female activists like Greta Thunberg and Autumn Peltier.
On a daily basis, I see the great work that scientists are doing to explore the impact of climate change on the planet, and there are definitely certain areas that I find particularly interesting – such as the Great Barrier Reef.
I mentioned in my previous blog about getting my PADI diving licence there and I like to keep up to date with what’s happening over there. It’s a well-known fact now that the reef has been severely damaged over the last couple of decades, with mass bleaching in 2017 and 2016 due to the hot summer temperatures, while in 2011, Cyclone Yasi had a severe impact on the region. Coral bleaching happens when increased ocean temperatures stress the coral to a point where it expels the colourful algae that live in it – thus turning white. It’s not actually dead, but it is far more susceptible to starvation and disease and will often die off.
But thankfully, it seems like there is still hope: the Great Barrier Reef has just recorded the highest level of coral cover in the northern and central parts in the last 36 years. It’s still early days, but this is what education, awareness, research, and passionate people can do.
I firmly believe our work at Research Features is helping make the change that so many of us want to see. Our articles, podcasts, videos, and – I hope – even this blog, all raise the profile of science and researchers who are doing good things, and help them connect with people to make them aware of what’s going on in the world. I’d like to leave you with a couple of recommendations of things that I’ve enjoyed, that the amazing team at Research Features has created.
- Associate Professor Alan Reid, from Monash University in Australia, has edited a collection of recent research on climate change education. This insightful article taught me about how education can address the climate emergency – there’s also a brief video abstract that just gives you the highlights, if you’re too busy!
- If you’re more of a podcast person, this one by Dr Andrea Nightingale asks some really fascinating questions about who should be in charge of governing change.
- This article is about the ongoing research into how to influence stakeholders on topics of climate policy.