Through most of last year I spent my days researching climate change for my dissertation project. When I started I thought I ‘knew about Climate Change’ – how wrong I was! My dissertation looked at the way in which climate change is predicted to change the global distribution of malaria in the future (click here). Disease is not something that you would necessarily associate with climate change and here is another example of something you might not think was associated with climate change – size.
During my time at university one of the units I studied that I found was of most ‘practical’ value was “The History of Climate Change”. When I say practical value, I mean it taught me things that are and will be hugely beneficial to my understanding of the climate. One of the things I learnt about was the ozone layer and how human activities have contributed to ozone depletion. The ozone layer surrounds the Earth and is made up of molecules of O3. O3 molecules are not as stable as the O2 we breathe. This means O3 is highly reactive with other molecules such as halogens. How do halogens reach the ozone layer? During the 1980s CFCs (found in fridges and degreasing solvents) were the main cause and contributed significantly to ozone depletion. But why should we worry about ozone depletion?
It has been my intention to write a post telling you all about my new pets – I have recently bought and set up a tropical aquarium. I have wanted to have fish since I can remember and even insisted on having an ‘under the sea’ themed bedroom for many years! Anyway a couple of months ago I decided to take the leap! Picking which fish to have was not easy, but I now have a small community of fish that I am more than happy with! I like my fish to have something interesting about them, a bit of history if you like. This might be where they came from, a novel feature they have, or perhaps just a great personality (I may or may not have imagined!).
The United Nations (UN) estimate that 200 million people are directly or indirectly employed by the fishing industry and around 1 billion people depend on fish as their primary source of protein. The UN also reports that one quarter of the world’s fish stocks are over exploited and half the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited (UN, 2010). To try and counter this problem the concept of sustainable fishing has been proposed.
As I have mentioned before, one of my real passions is Human Evolution. I often think about what I would do differently in terms of degree choice if I had the option. I think some of my peers might have picked a degree that had a little more job security at the end! I would probably do biological anthropology, Archaeology or something along those lines. Don’t get me wrong, I love my degree and I love the sheer possibility that I might work in Journalism in the future, but there is something incredibly attractive about learning about how our ancestors lived, interacted, developed etc. Imagine being the first person to see a skeleton, piece of jewellery or remains of a settlement for tens, even hundreds of thousands of years. Such a discovery has recently been made, which for such a small artefact can tell us an incredible amount about how our ancestors lived. That artefact is a simple fishhook – 42,000 years old.