The New Optimists Blog
The story I have to tell dates from 1998. I was staying in Pretoria, delivering the Innovation Strategy module for WMG, part of their MSc in Engineering Management. For reasons I can’t remember, we, the thirty or so delegates and myself, the module tutor, had to get to a conference centre, half an hour’s drive away up in the high veldt.
I was given a lift by one of the kitchen staff at the DB&B place I was staying. She was but a lass, a poorly-educated Afrikaans girl in her late teens. Of course we chatted on our daily journeys there and back. It was evidently hard being an Afrikaans in South Africa at the time. Not hard in the stone-breaking, TB-infected, prison-cell-for-decades kind of way. But hard nonetheless.
Continue reading “Mandela: Unemployed pensioner with a criminal record”
in the immediate future, we’re recruiting rising young scientist stars in the Midlands for a series of brief video interviews over the next few months.
Know someone, perhaps a PhD or postdoc researcher doing interesting stuff? Do encourage them to get in touch with me here.
Continue reading “The scientists, the scenarios, the forum: What’s coming up”
Evan Davis interviewed Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank on Radio 4 Today.
Much of the interview was about Jim Yong Kim’s conversation with the press yesterday (transcript here) in which he made the much-reported statement what I hope the tragedy in the Philippines helps us to do is to move away from having, what I think, a silly argument about, not really the science, but about science as a whole. Ninety-five percent of climate scientists agree that anthropogenic climate change is real
Continue reading “Jim Yong Kim: scenarios & climate change”
Nearly two years ago, I wrote a blogpost about why The New Optimists Forum took food as its topic for the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Project.
I’m pretty used to good things happening as a result of putting scientists and other well-informed people in a room together, especially if you give ‘em tasty food and an important topic to bend their minds upon.
Continue reading “The brilliant impact of the Birmingham 2050 Scenarios Project to date”
New Optimist Dame Julia King has brought two recent important reports from the Committee on Climate Change to my attention. (By the by, she’s one of only nine people on the Committee, and the only woman.)
The first report, published in April 2103, is Reducing the UK’s carbon footprint and managing competitiveness risk. This is a response to a Government request to look at the role of consumption-based emissions. The UK is now one of the world’s largest net importers of emissions, with a carbon footprint around 80% larger than our production emissions.
Continue reading “Reducing the UK’s carbon footprint — one of the world’s largest”
Linda Hindle‘s presentation at the Birmingham Sustainability Forum was about tackling childhood obesity – incredibly, one in four children in Birmingham are obese by the time they leave primary school.
- making sure Birmingham’s environment encourages participation in physical activity and enjoyment of healthy food
- changing behaviour so that children make the choice to be more active and eat healthy foods
- Birmingham families should have access to local opportunities for physical activity and healthy food
Continue reading “Linda Hindle on tackling childhood obesity, at Birmingham Sustainability Forum”
Adrian Morley gave a presentation at the Birmingham Sustainability Forum about the Food-Smart City Project. You can read the full presentation above – in it, Adrian talks about what a food-smart city is and the goals of the project. It aims to forge relationships between West Midlands universities in support of “economic, social and cultural well-being.”
The presentation covers a lot of interesting points, including the key considerations and aims which factored into its development. But the priorities are particularly worth noting:
- teach children where food comes from, how to grow/cook food, and what healthy diet consists of
- make sure every adult can cook a healthy meal which is quick, low-cost and tasty
- tackle barriers to healthy eating especially for people on low incomes
- halt childhood obesity
- radically reduce food waste
- encourage participation in individual and community growing projects
- ensure institutions and businesses serve healthy food to staff and customers
- encourage entrepreneurs to get involved in the local food industry
Continue reading “Roger Harmer on the development of a Birmingham Food Charter, at Birmingham Sustainability Forum”
Three New Optimists Profs were among those leading Wednesday evening’s Science Capital meeting on Innovative Healthcare at The Binding Site HQ at Fiveways.
Continue reading “Charlie Craddock, Peter Sadler, Michael Overduin — and Science Capital”
Birmingham Food Council: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this city were renown for being a place where children eat well?
I suspect that the origins of the Birmingham Food Council began with this unprepared, off-the-cuff remark I made at the end of my presentation on What it takes to feed the city made at the Birmingham Sustainability Forum a year ago in September 2012:
Continue reading “Birmingham Food Council: Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this city were renown for being a place where children eat well?”