Archive for the ‘Watch’ Category

“I danced here on other peoples’ dreams”

Posted on: August 15th, 2022 by mlpEditor

How can we build a more diverse, respectful and inclusive society?

Award-winning author, journalist, broadcaster and academic, Professor Gary Younge, shares his personal journey. From growing up as a child in a single parent home to becoming an author and professor.

He reflects on the collective struggles of those that have gone before him. And how it was only through those struggles that opportunities were created for others.

Gary writes:

The diverse, inclusive, respectful society that we wish to build does not exist yet; it is constantly in the making.  We are in some senses closer than we were; although what is gained in one quarter is often conceded in another.  But in almost every sense we are not even close to where we need to be.

The COVID pandemic laid bare both our vulnerabilities and potential.  It exposed the inequalities and precarities that are the fault lines of societal unrest and global inequities.  It has also made the case, as no politician can, that there is such a thing as the common good, that we have a collective responsibility for our common wellbeing and that we are capable of adapting to meet the challenge. We all suffered and we all made sacrifices; we did not, however suffer or sacrifice equally.

But in order to build that diverse, inclusive, respectful world we must first imagine it.  That is precisely what oppressed people have been doing for centuries as they fought for rights that seemed impossible and a world they could not see.  Whatever diversity, inclusivity and respect we have attained thus far has not been the inevitable product of decency, natural evolution or time and tide; it is the product of struggle by generations of people who waged battles they were unlikely to win for a world they did not know was possible.  People who fought not because victory was plausible but because not fighting ensured defeat.

That is also the story of my own unlikely journey from a single parent migrant home to being an author and professor.  But while it is my personal story, it’s not just my personal achievement.  It was the collective struggles of others that have gone before me that made that journey possible.  That suggests that there are myriad other journeys, yet to be made to destinations unknown, that we can make possible through our struggles today.

Looking inside volcanoes

Posted on: August 15th, 2022 by mlpEditor

Volcanoes are big, hot, loud, and scary.  Because of this, we know little of their internal structure or underlying ‘plumbing system’, despite them representing a global natural hazard.

In this talk, Professor Christopher Jackson shows how new 3D seismic imaging techniques – essentially X-ray scanning of the Earth – can be used to illuminate the structure of volcanoes and the evolution of their underlying ‘hot rocks’.

Christopher is passionate about communicating science to the public and was one of the Royal Institution Christmas lecturers in 2020 for the series ‘Planet Earth – a user’s guide’, focussing on how we can achieve a sustainable future.

He has also appeared in ‘Expedition Volcano’ a BBC2 series with a team of international volcanologists visiting two of the world’s most volatile and spectacular volcanoes – in DRC and Rwanda.  He released a very well-received Audible podcast ‘The Grown Up’s Guide to Planet Earth’.

Christopher is keen to inspire young people in science, particularly from under-represented groups, aiming for a future geoscience community that is far more diverse and inclusive.

What drives Russia to confront the West?

Posted on: August 15th, 2022 by mlpEditor

*This online event took place in January 2021, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The relationship between Russia and the West is once again deep in crisis. Russia’s actions since 2014 have removed all doubt in Europe and North America on the nature of the challenge from Moscow. But why does Russia behave like this and what are the driving factors for its clear enmity towards the West?

The answer can be found in seeing the world as it looks from Moscow.  Through Western eyes, Russia appears unpredictable and irrational.  Yet Russian leaders from the czars to Vladimir Putin have followed a consistent internal logic when dealing with their own country and the world outside.

In fact, what surprises some Western observers so much about Moscow’s current behaviour is simply Russia reverting to type.  But this also gives the West pointers for how to behave — and how not to — to rebuild a working relationship with Russia.

Hopes for a better relationship with Moscow must not be based on the assumption that Moscow will change in the short term.  Instead, the fundamental requirement for a stable and realistic relationship is recognition that Russia is not, and never has been, part of the West. And it does not share its assumptions, goals, values or interests.

Climate change: the urgency for action now

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by mlpEditor

Policy positions and interventions show global warming is still underestimated, or misunderstood. Can we still win back the chance of surviving and thriving?

In this talk, Professor Sir David King argues that ‘climate repair’ offers a scalable, safe recipe for future climate stability.  The strategy applies immediate climate repair measures: very rapid progress to net zero global emissions; additional reduction of the volume of atmospheric greenhouse gases; and halting the heating of the Earth and its oceans. ‘Climate repair’ will refreeze Earth’s poles and the glaciers of the Himalayas. It will stabilise sea level and break feedback loops that relentlessly accelerate global warming.

Net zero emissions exist as a target for about 70% of the world’s economies, over a range of timescales.  This target offers an important starting point for climate repair.  But emissions reductions must become more rapid than current proposals. And combined with speedy expansion of carbon sinks to create negative growth of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs).

‘Net-zero’ alone is insufficient. Net-negative emissions will provide foundations for shifting current dangerous GHGs back towards pre-industrial levels that underpinned stable, hospitable climate patterns for millennia.

We can choose our future

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by mlpEditor

Would you change your flying habits or aspirations to combat climate change?

Anthropogenic climate change is the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced.  Yet the fact that we know humans created this challenge can be empowering. It means that we have some control over how much future climate change we will all need to adapt to.

In richer countries, our per person emissions are very high and will need to be cut significantly. Our choices also have an influence over others’ futures, where per person emissions are very low. And these tend to be places where climate impacts will be most keenly felt.

Professor Alice Larkin’s talk focusses on the scale of the climate change challenge and why it matters that we make different choices now.  In particular, it will use aviation and shipping to highlight some of what needs to change, and how to influence it.

Dante’s journey through popular culture

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by mlpEditor

2021 was the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, yet his influence on contemporary artists, designers and film-makers still holds strong.

Is it because Dante had such a deep understanding of the human condition, and verbalised it so imaginatively?  He is most famous for his epic poem, ‘La Commedia’, a testament to his spiritual journey from a place of turmoil to one of safety.  Why have his graphic and painterly descriptions of Inferno influenced so many?

In this richly illustrated talk, Emma Marigliano examines Dante’s wide influence through exploring the work of early film-makers and modern artists, including some rather unexpected examples from the world of advertising.

Change your diet: the easiest way to help reduce your climate impact

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by mlpEditor

Food production causes about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.  And this is rising as the world’s population increases and becomes more affluent. This talk explores our potential for change.

Professor Sarah Bridle has been studying dark matter and dark energy for the last 20 years. But when her children started school she began to think about our own planet in the next 20 years and beyond.  Sarah learned about climate change in depth, for the first time. How it threatens worldwide food production, and how food causes about a quarter of all global warming.  She wanted to know how much each of her food choices was contributing, and why.

Sarah delved into the academic research literature and summarised the results in simple charts.  The charts make it easy for the non-specialist to see the impacts of different meal options. They show that some easy food switches can reduce food greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent.

Most of us make many food choices every day. By changing these we can significantly reduce climate change caused by food, and free up land that can be used to help reduce climate change overall.

Reading your DNA: what can it tell us?

Posted on: August 11th, 2022 by mlpEditor

Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramian discusses the origin, development and impact of new technology to sequence DNA.

DNA is a linear molecule made up of four building blocks, often abbreviated to the letters G, C, T and A.  The sequence of these four letters forms a code that comprises 3.2 billion letters in a copy of the human genome.  The International Human Genome Project used an approach developed by Fred Sanger to generate the first human genome reference. This global collaboration spanned a decade.

Over 20 years ago, during the course of some basic scientific experiments, a collaboration with David Klenerman and Shankar Balasubramanian’s co-workers unexpectedly led them to conceive and then pursue a different way of sequencing DNA.

The initial experiments ultimately led to a rapid, low-cost sequencing approach, which was developed and commercialised through a company they co-founded, called Solexa.

Today the technique is able to sequence human, and other, genomes at a cost and speed that shows over a million-fold improvement compared to when the project began in 1997.

Sir Shankar reports on the impact of the technology on life sciences, medicine and society, and share a vision of what the future holds.

Legacy of Empire

Posted on: February 17th, 2022 by mlpAdmin

How much of what we consider to be modern Britain is actually rooted in our imperial past?

Award-winning author Sathnam Sanghera talks to historian Dr Michael Taylor.  In this highly anticipated event, Sathnam and Michael seek to unravel the extent to which Empire has shaped our history, perception and understanding of the world.

Their conversation touches on Sanghera’s experiences of growing up in Wolverhampton as the son of Punjabi Indians. It explores the role of Commonwealth immigrants in shaping modern Britain. And considers the legacies of some of the most traumatic incidents in imperial history.

Their exchange seeks to address some of the most pressing questions facing Britain today. What should we do with the statues of slaveholders such as Edward Colston and imperialists such as Cecil Rhodes? Is it ‘woke’ to regard British imperial history with scepticism? How should we teach imperial history in schools and universities? And who is going to win the ongoing ‘culture wars’ about history and memory?

Slavery and Manchester in the fight for Abolition

Posted on: January 25th, 2022 by mlpAdmin

What role did Manchester and Mancunians play in the fight over slavery and emancipation?

Manchester, with its strong Dissenting tradition, was a hotbed of abolitionist enthusiasm which produced some of the largest anti-slavery petitions of the day. But that fact alone does not tell the full, complex story.

When Parliament outlawed the British slave trade in 1807, it did nothing to set free more than 700,000 enslaved people in the British West Indies. In fact, it was not until 1823 that the Anti-Slavery Society, which pursued the abolition of slavery itself, was even founded.

A decade-long battle was fought between British abolitionists and the powerful slaveholding lobby known as the ‘West India Interest’. This fight took place on battlefields as diverse as the Houses of Parliament and the pages of the London and regional press. In churches and chapels, and even in the Caribbean colonies themselves.

Dr Michael Taylor’s talk examines Manchester’s part in this complex story. He describes the role of prominent north-westerners, such as George Hibbert and Robert Peel, in defending slavery from 1823 until the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.