Change is endemic
Written by Sabina Kadić-Mackenzie
13 March 2021
There is no doubt that the last year has had a profound impact on all aspects of our lives.
From the way we connect with one another, to the way we prioritise our relationships, to leaps forward in science and technology, not least the development of vaccines. It’s been enlightening.
With all of this under our belts, it can be hard to recall a time ‘before’.
Before we instinctively gave ample space to passers-by or kept a crumpled facemask in the pocket of every jacket, lest we needed to spontaneously pop to the shops during our daily exercise.
The world has changed rapidly in some ways, subtly in others. With coronavirus here to stay in some form for the foreseeable, more change is surely afoot.
As many of the articles in this week’s Read on the Street ask, what does that mean for our natural world, the spaces we occupy and those we share with other species?
I hope you enjoy the collection of articles from the Charlotte Street Partners team. We’ve enjoyed collating them and the discussions they have prompted.
Have a lovely weekend.
1. How our abuse of nature makes pandemics like Covid-19 more likely
For two decades, evidence has been building of the link between how we encroach on, degrade and exploit the natural world and the risk of “zoonoses” – animal diseases that spill over into humans. From habitat degradation to squalid animal treatment, our part in allowing “zoonotic” diseases like covid-19 to leap into humans is becoming ever clearer.
Read in the New Scientist.
2. Greenwashing in finance: Europe’s push to police ESG investing
Greenwashing is seen by industry experts as a public relations gimmick whereby a company seeks to capitalise on its ‘green credentials’ while continuing with environmentally irresponsible activity. New EU regulation aims to prevent this, by subjecting asset managers dealing in ‘sustainable products’ to tougher disclosure. Could this new regulation become the global standard?
Read in the Financial Times.
3. Pandemic fog is real
I’ve never been very good at crowds. Post lockdown, I am absolutely terrible. Last weekend, I found myself swept up in a particularly crowded park. Despite being outside – which should’ve been a good thing – I hated the feeling of being suffocated by a sea of people and couldn’t wait to leave. The bombardment of external stimuli, which I had not experienced for a long period, left me feeling overwhelmed. Has living through a pandemic impaired our cognitive function? In this piece, Ellen Cushing says yes.
Read in The Atlantic.
4. Is canned tuna safe?
Tinned tuna is a staple of many kitchen cupboards. It’s nutritious, can be used in a variety of dishes, and doesn’t go off. The problem? It’s not very eco-friendly. Tuna is massively over-fished and other sea life, including endangered species, often die as consequence. The scale of the issue is huge but there are ways we can continue to eat tuna sustainably. It might be more expensive, but you can’t put a price on nature and the environment.
Read in National Geographic.
5. How ‘deliciousness’ gave our ancestors the edge
Conventional belief that the use of fire accelerated human evolution is being challenged by new research put forward in Delicious: The Evolution of Flavour and How it Made Us Human. Researchers posit that the quest for complex flavours, as a result of cooking and fermenting food and drink, was a stronger driving force for human evolution than mere digestibility. This allowed our ancestors’ brains to grow, leading to the appetite for more diverse crops, and, ultimately, enabling more complex societies to develop.
Read in The Guardian.
6. Molten rock churning below
Geology may well be the science behind the structure and substance of the Earth, but sometimes its idiosyncrasies make it elusive to even the most well-versed of experts. This past week, Iceland has been rocked by over 17,000 earthquakes, leading to early speculation of an imminent volcanic eruption. Yet, that reality has yet to materialise, and for those who study the Earth, sometimes the best policy is to prepare for the worst – but hope for the best.
Read in the National Geographic.
The submissions to this year’s World Nature Photography Awards have been judged, and the winning images and photographers have just been announced.
See for yourself in The Atlantic.