Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Bach Project

Guitar nerd?

Interested in the philosophy of harmony?

Fascinated by history?

Love The Beatles and Abbey Road?

Enjoy seeing unusual instruments?

Like pretty music?

Want to spread more love in the world?

If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, I encourage you to check out (and, if you're able, donate to) a very cool project. World-renowned classical guitarist Michael Poll has been working on an incredibly academic yet beautiful project reinvigorating some music written by Bach for the lute with a seven-string guitar. Which he'll be recording in Abbey Road.

As a bonus, I appear in the audience in one of Michael's selected promo pics. ;)

Check it out:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Teaching, teaching, and teaching, oh my!

In the course of two days last week, I taught literature to nine-year-olds; maths to thirteen-year-olds; agricultural water policy to undergrads; and hydro-diplomacy to master’s students. It was quite the whirlwind!

I’m teaching with The Brilliant Club this term. They needed coverage of some subjects I don’t usually teach, and I guess they’re feeling confident with me…here comes Becca leading a mathematical physics course for Years 8 and 9 on ‘Would the stars float in the bath?’ The first day we played with density; today we worked on significant units, conversions, formulas, and finding the gradient of a chart. Meanwhile the younger students are exploring what creation myths tell us about the relationship between humans and nature. It’s been really great to relive my maths and science days from high school…but I’m definitely enjoying the social-natural stories as well.

Other than the load of teaching, my foot is properly on the mend and I’m feeling much more energetic. So it’s now time for a desperate attempt to get back into actual levels of PhD productivity. So much transcribing and typing to do!! :)

Monday, November 14, 2016

À Bientôt, Maroc!

Ta ta for now, Morocco...once again, it's been a delight!

I've spent the last week at COP22 observing Dar Si Hmad's incredible environmental diplomacy. They've been showcasing fog technology, environmental education, and climate change adaptation. I've been helping to staff the booth and work with our incredible Environmental Youth Ambassadors - urban students who are producing multi-media, multi-lingual content about environmental issues in Southwest Morocco.

After waving at camels and goats, being sprayed by young students pretending to be 'fog' with our interactive teaching net, and meeting some friends from around the world also here for COP, it's time to head back to London.

While I don't recommend being on crutches for 2 months, it does make security queues at the airport much faster to navigate! Let's hear it for a quick and easy immigration experience...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

After the Election, A Letter to You

To the 59,165,778 persons who voted for Donald Trump: you are loved. I am sorry that your views, opinions, and struggles are being demonised by the media and many individuals. I am sorry that we have created a world in which Trump feels like a solution to your struggles. I hope that you are willing to work alongside those with whom you disagree to make life better. I will stand with you. I will fight for you.

To the 59,333,856 persons who voted for Hillary Clinton: you are loved. I am sorry that your candidate was not elected and you are frustrated by the result. I hope that you will channel your hurt and anger into continued action for justice, equality, and understanding rather than attacks on those who voted differently than you. I will stand with you. I will fight for you.

To the many persons who voted for another candidate or did not or could not vote: you are loved. I am sorry that you are poorly represented by a two-party system that continues to make the voting process a difficult one. I hope that you will find ways to make your voice heard in the coming years. I will stand with you. I will fight for you.

To the persons of colour, LBGTQ individuals, Muslims, immigrants, women, and others who are terrified about the prospect of losing their rights, dignity, and freedom: you are loved. I am sorry that the future is a frightening one for you. I hope that you will take comfort in the knowledge that many people are concerned and will not be silent. I will stand with you. I will fight for you.

To the millions of persons around the world who had no say in this election but whose lives will be dramatically impacted by the result: you are loved. I am sorry that a decision made without you can hurt you so much. I am sorry that my country so often fails to be what it can and should be. I hope that you will not be harmed by this vote. I will stand with you. I will fight for you.

To you: you are loved. I will stand with you. I will fight for you.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hello from COP22!

After a week of being ill, I went to Norwich one more time to participate in a workshop on Evidence-Based Practice in Water Security. After an insane amount of travel, I have happily arrived back in Morocco. It's time for COP22!

Stealing from the Dar Si Hmad blog

Climate change is having huge impacts not only on ecosystems and economics but also on societies and communities in a broad variety of ways. In the Aït Baamrane region of Southwest Morocco, climate change alters rainfall patterns, influences crop yields, and reshapes ecosystems, especially forests. Forests are particularly important as the United Nations has found that around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods – including some 70 million indigenous people. The impacts of climate change on agriculture, energy supply and water sources directly affect humans’ lives.

The residents of rural Aït Baamrane are struggling to adapt to global warming and climate change. Regional drought levels are rising as temperatures warm, leading to higher chances of experiencing extreme heat and an ecosystem unbalance. This makes it harder for women searching for water, as supply and sources are harder to predict.

The world’s largest environmental “fog harvesting” system run by Dar Si Hmad is based in Aït Baamrane. It was created with the aim of helping communities thrive and provide them with potable water, creating a local solution to climate threats.

Dar Si Hmad doesn’t limit its work to providing people with clean water. Humans, after all, aren’t the only Life on Land! Projects like the Water School and Women’s Capacity-Building in the Anti-Atlas Mountains help people learn about their surrounding ecosystems, other species of fauna and flora, and the role they can play in climate stabilization.

Dar Si Hmad is a poignant example of how local systems can lead a revolution toward climate policy and what kinds of solutions can be delivered to communities. Dar Si Hmad is helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals working to transform the world and create a better place by:
  • Ensuring the sustainable supply of clean water for the Aït Baamrane region;
  • Improving the lives of local communities; and
  • Creating and stimulating sustainable livelihood opportunities.

The climate is changing. Dar Si Hmad doesn’t wait to adapt, it innovates first. The group’s recent United Nations Momentum for Change Award has recognized the great success of the work being done.

In just a few days, Dar Si Hmad will join forces with other NGOs, activists, journalists, policymakers, and diplomats to fight climate change at COP 22 in Marrakech. We hope you’ll join us, either at our booth in the Green Zone or online. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to learn more about how we are making a difference and how you can join us to protect life on land for all.

Hello from Marrakech, and happy Climate Action!