Thursday, 25 April 2019

Media saturation of Greta Thunberg could undermine her Climate Change aims

On Tuesday, Stella Creasy MP called on the Government to support the set up of a Citizen's Assembly, one of the key aims of Extinction Rebellion. The Walthamstow MP pointed to the success of Ireland's Citizen Assembly in allowing the country to become the first to divest from fossil fuels because it 'hears the views of everyone, not just the activists, everyone.'

Not only did major news organisations not report this but Extinction Rebellion did not even retweet her speech in Parliament, one directly supporting their aim of not 'leaving the public out on the streets but by bringing them into an actual Citizen's Assembly.' Instead their social media kept focus on the activists; with updates about arrests, George Monbiot clips and Greta Thunberg telling politicians off for not doing enough.

Greta Thunberg is of course right that not enough has been done but the generalness of her speeches perpetuate the dangerous myth that lumps all politicians together as being equally responsible for the climate crisis, Parliamentary voting records show otherwise. This logic can lead many to conclude that the only option is further civil disobedience to bring about systemic change. Creasy and other MPs are making this call for change within Parliament itself but mainstream media and activists outside are not doing enough to press this advantage by helping get the Citizen's Assembly onto the news agenda. This is urgent because as the Easter holidays are up and activists drip back to daily life, it's back to Brexit-Only-News- yay! While Greta Thunberg has successfully reignited the issue occasionally with school strikes, her young-person-making-inspiring-speeches appeal can easily lose its real world impact like "The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes." Severn Cullis-Suziki's speeches couldn't stop the stupid ages of the 1990s, Greta Thunberg won't stop the #AgeOfStupid if no Parliamentary change is made beyond a few conversations with Michael Gove.

Why is the systematic change of a Citizen's Assembly important? Because it tries to take everyone's view into account. If drastic climate policies were quickly adopted by the Government and measures imposed on people's everyday lives, what then? Major inconvenience for millions of people, who may quickly reach for their Gilet Jaunes and thus civil disobedience resumes but in the opposite direction. Going green is inevitably inconvenient but it can be made bearable by putting the right measures in place and the places to find these compromises can come from a Citizen's Assembly.

Most British people believe climate change is real, the problem is they don't know how to stop it and feel powerless as a result. As Ireland has shown, experts and 'ordinary people' can actively engage with an issue, have informed discussions and work out solutions together to discover where people's priorities really lie and do so without splitting the country into absolutist camps. Also people with big carbon footprints like drivers, frequent fliers and gas boiler users maybe willing to make changes as many did with the installation of solar power panels and the ill-fated yet good-intentioned drive for diesel. People can change not only through incentives but by knowing their needs have been part of a direct form of democracy before necessary legislation is passed.

Citizen Assembly's admittedly doesn't make for exciting stories, try watching a whole session on Ireland's Citizen's Assembly YouTube page. I've even had to use a clickbait headline about someone else to make it in anyway appealing. Yes it is duller than hearing impassioned speeches from an inspiring teenager and seeing people get arrested but if it gives the means for everyone to get active in going greener, that's all activists like Greta and Extinction Rebellion can ask for and do.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Adam Page's Portfolio of Science stories

Here is just a glimpse of some of the incredible work being done by scientists in Cambridge:

A Cambridge University spin-out has created a device that uses a simple blood test to trace the progress of cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. The technology – which the company says is as easy to use as a coffee maker – detects proteins which can show the stage of disease in real-time.


Cambridge University’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics are uncovering the mysteries of deserts and avalanches:

Scientists at the Babraham Institute have found a new way to spot the early signs of dementia:


A life-saving screening programme for men over 65 has reached its one millionth scan, potentially saving over two hundred lives in the region:

Nano Scientists at the Cavendish Lab have found a new way to mass-produce materials that can instantly change colour:

Conservationists in Cambridgeshire are calling for urgent action to protect Britain’s wildlife – after a report revealed one in ten species were threatened with extinction. The State of Nature report found that since 1970 over half of UK species has seen population decline:

The Cambridge Science Centre offers a glimpse of their next big exhibition to pull in the crowds over the summer season. Looking into the mysteries of the human body – it will take visitors on a journey into life itself:

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Best of my Cambridge TV Interviews

These are some of my best examples of extended interviews and studio based work for Cambridge TV. These include interviews with academics, entrepreneurs and even a personal hero of mine. But first we'll start with the evening news...

Newspaper The Cambridge Independent launched in 2016 and I spoke to it's owner Edward Iliffe and managing director Ricky Allen...

My final interview on behalf of Cambridge TV News, which looked into how election results could be swung by the weather...

Cambridge Satchel Company founder Julie Deane OBE was commissioned by the British Government to do a report into self-employment. I spoke to her about her findings...

Waterscope is a company set up by Cambridge University students that's trying to find a way to make it easier for communities in the developing world get hold of safe drinking water...

10 million bibles were printed in Britain during the First World War and Christianity played a key role in the arguments of the pro and anti war movements. Two Cambridge University scholars have embarked on a 2-year project across Europe to find out more about the word of God in times of War...

Interview with the Newnham College Principal Professor Dame Carol Black about the role Newnham plays at the University of Cambridge and about her career...

In the run-up to Cambridge's Festival of Ideas I spoke to Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor David Reynolds ahead of their lecture into Cold War diplomacy...

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

UK's First Sake Brewery to open in Cambridgeshire

The first Sake brewery in the UK is set to open here in the county – after winning the approval of local councillors. The Japanese company Dojima will be investing around £9million in the business on the estate grounds of Fordham Abbey near Ely. They say their venture should lead to thousands of litres of freshly brewed Sake and over a hundred new jobs for the area.


But before building can begin, the owners held a Shinto ceremony...

Artist Impression by Kay Pilsbury Thomas Architects

New brain labs open at Addenbrooke's Hospital

New laboratories pioneering research into neurological disorders have been opened at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.The modernised John Pickard Neurosurgical Laboratories will be extending their ground-breaking work into brain tumours. Today a family who’ve raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to support the service witnessed the naming of one lab after their daughter.


Red Wellies set up in memory of Lisa Wiles

Indus Valley was farming rice earlier than thought

Researchers have found that farmers in India were cultivating rice centuries earlier than previously thought. A study by Cambridge University found that agricultural techniques developed in the Indus civilisation produced large yields and varieties of food. The team will now be looking at how the farmers were able to cope with climate change.


Pakistan Monument History of Pakistan by 100HOST.COM

Children with Type 1 diabetes could be spared daily injections

29,000 British children need to take multiple insulin injections every day to avoid Type 1 diabetes from destroying their immune systems. They depend on a method that was developed in the 1920s which researchers at Cambridge University think desperately needs changing. They have been testing a drug that could help patient’s immune systems to protect themselves rather than having to live their life around the needle.


Insulin and Syringe