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Cycling, walking or driving – what are the risks and benefits?

newseditor12 February 2013

Cyclist by Cyberslayer on Flickr

A cyclist tackles the London traffic, courtesy of
Cyberslayer on Flickr

pencil-iconWritten by Rosemary Willatt, UCL Sustainability Stakeholder and Communications Coordinator.

Is cycling really that dangerous compared to walking or going by car? Are the health benefits really worth the risk of death or serious injury?

On 28 January, as part of UCL’s Environmental Sustainability Topic Lunch Series, Dr Jenny Mindell presented on the risks associated with three modes of transport – cycling, walking and driving.

Dr Mindell started by covering both the health benefits of physical activity and negative effects of inactivity. She presented several studies where cyclists had better health than others using metrics such as mortality rates, explosive muscle power and aerobic fitness. She also explained that air quality is lowest inside cars.

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Science for everyone by everyone – the re-emergence of citizen science

Katherine LAitchison29 January 2013

Citizen science is something that has undergone a major revival in the past 10 years or so and in the Lunch Hour Lecture on 22 January, Professor Muki Haklay explained why and where the field is going.

The iBats logo

The iBats logo

It may sound like a load of middle-aged men playing with chemistry sets but actually citizen science has encompassed some great thinkers. Like say… Charles Darwin, I imagine you’re familiar with his work?

Darwin wasn’t affiliated with any university or other organisation; in fact, he was only on HMS Beagle as a companion to the captain rather than in any professional capacity.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1833 that William Whewell coined the word ‘scientist’ to distinguish the professional from the amateur. He used interested amateurs to collect data relating to tidal patterns and likened himself to the jeweller who strung these ‘pearls’ of information together to make the necklace.

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Sustainable Energy for All: this year, next year, sometime – or never?

LaraCarim27 November 2012

West Yorkshire wind turbines (by
nulabugeye on Flickr)

Liberal Democrat Energy Minister Ed Davey’s clash with his Conservative deputy John Hayes over the future of wind turbines earlier this month demonstrates how topical and divisive the sustainable energy agenda can be.

Despite the issue’s current high media profile, a quick show of hands at the start of Professor Paul Ekins’ Lunch Hour Lecture on 20 November illustrated that there is little public awareness of 2012 as UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All – even among an audience with an interest in the topic.

Undeterred, Ekins, who is Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy and Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, immediately set out in stark terms why sustainable energy is “a huge issue”: 1.3 billion people globally in 2012 have no access to electricity, and 2.7 billion – more than one-third of the world’s population – lack clean cooking facilities.

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UCL Alumni Professional Networking Event: Environmental Careers

newseditor12 June 2012

Emily Everett, UCL Alumna (English Language & Literature 2008)

At a time when jobs are scarce and young professionals often disgruntled, a foot in the door can seem more like a leg up into that unattainable world of satisfying employment.

It’s why I’m never surprised to see each of UCL’s award-winning professional networking events so well attended; the opportunity to scribble down some sage advice while adding to your industry contacts is too good to pass up when the job market is so competitive.

Refreshing optimism
Wednesday’s panel on environmental careers stood out to me because of its surprising optimism – the result of a professional field that is still growing and expanding, instead of stagnating like many others.

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