Is uneven development in China causing resentment?

The story of China’s growth and change over recent decades is powerful evidence of how industrial development and Globalisation can combine to create rapid change. However, far from everyone in China is feeling the benefit of the changes that have happened and continue to happen. This article reveals how millions of rural Chinese people feel left behind.




Who was Wangari Maathai?

Wangari Maathai was a leading light in African conservation and social enterprise, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts. She was critical in showing people around the world how positive actions could change the environment and people.

More here:

And here:

How will the UK change when its people live to 100?

Recent reports suggest that half the children born in the UK today can expect to live to 100.

This will place different demands on our healthcare, social care and pension systems. But the full extent of the changes are unknown.

Will the UK remain a place where older people are valued or might they come to be viewed as a burden on society? Whatever the outcome, the socail fabric of the UK will change significantly in the coming decades as our population ages.



How does climate change cause migration?

Climate change, whether anthropogenic (man made), natural or both can accelerate processes such as desertification, coastal erosion and flooding. Here are some pictoral examples of where this is happening around the world:

Who was Ernest Shackleton?

Ernest Shackleton is regarded as having bee one of the greatest polar explorers of all time. His legendary escape from his trapped and shattered ship, Endurance, lives on today as a great example of leadership. The lengths to which he went to ensure the safety of his crew are modern day epics.

You can find out more about Shackleton here, including a list of some of the many books about him: There is another interesting Shackleton website here:

There is mo

What is “virtual” or “hidden” water?

Virtual water, sometimes known as “embedded” water, is a measure of the amount of “invisible” water required to generate various foodstuffs and products. Many products require a considerable amount more water to create than might be suggested by looking at it. For example, a cup of coffe requires around around 140 litres of water and a cotton T-shirt needs around 2000 litres! This water is needed to grow, wash and process the products and refers to any water required during the product cycle.

You can discover more about the idea of virtual water here:

This is an increasing problem as many countries are effectively “exporting” large quantities of water in products they generate. This is occurring in many parts of the developing world where growing demand for water from increasing populations  and “thirsty” technology is combining with a decline in available water due to previous consumption of reserves, poor management and changing climatic condition.

You can listen to Prof Tony Allan of King’s College London (, who developed the concept, talking about the idea here:

From a sustainable development point of view, this metrication of water required to generate the goods and services we consume allows us to create a “water footprint” which shows the impact of individuals, groups and activities on our water supply. You can find more about this here:

How do commerical concerns conflict with development? The case of Plumpy’nut

Plumpy’nut is a RUTF or ready to use therapeutic food in the parlance of those involved in emergency food aid. It and other products help aid agencies keep people alive when famine and other food limiting emergencies strike. But like most things, Plumpy’nut is a product and there has been an argument over the rights to the product and whether it should be patented:

Many other companies are involved in fortified foods, many are not for profit organisations:

There’s more about Plumpy’nut and RUTF here: