Free to Think: Attacks on Scholars, Scientists threaten Societies Everywhere

Scholars at Risk’s latest Free to Think 2019 report describes the contours of a global phenomenon of attacks on higher education that impacts scientists everywhere. These attacks hamper scientific progress across the globe and challenge everyone’s right to think and share ideas. Given the gravity of this phenomenon, the report sets out tangible actions stakeholders including students, universities, faculty, and scientific associations can take to respond.

Paper biosensors: towards eco-friendly diagnosis

Many of our daily products are made from pollutant materials, which have proven to be extremely difficult to recycle. Recently, there have been a number of high profile campaigns to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis. Specifically to raise awareness of single-use plastics (microbeads, packaging, bags, disposable products etc.), which make up approximately 40% of the now more than 448 million tons of plastic produced every year. In an effort to do their bit to help, some biotechnological companies within the healthcare sector have focused their efforts on the search for alternative materials to fabricate diagnostics products. Paper has emerged as a possibility, but is it actually a real option for the market?

Archaeological heritage vulnerable to climate change

Climate change poses a threat to archaeological heritage. However, archaeological heritage seldom appears in the IPCC-reports on climate change. There is an urgent need to connect archaeology with this phenomenon, according to scientists, as rising sea levels and the increase of extreme weather events pose a real threat. Measures have to be taken to protect vulnerable sites, which often are situated in coastal areas. The general public can help, as various projects along Europe’s coast show.

Environmental impact of transportation on Europe: view of science and industry

Climate change is a fact and all of us should be concerned about it. One of the main causes of climate change is the human-caused environmental impact, especially in developed countries like Europe or North America. A number of European companies and institutions are determined to give an example to the whole world and stop the increase of emissions produced on the continent. Transport accounts for a fourth of global CO2 emissions and it is one of the few industrial sectors where pollutant emissions are still growing. Our generation has a chance to stop this trend and build a better future for our children.

The Blame Game

Science fiction authors are a motley crew, which includes a small number of professional scientists but also many others with no particular background in science or technology. EuroScientist published a short story called The Blame Game by Ian McKinley, who is a scientist involved in the rather esoteric area of radioactive waste management. In this story, a number of experts caught up in the chaos resulting from sudden environmental collapse argue about the root cause. The bottom line is that that there are so many interacting factors that it’s impossible to disentangle them. McKinley chose fiction as a means to talk to non-specialists about radioactive waste. He sets out to debunks the myths around the topic which stem from films, novels and, increasingly, comics, manga and anime, to get readers to ask themselves key questions about the topic.