Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

I could not put this book down. As a lover of apocalyptic/ post-apocalyptic fiction, it made a nice change to read a book that wasn't about Zombies or about a far in the future dystopia/utopia. This felt like a truly realistic representation of what would happen if a pandemic were to hit the world right now, and it was gripping.

As with any book that takes the narrative voice of multiple characters, there's always certain characters whose chapters drag. This book was no exception, but I enjoyed the generational differences portrayed, the link between all of the characters and the juxtaposition of pre and post pandemic world.

A truly great, and quick, read. Would recommend to everyone.
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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Riverdale 'Chapter Two: Touch of Evil' Photo Recap

Hey guys,

Sorry it's been a while, I've had exams. And deadlines. And various other things consuming my time between now and the last photo recap. But wait no more! I am back, in true tardy fashion, with Chapter 2. If you haven't seen the first episode, maybe go and do that or go and read my previous recap here.

'Touch of Evil' begins with a very sweaty and very topless Archie tossing and turning. After rightfully getting the cold shoulder off of Betty (remember the very recent rejection?), he decides to go for a very sweaty and very topless midnight run. To whose house other than our favourite Miss Predators?! Hip hip hurray. Shall we just call Miss Grundy the culprit and all go home? Lets save ourselves the time and effort investigating elsewhere.

Archie is adamant that they heard gunshots, much to Grundys dismay. So she tries a different tact. Somehow, it seems that Miss Predator is losing her tight leash on Archie, because he doesn't seem so happy to play by her rules this time.

Yeah, that's right Archie. You fight your way out of Grundy's web. Meanwhile, in Betty's house, her mom gives her a pep talk about how she shouldn't talk to or trust anyone. A touch patronising. Not a fan of Betty's mom. Betty agrees to not talk to Archie, only to, two seconds later, talk to Archie. Rebel much?

Betty and Archie walk to school together and Betty pretends that she's okay being in the friendzone. But if there's one thing I've learnt about love, it's that, nobody is okay with being in the friendzone if they want to be out of the friendzone. I hear your words Betty, but I see through you. Don't worry gurl, we've all been there. Jug/Gossip Girl has a brief conversation with Archie about Jason (the guy who died just to remind you). Then Betty and Kevin pick up some apology flowers from Veronica for kissing Archie.

Veronica grovells hard and wins back Betty, much to Kevins dismay. I adore Kevin. And I'm kind of digging Betty with everyone. Well, by everyone I mean, BettyxArchie and BettyxVeronica. With a dash of Kevin everytime. Watch this space.

And back to the big mystery on hand. The death of Jason Blossom.

Archie is consumed with guilt and Jughead is totally onto him. Jughead doesn't seem to miss anything around here. I'm just surprised he doesn't already know who killed Jason... Or does he?

Meanwhile half of suspect number 2 hands over a wad of cash to the forensics guy doing thee autopsy on Jasons body. Totally unsuspicious behaviour right. Hmm I still stand by my red herring point I made before so imma be mad if they did actually kill Jason.

And back to teen non-murder drama, I called it - Betty is so not ready to be in the friendzone. Love guru here, whenever you need Betty.

No worries Betty. I got you. She storms off, admitting that maybe she's not okay. Which is okay. Archie is trying to help, but he's really not being much help. Sorry Archie, but you need to just back off a bit. Again, we've all been there. Sometimes you just need to give people a bit of space.

Then the principal calls out Archie on his weird lurking behaviour. Archie freaks and we all know what Archie does when he freaks by now. He runs off to Grundy. I should have known her absence on screen was too good to last.

Hey, I'm just as annoyed about Archie running to you as you are. She is such a slimy piece of seaweed. Is there no depth to which she wouldn't stoop? She plays on Archies feelings for her to stop him from telling everyone about them being together and hearing the gunshots that fateful morning at the river. She even strokes Archies fingers. Excuse me while I vomit next to her.

Thank the lord that Jughead is gossip girl because now he knows. Phew. The dramatic irony was getting quite exhausting.

And this face, people, is the face that bonds me and Jughead forever. I feel your disgust, and I am here for you. I'm sure you've all heard the saying, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Well, Jughead, nice to meet you friend.

Betty and Veronica have an argument about Archie and what its like to be forever alone. Betty is still in denial about everything. Cba to screenshot. Betty gets her bitch on and goes for pedicures with Cheryl (the ginger twin to remind you) instead of Veronica. Not gonna lie, I think Veronica kind of deserved it for the whole kissing Archie shenanigans. But now equal footing has been restored, I'll be less accepting of Bitch Betty should she make another appearance.

Archie and Veronica have some alone time for the first time since they kissed. And true to form, the topic of conversation is Betty. If they end up getting together, I wonder if they'll say Betty's name during foreplay, or is that too crude? I'm not shipping them.

Over at Betty's house, Cheryl and Betty are playing a short lived game of best friends.

Archie returns home to find Jughead on his steps. Seriously, does Jughead have clones? I swear he is all seeing and all knowing. He is everywhere. No-one is safe from the eyes of Jughead.

Archie tells all. PHEW. And Jughead voices some harsh truths and opinions similar to my own. I am rapidly gaining respect for the mysterious Jug.

'COUGAR' (Jughead re: Grundy)

'I'm guessing she cares more about herself' omg yass queen. I love you already. We have seriously bonded this ep. I guess I have Grundy to thank for that. Ha, likely. But seriously, Jughead, amazing. Can we upgrade to best friends?

Betty and Veronica make peace, which makes me really happy.

In the common room or whatever, the jocks are spouting shit about jughead and teasing him about being a serial killer. As you do.

Popular jock whose name I can't remember gets all riled up because he can't handle Jugheads sass and Archie stands up for Jughead, resulting in a small fight between the the jock and Archie. Archie may be beginning to redeem himself.

And furthermore, Archie decides to do the right thing and tell Weatherbee about the gunshot. Grundy isn't happy, which means I am doubly happy. Go Archie. Then Jughead and Archie have a cute moment. Uhm, sorry but I may be shipping them just a little bit now. But I don't know if I'm just shipping jughead with anyone because he looks so damn cute.


Then Betty and Veronica go for milkshakes which was the best thing. I was feeling a distinct lack of milkshakes this ep. They toast to not letting boys get between them - I smell a slight whiff of foreshadowing? Or am I just being cynical?

But the happiness never lasts too long, because the very next day, Cheryl gets arrested for something in the autopsy results and it turns out Jason died a week after he disappeared.

I feel ya Archie, I feel ya.

Some notes:

  • wtf is going on?
  • everyone is so darn beautiful
  • I think Cheryl really grew on me this ep, I love how she owns her crazy and how she also broke down at the pep rally, also that frog dissection scene, yass queen!
  • what went on with Polly and Jason? I feel like this arc should come to light soon and its gonna be big
  • I was not expecting to fall in love with Jughead, but I think I actually did
  • Miss Grundy is, as always, the worst
  • I am so pleased about the milkshakes at the end, seriously, I think I'm actually gonna tally the milkshakes from now on #hereforthemilkshakes I want a milkshake
  • I definitely have a girl crush on Betty
  • Archie is a bit of a dweeb, buuuut I have high hopes for his character development
  • I'm unsure about Veronica
  • I want more Kevin scenes
  • Whats the deal with Bettys parents paying the forensic guy?
  • Can someone upset me so that they can buy me flowers and cupcakes and mani/pedi vouchers?
  • I am, once again, hooked

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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Eat Less Meat: Strategies for Reducing Meat Consumption to cut Global GHG Emissions

Approximately 18% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are produced from livestock1,  the guiltiest emitters being ruminant animals such as cattle and sheep2. It is approximated that 1kg of beef produces 14-32kgCO2e compared to 3.7-6.9CO2e for 1kg of chicken and 0.3-1.5CO2e for 1kg of lentils3,4,5. These discrepancies in emissions highlight reduction in global meat consumption as an area with a large scope for mitigation. However, the mitigation potential is highly reliant on the associated emissions of substituted products. Modelling the adoption of a flexitarian lifestyle (75% of meat intake substituted for wheat and pulses) suggests a potential reduction in emissions by ~43% in the livestock sector by 2050, from 12GtonCO2eq/yr to 6.8 GtonCO2eq/yr6.

Strategies for Change
Making significant dietary changes on a large, even global, scale is a highly complex and challenging task which requires a multifaceted approach. Reducing the consumption of meat not only has environmental impacts but social and cultural implications too. Meat is regarded as having a special status in society, it is associated with masculinity and it has a place among many traditional meals7. Eating Better highlight several key drivers of change that need attention if a successful reduction in meat consumption is to be achieved7. Five of these drivers will henceforth be discussed.

Of food items, meat products tend to be the most expensive7. A 2013 YouGov survey found that 35% of UK consumers regard price as the main factor that would drive a willingness to reduce meat consumption and 20% responded that price had already led to a decrease in meat consumption7. One strategy would be to place a carbon tax on food items, making meat and dairy products, with particular emphasis on red meat, more expensive and thus less attractive to the average consumer8. However, this strategy alone would unlikely be sufficient, and may face harsh resistance without the aid of other strategies that target consumer attitudes and knowledge 8,9.

Awareness of Environmental Impact
Research concerning public awareness of the environmental impact of livestock repeatedly reports a severe lack of association by consumers between meat and climate change 8,9,10. Individuals tend to place other food related factors higher in terms of ecological impact11. An Australian study reported 22% of respondents believing eating less meat would have significant environmental impacts compared to 90% believing a reduction of packaging would be beneficial10. This highlights the need for education and information campaigns to promote changes in perceptions of agriculture in relation to climate change. It would be beneficial to include as part of the National Curriculum as young people are more likely to exhibit willingness to change food consumption habits8.

However, it is evident that knowledge alone does not cleanly translate into behavioural changes, as shown through the limited success of health campaigns in the UK and USA12. Even when there is awareness, there is resistance. One large issue is a perception that personal meat consumption will play a minimal role on a global scale11. Research suggests that women are more willing than men to adopt environmentally friendly food habits, including reducing meat consumption8. Therefore, it appears auspicious to target women in environmental awareness campaigns, as they are often influential household gatekeepers8.

The consumption of red meat is linked with health problems such as heart disease and diabetes7. Although an emphasis on the environment is essential in information campaigns, the connection between health and meat consumption is a useful link to make for individuals lacking environmental concern8. People are generally more inclined to make lifestyle changes when they can personally connect and identify with the perceived negative consequences13.

Western culture is one of convenience. The consumption of ready meals and takeaways continues to increase7. Vegetarian and vegan diets are considered inconvenient due to perceived preparation time and difficulty7,14.

One strategy for reducing meat consumption is to increase the range of meatless ready meals available12. By combining meat replacements with pre-existing, culturally accepted meals, people are more likely to try them14. An example of this could be adding plant protein sources to pizza.

One large difficulty in reducing meat consumption concerns the status of meat both as a rich protein source and as a traditional part of the meal7,14. In western culture, there is a trend towards a tripartite structure of the meal: meat, staple and vegetable14.

A barrier to changes in diet is the lack of knowledge regarding suitable protein substitutes and alternative recipes/ meal plans14. Having a wide variety of both processed and non-processed plant proteins available and widely known promotes a change of diet in males, where the cognitive link between protein and masculinity is strong14,15. It is essential for meat substitutes to have good taste, texture and to be environmentally sound15. Promotion of meatless and meat substitute recipes and guides is important for change in diets. Habits, experience and skillsets restrict change as many people do not know how to prepare non-processed meat substitutes such as lentils and beans and are uncertain how to combine them with familiar meals14.

The above drivers of change have been chosen to provide a well-rounded strategy for reducing meat consumption. However, other drivers with scope for promoting dietary  changes are animal welfare concerns, interests in provenance and traceability and food scares7.

Current research surrounding meat consumption and environmental awareness have focussed primarily on European countries, with strong  emphasis on Western  culture. The cultural and social importance of meat varies significantly globally and thus, the strategies for success in reducing meat consumption discussed above must be catered towards individual countries. With countries such as China burgeoning in meat consumption, action must be taken quickly and adapted towards the socio cultural frame of these countries.

The cultural and social significance of meat cannot be underestimated, and changing consumption patterns and behaviours should take a slower transitional approach of promoting a flexitarian lifestyle rather than a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, due to pre-existing connotations of these labels and the restrictions these labels can apply.

By Candi Bradford
(Submitted as part of my undergraduate degree)

[1] Stehfest, E., Bouwman, L., van Vuuren, D., den Elzen, M., Eickhout, B. and Kabat, P. (2009). Climate benefits of changing diet. Climatic Change, 95(1-2), pp.83-102.
[2] Weber, C. and Matthews, H. (2008). Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 42(10), pp.3508-3513.
[3] WWF, (2009). How low can we go? An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK food system end and the scope to reduce them by 2050. [online] Available at: http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/how_low_report_1.pdf [Accessed 1 Apr. 2017].
[4] Vetter, S., Sapkota, T., Hillier, J., Stirling, C., Macdiarmid, J., Aleksandrowicz, L., Green, R., Joy, E., Dangour, A. and Smith, P. (2017). Greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural food production to supply Indian diets: Implications for climate change mitigation. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 237, pp.234-241.
[5] Yip, C., Crane, G. and Karnon, J. (2013). Systematic review of reducing population meat consumption to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and obtain health benefits: effectiveness and models assessments. International Journal of Public Health, 58(5), pp.683-693.
[6] Hedenus, F., Wirsenius, S. and Johansson, D. (2014). The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets. Climatic Change, 124(1-2), pp.79-91.
[7] Eating Better, (2014). Let's talk about meat: Changing dietary behaviour for the 21st century. [online] Available at: http://www.eating-better.org/uploads/Documents/Let'sTalkAboutMeat.pdf [Accessed 31 Mar. 2017].
[8] Tobler, C., Visschers, V. and Siegrist, M. (2011). Eating green. Consumers’ willingness to adopt ecological food consumption behaviors. Appetite, 57(3), pp.674-682.
[9] Vinnari, M. and Tapio, P. (2009). Future images of meat consumption in 2030. Futures, 41(5), pp.269-278.
[10] Lea, E. and Worsley, A. (2008). Australian consumers’ food-related environmental beliefs and behaviours. Appetite, 50(2-3), pp.207-214.
[11] Macdiarmid, J., Douglas, F. and Campbell, J. (2016). Eating like there's no tomorrow: Public awareness of the environmental impact of food and reluctance to eat less meat as part of a sustainable diet. Appetite, 96, pp.487-493.
[12] Carlisle, S. and Hanlon, P. (2014). Connecting food, well-being and environmental sustainability: towards an integrative public health nutrition. Critical Public Health, 24(4), pp.405-417.
[13] de Boer, J., Schösler, H. and Boersema, J. (2013). Climate change and meat eating: An inconvenient couple?. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 33, pp.1-8.
[14] Schösler, H., Boer, J. and Boersema, J. (2011). Can we cut out the meat of the dish? Constructing consumer-oriented pathways towards meat substitution. Appetite, 58(1), pp.39-47.
[15] de Boer, J., Schösler, H. and Aiking, H. (2014). “Meatless days” or “less but better”? Exploring strategies to adapt Western meat consumption to health and sustainability challenges. Appetite, 76, pp.120-128.
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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Ireland 2017

The three of us at Blarney Castle, Cork
Last month I met up with two of my friends, Sarah and Laura, and went on a five day road trip around Ireland. It was a much needed break and we all had an incredible time reconnecting and doing what we do so well together, exploring and having fun. I'd been to Ireland three times before this trip, twice to Dublin and once to Northern Ireland for a Geography field trip, but I'd been dreaming of a trip in which I really got to see the true extent of the so called Emerald Isle. Considering we had 5 days altogether, I think we did a pretty good job.

Carrick-a-Rede, Antrim
The trip began in true Candi style, and by that I mean stressfully. My train to Manchester was delayed, and then cancelled so I was late getting to the airport. My phone ran out of battery so I had no way to contact Sarah or show my boarding pass. I struggled to find somewhere to print my boarding pass at the airport. And then if all that wasn't stressful enough, my bags had to go through security three times, taking a total of 50 minutes, leaving me with 10 minutes to spare. I sprinted to my gate and couldn't find Sarah. Luckily she'd boarded already, and I managed to convince a rather sour faced individual to swap seats with me so Sarah and I could sit together and talk in person for the first time in 16 months. 16 whole months since I hugged her and Laura goodbye at Calgary airport. Damn. The previous few hours of stress was well worth being reunited with one of my best friends.

Ballinskelligs Beach, Kerry
A very short plane ride later we arrived in Belfast and made our way to Global Village hostel which was to be our accommodation for the next two nights. Just putting it out there, this hostel was one of the best hostels I've ever stayed in. It was great overall in terms of cleanliness, facilities and location but what made it an exceptional hostel was the atmosphere. I felt warm and cosy there. It had a beautiful environment very conducive to socialising and hanging out, had I been backpacking and on a longer trip, it would have been perfect. Definitely recommend. Anyway, Sarah and I unpacked our things, grabbed dinner and then Laura arrived from the Netherlands. We were all pretty wiped out by this point so after a brief chat, we rested our weary heads in preparation for the long day ahead.

Carrick-a-Rede, Antrim
Our first full day in Northern Ireland was jam packed, exhausting and by no means dull. We'd decided, for Northern Ireland, to do a bus tour, so we could efficiently see what we wanted to see without having to hire a car yet. Our tour was called the Game of Thrones tour and overall, considering how tired we were from the previous day, it was a good choice for our time in N.Ireland. However, in hindsight, I wouldn't do an organised bus tour again. But I'll get to that in a bit.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Antrim
The coastline in Antrim was incredible and the drive was definitely a highlight. My favourite stops on the trip were Carrick-a-rede, the Giant's Causeway and the dark hedges, with Carrick a rede coming up top. Of the three, Carrick-a-Rede was first and it was just incredibly beautiful. We managed to get ahead of  most people on the trail so the view ahead was uninterrupted and pristine. We decided to pay to cross the rope bridge which was so worth it as it gave us such an incredible view of the rugged coastline and the incredibly blue water. The wind on my face, rain lashing down, I felt truly alive and happy to be with two of my greatest friends. I don't know what it is about hiking through beautiful surroundings that just brings me complete and utter peace, and combine that with a coastline, I am in heaven.
Giants Causeway, Antrim
The Giants Causeway was and is a fantastic display of geology and I maintain that basalt columns are some of the finest natural features. HOWEVER, I despised how touristy it was. I had a similar feeling to the one I experienced at the Niagara Falls, which I wrote about here. The sheer amount of people there and the fact that I got told to move away from the sea (I don't like being told where I can and can't walk in places that aren't cordoned off) dampened my experience somewhat. The same for the dark hedges. I know I'm hypocrital when I say these things though, as I am a tourist in these instances, but it's so much better to find places that are less touristy. The whole premise of getting out into nature and seeing natural environments seems inherently antagonistic with hoards of people and the abundance of people was a common theme on this tour. Which is the primary reason I wouldn't jump to do a guided tour again. Personally, I would recommend hiring a car and setting off early before encountering the masses because this part of Ireland is well worth the visit.

Glendalough Lake, Wicklow
That evening comprised pizza and chilling out, due to our 5am start the next day. Our second full day involved a lot of driving. We arrived in Dublin in the midmorning, stopped off on O'Connell Street for breakfast and I had to have some white pudding as is tradition in my family everytime we go to Ireland. We had brekkie at Kylemore which I would most definitely recommend. As for the white pudding, not the best I've had. We set off out of the city quite quickly, and spent the day driving through the quaint countryside of Wicklow. Decided to make a detour to Glendalough Lake which was a needed break from sitting, although having been spoilt by the mountains and lakes of the Rockies, slightly underwhelming for the three of us. But, so beautiful in their own right. Who knew Ireland had so many mountains? Afterwards we drove to Blarney, just outside of Cork where we were staying for the night. For such a quiet and seemingly small village, the pub (The Muskerry Arms) was absolutely heaving that night. I absolutely loved the atmosphere there and would wholeheartedly recommend.

Blarney Castle, Cork
The next day we hadn't much planned so we were all particularly chilled out and this day turned out to be my favourite day in Ireland. Everything was just perfect. I find that when you have no expectation for how a day is going to be, you're more likely to be pleasantly surprised. Spontaneity is the way forward. The only thing on the agenda was Blarney Castle and we got there as it opened, so we were able to enjoy the castle and grounds in peace. It was wonderful. I must say, I'm not really the biggest fan of walking around buildings, I'm much more of a nature gal, but Blarney Castle was well worth the trip. The grounds were beautiful and we were able to see every part of the castle. As for kissing the Blarney stone... well, that turned out to be a tad different to what we expected...


After Blarney Castle we headed off in the direction of Killarney, and decided to do the Ring of Kerry route, which turned out the be the BEST DECISION EVER. Sorry, but it was my idea and I take full credit for it #modesty. So, we began the route in Kenmore, which was a frickin awesome town. The two main streets looked like they were taken straight out of the 1940's. We really enjoyed walking around town for a little while. Stopped at a pub and had a very Irish meal of steak and guinness pie and mash. YUM. After that very satisfying meal, we set off on the ring of Kerry. It was just full of beauty. I can't describe it. We were forever wanting to stop and enjoy the scenery. It also helped that there were hardly any people around so no ruining of the aesthetic by people. We stopped at Lambs head, Bolus head, Ballinskelligs beach and Kerry cliffs, all of which were stunning. Got to Killarney in the evening, exhausted and content. We ordered pizza and watched some Russell Peters.

Kerry Cliffs, Kerry
Our penultimate day was fairly relaxed. We decided to rent bikes in Killarney and cycle through the national park. We stopped at Torc Waterfall, Muckross House and Abbey and then returned to town. It was liberating to go cycling, getting the blood pumping, the wind whistling through our hair and being surrounded by trees and lakes. The price was so good too, highly recommend hiring bikes or taking bikes there. After that, we did a long stint of driving back to Dublin where we ended up relaxing for a bit, then going to a pub (what a surprise!) to try some guinness. I am ashamed to admit that I failed my Irish heritage and managed approximately 3 gulps before admitting defeat. We rolled back to our hotel after an exceptionally filling meal and crashed out.

Overestimated my ability to consume beer, Sarah managed marginally better
Last day in Ireland was fairly uneventful. We wandered around Dublin, went to Temple Bar and visited Trinity College and a couple of museums. As is typical of last days, we felt ready to leave and made our way to the airport content after such a successful trip. It was such a fantastic getaway, and I feel so lucky to have been able to share it with two people whose company I rarely get to enjoy, especially simultaneously. I hope us three continue to meet up throughout our lives, because I consider myself truly blessed to have made such wonderful friends on exchange. Although it's a shame that we live so far apart, it also makes it that much better when we reunite. And what better way to catch up than doing what we do best, exploring together?

Windy Selfie atop the Cliffs of Kerry
Thank you Sarah and Laura for such an incredible 5 days, and thanks particularly to sarah who organised most of it! I definitely recommend exploring Ireland, and I feel a lot more connected to my Irish ancestors as a result.


Ireland Playlist 2017:

Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran
Green Light - Lorde
Sign of the Times - Harry Styles
Every other song on Ed Sheeran's Divide
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