News

COVID will dominate, but New Zealand will also have to face the ‘triple planetary crisis’ this year

Guest Author Jan 26, 2022

Nathan Cooper, University of Waikato As New Zealand’s government prepares to deal with a looming Omicron outbreak, this won’t be the only major issue it will have to tackle this year. 2022 will be important for environmental and climate action. Several key developments are expected throughout the year, both in New Zealand and internationally, focusing on climate change and … Read More

Laws governing undersea cables have hardly changed since 1884 – Tonga is a reminder they need modernising

Guest Author Jan 25, 2022

Karen Scott, University of Canterbury Since the catastrophic volcanic eruption on January 16, Tonga has been largely cut off from the world due to a break in the undersea cable that links Tonga with Fiji (and from there with the world). A complete fix may take weeks. Aside from the distress and inconvenience this is … Read More

Climate activism has gone digital and disruptive, and it’s finally facing up to racism within the movement

Guest Author Dec 07, 2021

Nina Hall, Johns Hopkins University; Charles Lawrie, University of Sussex, and Sahar Priano, Johns Hopkins University   To understand the agreement states reached at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow earlier this month, it’s important to explore how climate activism has grown and changed since the Paris Agreement in 2015. Climate activists have played a pivotal role. They … Read More

Are New Zealand’s universities doing enough to define the limits of academic freedom?

Guest Author Nov 26, 2021

Matheson Russell, University of Auckland   The news last week that University of Auckland public health researcher Simon Thornley was retracting a co-authored paper about supposed vaccination risks during pregnancy raised deeper questions about the limits of academic freedom. Thornley’s own head of department had called for the paper to be retracted due to “the anxiety it is creating … Read More

Worn down by bad news? You’re not alone…

Guest Author Nov 19, 2021

Feature image: The weight of the world’s news can be too much. (Shutterstock) Neill Fitzpatrick, MacEwan University In 1983, Canada’s Anne Murray released another hit song. This one, though, was different than what her fans were accustomed to. A Little Good News is a sombre ballad summarizing the mood of the day: “One more sad story’s one … Read More

7 ways to get proactive about climate change instead of feeling helpless: Lessons from a leadership expert

Guest Author Nov 15, 2021

Thomas S. Bateman, University of Virginia   Humans do not capitalize nearly enough on our most significant evolutionary advantage: a unique ability to take forward-looking actions that influence the future for the better. Exhibit A: Climate change is here, and things are changing quickly for the worse. However, even as dangerous and costly weather events grow more … Read More

A new ministry sets out to improve services and accessibility for New Zealanders living with disabilities

Guest Author Nov 05, 2021

Susanna Trnka, University of Auckland and Luca Muir, University of Auckland   The recent announcement of a new Ministry for Disabled People is a watershed moment for people living with disabilities in Aotearoa New Zealand. It comes none too soon, as COVID-19 has affected disability communities badly. Lockdown, particularly at levels 3 and 4, has put many disabled people … Read More

Intersex children in New Zealand are routinely undergoing unnecessary surgery – that needs to change

Guest Author Oct 27, 2021

Claire Breen, University of Waikato and Katrina Roen, University of Waikato   Until very recently, people with intersex variations have often been unseen, stigmatised and routinely discriminated against. Intersex Awareness Day (October 26) is therefore an opportunity to examine how much progress has been made and how far we still have to go. It’s estimated 1.7 to 4% … Read More

Long read: reflections of a volcanologist as a science organisation faces charges in the wake of the 2019 Whakaari eruption

Guest Author Oct 27, 2021

Ben Kennedy, University of Canterbury   This week, a case review hearing sought to set a trial date – now likely in 2023 – for 13 organisations and individuals facing charges in the wake of the Whakaari White Island eruption of December 9 2019. The volcano erupted while 47 people were on the island, leaving 22 dead and survivors … Read More

The critically endangered Māui dolphin is a conservation priority – we shouldn’t let uncertainty stop action to save it

Guest Author Oct 21, 2021

Rochelle Constantine, University of Auckland and Wendi Roe, Massey University   The world’s rarest marine dolphin, Māui, is found only along the west coast of the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Based on our surveys over the last two summers, during which we collected small tissue samples for DNA analysis, we estimate there are currently only 54 … Read More