SPIRE News 2006

Students worldwide put pen to paper to tackle problem of climate change

A new environmental essay competition launched by Keele University has attracted entrants from around the world.

Final year students from universities in Canada, Serbia, the USA, the Netherlands, Finland and the UK tackled the title “Governments have failed us. It is now down to individuals to halt climate change” in the inaugural Keele University Environmental Politics essay competition.

The winner of the £500 first prize was Justin Williams, from Humboldt State University in California, while second place and £300 went to Rivilla Lutterkort, of the University of East Anglia, for her analysis of the importance of leadership, and third place and £200 to Elizabeth Miskell, of Northern Arizona University, for her argument alerting us to the importance of networks and radicalised individuals.

Changing Mindsets for a Sustainable World

Jonathon Porritt, Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission and an Honorary Professor in Keele’s Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice, gave a public lecture on Changing Mindsets for a Sustainable World on 28th March.

Jonathon Porritt is recognised as one of the world’s leading environmentalists and has been a passionate advocate of sustainable development for over 30 years.

He was appointed by the Prime Minister as Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in July 2000. This is the Government’s principal source of independent advice across the whole sustainable development agenda.

Of his speech he says: “The gap between the indisputable evidence we now have available to us as regards climate change and other threats to the natural environment and the policy responses that have so far been put in place seems to get bigger and bigger every year. The vast majority of politicians, business people and opinion-formers in the media are still stuck in varying states of denial as to the implications of this evidence. So what needs to be done to change those mindsets?”

Political Studies: The Harrison Prize

Professor Andrew Dobson from SPIRE has won this year's Harrison prize for the best article published in Political Studies in 2006, for his article 'Thick Cosmopolitanism'. The Harrison Prize is awarded each year for the best article published by Political Studies in that volume. Political Studies is a leading international journal, which is committed to publishing high-quality research in all areas of politics and international relations.

Politics Show

Dr Thomas Lundberg, politics lecturer in School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE) was interviewed on live television for the West Midlands edition of the BBC1 'Politics Show' on Sunday 18 February 2007.  The subject was the new parliamentary constituency boundaries to be used at the next general election.  Charlotte Atkins, Labour MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, was asked on the programme how she felt about representing a constituency that is now 'notionally' Conservative, thanks to these boundary changes, which have moved a large number of Labour voters into another constituency. Dr Lundberg noted that the new 'Conservative' designation, to be used in the media, represents a snapshot of how people voted in May 2005, and that circumstances could be quite different when the next election is held in 2009 or 2010.

Professor Andy Dobson, from SPIRE was also interviewed on a programme in a piece filmed in Madeley, on the local implications of the proposed widening of the M6 motorway.  He commented on a recent Lancet article, which suggested that children are particularly prone to damage from particulates, and pointed out that in Madeley there are two schools near to the motorway with over 1,000 children potentially affected.

PIC_01172006 Launch of the South East Asia Website

Mr Mike Tappin, Lecturer from SPIRE, led a team of student delegates, Chathuka Senanayake, Dragana Lukic and Morgane Moreau, which attended the launch of the South East Asia website held at Britannia Stadium on Friday, 27 October 2006, as organised by the UK Trade & Investment International Trade Team of Staffordshire Chamber Services. At the seminar a website was launched to be the focal point for international trade between the West Midlands and South East Asia. This will be used as an important asset in developing trade relations.