A new piece of mine was featured in Areo Magazine. Here is a synopsis:
In Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari highlights the importance of stories (religious, national, etc…) as the basis for human cooperation and of our modern societies. Stories are able to fill that role because of the way they shape how we think and provide shared morals. Cognitive research shows that we use analogy-based mental models to interpret and understand our reality. However we have seen that stories can also fuel tribalistic attitudes and dogmatism. Pointing out the parallels between mental and scientific models, this piece highlights the lessons we can learn from the scientific method in improving our reasoning and development of moral values.
This post was originally written for the EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership student blog. EnvEast is a collaboration between three UK universities, including University of East Anglia where I am carrying out my PhD. The blog can be found here.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
“Battu par les flots, mais ne sombre pas. Tossed by the sea, but not sunk.”
From water scarcity to air pollution, without forgetting world-leading greenhouse gas emissions, China is facing a multi-faceted environmental crisis. I was able to witness the extent of the issue first hand when I studied Environmental Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing as part of a joint program with the French university Mines ParisTech. The resounding blow of the August 12th explosions in Tianjin – which killed over a hundred people – has now pulled me back to that time spent in the “Middle Kingdom”. Amidst the apparent lack of available information about the disaster and fears of cyanide pollution, a memory that stands out is my field trip to Tianjin in 2013, which highlights a revealing paradox.