Panorama on Pandemics - what is a pandemic?

‘We don’t need to panic, hoard cans of spaghetti and go down to the basement, but we do need to get ready’ – the somewhat ominous words of Bill Gates in a 2015 TED Talk, in which he outlined the steps the world needed to take in order to prepare for the next pandemic. Things have changed dramatically since then, and now hoarding food and staying indoors is very much part of our daily lives – although one of those is more sensible than the other – and scientists and healthcare workers all over the world are working night and day to battle an invisible enemy.

How I learned to love my unproductive lockdown

It's ok if you're not top of your game. We’re in a crisis, not a nationwide summer holiday. For reasons which don’t need explaining, it’s likely that as a young professional fresh out of university, you’re now working from home, on furlough, or out of a job completely. You’ve suddenly been provided with seemingly endless reserves of time with which you may do as you wish. Surely, as a twenty-something in the prime of your life, this time, despite its many anxieties, offers an opportunity to start that project you never usually have time for.

How to survive being furloughed six months into your grad job

Being furloughed feels like a reminder that things can continue without me. "It could be worse”; it’s the phrase I’ve been quick to throw in whenever I’ve told anyone this past week that I’ve been furloughed. And of course, it’s very true. I could have been sacked, I could be self-employed and unsure when my next job will come in, or I could be a single parent trying to feed three kids on a meagre amount of Universal Credit. Yes, it definitely could be a lot worse.

From the top down

We do everything we've been told to do. We carry a reusable coffee cup wherever we go; we never buy plastic water bottles and have budgeted for spending that little bit extra on buying pasta and rice from a refill shop. We choose non-dairy milk in our hot drinks and eat a plant-based diet; we buy from local market stalls and smile graciously as the man selling us our carrots makes the same comment about our reusable mesh bags that he made last Saturday, and the Saturday before.

What goes around comes around

As I settled down with a cup of tea and my laptop to make a start on this piece, a new email pinged into my inbox. It was a newsletter from one of my favourite sustainable clothing brands, Lucy & Yak, explaining a new initiative they're involved with called Offset Earth. As I scrolled through the email, I realised that this was a perfect example of how the focus of this piece - the circular economy - works in practice. It explains how brands, organisations and individuals can make the shift and make a difference.

Opinion column - The Oberammergau Phenomenon

Arriving in Oberammergau, a small, quiet Bavarian town of 5,000 inhabitants in southern Germany, it seems impossible that every ten years, 4,700 international visitors come each afternoon to watch the world-renowned Passion Play. Even more unbelievable is that the Passion Play, which has been taking place since 1634, is performed, directed, accompanied and designed entirely by those who have lived in Oberammergau for at least 20 years.

Louder than words

The invisibility of one half of the population within sacred music has gone relatively unnoticed, until now. Within the next year, a new sacred music anthology will be on our bookshelves. Like any other good collection, it will include pieces from historical, established and emerging composers, in a range of difficulties, accessible to all choirs which sing church music. However, this anthology, in its three separate volumes, will be the first of its kind: every piece of music will have been composed by a woman.

Going green on a budget

I don’t know about you, but I get the uncomfortable feeling that ‘going green’ is only achievable if you’re privileged enough to be able to afford it. Maybe as a middle class, university-educated woman, I tick some of the boxes. But I also have a stomach-churning amount of student debt and am attempting to pave my way in a creative industry on a less-than-ideal starting salary. I want to do my bit as much as the next person, but I just can’t afford to spend hundreds of pounds on ethically-sourced, environmentally-friendly clothes, or to do my entire weekly food haul in a zero-waste shop.

10 things I'd like to tell my 18 year-old self about careers

The education system is fairly straight forward. You are ushered through each school or university year as though you are on a conveyor belt, not really having to think about where you’ll end up next. So, when you’re spat out at the end of it all, it can feel a little bewildering. You’re faced with the pressure of moving on to ‘bigger and better things’ and coming to terms with making your own decisions. I’ve come up with some things that I wish I could go back and tell myself before university, which might just have helped ease the bewilderment slightly.

5 things I learnt after university

The year after graduating from university is undoubtedly a strange one. Sure, you’ve got your degree, but it’s hard not to be a little disheartened when you’re back at your Mum and Dad’s house in a 9-5 job and the 8,000-word epic you poured your whole life into for a solid year is tucked away neatly in your wardrobe, probably never again to see the light of day. (Or maybe that’s just me.) I’m sure for lots of people, things do turn out as planned. You might have landed the perfect grad scheme, be renting a flat in London and be on your way to adopting a cat, but then again you might not.

“Our greatest threat in thousands of years”: David Attenborough tells it how it is

This time last year I was writing my undergraduate English Literature dissertation on how the atmospheres in French absurdist theatre in the mid-twentieth-century demonstrated an increased awareness of the invisible climate around us. Today, in 2019, we are becoming increasingly aware of this climate, as it continues to warm at a rate far “worse than expected.” Sitting down in front of Climate Change: The Facts, I knew it wasn’t going to be the easy-watching, Sunday evening relaxation that got my housemates and I tuning into Blue Planet II.

Why I’m raising a glass to the return of the pretty average temperatures

I enjoy a pint in the sun and a stroll without a coat on as much as the next person. I agree that it’s pretty much obligatory to document the above on Instagram for all to see. Yes, 21 degrees Celsius is practically tropical, and it’s flipping amazing that England was hotter than Barcelona for a few heady days. But I can’t be the only one feeling a rising sense of panic. Perhaps a mild hysteria. And no, it’s not sun stroke. England should not be 20 degrees at the end of February. This time last year, it was snowing. Which, by the way, is almost equally as bad.

What are you listening to: Podcasts for life

Podcasts are like friends. We all need that one who whips us into shape and tells us to get a grip when we’re having a meltdown, but we also need the one who just listens, nods and hands over the spoon for the ice cream. Much in the same vein, we need different podcasts for different things, so I’ve come up with a podcast for every occasion, whether you’re looking for some light relief or your next dinner party fun fact.