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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Hewett

Humanities in the News – Edition 1

Each week/fortnight I will be picking 3 stories in the news that I find interesting. Sometimes I will share my opinion of it and then provide links that maybe useful or interesting to further outline the story or issue.

Personal readers – links are provided for further reading Teachers – links are provided for further reading and most of which will  be suitable for use with Secondary school pupils to enable them to create their own understanding and opinions of the stories and issues discussed. I will aim to find teaching resources linked to the stories where possible for use in the classroom.

Here are this weeks top 3 Humanities in the News stories and issues.

1//   The disappointing adventures of  the Bárđarbunga  volcano.

Primarily I’m a geographer, so the possibility of a major eruption comparable to the Laki Fissure eruption of 1783 was quite exciting. However so far (fortunately)  it all appears to be quite calm with little ice melt and therefore little ash expulsion. Phew. Whilst the possibility is exciting the impact of the Laki fissure eruption had little positives for the people of Iceland and Northern Europe yet life was significantly different then and I wonder what would the impacts of a similar eruption be today. How would societies in northern Europe adapt to a sudden change in climate? * What would the economic impact of a comparable eruption be? I imagine the costs of the Eyjafjallajökull would be small in comparison to the potential impacts of an eruption similar to that of the 1783 Laki Fissure eruption.

*yes I am aware that the impact of Tambora and Laki on climate is debated but my degree research made me pretty confident in their influence.

Here are some interesting articles and links related to the recent  Bárđarbunga eruption and volcanoes in Iceland

1 – Iceland issues new Bardarbunga volcano alert

3 – Iceland examines Bardarbunga volcano ‘cauldrons’

4 – Global Volcanism Program Background information on Bárđarbunga

5 – Q&A: Why Iceland’s Volcanoes Have Vexed Humans for Centuries –

2// Scotland’s Future

Being a member of the United Kingdom means a lot to me these days. After having taught about the geography of the British Isles and in particular what it means to be British in modern Britain over the last few  years, it has made me appreciate the country I live in. The diversity of our little island is amazing both environmentally and socially. Our country has been influenced by the invasion and migration of multiple groups over the centuries, first we had the Celts and Picts followed later by the Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. Then later came the migration of African men, women and children as part of the (thankfully now abolished) Slave Trade in the 1700’s followed by Indian and Irish migrants in the 1800’s. The list goes on…

Our wonderful country is massively influenced by the history of other countries, making it a unique place to be apart of. In my opinion I’d be disappointed if Scotland were to be independent of the rest of the UK. Now I believe strongly in greater devolution of centralised government, giving the power of decision making to local governments and councils that know and understand what is best for their area as opposed to a centralised government makes sense to me and I believe it would benefit Scotland (as well as Wales) far greater than independence.

To find out more check out the following links

1 – Scotland Decides –

2 – Scottish Independence

3 – Yes Campaign

4 -Better Together

5 -Devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

And something different  for you –  Aye Art A collection of posters to encourage the 15% of undecided voters to make a decision

Teaching Resources

3// Thames Estuary Airport

Now the Thames Estuary Airport debate has been going on for sometime. This week a report has been published just days before a final decision was to be made on whether to eliminate the Thames Estuary Airport dubbed ‘Boris Island’ from air travel expansion plans. The report that suggests that a third runway at Heathrow would increase noise pollution and would be a disaster has added fuel to Boris Johnson’s fire for his airport on Boris Island. You can probably tell my opinion on the issue so I won’t bore you with it, however I think it’s an interesting topic when looking at sustainability and conservation.

Last year at the end of a rivers topic my previous pupils looked at the argument for and against the plans for Boris Island, they undertook research and were given the option of creating a piece of work either for or against the creation of Boris Island and the Thames Estuary Airport. Apart from a small handful the class really weren’t interested in nature conservation however following their own independent research they ALL created a piece  against the development of Thames Estuary Airport. Says a lot right?  They were given links to resources to both sides of the argument and they were unanimous in their decision, this really shocked me.

Here are links to help discuss the issue and consider the options

1 – New Thames Estuary airport proposal unveiled

3 – Thames Estuary Airport

5 -Thames estuary airport plan costly, risky and a potential failure

6 -Thames Estuary airport wildlife move ‘would cost £2bn’

Teaching Resources

Please note that the opinions expressed above are solely my opinion and are not written to cause offence, the links I have included are chosen to give readers both sides of any debates. I want to allow you to create your own opinion of the issue. Whilst I am happy for you to disagree with my opinions please do not be rude or offensive if you wish to leave a comment, young people may wish to read this.

That’s all for this week


Mrs Humanities
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