Featured
From: St Osmunds
This week sees the launch of the "Wild Immersion" films. The Wild Immersion is a virtual reality entertainment production company which makes incredible films about wild natural environments. The audience is placed in 360° experiences through virtual reality (VR) headsets and immersive places, as if they were transported into the action. The Wild Immersion hopes to become the main producer of virtual reality movies about true experiences anywhere and is funded by the Jane Goodall institute who wants these films to transpose people (who would never be able to travel) on a safari to the wildest places and then make them care deeply for the environment.  Jane Goodall, who turned 84 this year is the one person who has completely shaped the way I look at nature. She is the conservationist that inspires me the most because of the amazing research she carried out in Tanzania on chimpanzees and the way she has always campaigned for a better understanding of their world and ours. She loved to see the similarities and differences between chimps and humans' behaviour. She did not have a Science degree from any university but proved that you can become anything you want by hard work and determination. Jane grew up in London, England and deeply loved animals even as a child.  When she was one her dad gave a chimp stuffed toy - her parents' friends said that it would scare her and give her nightmares - but in fact it became her favourite animal. At the age of five she went to a farm to look at the hen house and was fascinated with the chicken's eggs. Where did they come from? She always wanted to know things and always asked questions to find out more. When she became older she became a secretary and worked a bit in the film-making world but none of these were the things she aspired to be. 1956 is the year her life changed. A friend of hers invited her to their family's farm in Kenya, and there she met the amazing palaeontologist Louis Leakey who gave her the opportunity to go travel to Tanzania to study a group of chimpanzees. On July 14, 1960, Jane Goodall began setting up her camp at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania and made some astonishing discoveries about chimps and wrote many articles that gained international respect. Leakey later arranged for Jane to earn her Ph.D. in ethology (that's the science of animal behaviour) from Cambridge University. She was one of only eight people ever to have a doctoral dissertation accepted by Cambridge without first having an undergraduate degree. She has never stopped working since and is still travelling all over the world to make sure we understand how to best treat our environment and protect every creature that shares our planet.The numbers are chilling: 16,000 species are in danger of extinction, including a quarter of all mammals and one in five plant species. Her Wild Immersion series promises to be amazing and we can hope it will transform how everyone sees the world. As Jane Goodall said so well: "Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference. Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved. The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves". By : Isla
From: St Osmunds
On Monday 23rd April, Alek Minassian drove a van at full speed into the busy pavement of Yonge Street.  He killed 10 and injuried 16.  He is not linked in any way, as far as the investigation could tell, to Islamic State - a terrorist organisation which has in the past used the same tactic to kill many on the streets of Nice, London, Barcelona, Berlin, New York City or Stockholm. Minassian comes from Richmond Hill - just outside Toronto. He went to a special needs school and was described as a ' Not very social person'. Although there has been much speculation, the police are still unsure of Alek's real motive. Some say he was upset about his lack of popularity with girls. Most of his victims were women and he is said to have been part of a club wanting revenge on them. What was truly remarkable about the attack, is how it ended. After the attack Alek Minassian was spotted getting out of his van by a police officer. He challenged the police officer, telling him he had a gun and wanted him to shoot him. The police officer just very calmly told him to surrender: "I don't care if you shoot. Just get down". Minassian did. The officer had called his bluff and was then greatly praised for being a hero and for showing remarkable restraint and not shooting the killer. In many other cases the terrorists are killed by the police. Minassian, however, was arrested instead and will face justice in a court of law. Canada had, until then, not seen the types of attacks that have plagued Europe and the U.S.A. As a result, many observers felt Canadians would be completely unprepared to handle such an event. They were wrong. Instead of panic there was calm. Within a relatively short period of time the city soon returned to normal. Toronto's reaction does not downplay the attack or the victims. But Canada's citizens have lived through numerous global attacks via social media and so were more prepared than anyone anticipated, and reacted with great professionalism.  They delivered a great lesson in counter-terror response for the world. By Jackson
From: Barnes
The Ocean is filled with rubbish and plastic. Sadly, not many people are helping. When people throw rubbish into the street, it can be washed into the sea by drain water. Even worse, some people throw litter directly into the sea! Most of the pollution it plastic, as it takes more than centuries to rot and become compost. If we stopped and cleaned the oceans, not only would the oceans become cleaner, but there would be lots more marine wildlife as the rubbish can kill millions of creatures every year. Before, it was assumed that because the ocean was so vast and deep that the effects of dumping trash and litter into the sea would only have minimal consequences. But as we have seen, this has proven not to be the case. While all four oceans have suffered as a result of human activity for millennia by now, it has accelerated in the past few decades. Oil spills, toxic wastes, floating plastic and various other factors have all contributed to the pollution of the ocean. Did you know: 1.Marine life often eats rubbish after mistaking it for food. 2.Each day thousands of tons of trash and waste are dumped into the oceans of the world. 3.Discarded fishing nets kill approximately 300,000 dolphins and porpoises every year. The dolphins and porpoises get tangled in the nets and die. 4. There is an ocean garbage site off the coast of California twice as large as the state of Texas. It is called the North Pacific Gyre and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. 5.The plastic debris that reaches the ocean is capable of absorbing the toxic chemicals polluting the water. 6.Over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by pollution every year. 7. More-acidic waters also contribute to the bleaching of coral reefs, and make it harder for some types of fish to sense predators and others to hunt prey. 8. Sound waves travel farther and faster in the sea’s dark depths than they do in the air, and many marine mammals like whales and dolphins, in addition to fish and other sea creatures, rely on communication by sound to find food, mate, and navigate. But an increasing barrage of human-generated ocean noise pollution is altering the underwater acoustic landscape, harming—and even killing—marine species worldwide. 9. In addition to noise pollution, the oil and gas industry’s routine operations emit toxic by-products and lead to thousands of spills in U.S. waters annually. That oil can linger for decades and do irreversible damage to delicate marine ecosystems. While a paper bus ticket takes 2-4 weeks to break downing the ocean, and banana peel takes up to 2 years, plastic bottles take 450 years to break down and plastic bags take around 20 years.
From: St Osmunds
Finally, one hundred years after women got the right to vote, Dame Millicent Fawcett becomes the very first woman to be commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square. For most of Millicent's life (born 1847 - died 1929), women did not have the right to vote during political elections. She became a devoted campaigner in her 20's for the suffragist movement, a nonviolent battle for women's rights. In 1897, Fawcett became the President of the 'National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies'. She was 81 when she finally saw women given the right to vote on the exact same terms as men in 1928. She would die the next year after 60 years of a tireless campaign for equality. Prime Minister Theresa May who held a speech during the statue's unveiling, reminded the crowds that there would not have been any women in parliament without the dedication of Fawcett. "I would not be standing here today as prime minister, no female MPs would have taken their seats in Parliament, none of us would have had the rights and protections we now enjoy, were it not for one truly great woman - Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett,”  May said. The statue, designed by Gillian Wearing, was unveiled on 24th April. Making this event twice as significant for women, Wearing is the first female sculptor to have a statue in Parliament Square. The statue was installed in the square because of the work of a third prominent woman: Caroline Criado Perez, a journalist and campaigner, formerly best known for successfully campaigning to get another woman, the writer Jane Austen, on the new 10 Pound bills. Ms Criado Perez launched an online petition after noticing, whilst walking her dog, that there were no female statues among the 11 in the square. Her work helped secure Fawcett's place outside the Houses of Parliament. Dame Millicent Fawcett now stands an equal alongside many other iconic figures in political history including Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Ghandi. by Amelie