Mitigating the Climate Crisis - Beth Davenport

Durham Laidlaw Scholarship alumna Beth discusses her research into plant genetic engineering techniques, white privilege, and the relationship between COVID19 and the climate crisis.

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In this Scholar Spotlight episode, Beth Davenport from the University of Durham talks about her Laidlaw research, white privilege, and how the COVID19 pandemic is affecting the climate crisis. 

During her scholarship, Beth investigated genetic engineering techniques of plants. Specifically, she looked at genes responsible for stem development in barley and how it can help us to tackle the climate crisis. Later this year, Beth is starting her Masters in Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology at Imperial College London. 

Follow Beth on Instagram and Medium

Some articles by Beth:

Sea Level Rise: Why Western Power is Making us Pretend the Science doesn’t Exist

Deep-sea mining: a viable solution or a barrier to sustainable progress?

Further Reading Suggestions by Beth 

The best reads about the climate crisis generally split into two categories - that of the climate science, and that of the social science side of its causes and consequences.

Some, however, bridge both of the topics and these, in my opinion, are the best. The climate crisis is so holistic, it cannot be understood without both knowledge of the science, and politics and socioeconomics intertwined with it.

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

How capitalist institutions often delay action. This is also now a film and I highly recommend watching to learn about climate denialism, how the fossil fuel industry goes about funding it, and its influence on politics in the U.S. 

By Naomi Klein:

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate and On Fire 

She is amazing and everything she writes has total clarity about what is currently happening in our society that affects how we act on the climate crisis.

This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook

To learn more about Extinction Rebellion.

The No-Nonsense Guide to Climate Change by Danny Chivers

The best all-round guide to climate change that's used a lot in teaching.

As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, From Colonization to Standing Rock by Dina Gilio-Whitaker

This book is incredible in helping to understand what is climate justice. It's a history of settler colonialism from an indigenous perspective in the framework of the ongoing struggle for environmental justice. This book is amazing in following what a climate-just world should look like, and how & why it is not so.

The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock, and Facing Gaia by Bruno Latour

The Gaia Theory by Lovelock, and also a philosophical examination of our relationship with 'nature' and how we need to change it in order to survive by Bruno Latour. It can be very theoretical but Latour's book, as someone who has read a lot about the climate crisis both socially and scientifically, gave me something new and interesting to think about - a new level of perspective on the human race. I therefore would put it in top priority for those seeking to learn about environmental philosophy.

Six Degrees by Mark Lynas 

Physical impacts of climate change at different levels of future warming.

 On genetics:

  • A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes by Adam Rutherford
  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • A lot of Richard Dawkins' books are famous for this topic too.

Nikol Chen (she/her)

Digital Content Manager, Laidlaw Foundation

Hello! My name is Nikol and I look after the Laidlaw Scholars Network.

I am originally from Kazakhstan and I studied Human Sciences at UCL. My final research explored the potential effects of design on patient wellbeing in hospitals, and I also took modules such as Ethnographic Documentary Filmmaking, Anthropology of the Built Environment, Art in the Public Sphere, and other less interesting-sounding things :)

Drop me a line if you have any questions about the site, or if you'd just like to chat! I am always down to meet interesting people, so let's get [virtual] coffee ☕️


Go to the profile of Suzanne Auty
8 months ago

A really brilliant podcast Beth.  Wishing you all the best in your Masters studies next year!