research round up from csis

The recent weeks have seen several CSIS members writing or speaking about both our normal research topics, and of course the new normal of Covid-19.

Rebecca Priestley spoke about her recent book, Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica, with the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser, Juliet Gerrard, as part of the NZ Arts Festival. Their conversation is now available as a podcast via RadioNZ.

As their website says, “Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica tells a personal story of time spent on Earth’s most mysterious and precious frontier. The book is a poignant and relatable reminder of the complexities of our wishes and the vulnerability of our ideals. But it also reveals the strength that art and science, research and exploration can gift to us all.”

James Beattie, on the Garden History Research Foundation’s blog, has written about the role of parks and gardens in wellbeing in the 19th Century. At a time when many of us are spending more time than usual in our local green spaces, James reminds us that “the legacy of finding in nature something restorative, something soothing, especially during a period of terrifying change, is a constant in many of the cultures that make up Aotearoa New Zealand—Pacific, Māori, European, Chinese, and many others besides”.

Tim Corballis reflects on what possible futures might emerge from the current Covid-19 crisis and its attendant social disruptions, in the journal Counterfutures. “We are now in a position to raise the question of what is survival and what is flourishing—what is necessity and what is freedom. Anyone asked to live a limited life inside or within a limited range of their residence, asked to choose only a handful of people with whom to bodily interact, understands this in their bones.”

Courtney Addison wrote a commentary, published on Newsroom, about the social action required to dampen the impact of Covid-19 in Aotearoa. “The thing about a pandemic is it feels big, and these actions feel small. However, small actions done by a lot of people can add up to a big barrier to viral spread.”

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