Studying mammals: The insect hunters
From pygmy shrews to armadillos, a wide range of mammals survive on a diet made up largely of insects. Many of these have fascinating adaptations suited to catching or rooting out their prey. In this free course, Studying mammals: The insect hunters, you will learn about these adaptations, along with survival strategies for when food is scarce. This is the second course in the Studying mammals series. Author(s): Creator not set

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References

Edwards, P. N. and Schneider, S. H. (2001) Self-governance and peer review in science-for-policy: the case of the IPCC Second Assessment Report, in Miller, C. and Edwards, P. N. (eds) Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Available from: http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Mediarology/Mediarology.html (accessed 10 May 2007).
IPCC (2000) Land Use, L
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Conclusion

This free course provided an introduction to studying Science. It took you through a series of exercises designed to develop your approach to study and learning at a distance, and helped to improve your confidence as an independent learner.


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2.8 End of course question

Question 12

The writer and campaigner George Monbiot wrote the following (in The Guardian Weekly, 10 February 2000): 'Every time someone in the West switches on a kettle, he or she is helpting to flood Banglades
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2.6.1 Weighing up the evidence: the full cast of suspects

Figure 36 (again adapted from the TAR) takes your thoughts on Question 11 on a stage. It gives estimates of the cumulative effect since pre-industrial times of the various climate change agents, with the contributions expressed in terms of radiative forcing. Note that the figure also includes yet another device for communicating the IPCC's confidence in a particular finding - an indication of the 'level of scientific understanding' that accompanies each estimate. This reflects the authors' su
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2.5 A 'collective picture of a warming world'

The observed increase in GMST may be the key global indicator of greenhouse warming, but it is far from being the only tangible sign of climate change during the 20th century. This brings us back to the first bullet point at the beginning of Section 2.1. Here, we take a brief look at the growing body of evidence that many different climate variables, as well as physical and biological systems around the world, have been affected by recent climate warming. The examples collected in Box 9 will
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2.4 The meaning of 'consensus': peer review and the IPCC process

At the time of writing (2006), debate about the 'hockey stick' reconstruction continues to rumble on. In this and other controversial areas, it is natural that scientists who are not part of the IPCC process should scrutinise its assessments and continue to ask probing questions about its conclusions. At the same time, however, it's important to keep claims that run counter to the mainstream view in perspective - and to bear in mind that there may well be a political agenda behind the sele
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2.3 Contested science: a case study

For complex issues such as global climate change, there are many opportunities for scientists to take issue with the findings of their colleagues. They can disagree about the procedures for gathering data, the completeness or coverage of the data, how the data are analysed and interpreted, and then finally the conclusions. The assumptions that shape a particular piece of research and inform the kind of questions that will be asked can be no less contentious than the quality of the data gather
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2.2.2 Temperature changes over the past millennium

One of the most striking images in the IPCC TAR is reproduced (in adapted form) in Figure 24. Together, these two temperature records tell a compelling story, crystallised in our earlier quotes from the SPM. So let's just pause to take a closer look at each of them.

Figure 24
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1.2 What determines the Earth's GMST?

The Sun is the ultimate source of energy for the Earth's climate. A planet such as the Earth will have a stable temperature as long as there is a balance between the rate at which energy comes in from the Sun and the rate at which it is returned to space by the planet. If the two rates fail to match, the planet will either warm up or cool down until a balance is restored. Thus, it is appropriate to begin with a review of this global balancing act. The heart of the matter is that the energy fl
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1.4.3 Framing reality from a critical perspective

The question arising from the previous two imperatives of systems thinking – dealing with holism and engaging with multiple perspectives – is how we might develop frameworks that deal responsibly with our inevitable limitations on being holistically comprehensive and epistemologically ‘multiverse’. Ulrich reminds us that a ‘systems approach’ to environmental responsibility is perhaps not quite the panacea that it so often mistakenly promises to be. Take, for example, the ‘ecosys
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1.4.1 Dealing meaningfully with holism

Ulrich's primary observation is quite straightforward. Any system as a human construct is unable to capture the total complexity of interrelationships and interdependencies that make up the real world. This idea resonates with the paradox of framing referred to by Moore. It also resonates with Ilan Kapoor's reference to the work of Slavoj Žižek, quoted earlier: ‘Reality is what we (mistakenly) take to be wholeness or harmony, while the Real denotes the impossibility of wholeness’ (Kapoo
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1.4 Nature matters in terms of a critical systems literacy

The systems philosopher and social planner Werner Ulrich has long argued for a more ethically informed idea of systems. Before looking at Ulrich's ideas, however, it is worth returning to examine the relevance of the earlier Moore and Martell readings to this subject.

One of the hallmarks of systems thinking is a recognition of the limits of holism, relating to the problem of aesthetic framing expressed by Ronald Moore (2006, p. 263):

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1.1 Framing nature using language tools

By framing, I mean the structures and pre-assumptions that we consciously or unconsciously apply to a situation in order to make sense of it. So are there any differences between the way in which we frame nature in caring for environment and the way in which we frame it to provide accountability? What significance might this have, and what tools might be used to bridge the responsibilities of caring and accountability?

Caring for environment makes manifest the informal aspects of
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1.5 Conclusion

Throughout this course, a major concern has been to show how the demand of the antisweatshop movement that we not only respond to, but take responsibility for, economic injustices, no matter how distant, is an intensely controversial one. Claims by campaigning groups such as Oxfam and Christian Aid that consumer demand for cheap branded goods perpetuates poverty wage levels in the sweatshop industries are countered by claims from the pro-market lobby which point in an altogether differ
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1.4.3 It's all down to connections

For Iris Marion Young, the responsibility of those in North America and Europe towards distant others does indeed rest with their connections to injustices elsewhere, but it would be a mistake to stretch this line of reasoning too far. Although these connections, whether as a consumer, boardroom executive or shop manager, can establish a line of responsibility, as was claimed in Section 3.1, for Young this is only the starting point and not the end point of our involvement. We do not have to
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1.4.1 Introduction

Up to now I have focused on the claims of the antisweatshop movement and the counter-claims of those who contest the purely negative conclusions drawn about the exploitation of another country's poor. To that end, I have, at various moments, touched on issues of demands to take responsibility: whether, for instance, responsibility for sweatshops should be divided up in some way between all those connected to the market system which gives rise to them, or placed firmly at the door of the big r
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1.3.5 Corporate connections

As I mentioned in Section 2, what was happening in the factories of overseas contractors was said to have appeared remote to most, if not all, the chief executive officers of the clothing multinationals in the 1980s. Overseas contractors were selected on the basis of market price, quality and reliability, not on whether forced or child labour happened to be employed to stitch the product together. However, all that changed in the early 1990s when the geographical ties between the big retailer
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