"I chose to study English because I’m interested in narratives. My course has taught me that narratives don’t just exist in books, they exist in everyday life too: the narrative that human civilisation is constantly progressing, the narrative that once you find true love then you will live happily ever after, even the narrative that buying new things will always make us happier. I think that asking big questions makes us question these big narratives. Even if it is very challenging, it gives us a greater understanding of our world and of ourselves." - Freya Hanley, English Language and Literature
If you want to find out more about human impact on the Earth, Freya recommends...
Vox Climate Change Series
Vox has a great YouTube channel tackling the biggest issues which people face and then making them into short and compelling videos. The Vox Climate Change series tackles everything from why deathly diseases are spreading because of climate change to why food waste is the world’s ‘dumbest problem’. You can check it out here.
If you’ve watched David Attenborough’s One Planet, this should be the next documentary on your list. It’s a Netflix documentary about coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and the images of miles of slowly rotting coral are difficult, but important, viewing.
Take a free online course on Climate Change
Taking an online course through a programme like FutureLearn allows you to dig deeper. The courses are given for free online by different Universities around the world. They are taught by experts in their field, who are often University professors. The courses also give you an opportunity to ask questions and share your learning with other people on the course. There are many varied topics such as ‘Ecology and Wildlife Conservation’ and ‘Citizen Science Projects: How to make a Difference’. They require a few hours of commitment a week and look great on a personal statement, too!
This Changes Everything – Naomi Klein
This book does indeed change everything. It’s a searing criticism of current political apathy towards climate change, as well as charting Klein’s own personal journey from apathy to fascination. It ends with an unexpected optimistic twist: this book doesn’t just point at the problems, it also offers solutions.
Elmet - Fiona Mozley
This is a book about an intense personal connection with the land we live on, and reminds us how dependent we are upon it. It follows the life of the narrator, his sister Cathy and their fearsome Daddy as they build their own house on the Yorkshire moors, and try to make a life for themselves by living on and trusting the land.
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