Editor's note

Fiction has a great deal to tell us about reality. Science fiction, for instance, often serves as a thought experiment that explores shared and hidden beliefs whose material and political reverberations lie further in the future. Nedine Moonsamy says that science fiction has much to reveal about the relationship between China and various African countries.

More than 170 media outlets - among them The Conversation Africa and its sister sites around the world - are taking part in the Covering Climate Now initiative. We’ve committed to running a week of coverage focused on the climate crisis, starting today and culminating on September 23 with the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. In the first instalment, Mark Maslin examines five common climate change myths and the science that debunks them. Ash Murphy, meanwhile, considers what politicians are and are not doing to address the most pressing issue of our time. We’re also sharing some of our previously published articles on the subject. In the first, Meron Teferi Taye and Ellen Dyer argue that Ethiopia must think differently about water use in the era of climate change. In the second, Michael Okoti unpacks how pastoralists in Kenya are adapting to the changing climate.

Natasha Joseph

Assistant Editor: News and Research and Science & Technology Editor

Top Story

Science fiction can serve as an imaginative production of political theory. Shutterstock

Science fiction offers a useful way to explore China-Africa relations

Nedine Moonsamy, University of Pretoria

Science fiction writing often serves as a thought experiment that explores shared and hidden beliefs whose material and political reverberations lie further in the future.

Climate crisis

Five climate change science misconceptions – debunked

Mark Maslin, UCL

Misinformation and lies are regularly used to undermine the science of climate change – here's how to see through the fog.

Will politicians take action and try to save the planet from climate change?

Ash Murphy, Keele University

Scientists from all over the world agree that the impacts of climate change will get worse, unless action is taken now.

Ethiopia’s future is tied to water – a vital yet threatened resource in a changing climate

Meron Teferi Taye, Addis Ababa University; Ellen Dyer, University of Oxford

Parts of Ethiopia will likely be hotter, drier, and more water stressed - with consequences for human and economic development.

How Kenya’s pastoralists are coping with changes in weather patterns

Michael Okoti, Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organisation

Changes in weather patterns have made life a great deal more precarious for pastoral communities.

Health + Medicine

Midlevel workers: Africa’s unsung health heroes need more support

Ian Couper, Stellenbosch University

Midlevel health workers can provide diagnostic and therapeutic services with lower entry qualification requirements and shorter training periods than doctors.

Ethiopia must do more to stop recurring chikungunya outbreaks

Eunice Anyango Owino, University of Nairobi

While no deaths have been reported in Ethiopia so far, outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease spread rapidly and have severe impacts on public health.

From our international editions

Is vigorous exercise safe during the third trimester of pregnancy?

Kassia Beetham, Australian Catholic University

It's normal for expectant mums to worry about how their activities might affect their baby's health. But when it comes to vigorous exercise, the evidence shows there's nothing to worry about.

Mass extinctions made life on Earth more diverse – and might again

Nick Longrich, University of Bath

Every cloud has a silver lining – even the debris cloud from an asteroid impact

Volcanoes kill more people long after they first erupt – those deaths are avoidable

Jenni Barclay, University of East Anglia; Roger Few, University of East Anglia; Teresa Armijos Burneo, University of East Anglia

Many return to dangerous evacuation zones fully understanding the risks. New research explains why.

A newly designed vaccine may help stamp out remaining polio cases worldwide

Patricia L. Foster, Indiana University

A challenge in eradicating polio comes from a version of the vaccine itself, which relies on live but attenuated virus. Rationally designing a new vaccine could help get rid of polio once and for all.

En français

Art amérindien : quand l’Amazonie nous parle avec des images

Stéphen Rostain, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Pour interpréter l’art amérindien ancien, il convient d’abandonner la vision eurocentriste pour adopter le langage.

Les nouveaux missiles russes signent-ils la fin de la domination américaine ?

Eric Martel, Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM)

Les missiles russes à propulsion nucléaire, autonomes, pourraient rendre obsolète le bouclier antimissile américain.


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