Sophie Morlin-Yron

Freelance writer

Location icon United Kingdom

Bilingual Swedish-English freelance writer based in Stockholm and London. Bylines for CNN International, CNN Africa, the Ecologist, the Observer, the Guardian and Truthout. Writes mostly features around innovation, tech, sustainability and travel. Email: s.morlinyron(at)gmail.com

Portfolio
CNN
Africa's 'resilient cities' plan for the future

The effects of climate change may not be apparent in some parts of the world just yet. But in Dakar, the battle against nature has already begun, with coastal erosion wreaking havoc on the city's peninsula that stretches into the Atlantic — forcing people to move out of their homes and ruining its long, sandy beaches.

CNN Travel
Klingon tourist center opens in Sweden

They're a ruthless species of extraterrestrial warriors from the Omega Leonis Star System eager to build bridges with humans and attract them to their planet. So where on Earth would they choose to open their first tourist center? Stockholm, Sweden, of course -- home of ABBA, open-faced sandwiches and stylish but sensible knitwear.

The Memo
Next-gen contraceptives are coming

The Pill has been deemed one of the greatest liberators of modern times. Women pop one a day and gone are the woes of unwanted pregnancy. Now, it’s about to get competition. From graphene condoms, to algorithms and rub-on gel for men, we take a look at what the future holds for contraceptives…

CNN
Students swim with sharks, explore space, through VR

Imagine instead of viewing a shark-infested shipwreck or a space station in photos, technology meant you actually swam and floated right through them. Now, students are immersed under the water and into imaginary spacesuits to experience life as explorers and astronauts, if only for a few minutes.

CNN
The plane that emits only water

The dream of sustainable air travel is now one step closer to reality, after a team of researchers in Germany flew a plane that emits nothing but water vapor into the atmosphere. The plane runs on fuel cells -- devices producing an electrical current from a supply of hydrogen and oxygen -- aided by a battery for extra oomph during takeoff.

The Memo
Nemo's Garden: the scuba divers farming crops underwater

Submarine greenhouses are making waves in Italy. Is this the future of farming? Underwater farming could soon come to a beach near you, thanks to a team of Italian scuba divers who’ve invented a new method for growing crops.

The Memo
How 3D printing is changing design and architecture

Bye bye, hard labour and endless building works. Hello, tireless printing-bots and quirky designs. Houses and other structures made by one-armed robots spewing out endless strings of metal, concrete or biomaterial will soon be mainstream. At least if you ask the the large-scale 3D-printing pioneers.

CNN
Where the Mexico City Policy matters the most

At 22, Mudua Scovia is already a widower. She has five children and works as a farmer in Budadiri, Uganda, east Africa. "I want to look after my children," Mudua says. "But I am a woman alone, and any time a man could force me into sex and I could get pregnant."

CNN
Dubai to launch driverless flying taxi service

Dubai has announced yet another pioneering initiative, but this time it's not the world's first rotating skyscraper or 3D printed office. It's a fleet of flying taxis. Small enough to fit into a car parking space when folded up, the one-seater passenger drones made by Chinese company Ehang are set to start picking up passengers in July this year, according to Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA).

CNNMoney
Why Leonardo DiCaprio is backing man-made diamonds

There may be a new gem among Silicon Valley's glittering startup scene. A Santa Clara-based company is creating jewelry-grade diamonds in a lab, using a plasma reactor that reaches temperatures as hot as the sun.

CNNMoney
World's largest air purifier takes on China's smog

When artist Daan Roosegaarde visited Beijing in 2014, he was inspired by what he didn't see. From his hotel room on the 32nd floor, his view of the sprawling Chinese capital was totally obscured by smog. "It was all gone," Roosegaarde says. "The city was completely covered with smog."

CNN
Why do Western maps shrink Africa?

On a typical world map, Canada is a vast nation. Home to six time zones, its endless plains spread from ocean to ocean, dominating great swathes of the northern half of the globe. But, in reality, three Canadas would comfortably fit inside Africa. Our world map is wildly misleading.

CNN
30 great British designs

British designers have built a reputation for innovation, imagination and style. From stunning skyscrapers to flamboyant fashion, perfectly formed household products to streamlined sports cars, we take a look at the British design that have become icons in their own right.

CNN
The farm that runs without sun, soil or water

What do you get if you cross a tech entrepreneur with a farmer? The world's largest, and possibly most sophisticated indoor farm -- where greens grow without sun, soil or water. Well, almost no water.

CNN Travel
Walk on water at Italy's Lake Iseo

The Floating Piers, an artwork which moves with the waves, stretches across the lake linking two islands to the mainland -- transforming the otherwise tranquil island of Monte Isola into a tourist hot-spot for 16 days this summer. The free installation opened on June 18, but its popularity has exceeded organizers' expectations.

CNN Style
How Africa's rare gems made their way to the red carpet

Traders on the ancient Silk Road believed the ruby to have occult powers and carried the fiery red stones for protection. Mined in Myanmar as early as 600 AD, the stones considered most precious had an intense dark red hue, said to be reminiscent of pigeon blood. But with mined out deposits, the rise of the diamond and sanctions against Myanmar, the ruby's glow began to fade.

CNN Style
Parasite properties are taking over Paris

The 19th-century cityscape of Paris is about to change. Wedged in between brick buildings and jutting out from rooftops will be a series of modern "parasite properties". Glass, steel and wooden wonders designed to fill every precious nook of space in prime areas of the French capital, they will provide much-needed affordable inner-city housing.

CNN Style
'Solar canopy' turns sunlight into power and art

In the desert metropolis of Dubai, where the summer is one long heat wave, shade is precious as people seek refuge from the sun's scorching rays. Enter Italian architect and designer Carlo Ratti's latest creation -- a shiny metal canopy that can be used to create micro climates in outdoor areas by controlling light and shade.

CNN Travel
10 amazing animals hiding in the Brunei rainforest

In the northeast corner of Borneo, an island off the southeast coast of Asia, lies the tiny kingdom of Brunei. It may be a small country, with a population of just over 400,000, but there's an excellent reason for travelers to make a stop there: its rainforests are home to some of the animal kingdom's rarest creatures, many of which can only be found in the region.

CNN Travel
Most dramatic destination in the Middle East?

It's got fast drifting cars and slow drifting deserts. Beautiful beaches and unusual buildings. Camels, castles, culture and waterfront cocktails. So, why haven't more people been to Abu Dhabi? Actually, they have -- they maybe just don't know it. In 2015, the capital of the UAE took a starring role in one of the most hotly anticipated movies in decades: "Star Wars VII -- The Force Awakens."

CNN Africa
Award-winning photos capture life on the farmlands of rural Africa

In the arid farmlands of Burkina Faso, a young boy takes a bite from a ripe, bright yellow mango, as he looks out over the muddy waters of Lake Bam and the local cattle who come here to drink. Whether for fish or crops, his community of subsistence farmers relies on nature's resources for their survival. But not nearly enough rain has hit the cracked soil in recent years, and the lake is shrinking.

The Ecologist
Winner of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia: Prafulla Samantara

He has been accused of being anti-development, threatened, kidnapped and jailed, but Prafulla Samantara has never given up. The 65-year-old from Bhubaneswar, Odisha State, India, has made it his life's work to fight injustice by lending a voice to Indigenous communities and small scale farmers. Now he has won the prestigious 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia for his relentless efforts.

The Ecologist
Winner of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa: Rodrigue Katembo

It began as just another day in the office for Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, but he will always remember how it unfolded into a moment of horror most of us have only seen in gruesome fiction. Watching as armed men prepared for his execution, the park ranger from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) told his co-workers who were standing nearby to "keep up the fight and protect the natural park," believing, as he did, he would not survive the night. He

CNN Africa
Scientists discover new primate -- and it's already in danger

Deep in the Angolan jungle, scientists have discovered a new species of primate thanks to its booming voice. But any elation has been short lived for the team behind the find, as the animal is in immediate peril due to the destruction of its habitat. The size of a squirrel (around six inches long without the tail), the Angolan dwarf galago is a kind of bushbaby, a small primate family scattered all over sub-Saharan Africa.

CNN
China funds railways to link across East Africa

Near Africa's horn on the easternmost part of the continent, a shiny new electric railway runs alongside an old abandoned track through both arid desert and green highlands. Some 750 kilometres (466 miles) long, the $4 billion line connects landlocked Ethiopia to the Red Sea coast in Djibouti.

CNN
Why the French want in on South Africa's wine

Image is everything, some say, and wine is no exception. For the past 20 years, South Africa's Cabernets and Chardonnays have fought hard to compete with their Old World rivals, which lean upon the strong reputation of historic wine making regions such as Bordeaux and Bourgogne.

CNN Style
Glow-in-the-dark cement could light up cities

Concrete has never been a conventionally beautiful material. But that's about to change. Mexican scientist José Carlos Rubio Avalos has invented a glow-in-the-dark cement (a key component of concrete) that might one day beautify city nightscapes from Shanghai to Seoul.

CNN Style
'Magic' mushrooms grow into furniture

Lamps and armchairs made of mushroom roots and garbage may sound futuristic, but they're already in the hands of interior designers. Various types of packaging, wood panels and insulation can also be made from the stuff, which is grown by New York-based biomaterials company Ecovative.

CNN Africa
Africa's silent refugee crisis: 12.4 million on the run in their own countries

Yagana, 18, fled her village when Boko Haram attacked. With her husband killed in the ensuing violence, she now lives with her baby in one of Nigeria's 'widow's houses'. She's one of more than 40.8 million people around the world on the run in their own countries, according to recent figures by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, (IDMC).

CNN
Cut in secret: the medicalization of FGM

When 13-year-old Malika from a dusty village outside Cairo, Egypt turned eleven, her mother took her to the doctor late at night. It was not until she saw the blood and heard the cries from the other girls that it dawned on her -- she was about to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). Already a pricey operation, her family couldn't afford the extra 100 Egyptian pounds for the anaesthetic, so Malika was cut without it.

CNN
Invisible girls: why data is key in the fight for gender equality

When does a child stop being a child and become a girl or a boy? A difficult question which can have serious consequences for children, according to a new report by Plan International, which has been gathering data and analyzing statistics on young adults. Over the next decade, an estimated 40 million youngsters in Sub-Saharan Africa will drop out of school, according to the World Bank.

CNN
Could a digital currency bring Africa closer to China?

The digital currency Bitcoin has no ties to sovereign states and only exists as zeros and ones in cyberspace. Now, a Kenyan start up is bringing Africa closer to its biggest investor, China, by letting companies on the continent send payments to the Asian nation which are traded in Bitcoin.

CNN
The app lending eyes to the blind

Two years ago South African Chris Venter lost his eyesight from a virus he contracted while travelling. A former chef, he was determined to keep cooking. To do so, he's had to relearn how to navigate a kitchen and even how to chop onions. If he wants to pour milk, he has a device that beeps when the glass is nearly full. But there are still obstacles, like seeing the color of the onion, or the milk's expiration date.

CNN
Step into Morocco's little Hollywood

In the new comedy "Army Of One", Nicolas Cage plays an American civilian who tries to hunt down Osama Bin Laden after an encounter with God, played by Russell Brand. The backdrop to the story is the slums of Pakistan's capital Islamabad. Here, Cage navigates the city's narrow back streets through loud traffic and buzzing markets on the back of a donkey, as seen in the recently released trailer.

CNN
Is this robot the perfect co-worker?

he year is 2020. A group of warehouse workers are locking up for the weekend. As the lights go off, a swarm of buzzing drones fly into the darkness. Over the coming days, they will zoom up and down the aisles, updating the inventory for when their human colleagues return on Monday morning.

CNNMoney
Craft beer made this home brewer a billionaire

Ken Grossman is living the dream. He turned his home brewing hobby into an international business, making a fortune along the way. Since bottling its first Pale Ale in 1980, Grossman's Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has grown into the third largest craft brewer in the United States, and the seventh largest beer producer in the country.

CNN
The app that goes to church for you

When Dinah Colecraft wakes up in her house in Ghana's capital of Accra, the first thing she does isn't take a shower or make a coffee. She uses an app to download a devotion sent by her church. With the app she can also browse church events taking place that weekend and even make a donation using her credit card.

CNN
Why halal has become big business

You might think of halal as just being a set of Islamic rules about meat, but the global halal industry incorporates everything from medicines to cosmetics. And the industry is growing fast. One report valued the global halal food and beverage market at $1.37 trillion in 2014, which represented 18% of the entire market, and the number of Muslims worldwide is expected to increase from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050, according to Pew Research Center.

CNN Africa
Quiz: how well do you know Africa?

Do you know your Niger from Nigeria? Your Libya from Liberia? Take our quiz to find out. Warning: you might learn some surprising facts about the second largest continent (not country!) in the world.

CNN
The clean energy megaprojects powering Africa

From an Africa-shaped mega solar plant powering Kigali, Rwanda, to a massive geothermal plant harvesting the power of Kenya's hot springs, renewable energy plants are popping up around the continent. Sub-Saharan Africa is desperately short of power and roughly 620 million Africans live without a reliable source of electricity. Africa's population is expected to double by 2050 and the demand for clean energy has never been greater, says Caroline Kende-Robb, executive director, Africa Progress...

CNN Africa
500 elephants are being re-homed in Malawi

In the Liwonde Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, the elephant population is struggling to survive. The growing local human population is edging ever closer to their reserve, sometimes entering it to poach bushmeat or fish, or using the land to grow crops.

CNN
Can crowdfunding solar energy help people out of energy poverty?

Out of ideas for stocking fillers? A Swedish tech start up has a suggestion: why not give those in need the gift of electricity?TRINE, which connects investors with solar power entrepreneurs in East Africa via its website, has launched a Christmas present campaign. A voucher from TRINE can be invested in a solar power project in Africa, with an expected return of around 6% for the recipient. The investments start at $26.5 (€25) and the sky is the limit.

CNN
George Clooney honors woman who saved 30,000 lives

During the brutal Burundi civil war which claimed 300,000 lives, Marguerite Barankitse risked her own to rescue around 30,000 children from persecution. At the outbreak of the 12-year war in 1993, Barankitse -- a Tutsi -- was forced to watch the execution of 72 of her Hutu neighbors.

CNN
A bad diet is worse than drugs, alcohol and tobacco combined

When you next visit the supermarket, tread carefully, because your food choices could be cutting years off your life. Whether it's too much junk food or a lack of nutritious food, malnutrition caused by bad eating habits is on the rise, a new report shows.

The Ecologist
Securing communal land rights for Tanzania's indigenous peoples

Commuting between land rights negotiations in the city and herding goats on the plains, Edward Loure is at once a traditional Maasai and a modern urbanite, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron. That ability to straddle the two very different worlds he inhabits has been key to his success at having 200,000 acres of land registered into village and community ownership - and his own 2016 Goldman Prize.

Truthout
Fighting Industrial Pollution in Kenya Is as Dangerous as the Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning from industrial pollution has imposed a terrible toll on Kenyans, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron, and single mother Phyllis Omido is no exception - lead from a nearby metal refinery badly damaged her own son's health. But it was when she decided to fight back against the polluters that a whole new realm of threats and dangers opened up.

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