Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Clipperton Project Update

For those of you that have been following the progress of the Clipperton project will be please to watch the new trailer which shows the findings of the group's recent expedition earlier this year!

The Clipperton Project is a multi-disciplinary, international arts and science project which aims to take outstanding practitioners in the arts and sciences on expeditions to little-studied, inaccessible and complex territories which have been isolated by history.

geographyalltheway.com - Online Geography and Humanities Resources

Friday, 25 May 2012

Royal Institution - Geographers website

A fantastic website by the RI covering great geographic themes - plenty of videos to watch and discussion to to contirbute to - excellent - also on my links page!


Check out the link on the anthropocene...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Cultural attitudes to the environment & risk

In her latest work, Naomi Klein wonders: What makes our culture so prone to the reckless high-stakes gamble, and why are women so frequently called upon to clean up the mess.

What makes our cultutal attitude to the envionment lead to conflict and risk?


Rio 2012: 20years on from sustainable development

How has our attitude to the environment moved on from Rio 1992 when the paradigm of sustainable development was first publicy showcased.

Have we become a more globally and environmentally aware society?
Are we looking after the environment better and has our attitude to it changed from consumption to protection?

We will move towards a green economy in the next 50years? and more possibly are we on track to achieve the MDGs?


Another interesting video -looking at whether development is compatible with the environment...
or not in the case of the tar sands

Arctic melt releasing ancient methane

Scientists have identified thousands of sites in the Arctic where methane that has been stored for many millennia is bubbling into the atmosphere.This article is a good link to Edexcel Unit 1 World at Risk to show the possible impacts of global warming and positive feedback mechanisms...

Graph of methane levels


An Ocean of troubles - our attitude to the ocean environment

To what extent does the state of our oceans depict the global attitude to the environment?

Last night Simon Reeve's Indian Ocean programme  highlighted the state of the oceans in the tourist hot spot of the Maldives and how some islands are being used for waste dumping!

6.0 Earthquake in Bologna Italy

A ceremics factory damaged after an earthquake
An earthquake in northern Italy has killed at least six people and caused serious damage to buildings in several towns, officials have said.The 6.0-magnitude quake struck in the middle of the night, about 35km (22 miles) north of the city of Bologna.

Questions to consider:
i) Why so few deaths?
ii) What has the response been like?
iii) Is the loss of cultural heritage a significant impact & to what extent can cultural hertiage be protected from natural hazrads?


The old tower is seen collapsed after an earthquake in Finale Emilia May 20, 2012. A strong earthquake rocked a large swathe of northern Italy early on Sunday, killing at least three people and causing serious damage to the area's cultural heritage. The epicentre of the 6.0 magnitude quake, the strongest to hit Italy in three years, was in the plains near Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of the Po River Valley.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ecological footprint

An ecological footprint measures the total amount of land and resources used, it includes your carbon footprint but goes further.See how your choices affect the environment and whether you are living beyond the capacity of the planet by clicking here - http://www.ecologicalfootprint.com/

The Economist provdies an excellent spatial overview:

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Charles Rothschild & UK Conservation

An interesting centenary marking the impact of one individual's attitude to the environment and how it defined a nation's approach to conservation:


Culture & conflict over the environment

Satellite image of Eastern Medditerranaen

Another excellent case study on how cultural attitudes and values (economic versus environmental especially) lead to conflict in one of the world's most charged regions. This case study is an excellent example of the environment as a contested category and how different cultures view the vital resource of water - economic development & geopolitics versus indigenous cultural rights versus environmental value (biodiversity). The map link here shows a classic case of upstream versus downstream conflict & dispute (http://mapsof.net/map/jordan-river-map).


Friends o the earth Middle east provide a good overview of the situation, admittedly from an environmental perspective: http://foeme.org/www/?module=projects&record_id=23

Opinion: Cultural cooperation is key to this area in order to preserve the cultural heritage from a multi-faith perspective!

Other opinions suggest that Israel is violating the human rights of indigenous Palestinians by not only occupying territory but also denying water access to the Palestinians - however, this is the opinion of Amnesty and it is a very divisive & debated issue!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Cultural capital - valuing nature a little differently?

Arguably in a post-industrial society we have moved towards 'valuing' the environment very differently to how we used to perceive it; an economic resource to be exploited under the guise of such paradigms like industrialisation, modernisation or globalisation. According to Kuznets would the West place itself in an era of increasing environmental awareness and decreasing degradation?

Since Carson's Silent Spring and the emergence of radical environmentalism in the 1970s &1980s, the environment has become an issue of common parlance and to put it simply, the environment matters. Today the environment should be (and to some extent is) viewed as as a holistic concept (economic, biodiversity, social-cultural etc etc) as UNESCO outlines in it's definition & mission statement. Clearly though, the latter developments have meant that from an economic perspective whilst economists still see value in the environment, it is fundamentally a different type of value to the one in the industrial period (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17448634).

The new paradigm of the environmental movement of the 1990s and new millennium was Sustainable Development, and as the environment became an issue of national (and international) security, politicians and academics started to see the need not only to protect but also to preserve the more subtle cultural and often spiritual connections organisms  had to the environment. It appeared that the cries of deep ecologists to revert back to pre-industrial times had been answered (well not really!) - alas though, the the environment is and always has been/will be a contested category providing that the human population conitue4s to grow and expand and nations continue to industrialise. Thus, with the Advent of the new Rio Summit there are cries (as there were in 1992) to improve our level of protection and romantic platitudes of a return to some modified form of a pristine wilderness...!(Just look at the BBCs recent programming over the past 5 years to increase our environmental awareness).


I would argue though that on the hand yes, protection is paramount, but from my time researching in Honduras, i would caution outright protection as often the Western model of a core and buffer zone can alienate the local people from the land and cut the connections which make that particular environment so diverse - just look at Ayres Rock (or Uluru) to see how poor management can lead to severe conflict...Israel, Palestine and the West Bank water security issues is another example.

Q: To what extent do different cultural attitudes to the environment make conflict inevitable?

Discussion: Is there such a thing as a pristine wilderness as Humboldt asserted or not? Discuss.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


A great little video clip showing the positive impact of the London Olympics...

Whose water is it?

Fred Pearce's article provides an excellent service in highlighting the chronic problems around the world of excessive groundwater exploitation - but it may not be taking us much further forward in finding solutions...what's your opinion?

Check out this month's New Scientist - Whose water is it? Very good for water security and conflicts.