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Department of Geography

 

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News

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# Britain is crumbling into the sea – but does it matter?

"Sea level rise is a massive inter-generational problem: our children and our grandchildren should not be the victims of poorly informed and short-termist decisions made now" says Tom Spencer, arguing for long-term strategic planning at the coast and contributing to the debate on what to do about coastal erosion, in The Telegraph , 25th June 2022.

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# Academic promotions

The Department is delighted by the success of colleagues who have been promoted in the current Academic Career Pathways exercise. The announcement has just been released in the Reporter.

Professor Emma Mawdsley has been promoted to Professor (Grade 12) and Dr Neil Arnold, Dr Michael Bravo, Dr Mia Gray, Dr David Nally, Dr Chris Sandbrook and Dr Gareth Rees have all been promoted to Professor, from October 2022.

This is a great tribute to their tremendous contributions to our collective endeavours, as well as recognition of the respect they command and the esteem in which they are held.

# Food resources and challenges - two new videos

Dr Catherine Oliver has been working with Time for Geography - the open-access, dedicated video platform for geography and geoscience education - to create two new videos on food resources and challenges.

From the Time for Geography website -

Ending hunger and ensuring access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, is a global challenge. In working to address this, the geography of our food has changed a lot in recent history, with the development of new methods of food production, complex food supply chains and changing customer demands and expectations. In these two videos, we team up with geographers Dr Christopher Turner, Dr Catherine Oliver and Dr Kim Ward, to explore these changes, their impacts and challenges.

Food in the UK: Changing food production and demand

Challenges of global food supply chains

# Undergraduate Open Days

The Department will be taking part in the 2022 Cambridge Open Days for prospective applicants from Year 12 (or equivalent) and mature applicants (aged 21 or over), together with their parents or supporters, to help them learn more about the University.

On Thursday 7 July and Friday 8 July we will be open to anyone who would like to visit; you will be able to meet staff and students, explore the physical geography Laboratory and enjoy displays of current and former students' work in the Library. We will be open 9:30 to 4:30 each day.

In addition, as this year's event is hybrid, you will also be able to watch a taster lecture and a talk introducing the course online between 4 July – 17 July via the open day platform.

To attend the Open Days (either in person or online) you'll need to book - find out more and access the booking page on the University's website.

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# Professor Mark Carey public lecture

We are delighted that Professor Mark Carey as Distinguished International Visitor to the Department of Geography will be giving a public lecture Icebergs and Oil in the North Atlantic, Reframing Human Relationships with Ice on Wednesday 8 June at 2:30pm in the Large Lecture Theatre. Please circulate this invitation and the attached poster widely.

Since the 1970s, oil companies off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador have been drilling for oil right in the middle of Iceberg Alley. To ensure uninterrupted oil flows, and to make the North Atlantic Ocean safer for capitalism, they have monitored, mapped, moved, blasted, and towed Arctic icebergs that drift into their ocean 'frontier'. At the same time, widely circulating environmental narratives have turned icebergs into unpredictable enemies. Ice in this story, then, becomes less an icon of the climate crisis and more an agent of the Anthropocene.

Mark Carey is Professor of Environmental Studies and Geography, as well as Director of the Environmental Studies Program, at the University of Oregon, USA. His research addresses environmental justice issues related to climate change, glaciers, and water in the Andes and Arctic. He has co-authored several IPCC chapters and won the Elinor Melville Book Award, the Leopold-Hidy article prize, and the King Albert Mountain Award for lifetime contributions to mountain conservation and peoples. He currently runs the Glacier Lab for the Study of Ice and Society, where he prioritizes collaboration with students.

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# Sea ice can control Antarctic ice sheet stability, new SPRI research finds

SPRI researchers have used over 40 years of satellite observations and ocean and atmosphere records to show that abrupt changes in offshore sea ice cover can either safeguard from, or set in motion, the final rifting and calving of icebergs from even large Antarctic ice shelves.

The research, led by Dr. Frazer Christie, has been published as an article in the journal Nature Geoscience.

This research was supported in part by the Flotilla Foundation, Marine Archaeology Consultants Switzerland, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

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# REF 2021

The results from the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) have highlighted the excellent research being undertaken at the Department. The REF is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

96% of Cambridge's overall submissions under the most recent exercise have been rated as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'. 50.8% of outputs submitted by the Department were awarded the highest rating of 4* overall, meaning that they were world leading. The Department was also recognised for its outstanding research environment which enables its researchers to flourish to their full potential.

The Department is delighted with this recognition of research excellence, and with the strength of research being undertaken in Geography across the United Kingdom. These results reflect a subject that is thriving intellectually, and making important contributions to the major challenges facing our planet and societies.

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# New report assesses global anti-deforestation measures

A major new scientific assessment has evaluated the world's progress on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

The report analyses the past 10 years of REDD+ implementation – a global action plan to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation primarily in tropical and sub-tropical regions – with respect to forest governance, carbon measurements and effects on biodiversity and livelihoods.

One of the lead authors is Professor Bhaskar Vira, Head of the Department of Geography. He writes: "This report is being launched at a very important moment, and feeds directly into international discussions on climate change and biodiversity. There is an urgent focus on the role of land use and forests as part of our transitions towards a net zero future, and on the contributions that forests can make to biodiversity and livelihoods.

Image credit: Deforestation, by crustmania

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# Professor Philip Gibbard awarded the Merit Medal by the German Quaternary Association (Deuqua)

Photo by Angela Coe 2020.

Emeritus Professor Philip Gibbard has been awarded the Verdienstmedaille (Merit Medal) by the German Quaternary Association (Deuqua). The medal is awarded biennially as a special honour for outstanding scientific achievements in Quaternary research.

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# Hannah White's new book on the future of Parliamentary democracy in Britain

Many congratulations to Hannah White (Selwyn, 1997; Jesus, 2000) on the publication of her book, Held in Contempt: What's wrong with the House of Commons? (Manchester University Press, 2022).

The topic could hardly be more timely, and if you want to know how British government works, or doesn't, how it has been viewed by the British public in the years of Brexit, Covid-19, and beyond - and also how it might be saved from terminal decline, this is the book for you.

Hannah was awarded an OBE in 2020 for her services to the constitution, and has worked extensively in Parliament since taking her PhD in Geography. She is currently Deputy Director of the Institute for Government.

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