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Environmental knowledges

Our work in this sub-theme examines the politics of environmental knowledges, with particular thematic foci on climate change, biodiversity and volcanic risks. We study how diverse expertise - for example, lay, scientific, western, non-western - is mobilised in global environmental assessments, environmental controversies, risk management protocols and advisory processes. This sub-theme lies at the interface between the human and physical geographies of environmental risk.

Research projects

Research projects currently being undertaken on this theme include:

WIREs Climate Change

WIREs Climate Change

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change is a leading international journal that offers a unique platform for reviewing the diverse knowledge that emerges from the many disciplines that contribute to our understanding of this phenomenon: environmental history, the humanities, physical and life sciences, social sciences, engineering and economics. The journal acts as a forum for exposing and understanding the many reasons why climate change remains a powerful lens through which to approach many of the great challenges facing the world today.

Expertise, politics and policy-making: the role and influence of the UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 1970-2011

Expertise, politics and policy-making: the role and influence of the UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 1970-2011

This is an ongoing project to analyse the role and influence of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, a standing advisory body created by the Wilson Government in 1970. This work contributes to theories of environmental policy and politics, and helps to develop a theory of policy advice. It also documents the history of a unique institution.

Institutions and Public Policy in the Field Sciences

Institutions and Public Policy in the Field Sciences

This is an international comparative study of the history of field stations across five Arctic nations (USA, Canada, Russia, Denmark, and Sweden) with the aim of understanding how field practices drive the major agendas of environmental research. In the project we intend to use the International Polar Year 2007-2008 as an opportunity to identify and analyse the work (e.g. planning, calibrating, publishing, sharing data) required to make field observations meaningful across a range of scales and contexts of users or audiences. This also represents a singular opportunity to understand how the field sciences have generated a scientific and cultural legacy. We will analyse former and present research station sites to understand how the residues of scientific practice become valid knowledge, collective memory and heritage.

Maritime Geographies of Science

Maritime Geographies of Science

Whereas the importance of the world oceans for global security - particularly their circulation, oil and gas reserves, fishing stocks and indigenous culture - is now widely recognised, they are all threatened or endangered. However our knowledge of their environmental history, how they came to be the way they are, is surprisingly limited and at best fragmented. This research aims to develop the historical foundations for a new interdisciplinary understanding of the science of the oceans that can explain the nature and direction of change, and take account of the much greater and more diverse communities of historical actors or stakeholders than has been widely acknowledged.

Earlier projects