6 degrees of warming (cont.) - 5 degrees

Five degrees 

Five degrees seems so little
Yet the changes would be extreme
For there could be a torrent
From what started as a stream.

But I’m not talking water
But a stream of refugees
Coming from all directions
And becoming one big sea.

Britain could be a haven
Or it might be our main role
To merely be a stopping point
On a passage to the poles.

A search for cooler temperatures
And a place of climate calm
A place where food can be produced
Where land can still be farmed.

It’s hard to imagine how Britain would look
But if you want to try
No longer think of green and lush

But parched and tinder dry.

Copyright: Mark Cowan
See earlier posts for context

Join the Kew

Another trip with school on Friday: joint biology-geography trip to Kew Gardens.

Kew Gardens is somewhere I hadn't been for many years. Lots of new developments, although the Temperate house was closed for repairs.

Teachmeet PIMMS

Back in 2007 I attended my first Teachmeet, chaired by Ewan McIntosh and associated with the Scottish Learning Festival. It was an interesting and nerve-wracking evening, where I met several new faces who would influence my teaching and wider work for the next five or six years, and ultimately see me attending the infamous Islay2020 event at the Bowmore Distillery in 2009.

If you haven't been to a Teachmeet before, it's worth finding out if there's one at your local school, and get yourself there.
My next opportunity to get to a Teachmeet is in July. I will be there if I can - already signed up for it.
See more details and sign yourself up here.... be prepared to share an idea that has worked well this year.

New wall display

Got one of these coming for my classroom for the new school year apparently. Looks really interesting...

6 degrees of warming (cont.) - 4 degrees today

4 Degrees
With four degrees Britain’s jigsaw
May shift in size and shape
The east of England
Could see mass movements
Of people set on escape.  

Many UK rivers
Could lose their power and force
As they slowly dry up and evaporate
From mouth right back to source.

Water is a necessity
The harbinger of life
4 degrees could mark a struggle
In a time of trouble and strife.

Copyright: Mark Cowan

See previous posts for context...


Down in Somerset, the fence has gone up, and preparations will be well underway for this year's Glastonbury festival. Regular readers of the blog will know that I went to the festival with the Geography Collective a few years back to work for the duration and it was one of the best (and worst) experiences of my life.
Glastonbury 2014 promises to be as big and bold as any previous festival, and there are plenty of stories to be found in the coverage which would also be useful for their geographical contexts...

Here are a few to get you started.
We are thinking of doing a unit on sustainability and music festivals next summer to round off the year.
a) there are plans to try to reduce the number of plastic bottles this year by handing out some bottles made of metal and having taps to refill them - also available to buy on site
b) the logistics of a town of 200 000 people springing up for a few weeks and then disappearing again - think of the resources that are required - consider the infrastructure involved....

Let me know other stories that you think would also be relevant.
Enjoy the Festival if you're going :)

Images: Alan Parkinson

DataShine - another Census visualisation and mapping tool...

CASA involved as always...

DataShine is another opportunity to access data from the Census 2011.
There are some good opportunities for filtering and displaying the data in various ways.

Thanks to Oliver O'Brien for the lead to DATASHINE. This map below, for example, focusses on properties that are usually empty.
This is Windermere in the Lake District, and the red colour tells you that the houses are mostly empty, which means that they are second properties. What impact does this have on those communities ?
Which other areas have lots of red properties ?

This would fit nicely with the enquiry in Chapter 10 of my book 'Fieldwork through Enquiry'.

You could also use it to create mystery type questions. E.g. which religion is shown in red in these cities ?

Use the tool or your knowledge of the Midlands to find out the answer...

6 degrees of warming (cont.) - 3 degrees today

3 degrees
A three degree change marks a shift
With temperatures hot, not warm.
Summer heat waves could engulf Britain
And quickly become the norm.

The tourist trail may start to shift; 
Britons won’t go overseas.
Instead, Europe may come to join us
In the hope of a cooling sea breeze.

For the Mediterranean may become
Parched, scorched and bare
‘Stay away!’ will be the message
No tourist hot spot there.

Jobs may be aplenty
As tourist Britain grows
Inland at cultured Cambridge
Or on the Costa Del Felixstowe.

Yet this comes with a warning
For with a rise of three degrees
We only need to cast our minds back
To summer 2003.

Paris was in turmoil
It simmered and it fried
Thousands of the old and infirm
Could not cope and died.

Britain would need to respond and adapt
As these changes are unfurled
For perhaps we saw a window

Into our future world.

See previous posts
Copyright: Mark Cowan

Primary Quality Mark and Curriculum 2014

For the last few years, I've been part of a team which has moderated applications for the Geographical Association's Primary Geography Quality Mark.

This is a great privilege as I am able to see some great practice from schools around the country. I'm currently reading through my batch of portfolios and writing my reports which will then be discussed on the moderation day next Friday.
There are some really nice ideas and work from enthusiastic teachers and students.

If you're in London on the 3rd of July, there's a useful event that you could come to.

This is the final of a series of events aimed at preparing Primary teachers for the changes to the Primary Curriculum.

The event at the Kia Oval is described in the link.
There are workshops for each of the main subjects provided by subject associations.
There's also a Keynote address by Professor Robin Alexander

English and Foreign Languages: UK Literacy Association (UKLA) and the Association for 
Language Learning (ALL)
Maths and Computing: Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) and 
the National Association of Advisors for Computers in Education (NAACE) 
Art & Design and Music: National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) and The UK Association for Music Education (Music Mark)
D&T and Science: The Design and Technology Association (DATA) and The Association for Science Education (ASE)
History and Geography: The Historical Association (HA) and The Geographical 
Association (GA)
Physical Education & Local Curriculum: Association for Physical Education (AfPE) and Venue/
Community Curriculum

Come along and work and meet up with Dr. Paula Owens and myself...

6 degrees of warming (cont.) - 2 degrees today...

The second of a series of posts providing poems by Mark Cowan written for a Teachers TV programme but not used in their entirety. See previous post(s) for more details.

2 Degrees of Warming

As we shift from one to two
These sums appear so slow
But the changes start to multiply
To spread, to shift, to grow.

With two degrees insects migrate
To Britain, alluring and warm
And malaria carrying mosquitoes
Could hover, pester and swarm.

Our warmer climes could bring tourists
With Britain’s beaches revived.
But warming means melting
And melting means ice caps
So will these beaches survive?

Water sports could make a splash
In the newly warmed North Sea.
But this is climate change
And there is no clear guarantee.

For heavier rain with warmer conditions
Might make our sewers flood
Water quality could be threatened
And turned to the colour of mud.

As sea levels rise
So do the waves
Crunching against the shore
Will beaches be scoured and worn away?

What changes lie in store?

Copyright: Mark Cowan

6 degrees of warming

A 'conversation' on Twitter earlier  this morning reminded me of a resource that I created back in 2009. It was connected with the Mark Lynas book 'Six Degrees' which explores possible future climate change.
I worked with a film company to create the treatments for a series of three programmes on Weather and Climate. We met in Cambridge on a hot day, and chatted through some ideas and then worked on scripts and other ideas.
The three programmes involved interviews with people doing different jobs. In the first programme, there was a transect taken across the UK, with an exploration of how the weather varied along it. The second programme looked at the Great Storm of 1987, but from the point of view of the storm itself.
The third one brought the people who had been interviewed back again and this time they spoke some lines of a poem which explored the impacts of a gradual warming from one to six degrees...
The poem was written by Mark Cowan.

The programme can be viewed HERE.

Teachers TV disappeared, but the videos were thankfully archived.
I dug out the series of poems that we asked Mark Cowan to write for us. They were then edited, and if you watch the programme, you'll see and hear that some of the 'verses' that were used were different to those in the poem, as it was edited and improved during the process of connecting it to the filming that went on...
I'm still proud of my involvement in these three programmes, which deserve a repeat airing.

Mark had created a book on Poems for the Geography Classroom (still available from here)
and I've included the first of the draft poems below, as I think they could form a good basis for work by students...

They are the drafts of the poems and you could use them in a number of ways.
a) Read them out, or ask students to record them and add images to represent the words to create a new movie
b) Add some new verses of your own, using research and information on the different levels of warming
c) Classify the various effects that the poems describe as being human or physical issues. How can we adapt to these various levels of warming ?

Poems are copyright Mark Cowan, so please credit if using.

Climate change

Introductory verses

As Co2 figures steadily climb
Will temperature levels soar?
Does climate change spell catastrophe
Or leave us wanting more?

Warming – it sounds inviting
Like a mid-winter break in the sun.
But each degree rise
With the sun in our eyes

Could leave us exposed and undone.

'One degree’

What is the likely scenario
With a change of one degree?
How might Britain begin to alter
From mountains, to valleys, to seas?

One degree, a subtle shift
But the chance of UK change.
Will the changes be obvious?
Or could they feel quite strange?

Oceans might alter with warmer waters
And Britain’s sea life may shift
As other species, alien to us
Through UK waters drift.

Sunfish populations
Have now arrived on our shores.
And as our waters experience warming
Expect a good deal more.

Nature tourism could flourish
With boat trips out to sea.
Dolphins, whales and tropical fish
With a rise of one degree.

With a one degree rise farming will alter
Already, there’s one clear sign.
Look around you; a growing trend
Are olives and grapes on the vine.

Will this be the new California?
Perhaps, but there’s some doubt.
For much like a wine, life could become dry
As Britain is plagued by drought

I'll post the other 5 verses from 2 up to 6 degrees of warming over the next few days, so some back for more...