SAGT Conference 2: The morning sessions

After breakfast, I wandered down to the train station, and was picked up by Dollar Academy staff, and taken through the hills, past the Wallace Monument.

The school is in a beautiful setting overlooked by the Ochil Hills.

Up to the meeting hall first, and set up the GA stand first, and chatted to Laura Price from the RGS.

Set up in my seminar room too, with all my handouts and materials.

Mike Robinson and Roger Crofts from the RSGS were there, and a lot of other familiar faces, including many people who have been coming to my sessions over the years.
Stephen Scoffham is the GA President for this year, and was attending to help man the stand and also give the fraternal greetings between the organisations, something which has happened for many years.
Stephen talked about his work on Sustainability, and mentioned Rockstrom - he talked about the planetary boundaries that we are exceeding: a diagram that was included in my session, as it is the basis for Kate Raworth's doughnut economics.
Stephen was also able to pick up an award for the GA’s book on ‘A’ level fieldwork investigations, written by Simon Oakes, which was an additional bit of good news.

Marjorie Kerr gave an entertaining and personal Presidential Lecture.

The morning keynote was given by Hermione Cockburn, who is the Learning Officer at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, and has also been involved in making TV and radio programmes on the environment.

The morning keynote lecture was given by Hermione Cockburn, from Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh
Addy Pope from ESRI UK, who were sponsoring the lecture, introduced her.

A few notes follow that I made during Hermione's lecture. Any errors in interpretation are down to me.
Hermione mentioned the IPCC report earlier this year.
How are we collectively going to help society rise up to the challenges?
We are certainly not complacent within the geography community.
As geographers we are ideally positioned and qualified to make sense of the varied impacts that will arrive from climate change.
Showed a diagram of the IPSOS MORI Veracity index on trust in professions, and teachers were placed in 3rd position, after nurses and doctors, and above professors and scientists
Politicians generally were down at the bottom of the index.
Mentioned the possible influence of scary news on young people.
Dynamic Earth - has stories to inspire people
Started with internet cables laid on the sea bed - a cross section image was used.
Map showing where these are running was shown
Connections - international links
19th C - undersea cables were first being used
View at the time was that deep sea (water over 500m deep) was stagnant and lifeless - cold and dark - azoic zone
These cables would break, however, and when they were brought up for repair they were encrusted with marine life
Sir Charles Wyville Thomson - pioneer of oceanography
Chair of Natural History at University of Edinburgh
1860s - not convinced of azoic zone, but risked reputation by saying that he didn't believe the accepted truth.
Borrowed HMS Lightning and Porcupine and used new dredging equipment
Discovered that animal life existed to at least 1200m
Temperatures varied within these environments - circulation happening at depth
Led to HMS Challenger expedition
1872-1876 - 4 people...
Discovered 4000 species
Also manganese nodules - deep sea mining is a potential future industrial development
New findings on mid-oceanic ridges - scale and extent - development of plate tectonics theory was to come in the future.
Deepest point - Challenger Deep of the Marianas Trench, named after the expedition - I didn't know this before the lecture...
Only 5% of ocean floor mapped better than 5km resolution
Only mapped and explored in 1990s - deep sea oil exploration
UK’s tallest mountain lies of the coast of Scotland - Hebrides Terrace seamount 

Climate change is leading to ocean acidification & coral bleaching

Hermione then introduced us to a new funded research project involving Herriot Watt / Edinburgh University, and called ATLAS
Horizon 2020 funded research
€9 million
Looking for the best ways to protect deep sea environments from issues such as climate change and overfishing

Hermione will be working with teachers to bring this story to life
Museums: surveys / galleries
Resonating with students - I like the idea of curating materials for an exhibition as a framework for some writing.
Hermione dedicated her lecture to Aubrey Manning.

An entertaining lecture.
This was followed by the first of my seminars... of which more to come in another blog post...