Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Seasonal Change or Office Routine?

by Fiona Ferbrache

Despite a British winter recorded by the Met Office as the coldest in 31 years, the trend towards the earlier flowering of British plants continues. New analysis emerges from almost 400,000 first flowering records of 405 species throughout the UK and reveals that the average flowering date has been earlier in the last 25 years than in any other period. But while spring appears to arrive earlier for some people to enjoy (11 days earlier than 30 years ago); others barely witness the changes taking place from their climatically controlled office blocks.

Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers presents a paper by Russell Hitchings examining how new urban lifestyles impact upon the handling of climate change. Drawing from his own research with professional office workers in London, Hitchings reveals that during the working week some people were oblivious to the sort of adaptations they needed to make to the day’s climate. ‘Cocooned’ in routine and an office environment with artificial climate, workers ‘forgot’ about the season outside. What these findings suggest are ways in which seasonal change is subjectively experienced and physically negotiated, and provides a lens onto how humans might adapt to future climate change.

If you are aware of the seasonal changes and have spotted your first Orchid, or heard the cuckoo for the first time this year, as I did last week, why not log onto Nature’s Calendar Survey and record that first sighting.

View the BBC News article Flowers Bloom Earlier as UK Warms

View Guardian article on UK coldest winter

Read Hitching’s paper in TIBG

1 comment

  1. It’s 4 May and I’m wearing long sleeves and a down vest. At least the British daffodils are finally in the stores!

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