Tag Archives: environment and society

Geography Compass Content Alert: Volume 6, Issue 3 (March 2012)

Cover image for Vol. 6 Issue 3

The latest issue of Geography Compass is available on Wiley Online Library.

Issue Information

Issue Information (pages i–ii)
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2012.00487.x

Economic Geography

Social Justice and the Creative City: Class, Gender and Racial Inequalities (pages 111–122)
Deborah Leslie and John Paul Catungal
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2011.00472.x

Geographies of International Education: Mobilities and the Reproduction of Social (Dis)advantage (pages 123–136)
Johanna L. Waters
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2011.00473.x

Coerced, Forced and Unfree Labour: Geographies of Exploitation in Contemporary Labour Markets (pages 137–148)
Kendra Strauss
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2011.00474.x

Environment and Society

Measuring the Performance of Partnerships: Why, What, How, When? (pages 149–162)
Claire Kelly
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2012.00476.x

Environment, Business and the Firm (pages 163–174)
Federico Caprotti
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2012.00478.x

The human consequences of climate change

Andy Hacket Pain

Over the last few years, there has been much recent media interest in the impacts of climatic warming in the Arctic region, with the Guardian recently reporting new research that demonstrates a strong feedback between sea ice loss and increasing regional temperatures, potentially leading to even more rapid loss of Arctic sea ice.

Studies such these provide important evidence on the global impacts of anthropogenic climate warming, and are often used in high profile campaigns by conservation groups to emphasise the importance of rapid national and international action to reduce carbon emissions.

However, I think we can sometimes be guilty of neglecting the local impacts of climate change. James Ford and others, writing in The Geographical Journal provide a case study examining how climate change in the Arctic impacts on indigenous Inuit populations in Canada. They show that in addition to the rate and nature of environmental change, factors such local traditions and community structure interact to produce a complex picture of vulnerability in these communities.

Despite this being a very locally-based study, work such as this highlights that simply producing good monitoring and prediction capacities is not enough when we are dealing with the impacts of climate change – we must go beyond the pure science and appreciate the complex relationships between society and nature if we are to gain a better understanding of the true human consequences of greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the article in The Guardian

Read the article by Ford et al (2007)

Managing water resources, with geography

Sonoran Desert, MexicoI-Hsien Porter

Despite the UK’s reputation for wet weather, a recent report by the Engineering the Future Alliance claims that the UK imports two-thirds of the water we use. This is because the report includes water used in producing food and goods outside the UK. For example, we may only see the last 250 ml of water required to make a cup of coffee. However, a further 140 litres is embedded in growing, processing and transporting the coffee beans.

As a result, some water-stressed countries use significant proportions of their water resources to produce goods for export to foreign markets. Although this brings in foreign exchange, which is often much needed by developing countries, it adds to growing pressures on water supplies.

Hassan and others (2010) recently published two papers in Geography Compass that examine water use in the Palestinian Territories. In the second paper, they argue that future climate change will reduce available water resources, while growing populations will increase abstraction and reduce water quality.

In the first paper, Hassan et al. examine some of the difficulties in allocating resources fairly. The physical geography of the area means that some areas have different physical accessibility to freshwater than others. However, distributing water resources is complicated by a lack of domestic control over aquifers and rivers, located in neighbouring territories. At the interface of the physical and human, geographers are well placed to explore the complexities of managing water.

View the Read about how the incident affected the local communities so far at BBC News Engineering the Future Alliance report on Global Water Security

Hassan et al. (2010 a) Palestinian Water I: Resources, Allocation and Perception, Geography Compass 4 (2): 118-138

Hassan et al. (2010 b) Palestinian Water II: Climate Change and Land Use, Geography Compass 4 (2): 139-157