Three hundred sixth form Geography students and staff had travelled from across Dorset to Bournemouth University on Wednesday 12th November to listen to two top University Geography lecturers. It started with pizza and cakes at 5pm and then there was a slight alteration to the plans as the large lecture theatre had not been set up. Thankfully there were two other lecture theatres available and our lecturers very kindly volunteered to speak twice!
We started with Dr Nick Klingaman from Reading University who spoke about extreme weather and climate change. He looked in detail at the ‘Year without summer’ after Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted in 1815 as the ash emitted cooled America and Europe by 2-5°C and caused worldwide havoc. How much more devastation is going to be caused by the predicted 3°C increase in temperature by the end of this century? He concluded after looking at the impact of flooding in Australia recently that a warmer world would see fewer tropical cyclones but they will be much severe in nature when they do occur.
Dr Stewart Barr from Exeter University then spoke and challenged our concept of sustainable cities. He asked us to consider our idea of ’utopia’ and how in the light of climate change and the energy crisis what approaches we could take towards living sustainably. Could we live in a hi-tech ecological community? Or is the issue ’affluenza’ that we are living in a system where we feel we have to consume more and more to be happy? Recent surveys conclude that even if wealth increases, happiness doesn’t. Do we need to be more resilient to climate change?
The conference also included a five minute lecture by Sian Morris, a sixth former at St Edward's School, Poole. She spoke articulately about Ebola and questioned whether it was a development or health issue. The evening concluded with a collection for this worthy cause.