The Society took over the Forum stage for a day at the Wilderness Festival entertaining and inspiring festival-goers with geography.
This year’s theme for the Forum stage centred on human relationships with nature and our day of talks, on Friday 2 August, helped to set the scene for the whole weekend by focusing on how we know what we know about the world’s people, places and environments.
Featuring key geographical speakers including Springwatch presenter Gillian Burke, adventurer, journalist and presenter Pip Stewart, and author, explorer and teacher Fearghal O’Nuallain, our series of talks and discussions captivated and inspired the audience by exploring a range of thought-provoking geographical issues, while encouraging people to ask difficult questions about the world we live in.
Our Director, Professor Joe Smith, who took part in a number of the panel discussions, summed up the day by suggesting there was reason for hope in the face of climate change. He said: “When I was 19, I remember talking with other students about how we had absolutely no chance that we would convince, what was then around 6 billion people, that every decision they make that increased fossil fuel use would result in changes to the global climate. Now we’ve seen a substantial majority of people understand that climate change is human caused and needs action, and we have seen the Paris agreement which binds every government that signs up to it into regularly updated action plans. The last year has seen, among other things, young people driving it further up the agenda. One of the Society’s jobs is to support public engagement in tough topics such as this."
Geography also infiltrated the Wilderness programme throughout the rest of the weekend, with our Immediate Past President Nick Crane, giving a history of the discipline.