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Recognising that fieldwork is integral to geographical education and that this will commonly involve travel, this travel and the choice of destination(s) visited should be clearly justified by the relevant module and programme learning outcomes. This justification should balance the environmental costs involved with the geographical learning, transferable skills, development of social and cultural capital and other educational benefits developed through learning within specific environments.

The following list of online resources is dynamic. If you know of other relevant resources you think we should be sharing, we’d be happy to hear from you at rhed@rgs.org. The Society does not accept responsibility for the content of the external sites. Inclusion on this list does not equate to an endorsement of any content or organisation. Please contact the external site for questions regarding individual resources.

 

Sustainability in higher education

Reducing higher education carbon emissions

Office for Students (UK)

A paper proposing an approach to reducing the higher education sector's Carbon emissions.

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Education for sustainable development

Quality Assurance Agency (UK)

Guidance for UK higher education providers (2014).

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Responding to climate change in teaching

Alina Congreve and Iain Cross/WONKHE (UK)

The authors examine how education for sustainable development can become a part of teaching in every subject.

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Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI)

United Nations

A voluntary, international network of HEIs, comitting to teaching and encouraging sustainable development.

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Sustainable fieldwork

Getting the most out of fieldwork

Richard Phillips and Jennifer Johns (UK)

A student-targeted chapter from 'Fieldwork for Human Geography' (Sage, 2012).

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Does geography have an emissions problem?

Whitney Love and Joe Williams (UK)

Geography Directions post discussing emissions in HE geography, including the role students should play in discussing climate issues.

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Environmental Field and Research Audit

Canterbury Christ Church University (UK)

An assessment framework to help undergraduate students undertaking their dissertations to consider the potential environmental impact of their research.

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Carbon footprints and offsetting

The Oxford Principles for net zero aligned carbon offsetting

University of Oxford (UK)

An outline of the role of offsetting in achieving net zero.

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Online carbon calculators

Caplor Energy (UK)

An evaluation report on online carbon calculators in the UK.

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Trainline carbon calculator

Trainline (UK)

Online tool for calculating carbon emissions from rail travel.

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Low carbon travel

Low-carbon travel

UCL (UK)

Advice for staff on sustainable travel

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Seat61.com

Comprehensive guide to international rail travel, including routes from the UK to every European country.

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Tools for low-carbon travel

Imperial College London (UK)

A discussion of various travel incentive schemes

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Travelling light

World Wide Fund for Nature UK (UK)

Report on greener alternatives for business travellers

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WWF-UK policy position statement on business travel

World Wide Fund for Nature UK (UK)

A paper on the role, modes and impacts of business travel.

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Institutional initiatives

Tyndall Travel Strategy

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (UK)

The Tyndall Travel Strategy aims to help support the reduction of emissions through time. It includes a code of conduct, and a system to monitor and justify travel emissions and to support individual commitments to reducing emissions.

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Rethinking field trips

London School of Economics (UK)

An exploration of the role of fieldwork in unequal opportunity, unsustainable environment costs and colonial legacies.

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Flying Less Concordia

Concordia University (USA)

A 'Flying Less Policy' and other resources from the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment (GPE).

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Department of Geography Travel Policy

University of Cambridge (UK)

The Department of Geography's Travel Policy is part of a wider set of actions around reducing its environmental impact. 

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Selected readings

  • Affolderbach, J. (2020) Translating green economy concepts into practice: ideas pitches as learning tools for sustainability education, Journal of Geography in Higher Education. Access the article.

  • Feliu, J., Inkeroinen, P., Markuszewska, I., Tanskanen, M., Nuss, S. and Vila-Subirós, J. (2019) Defining competences for future geography students in relation to low carbon societies, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 43:4, pp. 415-430. Access the article.

  • Gormally, A. (2019) The role of sustainability in HE and the GEES disciplines; recommendations for future practice, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 43:4, pp. 599-608. Access the article.

  • Higham, J. and Font, X. (2020) Decarbonising academia: confronting our climate hypocrisy, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 28:1, pp. 1-9. Access the article.

  • McGuinness, M. and Simm, D. (2005) Going Global? Long-Haul Fieldwork in Undergraduate Geography, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 29:2, pp. 241-253. Access the article.

  • van der Horst, D., Harrison, C., Staddon, S. and Wood, G. (2016) Improving energy literacy through student-led fieldwork – at home, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 40:1, pp. 67-76. Access the article.

 

 

Featured image: Vidar Nordli Mathisen/Unsplash