It was an early start this morning to get the train from Paddington (no bears unfortunately) to Cardiff. I had a place booked on the University's case studies day. The idea is that A level teachers receive talks from university researchers on recent developments in Geography that are relevant to A level teaching. There are MANY case studies summarising the research going on completely free to download here The case studies are regularly updated so keep checking.

The case studies can be used to supplement resources you have already and also provide excellent opportunities for stretching students. Each case study also has a few references included to get students used to referencing correctly. I can't wait to make use of them and get perspectives on contemporary research into my lessons. I think that the material is going to really broaden my students perspectives of what geography 'is'.
This is very encouraging news from the BBC this morning The Marine Stewardship Council has announced that Atlantic cod stocks will reach sustainable levels within years rather than decades. The history of cod is really fascinating and one of my favourite books is 'Cod' by Mark Kurlansky.

The book's prologue is an account of a fishing trip with fisherman from Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. At the time of writing Petty Harbour was one of the only legal fisheries on the Newfoundland coast  The men speak about the cod with respect, you get a real sense that they care about the fish, but also with sadness and frustration at the decline of cod stocks. The men found extra work by carrying out monitoring surveys of the cod population for researchers. I have used this prologue with A Level students when teaching about sustainability. The book is extremely well written and turns what could be a dry subject (excuse the pun) into a thoroughly engaging story.

Our relationship with fish is a funny one. As a nation we only really eat 3 or 4 species, which is madness when you consider the wealth of our fishing resources. Hugh's fish fight was a successful campaign to end the practice of 'discards', a symptom of our appetite for a limited number of species and the quota system forced upon fisherman by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Perfectly healthy fish were being thrown back into the sea, dead, because the fisherman had already caught their fill of that species, or the species wasn't marketable. Footage of this happening is one of the few things that has ever . The fish fight campaign called for an end to discards and increased awareness of other species. In May this year key reforms to the CFP were announced

All in all things are looking up for fish.

This video from BBC News is  reminder that the management of physical processes is a political game. Coastlines are incredibly dynamic environments. Next time you teach about Holderness or Happisburgh be sure to check that the management policy hasn't changed!
Lots of my A Level geographers will be able to tell me that Iceland's energy mix is almost 100% renewable however there is another side to the story. We came across this page from an organisation call 'Saving Iceland' when researching the issue together which contains some interesting blog posts regarding the environmental impact of Iceland's utilisation of geothermal energy As with all sources of evidence they should be read with a critical eye.

woke up this morning to news of two extreme weather events on either side of the globe. Only yesterday was I leading 
year 13 revision sessions on Tornadoes and Cyclones so reading the stories from Bangladesh and Texas this morning hit home. 

When teaching about hazards and disasters it is easy to get bogged down in the numbers. We drill students with the step by step physical processes that create these phenomena (well explained here We boil down impacts into bullet pointed lists of economic, social, political and environmental and evaluate responses with a focus on "hitting assessment objective 2 in the examination". There is a danger that our approach to the content is callously mechanical.  

Are we doing our students a diservice in this regard? Of course it is vitally important that they understand the subject well enough to get the grades that they deserve and as teachers it is our job to ensure that we provide them with the best opportunity to do so but sometimes I feel that the focus is skewed too far away from the human cost.

So as I discuss these events with my students today I will encourage us to take a moment to consider how the hundreds of thousands of people being evacuated from their homes in Bangladesh are feeling Or how those people who have lost their homes in Texas will pick themselves up and carry on If students appreciate the power of natural processes and respect the human cost, they will write about them with more conviction, enthusiasm and sensitivity; something I expect of any serious geographer.