Geographical

The monthly magazine of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers. Covers a broad range of subjects related to geography in articles on people, places, cultures, adventure, responsible travel, history, science, and the envir

Articles from Vol. 91, No. 10, October

A Tale of Two Towns
In some ways the story of Margate is the story of many other seaside towns - one of rise, fall and eventual revival. Beloved by wealthy Londoners in the Victorian age, keen to ease smog-filled lungs and take the waters, the town then hit the doldrums...
A Walk to Remember: Commemorating a Mining Tragedy That Shocked the Nation a Decade Ago, New Zealand's Rugged West Coast Will Soon Be Home to the Paparoa Track, the First 'Great Walk' to Be Built in over 25 Years
The morning clouds are lying so low, you'd think they're on the run from the law. Not necessarily a major problem when setting out on a long walk, but unfortunately in this case the route is not yet complete, so I need to begin by helicoptering over...
Below the Canopy: A WWF Report Has Revealed That Global Forest Vertebrate Populations Have Declined by 53 per Cent, Raising Questions about the Methods Used to Measure Forest Regeneration
In any forest it's the trees that act as a carbon sink, absorbing more carbon dioxide than they emit. But to focus on trees alone is to miss the helping hand provided by forest animals. Though many trees rely on the wind to carry their seeds far and...
BEWILDERED: Leaving Everything Behind for 3,000km in the Wilds of New Zealand
BEWILDERED: Leaving Everything Behind for 3,000km in the Wilds of New Zealand * Affirm Press (via bookdepository.com) * [pounds sterling]16.61 (paperback) * In an era of books about 'first' and 'fastest' accomplishments, it's refreshing to become absorbed...
Capital Cities: Klaus Dodds Is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London and Author of Geopolitics: A Very Short Introduction
The location of a capital city can reveal clues not only about the political geography of a nation-state but also its prevailing geopolitical culture. In the case of the United Kingdom, the city of London is only the most recent of our capital cities,...
Cargo Cults, Climate Change and Economic Growth
During the Second World War, in several South Pacific Islands, and notably on what is now Vanuatu, local people saw the US and Allied military forces landing earth-moving equipment and quickly building makeshift airstrips. They noticed that very shortly...
CITIES Capital Gains: With Jakarta Suffering from Extreme Levels of Subsidence, Pollution and Congestion, Indonesia Is Making Plans to Move Its Capital
The proposal for a new Indonesian capital city has been on the cards ever since the country gained independence from the Dutch in 1945. The political and economic crises which followed have long put paid to the plan, but current president, Joko Widodo,...
ED STAFFORD: Is a Former British Army Captain Who Became the First Person to Walk the Length of the Amazon River. His Most Recent Book, Expeditions Unpacked, about the Equipment Used on Some of the World's Most Famous Journeys, Is out Now
I'm a kit geek I'm the first to admit. So any excuse to pour over the equipment chosen to conduct the worlds greatest expeditions was not to be missed. Furthermore there is something about the selection of kit that gives real insight into the way each...
FISH, FANGS, AND FOSSILS: For This Month's Discovering Britain Trail, Rory Walsh Follows Fictional Footsteps in Whitby
It's not every day that you can gaze out to sea through the gaping jaws of a whale. I'm standing at the Whalebone Arch on Whitby's West Cliff. Windswept and dusted with lichen, the arch is one of the town's most arresting landmarks. The giant jawbones...
Focusing the Lens
Keith Wilson's name has appeared in more consecutive issues of Geographical than nearly just anyone bar The Queen (the Society's ex-Patron). As our regular Geophoto correspondent, he's consistently educated us on how to get the most out of our cameras...
GOING HOME: A Walk through Fifty Years of Occupation
GOING HOME: A Walk Through Fifty Years of Occupation * Profile Books * [pounds sterling]14.99 (hardback) * Certain points of Going Home feel unbearably melancholic. As Raja Shehadeh takes a walk through his home town of Ramallah in Palestine's West Bank,...
Gross National Happiness: In the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, Traditional Buddhist Culture Has Helped Shape Government Policies on the Environment and the Search for Human Happiness. Should We All Follow Suit?
It's my fathers house, but I look after it while he's away. He's been gone a long time now.' As she spoke, Mrs Chozam's hands were awhirl with cotton threads and the slowly growing kira (traditional wraparound clothing of Bhutanese women) that she was...
Ground Control: An Examination of Groundwater Levels in Nine African Countries Has Raised Hopes for a More Resilient Future
Humans take the water we need, be it for drinking or irrigation, from one of two sources: surface water, contained in lakes, rivers and reservoirs; and groundwater, in which water flows through porous rocks beneath the ground. In the UK, how much we...
Hands to the Pumps: A Group of Scientists from Edinburgh University Has Come Up with a Novel Way to Utilise Old Oil and Gas Platforms
All across the globe, thousands of defunct oil and gas platforms remain standing in the ocean. With the cost of dismantling them astronomical, it may seem tempting to put the process off. One group of scientists from the University of Edinburgh has now...
ISLAMIC EMPIRES: Fifteen Cities That Define a Civilisation
ISLAMIC EMPIRES: Fifteen Cities that Define a Civilisation * Allen Lane * [pounds sterling]25 (hardback) * 'Civilisation', Justin Marozzi writes, is 'by definition an urban phenomenon, and no one did cities quite like the Muslims.' After initial bursts...
JOURNEYS IN THE WILD: The Secret Life of a Cameraman
JOURNEYS IN THE WILD: The Secret Life of a Cameraman * Seven Dials * [pounds sterling]16.99 (hardback) * It's hard not to envy Gavin Thurston. His 30-year career behind the camera has allowed him to gaze upon the birds of the Galapagos, chimps in the...
L'Exposition Universelle: Edouard Hautecoeur, 1900
The 1900 Paris Exposition encompassed the largest fairground in history, spanning 543 acres across prime Parisian locations: the Champ de Mars, the Trocadero, the Esplanade des Invalides, and along the banks of the Seine. The event had a record-breaking...
Lilliputians in Gulliver's World: In the Third Part of His Series on Geopolitical Oddities, Vitali Vitaliev Looks at Our Planet's Smallest Independent Nations
It is commonly believed that throughout its 270-odd years of history, Liechtenstein - the tiny, 25km-long principality squeezed between Austria and Switzerland - was spared foreign invasions. Like many commonly accepted stereotypes about the world's...
Oman Botanic Garden
* Located at the foot of the Al Hajar Mountains in northeastern Oman, the Oman Botanic Garden was initiated following a Royal Decree in 2006 by his Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. Construction of the native plant nursery began in 2007 and, although...
Oman Heritage Lecture 2019: Now in Its Fourth Year, This Annual Lecture Series Highlights Oman's Flourishing Natural Habitat. This Year, the Focus Is on the Work of the Oman Botanic Garden
Having previously explored topics as varied as Oman's whale and marine populations, hydroponic agriculture and efforts to protect the endangered Arabian tahr and Nubian ibex, this year the prestigious Oman Natural Heritage Lecture turns its attention...
OPIUM: How an Ancient Flower Shaped and Poisoned Our World
OPIUM: How an Ancient Flower Shaped and Poisoned our World * Hachette Books * [pounds sterling]22.99 (hardback) * At the end of Opium, the authors seek to answer the question: what next? How can we tackle an opioid crisis that kills tens of thousands...
PHOTOGRAPHERS AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME: As the Ground-Breaking Photographic Collection Is Reprinted with a Special Chinese-Language Edition, Geographical's Resident Photography Expert, Keith Wilson, Recounts How a Group of 32 Award-Winning Photographers Has Launched a Movement to Fight Wildlife Crime Using Cameras, Social Media and a Unique Book
For over 30 years, my journalism has focused almost entirely on photography, but I am not a professional photographer. I have launched and edited photo magazines, lectured to photography students and judged international photo competitions. As an editor...
Playing with Fire: As the Amazon Burns, Marco Magrini Feels That It's Time to Start Looking at the Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things
Feedbacks are key elements in climate science. They can be 'negative', such as the so-called blackbody radiation effect: the warmer the Earth, the more infrared radiation is sent back into space. But they are mostly 'positive' - in the sense that they...
RISE OF THE JELLIES: Many Scientists Believe That Jellyfish Numbers Are Increasing, Pointing to Their Remarkable Resilience to Climate Change and the Increase in Hugely Damaging Jellyfish Blooms. but Are Jellies Really Taking over, and If So, What Should Be Done to Prevent the Jellification of the Ocean?
The winners of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry owe their success to jellyfish. Specifically, to Aequorea Victoria (or the crystal jellyfish), a delicate, translucent species whose organs emit light. It was by collecting thousands of these bioluminescent...
Royal Geographical Society (with Ibg): Selection of Events for October
Thursday 3 October, 7.00pm-8.30pm Palm oil: the controversy and the complexity (Lecture, Bristol) The world's most widely used vegetable oil has profound environmental and social impacts. This discussion will explore the complexities of the industry,...
SAND TIMER: Vast Quantities of Sand Are Being Deposited along a Stretch of the Norfolk Coast to Slow Down Coastal Erosion
Every year, the cliffs of the Norfolk coast are ground back another metre by the encroaching sea. When a severe storms hit, ten metres can be lost overnight. But the pubs and lighthouses of the regions coastal villages aren't the only structures in trouble....
SEE NO EVIL: Morocco Is Home to a Huge Range of Biodiversity, but in Cities Such as Marrakech, Protected Wildlife Is Traded Openly and Illegally for the Tourism, Pet and Traditional Medicine Markets. Why Are Laws Not Being Enforced?
As the sweltering midday sun beats down on Marrakech's main square, the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the bustling day market is in full swing. Against the backdrop of deep blue sky and dusty pink walls, people saunter among green market umbrellas, exploring stalls...
THE ICE AT THE END OF THE WORLD: An Epic Journey into Greenland's Buried Past and Our Perilous Future
THE ICE AT THE END OF THE WORLD: An Epic Journey Into Greenland's Buried Past and our Perilous Future * Icon Books * [pounds sterling]18.99 (hardback) * Greenland has always had somewhat of a PR problem. As far back as 985AD, the regions name was invented...
THE NITROGEN DILEMMA: Excessive Use of Nitrogen-Based Fertilisers Is Contributing to Numerous Environmental Problems, but a More Balanced Approach Is Necessary If the World's Growing Population Is to Be Fed
More than any other aspect of the climate crisis, it is the over-production of carbon dioxide that has been demonised - and rightly so. But nitrogen, and its abundant use in commercial fertiliser, also leads to air pollution and climate change. The problems...
The Royal Geographical Society Puzzle Book: A New Book of Brain-Teasers Brings the Rich and Colourful History and Content of the Society to the Printed Page
Explore hidden routes, decipher geographical details and discover amazing facts as you work through over a century's worth of geographical wonder - from Sir Ernest Shackleton to David Livingstone, Charles Darwin to Ellen MacArthur, Felicity Aston to...
Walking Ethiopia's Highlands
This year's Journey of a Lifetime Award recipient, Redzi Bernard, completed her two-week journey travelling through northern Ethiopia to learn about the lives of women there earlier this year. Following in the footsteps of her mother who undertook the...
Writer's Reads
Raja Shehadeh is Palestine's leading writer. He is the winner of the 2008 Orwell Prize for Palestinian Walks. His new book, Going Home, is out now * Parisian by Isabella Hammad (2019) Though the events of this superb first novel by Hammad take place...
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