It is interesting to note that never has Geography been more applicable than now, right this minute. As a species, we are constantly striving to make sense of this world we call home. The use of fossil fuels and whether we should have stopped using them last century. The development of clean, public transport and how to make it sustainable. Food miles, energy use, access to drinking water and sanitation, global trade agreements, our personal carbon footprint, the democratic process, free speech, the rise of the megacity, the Pangolin’s plight, whales beaching themselves in Yorkshire, the seemingly unstoppable loss of the rainforests, Malthusian ‘checks’ on population growth, autocrats and oligarchs, climate change and of course, the peculiarities of being an online influencer!
If all of this sounds a little depressing that is because it is! However, there is another side to this beautiful planet, and indeed, to us as a species. We have the capacity to cause great harm and yet we can also be saviours to so many things in need and also enjoy the simplest of details. This last thirteen months have been challenging for all of us and yet we have not let it break our spirit. I have seen and heard of countless acts of kindness, to friends and strangers alike, and there have been moments to treasure. A cake . . . baked and delivered to those who are self-isolating; shopping . . . fetched for those who cannot fetch it themselves, a virtual hug from one to another, a smile shared across a room, a wave through a window. Our senses have been overloaded with the beauty of this world: the song of a Robin in the early morning mist, the red hues as the sun rises into the sky, a glimpse of a deer in the woods, a cloud drifting through the azure firmament, dew glistening on blades of grass, the first taste of a homegrown raspberry as it bursts on your tongue.
We have an immeasurable capacity to do good in this world, to make others’ lives just a little bit better and when all is said and done, wouldn’t we want to? Geography surrounds us and never has it been more applicable than now. It is in everything we see, taste, smell, hear. It is in that flower that is blooming outside your window. It is in those apples you decided to get last week. It is in the face of your new-born daughter who has your grandmother’s eyes. Take a moment, take a breath, pause, and delight in these small insignificances for one day you will realise that they were the most important events of all.
Miss Adele Gilmour, Head of Geography