The most popular topic of conversation

Weather is the most popular topic of conversation in the UK, even the world. Mark Twain said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it”. Weather falls within the realm of geography. We all rely on this planet that we call home. We are dependent on infrastructures, ecosystems, communications, trade agreements, and such. So aren’t we all geographers?

A stuffy image

Geography is one of the most relevant and compelling subjects today. The issues of climate change, pollution, the extinctions of many species, and the subsequent threats to our world affect us all. Despite this, geography has struggled to throw off its stuffy image at times. It can be the butt of people’s jokes about colouring in and brought down by misremembered, memories of reciting capital cities by rote.

Geography gives us a better understanding

Geography is so much more than this! It gives us a better understanding of how to protect against flooding and alternative fuel options. We can learn how to save lives through the prediction of natural disasters such as tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. We can discover how the UN is hoping to eradicate hunger and poverty, and discuss hard-hitting topics like gender equality, the empowerment of women, sustainability and understand the meaning of true global partnerships between countries. It is also about discovering all the different cultures, habitats and people around the world – venture out, explore and learn, and be richer for it!

Asking difficult questions

Geography may generates more questions than it answers, but we only find solutions by constantly asking difficult questions and striving for those elusive answers. I worry for a world where humans are so self-obsessed that they can think of it only in terms of how it connects to them. I am happy to say that I have had the pleasure to teach many pupils who are genuinely interested in the world around them. They are inquisitive, curious and captivated by the rich tapestry that surrounds them. Despite their young age, they often seem more aware of the fragility of this world, more aware of how we are damaging it, and what we must do to make reparation. This biosphere holds such wonders, wonders that we should all be fighting to preserve. As David Attenborough once said, “Are we happy that our grandchildren may never see an elephant except in a picture book?”

What is a geographer?

This is what a geographer is, and why you should become one. I am happy to report that I have many fellow geographers who feel the same way. Some are still here, learning. Others have left but still pursue the subject, and some have moved on to other things. But I am sure that within each and every one of them a little bit of that inquisitiveness remains. Be proud to be a geographer because as the saying goes “Without geography, you’re nowhere.” Take the most popular topic of conversation to a new level!

Miss Adele Gilmour, Teacher of Geography