Posted on December 2nd 2019
"Time to Abandon the Coast?" Geography Students Enjoy University-Style Lecture
A level and GCSE Geographers recently attended a lecture by Dr Chris Spencer of UWE Bristol, entitled, ‘Sea level rise, time to abandon the coast? Or do geographers have the answer?’
The lecture offered an up-to-date academic perspective on the challenges which we face due to climate change and sea level rise. For Year 13 Geographers it was an excellent review of much of what they learnt last year in the A Level ‘Coastal Landscapes and Change’ unit whilst for Year 11 it was an opportunity to get exposure to higher level content and a fantastic opportunity to experience a university-style lecture.
The lecture began with Dr Chris Spencer presenting the sea level rise scenarios which we will be facing over the coming century, placing these within the historical context of the 125 metres of sea level rises which the Earth has experienced since the glacial maximum of the last ice age 18,000 years ago.
He presented a plethora of evidence which means it is likely we will see up to 1 metre of sea level rise by the end of the century, whilst parts of the UK's Eastern coastline are experiencing sinking of land, exacerbating localised sea level rise further in these areas.
Geography job opportunities
He then discussed the challenges and decisions which this will present to us as a country and how this will lead to higher taxation for all, thus affecting everyone, not just those living in coastal areas at risk of flooding. He also discussed management strategies and how an integrated approach, taking environmental, economic and social coastal values into consideration can lead to sustainable shoreline management in the future.
Finally, Dr Chris Spencer concluded by talking of how the study of Geography can lead to job opportunities in the field of coastal management within organisations such as The Environment Agency or local councils. He stressed the role which Geographers can play in viewing issues synoptically, acting as the bridge between groups at different poles such as engineers and the environmentalists and raised some important points about how we will have to adapt and spend more on coastal management in the future as an inevitable result of climate change.
Overall the lecture was a success and both Year 11 and our A Level students gained some fascinating insights into the UKs coastal management from an academic at the top of his field.