Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Supermarkets and their "green revolution"

Walk into any supermarket these days, and you will be bombarded with messages about buying British, and re-using your carrier bags... Part of Marks & Spencer's environmental campaign ("Plan A, Because there is no Plan B") is to encourage its customers to do their washing at 30o instead of 40o.

But why are they doing all this? I've wondered for a while now whether they actually care about the environment or whether it's all just a marketing ploy, and a conversation with one of my Yr9s today, and this really interesting article I've just found on the BBC website reveal that I am not on my own!

What do you think?

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Wake up and smell the coffee....

Black Gold tells the story of Tadesse Meskela, on a one man mission to save his 74,000 coffee farmers in Ethiopia from bankruptcy, and follows Tadesse as he travels the world in an attempt to find buyers who will pay a fair price for his coffee.

The film was released on 8th June in the UK, and is showing at the Ritz Cinema in Belper on 30th June and 4th/5th July, and at the Nottingham Broadway from 6th to 12th July.

More information about the film and other screenings here...

Go and see it, and leave a comment to tell us what you thought!

Friday, 22 June 2007

I don't think I want to go camping....

Just checked the Met Office website, in the hope that it would tell me that the rain was going to stop before the D of E weekend away... But instead...
What's it like where you are??

Lights out for London

Lights were switched off across London for an hour last night to encourage people to conserve energy... According to this report from the BBC, if all Londoners had switched off their lights, 380 tonnes of carbon dioxide would have been saved - enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall twice! It was the first time that the lights at Piccadilly Circus had been turned off since World War II.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Are you suffering from teenage affluenza?

Boscastle flooding

The Cornish village of Boscastle, made famous by the devastating flood it experienced in August 2004, is under water again this evening.

Things are not as bad as they were in 2004, due to the new flood defences that have been built since then, but it's brought back unhappy memories for many in the village.

Video coverage from the BBC here and the full story here.

"Iconic Super-Stadium"

That is how the proposed new Forest ground has been described...

Plans were unveiled yesterday for a purpose-built 50000 seat stadium in Clifton, costing £45-55 million. If it gets the go-ahead, the new stadium will "embrace new transport infrastructure developments, the latest in green technology and be a focus for new jobs and events - helping to boost the reputations and economies of both the city and the county". Click on the artist's impression of the new stadium above to link to the Nottingham Forest website, where you can read more about the plans, and watch the press conference where the plans were revealed.

But not everyone is supportive of the idea! Particularly concerned are residents in nearby Gotham are worried that the stadium would spoil their village... Read the story on the BBC news site, where you can also see Mark Arthur's statement at the press conference, and watch a video of what the new ground might look like.

What do you think of the plans? Are you a Forest fan? Do Forest need a new ground? Is the proposed site a good place for a new ground?

(Thanks to Tony Cassidy who blogged about this story yesterday.)

Happy camping??

The D of E group are off for their assessed expedition this weekend... After our last couple of lessons, Year 10 can hopefully predict from the pressure chart below whether it'll be my waterproofs or my suncream that I'll need!

Click on the chart to go to the Met Office website for more clues...

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

"That map's not right!"...

was a comment from one of my Year 10 students today... So here you are Jonathan!

Well, if you've ever tried (as my Yr7s do each September) to peel an orange in one piece and then flatten the peel, without any gaps, you will know that it is impossible! And, the world being spherical, it is also impossible to represent the world 100% accurately on a flat piece of paper. If you keep the shape of the continents accurate, you distort their size... If you keep the size of the continents accurate, you distort their shape... And so on.

Because world maps have been used by lots of different people for lots of different purposes over time, different factors are important to them, and so we have ended up with several map projections.

You can find out more, and explore some of the main projections on the excellent Mapping our World site from Oxfam.

While we're here, this is another interesting site which allows you to explore a variety of "alternative" projections...

Clouds tomorrow Josh!!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Get your own Geogtastic!

You can now add a mini-version of Geogtastic to your blog/MySpace/etc. Click on the mini Geogtastic at the right-hand side or on the picture.

For the historians amongst you, there's also a mini-version of H-Team (and yes, that came first!).

World's longest river?

Not the Nile, according to new research from the National Geographical Institute of Peru!

Brazilian and Peruvian scientists claim to have found an ice-covered mountain called Mismi, in southern Peru, and, according to them, that is where the River Amazon starts - making the Amazon 6800km long, compared to the 6695km of the Nile...

Click on the picture to link to the BBC coverage of the story...

Friday, 15 June 2007

Wet West Yorkshire...

We might have had a lot of rain in Derbyshire, but West Yorkshire was officially the wettest county today... My dad's just sent me these photographs of the River Aire (just across the road from my old school!)

This picture shows a different view of the same bridge (from Yorksview) on a slightly calmer and drier day...

There's lots of coverage of the floods on the BBC website, and some interesting maps tracking the downpours.

Ooh - and this is post 200 since Geogtastic began on 11th December 2006! Thank you to our 8000+ visitors, and to all those people who point out things for me to write about on a regular basis! Here's to the next 200...

Wet Weather!

As you might possibly have noticed, there's been a fair bit of rain in the past couple of days! The map shows the regions where severe weather warnings have been issued by the Met Office. Click on the map to link to the Met Office website to find out more - Year 10 should be able to explain the causes of the miserable weather!

7RPr should be able to use what they learnt this morning to predict what the effects of the heavy rain might be... Check out the BBC News site for more...

There are also very severe floods elsewhere in the world including China and Australia... Let us know if you find any good coverage, photos, etc.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

World Monuments Watch

Do you know where this is??
It is one of the 100 Most Endangered Sites, according to the World Monuments Watch, which aims to protect "cultural heritage" around the world. Their website has an excellent interactive map, allowing you to look at the sites, to find out more about them and to look at the threats they face... Click on the picture to visit the site.

Thanks to GeoDave for the tip-off!

Monday, 11 June 2007

Cloud Photo Competition

The closing date for the Cloud Competition has been extended... You now have until the end of school on Monday 18th June to get your photos of clouds (interesting shapes, colours, textures, patterns, etc.) in, either by email to or on a CD or memory stick to me in Hums. The competition is open to all SHS students, parents and staff, and the only rule is that the photo must be your own...

Keep checking back as well - details of the exciting Geogtastic Summer Postcard Competition coming soon!


I'm pleased to say that from the conversations I've had with some of the Yr11s, the exams seem to have gone pretty well so far...

Good luck to Yr13 for tomorrow!! With the new posts and using the labels at the bottoms of posts to look through what I've written about before, there should be plenty of last-minute stuff to keep you going now Lauren!

Tourism threatens Antarctica

An interesting article in an excellent environmental supplement in the Times last week - well worth a read before GGA4 tomorrow!

I thought this was an interesting choice of image under the headline "Tourism threatens Antarctica" as well!!

Some other articles of interest that I found while I was looking for this:

Carbon map of Britain's most toxic cities

Big increase in hurricanes is not caused by global heating

Farming is blamed as birds take flight

Seven Days - baby boom, housing and biofuel

Build on the Green Belt and build now

(And loads more besides - - all these came up when I typed "environment" into the search...)

Cyclone in Oman

Some very good pictures of the flooding and damage in Oman as a result of Cyclone Gonu on the BBC site...

Flooding in China

Thanks to Lauren for pointing out this news story about the floods and landslides that have killed more than 60 people, forced 600,000 people out of their homes, and caused an estimated £284 million worth of damage.

Carbon Neutral Houses

A prototype for the UK's first zero-emissions eco-home has been unveiled today, setting the standard for all new homes in the UK...

Find out more, and take a tour on the BBC website here!

What do you think? Will all homes of the future be like this??

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Britain Day??

Of particular interest to my current Yr9 group, who started thinking about the idea of Britishness today...

Ruth Kelly - the Communities Secretary, and Liam Byrne - the Immigration Minister, have proposed that we have a "Britain Day" in order to "promote a stronger sense of British identity and prevent communities from becoming more divided"... More here. They've also suggested that migrants should "earn" their British citizenship through good behaviour, as well as that brilliant test that I've mentioned before and that Yr9 will be looking at tomorrow.

Do you think a Britain Day would be a good idea?
If so, when should it be?
What kinds of things should we be doing to celebrate Britain Day?

The BBC also have a "Have Your Say" section for this topic... Some interesting views on there!

London 2012??

Lots of controversy at the moment around the new logo for the 2012 London Olympics which was unveiled yesterday and the number of people who have signed an online petition to have the logo changed has increased by more than 3000 when I looked at the end of school to more than 28000 now...

There is lots on the BBC website about the logo, what it is meant to represent, etc. - look here. People have also been sending alternative logos in to the BBC, which you can view here and here - interesting that many of the alternative logos include some idea of Britain and or London!

What do you think of the logo? Do you like it - why or why not? What about the alternative ones? Can you come up with a better one??

Edited to add: I've just signed the petition... Less than a minute later, my name was onto the second page!!

Recycle Now Week!

The title says it all... This week is Recycle Now Week... Visit their website for information and ideas about recycling!