For our most recent GeoNet event we were lucky enough to have a visit from Gaius Wilson all the way from Southern India. Gaius told us about his PhD research into elephant behaviour. Apparently there are 12-15,000 elephants in Southern India, and they commonly come into conflict with humans. Farmers try to protect their crops with deep ditches (elephants can’t jump!) and electric fences. However, elephants are clever, and have realised that their tusks don’t conduct electricity, so the males (females don’t have tusks) push over fences or use trees to break them. An emerging problem is the spread of a weed called Lantana, which was introduced from South America as an ornamental hedge plant. Lantana forms very high, dense stands which elephants can’t cross. It takes up space and so there is a loss of fodder, since elephants don’t eat Lantana, and the plant contains oils and can lead to more intense forest fires. This pushes elephants closer to villages to find food, and means that locals with captive working elephants have to travel further to find food. One thing the forest department can do to stop elephants being forced to use farmer’s resources is to remove Lantana where it appears. Employing villagers to do this could create work opportunities, with associated economic benefits.
After Gaius’ talk we had an interesting discussion (joined by Susanna Curtin and Mandy Korstjens) about the potential for wildlife tourism to mitigate human/wildlife conflict. The idea is that if farmers have another income stream provided by tourists, it becomes in their interest to protect the animals that the tourists pay to see. However, most wildlife tourism in India is domestic, so not much cash is generated. There are pitfalls with this type of tourism, in that guides and others employed are often not local people, hotels are usually some distance from wildlife sites and locals often don’t receive any benefit from tourist visits, which can lead to resentment. There are some success stories – in Peru all guides are local by law and receive training to fulfil the role. Small-scale tourism in Peru involving locals has spread as nearby villages see the benefits and follow the example of those who set up schemes. However, in India legislation prevents people from setting up such schemes in protected areas, and until this is allowed nature tourism won’t have a role in persuading locals to protect elephants.
Our next three events are;
7th May 13.00-14.00 Lawrence LT (Talbot Campus)
Participatory Research – Gitte Kragh (BU Life Sciences) Hayley Roberts (BU AAFS) Rick Stafford (BU Life Sciences) Paola Palmer (BU AAFS)
14th May 13.00-14.00 KG01 (Talbot Campus)
Storymaps and place-based storytelling – Anna Feigenbaum (BU M & C)
21st May 13.00-14.00, PG19 (Talbot Campus)
Cultural heritage landscapes and deathscapes – Craig Young (Reader in Human Geography at Manchester Met University), Tim Darville (BU SciTech AAFS), Anne Luce (BU M & C)
Ever since BU has built relationships with German Sport University Cologne – arguably, the leading global sport university – in 2012 it has been an evolving partnership in terms of student exchange, teaching and research collaboration as well as other academic and industry-oriented work.
Recently, lead contact Dr Tim Breitbarth’s visit has further maintained and widened this link. Mainly, he taught on international sports marketing and management Masters courses; discussed potential future collaborative teaching formats (such as the already co-organized international student management games); met with current BU exchange students in Cologne; and outlined a joint paper on ‘sponsorships as B2B relationships’ based on empirical data from a student dissertation; and defined the direction for a submission to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship Programme.
Why Erasmus? Why Europe?
There is much going for strategically developing Erasmus links, especially if departments seek to extent relationships with European partners beyond student exchange only (arguably, both the core and a starting point). Firstly, it steers EU money towards BU (for both students and staff). Secondly, travel is usually much cheaper than to overseas destinations, so more interaction is likely (and: likely to be funded). Thirdly, there are lots of EU research funding opportunities that require/encourage collaboration within Europe. Fourthly, there is much intercultural learning available for students (and staff). Also, after all, 60% of UK trade is with Europe.
For a variety activities reported on this partnership see the following links on the BU Research Blog and the Faculty of Management Blog (may be search for ‘Cologne’):
Luca D’Acci presented our third GeoNet seminar about the need for ‘Low Carbon Cities’. With cities accounting for 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is clear that something needs to change and low carbon cities could be the answer.
The benefits of low carbon cities can be seen in cities such as Copenhagen. Copenhagen has become one of the ‘greenest’ cities in Europe through its innovative use of energy efficient technology and design. Copenhagen is also a compact city. D’Acci suggests a key change to support the conversion to a low carbon city is reducing urban sprawl. Furthermore, a car-based transport model results in increased costs; for example, Houston spends 14% of its GDP on transport, versus only 4% in Copenhagen.
Therefore, remodelling a city’s shape and form could be the answer to a more energy efficient world. Containing urban sprawl, developing energy efficient buildings and encouraging ‘greener’ transport systems could contribute to establishing a successful low carbon city. Benefits of these changes have been predicted. Investments of $1.7 billion in domestic energy efficiency could generate annual savings of $626 million, which is a payback time of only 3 years. In addition, 2 million jobs would be created by the new low carbon technological industry. Furthermore, health benefits and a significant reduction in pollution related illnesses would result in a higher standard of living and a better quality of life.
Next we went on to discuss how these cities could be implemented. I personally found it interesting that we could look to the past for ideas to shape the future. The Greeks and Romans designed their central hubs around unity, variety, compactness and nature, all of which are characteristics that we want to emulate in our cities today. Futuristic transport using renewable energy sources, building multifunctioning, independent cellular cities, and simply changing to energy saving light bulbs are all ways of creating a low carbon city. However, it is evident that a change in attitude will be important to ensure success.
An interesting discussion with the audience followed with most agreeing that low carbon cities are necessary for sustainable development. However, many agreed that the changing of attitudes would be difficult to achieve in existing cities. Despite this, it is important that we find the best solution to regenerate cities, in order to create a sustainable future and provide a template for developing countries to model their new low carbon cities.
Charlotte Unwin, GeoNet Intern
The next round of the Fusion Investment Fund launches on 11th May.
The Fusion Investment Fund provides staff with the opportunity to develop and pursue their fusiongoals by bidding for and drawing on these ‘pump-priming’ resources. FIF is part of BU’s investment in intellectual capital.
Fusion is central to BU2018 and with this in mind we are embedding fusion within our Global Agenda as we enter the next exciting phase of shaping BU’s global footprint. Taking our internationally respected fusion of education, research and professional practice to a global audience increases BU’s global profile and underscores the excellent performance already achieved and recognised through the recent QAA and REF 2014 results. To drive our vision forward the competitive strands of Fusion (Co-creation and Co-production, and Staff Mobility and Networking) have been aligned to help staff (particularly those new to bidding, or new to BU) make BU become a truly global institution.
Watch out for more details soon about how the fund can support your work.