Analytical concepts used by geographers and environmentalists

Worldwide population growth is greatly boosting farmland prices. This has resulted in ‘the great land-grab’ – UK observers will see this particularly in East Anglia and Lincolnshire in recent years. The need for greater mechanisation in farming has, hitherto, shaped the look of our countryside. Farming is becoming industrialised to the extent of greater institutional farming at the expense of owner farmers, hobby farmers and ‘pastoral’ farming. Speculators, individuals and investment funds will diversify their portfolio over two or more countries to counter the potential for political unrest, climatic uncertainty and possible pestilence.

Analytical concepts fall into three broad categories:-

  1. Time and place – environmental change will always occur at a particular time in a particular place. To understand the implications, analysts need to look further afield.
  2. Risk and uncertainty – decisions concerning the environment are nearly always taken with uncertain, incomplete, unclear or inaccurate information.
  3. Value, power and agency – (a) value: what is of worth, merit or importance (b) power: what CAN be achieved by persons or institutions (c) agency: the difference that these persons or institutions can make and what they would LIKE to achieve.

Since the 2008 financial crash speculators now seek more tangible assets including land. As a hedge against uncertainty and to gain control of prices, certain countries and food wholesalers are increasingly buying up land at home and abroad. This is particularly true of China, Africa, South America and Persian Gulf countries known to suffer from extremes in climate.

This blog acts as an introduction to environmental studies. The above paradigms aim to focus the mind and act as an anchor point! The blog is to be continued.

Picture shows a typical East Anglia country scene.

farmland lindseybenne-fjm_0704

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