Low Carbon Liverpool final event.



Pete North, Alex Nurse and Tom Barker from the Department of Geography and Planning have been working with partners across the city for the past four or so years on a project “Low Carbon Liverpool“, funded by the ESRC.  The project has been examining the extent that the city has the right policies to secure its prosperity with what we need to do to avoid dangerous climate change.   Last Thursday, we held the latest in our funded seminar series, given to a packed house at the Foresight Centre.


After a welcoming address from Cllr Tim Moore, cabinet member for Climate Change for the City of Liverpool, the first of our speakers was John Flamson, director of Partnerships and Innovation at the University of Liverpool, who formally launched the Liverpool Green Partnership.   A coalition of actors and institutions from around the city including the University, Liverpool Vision, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and the Eldonians, the Green Partnership seeks to build a greener city by working together to join up our policy working.


Following this, we heard from Peter North who talked about Low Carbon Liverpool’s progress over the life of its recent ESRC funding period, and emphasised some of the key messages – particularly how those cities perceived as being the most successful are equally those taking action on environmental and sustainability issues.


Then, we heard from our keynote speaker Krista Kline, managing director of the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative (LARC) on Sustainability and Climate Change.  Krista spoke to us about the key lessons that can be taken from LA – which faces its fair share of climate related issues – and how they can be applied to Liverpool.  In particular, Krista emphasised the need for collaboration on policy making, as well as the need to effectively connect abstract ideas of climate change to citizen’s everyday lives.


Following Krista’s talk and a brief Q&A, we heard from Walter Menzies, the former head of the Mersey Basin Campaign and now of the Atlantic Gateway, as well as being a visiting Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning.  In an inspiring talk, Walter spoke of how a long-term project can realise ambitious policy objectives, providing the right structures are in place.  In particular, Walter emphasised the importance of leadership, vision, including business interests, good communications and professionalism.


Finally, we heard from Colleen Martin, assistant Director for the Environment from the City of Liverpool, who outlined Liverpool City Council’s own work and agenda moving forward, including plans for the upcoming Mayoral Commission on the Environment.  In her talk, Colleen emphasised that there is already much going on within the city that we can celebrate – a fact highlighted in our recently published Environmental Audit.


All of Thursday’s speakers were hugely inspiring, in arguably our most successful event to date.  We’d like to thank everybody who came along, and we plan to make further announcements soon as the project evolves into a Green Partnership for Liverpool, and continues to discuss the possibility of Liverpool bidding to be a European Green Capital as well as mainstreaming the transition to a low carbon economy into the city’s economic development strategy.



Postgrad’s First Publication

Matt Wallace – a postgraduate here at Liverpool – writes:

I have (just this week) published my first research paper (co-authored by Dr Hill Kulu) in Population, Space and Place – the leading journal of spatial population analysis. The paper is based on my MA dissertation and investigates the health status (measured by self-assessed limiting long-term illness) of those who move from England to Scotland and vice versa against the non-migrant populations in the two countries. The paper tests two theories, the “Healthy Migrant Effect” (the idea that individuals positively select for health before migration) and “Salmon Bias” (negative selection by health upon remigration to the origin country). Evidence for good health among migrants was found at working ages for both English and Scottish movers; no evidence was found to support a “Salmon Bias”. The paper is titled Migration and Health in England and Scotland: a Study of Migrant Selectivity and Salmon Bias and can be found by following the link below.  The project was funded by the Population Investigation Committee (PIC).

Liverpool Geography Academic to address Prime Minister of Mauritius

Congratulations to Dr. Karyn Morrissey, who has been asked to deliver an address to the Prime Minister’s Office of Mauritius on the 22nd and 23rd of July in the Republic of Mauritius. The presentation entitled ‘Harnessing our Ocean’s Wealth’ is part of the national Dialogue on the ocean Economy of Mauritius. It aims to create general awareness on the significant potential of the Ocean Economy in Mauritius.  The audience will include the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, World Bank representatives, United Nations representatives and public, private and non-governmental sector stakeholders.

Visit to Japan to present research on Fukushima impacts

JpGU annual meeting

Post by Dr Hugh Smith

I recently revisited Japan as part of my involvement in research on the radioactive contamination of rivers after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Since the disaster in March 2011, an extensive river monitoring network comprising 30 stations has been established across the fallout region. I contributed to the selection of monitoring locations for a second phase of installations in 2012. At all stations, radiocaesium fluxes associated with suspended sediment are measured. The monitoring network provides critical data on radiocaesium transfer from headwater streams to lowland rivers and inputs to the coastal zone. It also forms part of a wider program of environmental research being coordinated by the University of Tsukuba in response to the disaster.

View of one of the rivers being monitored

View of one of the rivers being monitored

I returned to Japan to present the first results from the large-scale river monitoring effort. I was invited to speak in a special session on the environmental redistribution of radionuclides emitted by the power plant at the Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU) annual meeting held near Tokyo. I am collaborating with colleagues from the Universities of TsukubaKyoto and Plymouth in the analysis of this large and globally unique dataset. During the visit it was also confirmed that the river monitoring will continue for another year, with funding available for data analysis at Liverpool.

Suspended sediment sampler

Suspended sediment sampler

In addition to participating in the JpGU meeting, I also made two trips to the impacted region around Fukushima. This provided the opportunity to visit several newly established monitoring stations. I also collected soil samples with Japanese colleagues for a pilot study, which may develop into a new project investigating sources of contaminated sediment within the largest river basin (Abukuma River) affected by the fallout.

Exercising participant observation skills

Post by Cat Wilkinson – first year ESRC NWDTC CASE funded PhD student in Geography at the University of Liverpool with co-supervision at University of Manchester.

My PhD research project ‘connecting communities through youth-led radio’ looks into how a community radio station can connect communities in times of social, economic and political uncertainty.

My research involves 12 months of participant observation at KCC Live, a youth-led community radio station situated in Knowsley. Upon first entering the field-site I assumed that participant observation would involve sitting at a desk in the office, watching the everyday activities of the young volunteers and jotting down notes vigorously in my over-sized notebook. How wrong could I be! During the last few months that I have been based at KCC Live, participant observation has definitely involved participation as well as observation.

I have taken part in all sorts of activities, including a fundraising bag pack at Asda, a 12 hour ‘bowlathon’, and I have even undertaken broadcast training and am now co-presenting a weekly show on Wednesdays. However, my most recent contribution to the station really took my ‘participant observation’ to a whole new level.

As part of KCC Live’s Healthy Living Month the weekday morning presenters were set the task of producing a short fitness video, this was a competition in which the presenters would battle it out to get the most views. Myself and my co-host Rob decided to do a dance video – our own rendition of Eric Prydz ‘Call on Me’. We kitted ourselves out in headbands, leg warmers and took to the stage. You can watch our video here.

I hope other researchers doing participant observation also fully immerse themselves in the research setting! It’s certainly a lot of fun.