From Samantha Seikaly, LIGC student 2016

Samantha is now studying journalism and has very generously written a piece for the LIGC website.

 

"Despite the state of urgency spread among the media concerning climate change, little action has been taken to fight the impending and inevitable consequences of humanity’s ignorance. As sea levels rise and species continue their journey to extinction, the battle is left to the younger generation to save the planet, or at least prolong its demise. Expert environmentalists, working with the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University, have taken the task upon themselves to educate a new batch of school students every year on the ever-growing list of issues that threaten the survival of nature and all mankind.

 

The Leadership in Global Change (LIGC) Summer School encourages youth to affect change by examining industries that have had detrimental effects on the environment throughout history. Construction, transportation and the agricultural industry have posed serious threats to the wellbeing of the planet by disrupting food production, contaminating water supplies, increasing the number of natural disasters, and polluting the seas. Students probe into the outcomes of civil societies, globalization and the homogenization of landscapes to understand the impact of time/space convergence and polluting industries on the state of a once vegetation-luxurious planet.

 

Inspired by experts in their fields, such as David Attenborough, Dan Barber, Michael Pollan, Jim Hall, and even United Nations committees, such as the World Economic Forum, LIGC leaders advocate resolutions to such problems, while also promoting confidence in management skills. Beyond the textbook education, students are given life experience in authoritative expertise, conditioning them to become the face of a sustainable future by empowering them to become strong, wilful leaders. Through partnership, students are urged to work symbiotically and assertively to deliver solutions and build a new high ground for what lies ahead.

 

While the content, facilities and opportunities of this course are beyond compare, it’s the leaders’ sympathy for others and the respect for the planet that heartens the students to take responsibility for their surroundings. Through teamwork and determination, LIGC makes unimaginable solutions appear to be within the realm of possibility."

2017 courses are over, 2018 is open!

We had an amazing two courses this year (2017), with 33 wonderful students joining us. They came from all over the globe and worked hard together to get to grips with global issues and how we can tackle them. We had fantastic presentations and discussions with our ECI experts, some passionate debates, and a lot of fun. 

2018 will see three separate weeks, one of which will have a stronger focus on communication and journalism for those who are interested in contributing to progress on sustainability by translating what the scientists are saying for non scientific audiences. 

Water researcher

We are really grateful to Emily Barbour who has willingly agreed to come along and talk to our LIGC students about water issues. This is what is says about Emily on the Oxford University School of Geography website. We are really looking forward to talking to her.

"Emily Barbour is a research fellow in hydrology at the School of Geography and the Environment. Emily's research focuses on river system management and assessing trade-offs between multiple water user objectives. This involves integration of hydrology, ecology, water management policy and operations, stakeholder and expert engagement, and optimisation. Prior to joining the School of Geography and the Environment, Emily was a PhD candidate at the Australian National University and National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (Australia), and a river system modeller at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO, Australia). Emily also has experience working as a consultant in flood modelling on projects for local and state government, and for private industry.

Emily's research interests include examining different allocation systems and reservoir operations for managing water scarcity; transboundary water management; understanding flow-ecology relationships and modelling ecological response to different flow regimes; exploring uncertainty in modelling eco-hydrological systems; and using optimisation as a tool to assist in river system management and to examine trade-offs."

Food expert from IFSTAL to talk to LIGC students

We are really lucky that Sahar Hasnain has eagerly agreed to talk to our LIGC students this year. Sahar has taken over at IFSTAL covering for Dr Bex White who talked to our students last year and is currently on maternity leave.

IFSTAL is all about teaching people about where our food comes from and how it gets to us - and what we need to do to make sure our food keeps on coming. Take a look!

This is Sahar's biog. We are really looking forward to talking to her.

Dr Saher Hasnain (Education Coordinator)

Saher is an environmental geographer with interests in food systems, food environments, and urban health issues. Her doctoral thesis focused on the influence of factors like fuel scarcities and terrorism on food systems transformations, food consumption, and spatial mobility in urban Pakistan. She has previously worked on interdisciplinary approaches to studying environmental health issues in urban areas at the University of Pennsylvania, and policy proposals for the development of national level energy management cultures at Bahria University, with The National Energy Conservation Centre, Government of Pakistan.

ECI research introduction

We are really lucky that Dr Tom Thornton is going to give our LIGC students an introduction to the research done at the ECI.

Dr Tom Thornton

"As director for the MSc in Environmental Change and Management, I oversee the course and teach various options and modules. In addition, I am a senior research fellow at the ECI. My academic training is in social and cultural anthropology (BA Swarthmore College; MA, PhD University of Washington)."

Read more about Dr Thornton.

Climate professor!

Professor Myles Allen

We are very excited that Prof Myles Allen has very kindly agreed to talk to our LIGC students once again. Myles is very busy indeed but was impressed enough with last year's group to give us some of his very valuable time this year.

Myles Allen is Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford and Head of the Climate Dynamics Group in the University's Department of Physics. His research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and risks of extreme weather and in quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts

Read more about Professor Myles Allen.

Our new communications expert

We are really lucky to have a wonderful journalist join our 2017 teaching team and help us work out how to write short, effective, communications (I think I have broken several rules in that sentence alone!)

Caspar Henderson is a journalist and writer. He has worked for BBC Radio 4, The Financial Times, New Scientist, openDemocracy and other publications, often focussing on environment and energy.  He is the author The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Royal Society science book prize, and the forthcoming A New Map of Wonders.

Our 2016 journalist, Clare Hargreaves, is off working with a flower farmer in Devon so can't be with us this year. Some excuse Clare!

Our multinational 2017 students

We are running two separate one-week LIGC courses this year. The first one starts in a few weeks on the 25th June, and the second on 23rd July. We are looking forward to welcoming twelve students to the first week, and eighteen in the second week.

As in 2016 we have a huge range of nationalities represented (American, Australian, Brazilian, British, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indian, Irish, Italian, Mexican, Pakistani, Saudi, Spanish, Swedish, Swiss and Venezuelan!) from schools in Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Philippines, UAE, UK, Turkey, Spain, USA, South Korea, Switzerland, Venezuela, Italy and Costa Rica. I am looking forward to some fascinating discussions.

Kim

News from the 2016 students

A few days ago I asked last year's students to reflect on their experience and how it has affected them over the past year. This is what they've said so far. I'll add more as I get them.

Kim

"The LIGC course made me think about life after high school. It opened my eyes to the chain of events that can happen as a result of climate change and that diseases or conditions aren’t always as simple as “issue-cause-solution”. The presentation skills session we had with Jenni were particularly useful for MUN.
 
What I loved most about the experience is how people with such varied backgrounds and contrasting views on things can connect, debate and stay in contact after a whole year, with equal enthusiasm as they had at the beginning. I wish we could do the whole week again this year!"

"I just wanted to say that I loved LIGC and it was an amazing experience, both from an educational and social aspect. Our group from last year has a group chat and we are still in touch. In terms of what I learned, we explored various different topics from pollution to world hunger and how they affect us both today and tomorrow. Whenever meeting climate change deniers (yes, they still exist), I remember my time at the course and how lucky I was to have learned so much in such an important field, that, honestly, I didn't think I would ever become interested in before participating in the program."

"Since the LIGC course, I have taken a greater interest in the environment, and in news and current events on climate change. I am also excited to to study a course related to the environment/ climate change at university, and the LIGC course helped me to decide on an environmental career in the future. Thank you for the opportunity! I had a great time in Oxford and met some great people."

"The LIGC programme has inspired a permanent transformation in all of us, by encouraging us to effect change in daily life and in the wider world. Not only has LIGC educated us about urgent global issues, but also given us the means to be confident leaders and humanitarians, working towards eradicating disparities and rebuilding societies sustainably. Once you are part of LIGC, solutions to global issues appear to be entirely possible with the support of the professors, and the support from each other. LIGC breeds compassionate, determined and confident leaders ready to change the world."

2017 teaching team update

pwalton.jpg

We are delighted to introduce a new member of the teaching team for this year. Pete Walton is that rare and wonderful combination of high school teacher AND academic researcher. This is what it says on the ECI website about him:

"Pete is a Knowledge Exchange Research Fellow based in the UKCIP [UK Climate Impacts Programme], where he is responsible for developing and supporting knowledge exchange opportunities with external stakeholders on behalf of the Oxford Climate Research Network. Pete’s academic and professional career combines both Climate Change and Education, providing him with the expertise in adaptation and climate change impacts and the skills to communicate the practical implications of such impacts to a wide range of audiences. Prior to his current post, Pete was Training Officer for UKCIP. This involved developing a range of learning (and e-learning) resources and designing and developing innovative approaches to training, knowledge exchange and stakeholder dialogue."

Pete is also lovely, really friendly, and very enthusiastic about meeting our 2017 LIGC students. You have to love someone who can publish an article called Using a Game to Engage Stakeholders in Extreme Event Attribution Science in a Journal called International Journal of Disaster Risk Science!

What makes a good leader?

For those students who are signed up to this course, I am asking them to think about someone in their life whom they think is a good leader, and consider what are the characteristics that they admire in that person.

The person you think of might be a parent, or carer, or a teacher, an activity leader, or a politician or business leader. Try to choose someone whose decisions and approaches to leadership have a direct impact on you so that you can consider your own feelings and how you respond to them as a leader. Do you admire them? Or are you a reluctant or enthusiastic follower? Do you trust them? What do they do, or say, or how do they act that makes you feel this way?

One of the leadership characteristics that we are going to look at on the course is trust. People need to trust their leaders, and leaders need to be able to trust their advisors. If you are a follower, how do you know if you are being told the whole truth? If you are a leader, how do you convince others that they can trust you; and as no-one can be an expert in everything how do you know which advisors to believe?

We are going to look at shortcuts to deciding whether you can trust someone by looking at their motivations, and their biases.

All set for 2017!

The 2017 courses are full but we have made a few more places available for late comers to join us, so do apply if you are interested. We can also provide a couple more scholarship places, so please do get in touch.

We have our wonderful teaching team lined up with a few new faces for this year. And our ECI experts are eager to meet this year's group of students and inspire them about their research passions.

LIGC Teachers

We have assembled an amazing group of teachers covering the different aspects of this course. Course Leaders Kim Polgreen and Debbe Reilly will lead the students through the entire course, bringing in expertise from the rest of the team at the right moments. Our ECI experts will join us for the key parts of the discussion. If you would like to read more about them see below.