Friday, 24 June 2016

Reflections on the UK's exit from the European Union

Cautiously, I surrender grip on my biro pen. It falls indistinctively to the ground and with a forecastable crash, I reassure myself that we are still subject to the realities of gravity. Soon, the Sun emerges from under the blanket of the horizon and over the course of the morning, I watch as shadows migrate around garage gutters and tree trunks. It seems that the Earth is still revolving.

And yet with each hourly chime from my university clock tower this morning, life - at least what passes for life in our political system - seemed to become progressively chaotic. By midday, the political architecture of the UK seemed so thoroughly riddled that I had to seek solemnity. The anguish, oozing from every virtual orifice of social media, was slightly suffocating me. In other words, I needed to go for a walk.

My amble was by no means eventful, nor did I plan where I wanted to go. The exercise was purely to restore a sense of positivity. After all, no less than 24 hours previously, I received some wonderful news about my degree but any shared elation between myself and other finalists had been somewhat diluted with the events of the morning. Soon, I was immersed in the England I knew and loved. The bird were chirping; the squirrels were chomping; the bees buzzed from bud to bud. It seemed so neutral in a country that appeared quite polarized. And yet, it wasn't long before my mind catapulted back to the news of the UK's exit. Indeed, the tensions surrounding Cameron's departure and Corbyn's future. The news of a second Scottish referendum. The escalating trajectory of the world markets. In Iceland, the 'Gateway to Hell' volcano had displayed signs of imminent eruption. Here, in the United Kingdom, a political eruption had seemed to unleash dark clouds of fear and uncertainty. Would the ash ever settle?

I leaned, in reflection, over a small pond bridge with eyes that drifted over lilypads. My thoughts turned not to the result of the referendum, but more towards the words of anger and sadness and particularly the burning desire to escape and live someplace else. But what of the pull factors, which entice us to stay in this green and pleasant land and attract millions to visit annually? What of our historic architecture; our sublime moorland; our vibrant cityscapes? The rich and blessed landscape seemed forgotten.

With a grace only witnessed in the floral world, a leaf descended upon the pond. I gazed at its majestic flight and then the sequence of ripples projected in every direction. And then I remembered the word that I had heard so many times, by so many people. Seismic. Time and time again, I had listened, watched and read statements from people describing the political situation as 'seismic'.

I have good news. Just as the ripples on the pond became less and less prominent, so the ripples caused by last night's exit vote will eventually diminish. Eventually if one teases away some of the letters from 'Calamity', the word 'Calm' is revealed and it is this state of controlled tranquility which must remain our objective in the coming weeks and months. A few months ago, at a PhD interview, I was asked what the key buzz-word of the 21st century is. I hesitated as surely such a question would have plural answers, but we settled on 'resilient'. Resilience, I would argue though, is not a recent concept but an ethic engrained in our very soul as a living species.

We're relentlessly resilient. We always bounce back. We rise, like a phoenix from those ashes, from the destruction left by natural disaster or the devastion imposed by terrorist attack. Communities repel the despair inflicted upon them and become stronger. As Tennyson so elegantly expressed: "One equal temper of heroic hearts, / Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will / To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield".

I had the great honour of being asked to speak at a TEDx event, here at the Royal Holloway University, a couple of years ago. I opened with a line from Heraclitus: "There is nothing permanent except change". It is true to state that the world seems in constant flux, and in reality, it really is. Continental plates are constantly shifting, seismic events are a daily occurrence both at the heart of our lithosphere, but more profoundly, deep at the heart of our society. Last night, the UK experienced political rupture and many after-shocks, too. As with any major earthquake, these seismic waves can and will be felt right across the world. But similarly, the UK will be resilient and re-build itself, stronger in will, and not to yield. I know this because it's happened before.

The UK's membership of the EU lasted approximately 0.0002% of our species' existence on planet Earth. In other words, we as a species survived 99.999795% of our entire history without it. May I state, right here, that this is by no means a suggestion that I feel the EU is unnecessary nor am I suggesting that the UK is better off without it. This post is deliberately neutral. But despite the anger, the rage, and the wound which seems to have been deepened in the body of UK politics, I am confident that we, as humans, but more profoundly, as a living species on this planet, will survive.

My short walk today taught me two important things. Firstly, like ripples on a pond, we have always been knocked down; we have always been made weak by time and fate. The UK, I have no doubt, will face many more seismic episodes but our resolve as a species is to learn from these experiences, just as any other animal or plant evolves throughout time to combat against the toils of life. Secondly, my walk reminded me of how lucky I am to be part of the UK today. The truth, although slightly morbid, is that I really don't know how long I have left to enjoy walks like this. How many days do we have left to enjoy the fruits of this green and pleasant land? How many weeks? How many years?

Just finally, consider what we're all doing, right now. Together, each and every one of us, we are shuttling around a giant ball of gas at over 30km per second in a mind-blowingly giant void. We're living, talking, experiencing something that, as far as we humanly know, is not replicated on any other planet in our solar system. If you are reading this, you are extremely lucky to behold the gift of life and all it may bestow. Let us use it wisely. Let us pick ourselves up and brush ourselves down. If you are in the UK tonight, perhaps go for a walk. It works wonders on the soul.  

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

'Food for thought' upon completing my undergraduate degree: Digesting the Experience

If you're anything like me, soon after scraping clean your dinner plate, you bounce up and excavate the dessert cupboard for a tasty treat. (For me, custard is often involved). And if that wasn't enough to satisfy my calorie counter, about a couple of hours later, I'm heading to the biscuit barrel for a sweet accompaniment to a nice cup of tea. By the time I wake up the next morning, I could eat Kellogg's out of house and home. Quite simply, and elegantly expressed by today's generation, I'm "a bit of a foodie".

This incessant hunger only proliferated this week when I finally completed a three year university bachelors degree in Physical Geography, and am now ravenous for more. I've been treated, here at Royal Holloway, to a banquet of knowledge; a feast of intellectually stimulating 'nuggets' of information about the world. In addition, I've had the pleasure to dine with some of the kindest, thoughtful people who all have brought their own contributions to the table these past three years. It is no surprise that Plato once wrote: "knowledge is the food of the soul".

The way our education evolves throughout our lives is, to some degree, very similar to the way our own taste-buds develop. We start, right from birth, being spoon-fed dollops of mushed up food. Likewise, the world's a complex place for a newborn baby; rather than select which bits to digest, we absorb anything and everything at that age. Our minds are open to a mélange of sights, smells and sounds. And suddenly before our parents' eyes, we're no longer babies but toddlers, off the baby food but subjected to a diet of basic, staple ingredients: cherry tomatoes, cheese cubes, vegetable sticks, etc. We're also fed a basic diet of knowledge, too, learning the alphabet, numbers up to a hundred and how to tell the time. I have fond memories of all three with my own family and I'm sure you do, too.

And then we grow up more. Suddenly we're off to primary school and fed, progressively, some basic truths of the world: what a forward roll is (it's evidently, alas, not a sausage roll), the world's major religions, how to master the art of drawn-up handwriting. In my experience, all of this came from one classroom, but notably the day was divided equally into 'lessons' and 'sessions', punctuated by periods of running around outside. Back home, our dinners start to mature too. There's more than one ingredient now; all on one plate, but similarly segmented up in an arrangement that fulfills the idea of a 'divided plate'.


Time ensues; we are now pupils at secondary school with an increasing amount of choice on our hands. I distinctly remember when I was in Year 9, having to choose three subjects to study for GCSE; a liberating experience but equally not an easy decision to make. One subject (Geography), of course, was a certain but the others required a little deliberation. In the end, I think we decide what we learn about by acknowledging what we like and perhaps what we dislike. I never really fell in love with 'Dance' or 'Textiles' so I was not likely to be the first to sign up for two more years of them. On the other hand, I was partial to Music and had been brought up in a distinctive air of eclecticism, so I gave it a go. To return to my seat at the dinner table, by now we know what we like (couscous was a firm favourite) and what we less like (Brussel sprouts). I sense Mum dutifully respected these preferences to prevent another teenage tantrum. We were all teenagers once!

But something else has profoundly changed at mealtimes. We start to accept (and relish) the notion of mixing foods up and using one to compliment the other. Gravy on our meat, bolognaise with our pasta, and our sandwich fillings, in particular, undergo a revolutionary shift. No longer does solitary cheese tantalize the taste-buds; the cheese is now cream-cheese and it's joined rather agreeably with Scottish smoked salmon and a light dusting of dill for good measure. At college, our three or four chosen A Level topics are similarly complimentary. I found Biology an excellent compliment to Geography; likewise, with English Literature and Film Studies. The topics of study may differ but the way we understand them- indeed, the methods we employ to explore them- are best considered holistically. In much the same way that learning how to crack an egg is fundamental for both an omelette and a Victoria sponge, learning how to correctly employ statistics is equally as important for Geography as it is in Biology.

However, college is only a starter dish in comparison to what is yet to come. We're 18 and about to 'tuck in' to three years of university. For many, this really does mark the start of semi-independence (I say 'semi' because our parents are, of course, still there for life's more difficult recipes). But essentially, a university student really is the Head Chef of their own kitchen and how the final dish turns out is the product of hard work, commitment and tough decision making. Degrees are not ready-meals; they are not processed and packaged by someone in a factory far away. On the contrary, they are made from scratch and from my own perspective, it's a much tastier experience this way! In some ways, our parallel tales of food and education seem to drift apart here. After all, in contrast to my comments on an authentic, hand-made degree, students often settle for take-away 'TV dinners'. (The words 'Dominoes Pizza' creep to mind...). However, aside from the odd one or two treats here and there, living amongst students is often the arena to share not only recipes from one's homeland, but a place to chew over the ideas about the subject one is reading.

Last year, I found (to my delight) that I now fully appreciate the virtues of the Brussel Sprout and await, with eagerness, the opportunity to savour a sprout or two during a spell of roast dinners in the winter months. Likewise, throughout my degree, I have re-kindled a passion for Math and although I would not confess to be excellent, it's definitely added a certain spice to my degree. Oh, the list of these spicy attributes is somewhat endless, though. I have loved so much from the past three years, from the field-trips and lectures, to the seminars and, of course, the dissertation. The quality of my degree can only be described by stating that if the university was a restaurant, it would be Michelin starred. The imagination and creativity delivered in some of the lectures I've attended is akin to being served vintage wine from a goblet.

Indeed, just as the best restaurants and wine are, the cost of education is pricey. Education has become institutionalized and the £9000 tuition fees are possibly set to rise. I have left University, however, with no bitter after-taste (despite finalizing the term with a ruthless exam season). At the end of the day, the quality has been superb. As I suggested before, it isn't fast-food; the ingredients that subtlety make up the best universities are sourced from only the finest markets. Royal Holloway prides itself, and rightly so, on its world-class academics and if you're going to settle for saffron instead of pepper, you have to expect to part with a few more coins.

(Excuse me whilst I go and raid my biscuit supply. Yes I know I've just eaten, but I'm still peckish!)
Ah, when it comes to my curiosity, no degree will truly satisfy my hunger for more knowledge, just as no spell at university will really quench my thirst for information. This is fine, though; as the philosopher John Dewey once asserted, "education is not preparation for life, education is life itself". There are many, I know, already planning their 'next bake' with postgraduate applications being completed thick and fast. In October, I will be starting a three year PhD at Lancaster University and joining a national NERC-funded cohort that will form the next generation of soil scientists. (More about this, later, here on Geography with Dan). Far from being a dessert, I anticipate this will be just the beginning of a life's effort to understand the 'brown gold' beneath our feet. It is soil, after all, that forms the basic substrate in which most of our food develops. In a sense, whilst my undergraduate degree has been wholesome food for thought, my attention now turns to think for the sake of food. (Well, for highly productive agricultural soils that yield quality crops, at least).

Has my degree been a success? Well, Paul Hollywood - or whoever is presently marking one of my exam essays - will be the judge of that but the proof is in the eating and having thoroughly consumed degree life for the past three years, I would say it's been a resounding success. Nutritious, aromatic and very (very) moreish!    

Monday, 1 February 2016

Dan's Dissertation Diaries

Dan's Dissertation Diaries

New Blog Series for February 2016

 
On the 27th January 2016, a chapter of my life finally came to a conclusion.
 
 For the past one and a half years, as part of my undergraduate degree, I have channelized all of my energies into one single project: my dissertation.
 
Over the next two weeks, I shall be chronicling my research, from the evolution of an idea to the final bound copy.

Click here to go to the HOME of Dan's Dissertation Diaries

 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

COMING SOON... DAN'S DISSERTATION DIARIES

From the 1st February, Geography with Dan takes a 'Behind-the-Scenes' look at Dan's dissertation project, from its evolution all the way to its submission. With photographs, videos and Dan's personal anecdotes.

 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Dan features on Chicago's Red Bar Radio show

One of the last interviews I did in 2015 was a special one for TvGeog; the channel's debut in America. It was great to be guest on Chicago's Red Bar Radio and you can watch the interview below.

 
 

 
 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Dan features on Channel 4 show 'RudeTube'

Kicking off 2016, I had the fantastic privilege to be featured on the Channel 4 show RudeTube presented by Alex Zane. If you haven't watched it before, it's a show that picks out some of the videos going viral across YouTube.

Click here to watch 

https://plus.google.com/+DanielEvans994/posts/fBKi8P4nx5j?pid=6235277145912447666&oid=102712335728618640156




Sunday, 26 October 2014

ON THE TRAIL

THE FINAL PROGRAMME

After 10 weeks and over 230 miles, join Dan on one last walk as he concludes his series along the Wherryman's Way. It's been a mammoth journey, through a wide array of landscape and beauty, flora and fauna.

 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Earth: Our Home. Our Future.

Daniel recently gave a speech at a TEDx Conference. Here's a transcript from the event; an essay entitled: 'Earth: Our Home. Our Future'.


‘There is nothing permanent except change’.

The words of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus from 500BC. Six words, articulated from the dusty tracks of ancient Ephesus in Turkey, but speak volumes about an entire planet over 2000 years later.
 
We live in a world of such unprecedented dynamism. As we sit still, Planet Earth is spinning 67,000 miles an hour in the cosmos. This maybe some speed, but no speedometer could compute neither the pace of human development nor the velocity of our technological progress. The texture of our lives is continuously being dissolved and recomposed around us. We may view life in three dimensions, but a fourth element is always present. The element of change, exponentially catalysed around us, is fundamentally part of what it means to be human.
 
As a geographer, I am continuously asked what the nature of my discipline is. What does Geography mean? What does Earth mean? How inextricably complex the question remains, and yet, could it be that the planet changes so much that we cannot accurately assert a definition to its study? After all, Geography is one such discipline where the force of change is a central facet in the way we understand how the world operates.
 
This is not a world in stasis. From the Stone Age to the Bronze Age, from the Iron Age to the Medieval Period, perhaps what gives this world meaning is that of its capacity for change. The last century has witnessed an inexorable rate of change. Our digital revolution has bred, and continues to breed, a world of interconnection; a world where the Euclidian dimensions of distance seems to matter less and less. We have profoundly transformed the nature of the human experience, bringing distant others closer together, in a community of virtual connection. No doubt the world has become transfigured beyond the point of return; perhaps it is this that now re-defines what it means to be in existence on Earth.
 
Whilst Human Geographers seek to comprehend the nature of our globalisation, down the other end of the department corridor is a congregation of Physical Geographers who are studying another change. A critical issue; a demanding contemporary crisis; a quandary for us all. That of Climate Change. Shadowing the positivity of our digitalisation and technological innovation, the tentacles of Global Warming are encroaching part of what it means to be living on Planet Earth in the 21st century. In short, after so many thousands of years of changing- after centuries of fine-tuning our traditions and methods- we have still not reached utopia.
 
Global Interconnection and Global Warming. There is a great dichotomy here; the former reflects on man’s faculty over the world, our ceaseless endeavour for human betterment, whilst the latter reminds us that we are still at the mercy of Mother Nature. We have the means by which to travel the world, and although we might fly, a footprint mutilates the globe- a Carbon Footprint. Similarly, the mobile phone has almost become part of our own anatomy-shamefully, there always seems to be one in my hand- but it is a device which depletes our non-renewable resources.
 
Despite the clear associations between our simultaneity and the pressing matter of climate change, however, the academic establishment continues to atomise these discourses. Although it could be argued that Global Warming seeps into all of the aspects of what is a fractured discipline; global interconnection is clearly a criterion for a Human Geographer’s agenda. I think that this, most significantly of all, is where the error lies. The most effective catalyst for changing the course of Global Warming would be to solder these two discourses. To retard the development of climate change, we should be searching for a more profound resolution.  I propose a unique perspective; a unique resolution to Climate Change.
 
 
After all, the conventional approaches do not seem to be effective catalysts for change. Using public transport, car sharing, recycling, purchasing eco-friendly light-bulbs; these are small scale adjustments we make in our daily lives to hinder the warming of our world. But as Paul Stern, from the National Research Council once wrote, “the environmental impact of any individual’s personal behaviour is small.  Such individual behaviours have environmentally significant impact only in the aggregate, when many people independently do the same things.”
 
But why, if these grass-root approaches are so small in scale, aren’t they adopted by enough people in which to make them, as Stern put, “environmentally significant”? Stern goes on to hypothesise possible reasons; that “environmental impact has largely been a by-product of human desires” – such as comfort, enjoyment, power, status, and mobility. I would go further.
 
 
The split with nature is at the heart of an environmental crisis. My most cardinal point would be to state that I think a wave of technological innovation, interconnection and the rise of the internet culture, has disconnected humans from the world. By inhabiting a cyber-fuelled, virtual reality, we have lost the values we once upheld for nature. In short, the human race has disconnected with the landscape, and connected with the Wi-Fi instead.  
 
The green and pleasant land seems to be no longer a place which provokes awe and wonder, but instead, exasperation due to their poor network signals. The landscape, once encapsulated in paintings and poems, is relegated to the background of a ‘selfie’. As the public domain get access to satellite maps, the conception of true wilderness is a questionable notion; the ability to set out and enjoy pure exploration is less likely in the age of navigation systems.
 
Influential ecologist Aldo Leopold believes we abuse the land because we regard it as a “commodity belonging to us” not one “to which we belong”. If we are to effectively catalyse a hindrance to Global Warming, approaching those profound questions of our connectedness to nature is paramount.
 
Addressing Global Warming very rarely goes as far as to consider these rather abstract points, but I would argue that encouraging the public to seek a more ecologically friendly way of life will yield little impact unless the public feel a moral obligation to protect their own planet. To use the words of Mayer and Frantz: “unless they feel a sense of kinship with it; unless they view themselves as belonging to the natural world and view their welfare as related to the welfare of the Earth.”
 
 
Our connectedness to nature is something that has been studied in other disciplines. According to health experts, spending leisure time in natural environments is beneficial for human health and well-being. I would go on to suggest that an individual’s well-being is just one of the many factors which influences them to protect the world in which they inhabit.
 
This is not a call to demolish the platforms of communication we have set up. Indeed, the internet is a valuable asset in delivering a message about the global problems we share. What I would assert is that we re-ignite our zest for exploration; that we re-ignite our zeal for discovery; that we make Planet Earth a compelling environment for young people to discover, rather than let them become entangled within the addictive web of the social network, for in that web, their connection with true nature can never be fostered.
 
Can this work? Can such a profound shift in our emotional affinity toward nature truly be an effective catalyst? It’s a fresh, new angle, and requires much more research. But I would agree with Mayer and Frantz that feeling connected to nature and eco-friendly acts have a bi-directional relationship. Feeling connected to the landscape will encourage a certain act of stewardship for it, and in turn, proliferate their connection with nature.
 
This bi-directional relationship has been studied, in some senses, only this year. In a paper published this summer, a group of interviewed farmers felt that if they are more capable of conserving nature on their farm, the more they see themselves as connected to nature. In turn, the more they feel connected to nature, the more likely they are to commit to conservation. 
 
I conclude with the wisdom of Henry Thoreau and in some ways it encapsulates what I believe to be my own philosophy on the world. “This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.”
 
Perhaps, more than ever, we need to stop living on the planet, and start living with it.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

THE TRAIL CONTINUES... 



Dan's BRAND NEW SERIES 'On the Trail' is taking him through the wonderful landscapes of Norfolk.
 
Having reached the Norfolk-Suffolk border in the previous programme, join Dan as he weaves himself back up through the Norfolk countryside along the Boudicca Way, finally reaching the city of Norwich.
 
WATCH PROGRAMME 9 BELOW
Released: 19th October 2014
 


                           WATCH THE REST OF THE SERIES BY CLICKING HERE
 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

DANIEL TO SPEAK AT TEDx CONFERENCE

On the 18th October, the Royal Holloway (University of London) will host a TEDx conference, supporting innovation, critical thinking and leadership for meaningful change.

TEDx CONFERENCE- LIVE FROM THE ROYAL HOLLOWAY






SOLD OUT BUY YOUR TICKET HERE SOLD OUT

All tickets have been sold. However, the event will be streaming live throughout the day and you can watch Dan and the other speakers right here on Geography with Dan.
 
 
 
 

Daniel has been selected to speak at this very prestigious event. With the theme of the conference being 'Catalysts', Daniel will speak on behalf of the Geographical Sciences in suggesting a unique perspective on the way we tackle contemporary issues such as Global Warming.




Alongside Daniel is a line-up of very high profile speakers. Already confirmed are:

Leon McCarron- a Northern Irish film-maker and writer, who has appeared on TV in over 60 countries worldwide.

Maja Szymczyk- a multilingual singer, actress and presenter who has performed with some of the best musicians around the world, even singing for Princes.

Edward Heywood- Co-founder of 'Urban Cloud', he has raised over £150k in seed capital, orchestrated 10 strategic partnerships, and took part in Founders Space accelerator in Silicon Valley.

Kate Russell- Reporter and Author, appearing on BBC technology programme 'Click' and involved in UK and Global Policy meetings to shape the way the internet is governed.

Marco Poletto- Leads the BIO Urban Design Research Cluster and is the Unit Master at the Architectural Association in London with projects exhibited throughout the world.

Marko Pajevic- Senior Lecturer at the School for Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the Royal Holloway, currently developing an international research network on poetics and thinking language.

Tracey Brown- Director of Sense about Science, reviews policy both in the UK and worldwide. Led the award winning campaigns, and has been named as one of the 10 leading scientists in policy making by the Science Council.

Paul Smith- Appeared on stage over 1000 times around the world as a recording artist, writer and arranger. Performed at Mariinksy Theatre in Russia, National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing, and Opera City in Tokyo.

Jeffrey DeMarco- Forensic psychologist , criminological and legal researcher who works nationally and internationally with governments. Currently working with the European Commission in preventing computer mediated crimes against children.

Salman Al Najem- Painter with a BA in Interior Design from the University of the Arts' London College of Communication.

Katy Kann- Russian Artist. Featured in the World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today, selected as 'Best of Show' by the Colors of Humanities Art Gallery and is currently studying Architecture at the University of Manchester.

Manos Tsakiris- Professor of Psychology at Royal Holloway, with research funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and the European Research Council.

Daniela de Rosa- Produced and conducted radio programmes about travel ad lifestyle for Italy, and writes travelling guides for women.

TED is a non-profit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Sir Richard Branson, and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

 

Friday, 19 September 2014

TRAVEL WRITING FINDS ITS WAY TO 'FOLIO'

Some of Dan's recent travel writing has been published by the 'up and coming' magazine Folio. It's a brand new magazine that exhibits the work of students from the Royal Holloway, University of London.

Read Dan's entry by clicking here!

 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

EXCLUSIVE NEW SERIES RELEASED

ON THE TRAIL

Brand New Series for 2014

PROGRAMME 9- 19th October 2014

Having reached the Norfolk-Suffolk border in the previous programme, join Dan as he weaves himself back up through the Norfolk countryside along the Boudicca Way, finally reaching the city of Norwich.
 
 
 

Previous Episodes in the Series

PROGRAMME 1- 24th August 2014

In the launch of his biggest series yet, join Daniel Evans in the first of a 10-part series that takes him the length and breadth of Norfolk. In this programme, he walks the Norfolk Coast Path.
 
 

PROGRAMME 2- 31st August 2014

In the second part of his biggest series yet, join Daniel Evans as he continues exploring his home county of Norfolk. This week he is walking the Paston Way, passing through some idyllic villages, unspoilt countryside and dramatic coastlines.

 

PROGRAMME 3- 7th September 2014

In this, the third part of the series, join Daniel Evans as he continues his walk through his home county of Norfolk, exploring the landscape, towns and villages along the way.

 

PROGRAMME 4- 14th September 2014

Daniel continues his epic walk through Norfolk, stopping at the unique selection of villages and towns and ambling through a diversity of landscapes.

 

PROGRAMME 5- 21st September 2014

Dan is halfway through his 230 mile walk through Norfolk. In this programme, join him a he explores more of what the county has to offer. From spellbinding landscapes, to picturesque villages, Daniel shows that there is always something to see, on any trail.

 

 PROGRAMME 6- 28th September 2014

Daniel continues his mammoth walk around the county of Norfolk, exploring some of its popular sights and hidden secrets. From a diverse range of flora and fauna to picturesque architecture and scenery, he shows that the 'Nar Valley' Way offers something for everyone who walks it.
 
 

PROGRAMME 7- 5th October 2014

Daniel continues his epic walk around Norfolk. This week he is on the Peddars Way, soaking up the tranquillity of the countryside and exploring its diverse range of flora and fauna.
 

PROGRAMME 8- 12th October 2014

 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

BRAND NEW SERIES: On the Trail- MINI TRAILERS

This week, Dan releases FIVE mini-trailers for his new series!


 
 
 

A Brand New Series for Geography with Dan launches on Sunday 24th August. Do check out Dan's online TV Channel TvGeog on YouTube for more trailers and information.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

EXCLUSIVE- BRAND NEW SERIES TRAILER

Dan's Brand New Series 'On the Trail' is out on 24th August- check out the very latest trailer!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

EXCLUSIVE- Dan's Interview on Mustard TV

Dan appeared on Mustard TV on the 24th July. He talked about his love for Geography, his Royal Geographical Society scholarship, and his brand new series coming out in August. Listen to the interview below...

 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Sunday, 22 June 2014

'Colouring in-between the lines'- Part 5: 'Brown' Earth

'All Geographers do is colour in'....'Geographer's love Crayola'...'It's all about the colouring pencils'....
 
In a five part series, exclusively for Geography with Dan, Daniel discusses how colour should be treated seriously within the subject. Each week, he selects a colour that helps to shape the planet we live on today, and studies that colour from a distinctively geographical perspective.
 
In this the final part of the series, he focuses on all things Brown and argues that this colour is instrumental for a subject such as Geography.
 
***

I hope, if anything, this series has enlightened those who have for so many years considered the subject of Geography to merely bobble up and down on the surface of philosophical thought and instead realise that it is an active study immersed with deep meanings and complex ideas. For those who regard Geography to be nothing more than simply being able to locate the nearest tube station or a study where flags are learned by rote, it is because we live in a world of stereotypes. We sketch and fix our expectations upon everything. Geography has always had a stereotyped reputation of being slightly inferior to others, but perhaps this requirement to stereotype- our compulsion to label and to categorise- is how we make meaning of the planet we live on. In other words, perhaps Geography is stereotyping the planet.

Preferably, one might replace 'stereotyping' with 'constructing meaning'. After all, we do not live in a world of colour; colour is just one of the tools that we use to construct meaning about the planet. If we consider, for example, the colour of brown and items associated with that colour, we may list a few commonalities between them. 'Rustic', 'natural', 'earthy' to name but a few, and yet it is clear from other editions in this series, that other colours also represent a certain naturalness. The greenness of the rainforests, the yellowness of a field of rapeseed, the apparent blueness of our oceans; they all radiate a certain degree of organic natural beauty, and yet how odd it would be if soil were to be yellow, or blue or green. Here we stumble upon the complexities of the human mind.

I'm currently staring at all of the brown-coloured objects in my office. The desk I am sitting at, my little wooden keepsake box, the cupboard doors; everything that is brown seems to share a common life history. That is, these items have been constructed from entities that had previously lived, entities that we sacrificed for our own human comfort. Living trees, now unrecognisable, after hard labour and craftsmanship. It is peculiar, therefore, that we associate brown with life and naturalness when in reality, many of the brown objects in our households and workplaces are indeed dead wood.

 

There's yet another complexity regarding brown, or the sense of brownness in our lives and that is the reinforced idea that brown is a boring colour, and associated brown entities are similarly quite dull. Take soil, for an example. A Pedologist's dream, but for many of us, it inspires fatigue. But in consideration, how can soil be boring? It may not boast exhilaration nor does it provoke thrill, but it is perhaps the most important ingredient on Earth. Let us consider the endless array of activities and articles that require soil for their function or origin. The World Cup is greatly reliant on grass, but even grass is dependent on that fundamental unit of soil. Our furniture may be wooden, but it is wood carved up from trees which were once extensively entrenched within the soil. In fact, trees themselves are paramount for the oxygen we inhale, and are similarly essential in extracting the Carbon Dioxide waste product we exhale, but so often forgotten is the elemental necessity of the soil. Suddenly, brown earthy soil doesn't sound so dull and substandard. Or perhaps it still does.

 

Perhaps soil will never capture our imagination, despite the fact it is necessary for our own existence. Quite possibly it is down to our capitalist attitudes towards life; if it produces an income, if it has material qualities, then it can arouse our curiosity and feed some interest into our lives. Soil has never sold records, it has never played football, it has never looked good on the front cover of any magazine (bar, Gardener's World, perhaps) and as a consequence, it has never been of substantial interest to us.

That maybe a small but subtle clue as to why Geography receives such poor publicity; the fact that, on the surface, it doesn't seem to do anything for us. It doesn't appear to have impact upon our daily lives; the kind of influences that Physics, Chemistry and Biology seem to boast. However, I would argue that the fault is entirely our own. We have exchanged our capacity for deep thought with the internet, ironically the very medium I am presenting this to you now. We have traded self contemplation with technological innovation. Associating the colours of our world with deep meanings is something, perhaps, that doesn't instinctively emerge in our conscience primarily because it isn't something that we as a generation, slaves to our cars and iPods, are not programmed to immediately consider.

 
So the next time you take the dog for the walk, or drive to work, take a minute to contemplate just how wonderfully colourful the world really is. It may not add any speed to your journey, but it may uplift you to know that you're part of it; you're in it. This is our home.   

Sunday, 15 June 2014

'Colouring in-between the lines'- Part 4: 'Yellow' Earth

'All Geographers do is colour in'....'Geographer's love Crayola'...'It's all about the colouring pencils'....
 
In a five part series, exclusively for Geography with Dan, Daniel discusses how colour should be treated seriously within the subject. Each week, he selects a colour that helps to shape the planet we live on today, and studies that colour from a distinctively geographical perspective.
 
This week, he focuses on all things Yellow and argues that this colour is instrumental for a subject such as Geography.

***
 
 
This series over the last few weeks has sought to convince those who consider Geography to be 'that subject where you learn about cities and places', that it is instead, deeply multifaceted. For too long, Geography has been seen as a subject that takes place within the confines of the classroom; that its content is constructed around the building blocks of the national curriculum. I have argued in the past, and will persist here that Geography should not be treated as an academic discipline, but a subconscious approach to the planet in which we inhabit; the way in which humans engage with the world in their everyday lives. Our identities are composed in and as a result of different places; the subtle choices we make in terms of the way we perform ourselves all have distinct relationships back to our position in the world. Geography, therefore, is that fluid matrix in between other subjects; the relations between History and Chemistry, or between Psychology and Art can be explained through a geographical methodology.
It's a subject that at the very least stretches beyond cartography: the construction of maps. We study the world everyday; when we travel to work, when we gaze out of the office window, on our way back home. Parked in a rush hour can excite the imagination; we begin to think about a forthcoming holiday or one just past. We are edging a few inches a minute along a seemingly incessant motorway, but in our imagination, we are someplace else. Sometimes, and perhaps the gift of the human mind, is the fact that we can imagine a place in the finest of detail, even if we have never physically been there. Our emotions, thoughts and feelings- our human imagination- form a substantial element in our understanding of our planet.
An appreciation of colour within our world is, similarly, one that you'll never find within a geography textbook, but at the same time, so emphatically important in the way we shape meanings about the planet on which we live. Certain colours, such as those already discussed in this series, are more obviously geographical; green and blue, perhaps, fall into this category. Other colours such as red are less palpable, but still uphold symbology within the world; we still apply meanings to them. Most of us would admit to having a favourite colour; a tint we would select, if ever one had to be saved. For me, it's yellow. There's nothing distinctly geographical about my love for the colour yellow; it's a vibrant colour, almost electric in its luminosity and has the amazing capacity to transform my mood from a morose despondency to one of bliss and contentment. In some ways, however, it's entirely geographical. The fact that a certain place, landscape or landmark, can transform someone's emotions around is testament to the effect that the planet can have on us.
Perhaps why I prefer yellow so much is the scarcity of the colour in our landscape. It isn't one that you naturally pass everyday; it isn't as universally widespread as, perhaps, green is. (Another name for a village green is a common after all). The infrequency of yellow in our lives keeps it a refreshing shade and continues to provoke a bout of delight within me, whenever I catch sight of it.

From where I grew up- the Norfolk countryside- patches of the landscape are annually knitted with a strong yellow, when farmers grow rapeseed. Every so often, the monotonous green that flourishes so much through our county's farmland, is punctuated by an arresting glow of yellow; it's flamboyancy almost yelling out at you. (No wonder, because after all: half of the word 'yellow' is 'yell').  However pulsating a field of yellow is to the passer-by, there's a simultaneous serenity enwrapped within. If you take a deckchair and park yourself beside a field of Rapeseed, you'll discover that although the colour is arresting, the field symbolises one of the last areas of tranquillity; a site not yet conquered by the hand of man. An area yet to be vanquished by the property developer. Compared to any urban jungle, this is one of the final segments of our country's jigsaw where one can still find equanimity; one of the few spots to soak up stillness.
If you have ever been lucky enough to grow Daffodils in your garden, you will equally know about how the arrival of those delicate yellow petals in Spring gives off a sense of anticipation for the year ahead. The blossoming of Daffs' mark a conclusion in what always seems an endless winter. In this way, yellow inspires a slightly different dish of emotions inside us;  yellow breathes prospect and optimism into us, especially when the mornings are still damp and ominous. Note with me how a colour such as yellow within our landscape can even oppress the seasons; the early stages of Spring maybe relatively dull, but combating such a mood is the vivid zing of yellowness.
 
For many of us, however (and particularly at present), yellowness manifests itself in something more alluring than a bed of Daffs' or a field of Rapeseed. Indeed, for millions of us, the promise of yellow sands and warm transparent waters is something that draws us to places far away.  As attractive and botanically interesting pebble-based beaches can sometimes prove to be, there's just that element missing from them; that critical yellowness which denotes a sandy beach and grants families with an infinite array of possibles when it comes to beach activities. From the classic sandcastle modelling, to Frisbee and other sport-related pursuits exercised across the bounty of beaches around the globe, our coastline environment is extremely important for the economy. Perhaps, the elemental placing of golden/yellow sands and turquoise/blue waters together is the secret to the beach's popularity. Here, however, yellow isn't about the anticipation necessarily which transpires from the Daffodils, neither is it a source of surprise like the Rapeseed. The yellowness, alternatively, that positively oozes from our sandy beaches brings together a whole cauldron of sentiments. For me, the beach reminds me of holidays from yesteryear, but also of summers yet to come. It also indicates a place of unreserved relaxation; a space of contemplation. A paradise, I suppose. There's little in the way of questions, therefore, why yellow seems to be my number one colour.
 
 
 

 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

'Colouring In-Between the Lines'- Part 3: 'Blue' Earth

'All Geographers do is colour in'....'Geographer's love Crayola'...'It's all about the colouring pencils'....
 
In a five part series, exclusively for Geography with Dan, Daniel discusses how colour should be treated seriously within the subject. Each week, he selects a colour that helps to shape the planet we live on today, and studies that colour from a distinctively geographical perspective.
 
This week, he focuses on all things Blue and argues that this colour is instrumental for a subject such as Geography.
 
***
It is increasingly becoming apparent that we are living in a state of almighty flux. Aside from the clear technological innovation, and an augmentation in our viral and virtual communication, there is a notion that we as a species are becoming busier. If the political project of the late 20th century was one of ephermeralisation- the goal of achieving more with less- then the century in which we live is almost certainly about interconnecting ourselves with distanciated others, around the world. It's about launching ourselves into a virtual cyberspace; our tweets and status updates entangled within the manageable chaos we choose to call the 'internet'. Nearly all of us everyday depart the structure and security of this Earth to lose ourselves within the dizzy heights (and breadths) of the 'world wide web'; indeed, what I am noticing is that our devotion towards Facebook and Twitter symbolises an escape; a chance to flee this world of ours to attend one more extraordinary.
 
Children from a troublingly early age these days are becoming vacuumed from Earth to take their place in this apparently more attractive virtual world, so it's no wonder why we are simultaneously becoming disengaged from Earth's natural beauty; no surprise why we have unleashed our grasp on our planet. A magpie's tweets, compared to those from our idol celebrities, are not worth the time of day. We succumb to the entrancing powers of social media, allured by its diversity, enticed by its ability, captivated by its design. As a nation, perhaps we have forgotten this wonderful planet that we all share.
 
The unsettling truth of it all is the fact that social media is about the largest exhibit of artificiality we have; a world (or perhaps a universe) apart from the natural beauty, the natural splendour and the untamed bounty of our rural nation. Quite possibly, the most beguiling verity is the fact that man has not got the answer to some of the most intriguing questions about this Earth and its process, so why therefore do we choose to ignore them and shift the core of our focus towards our message box; our 'profile page'; our 'notifications'?
However, it could be argued that this clear disregard for the planet in which we live- our burning desire to go someplace else- is not a recent item on our agenda as human beings. Consider, for example, the Apollo missions of the 1960s; our urgency in sending man to the Moon, and yet it could be argued that one of the greatest successes of any space mission is the way in which such forced distancing from the Earth can make us appreciate it more; can make us rekindle our love of it. When we are diverged from something it can, to some extent, renew our vows and revive our passion for it. In short, home sickness.

It was during that space mission, that we not only achieved images of the Moon, but some of Earth too; indeed, one very iconic photo that has manifest itself across the globe since. Labelled the 'Blue Marble', it's a photograph that stirs the emotions, particularly because of its seemingly static nature. There it is. There is our home afloat in the cosmos, drifting on its voyage through space. Since then- since the production of the 'Blue Marble'- I think we have witnessed a dramatic transformation in the way that we represent the planet. If social media takes advantage of anything, it is the way that countries across the world are becoming more concomitant. In a world that is forever changing, there is an air of constancy; the tentacles of our simultaneity are physically binding and keeping the Earth 'marble-like'.
I think it's no surprise, therefore, that we used the label 'marble'; a representation of Earth's impenetrable nature, even in times of planetary-scale changes. Perhaps, it's even more interesting to see that colour is also incorporated into it. In an age of industrialisation, we have selflessly chosen to describe it by something natural; the pure and unprocessed hue of blue which, after all, covers three-quarters of Earth in the form of our seas and oceans.
Having said this, there is a major inaccuracy with calling this the 'Blue Planet'. After all, if you take a cup, walk to your nearest ocean (some of you might need to drive) and fill it with water, you will clearly observe that the ocean is not blue at all. And yet, 75% of Earth we consider being blue. As a nation of sunbathers, beach fanatics and tan-wannabes, we seek out and travel hundreds of miles for blue sky, and yet never consider the fact that the sky is a void, unable to be tinted.

 
Just like the name 'Blue Marble', we see blueness in our seas and skies, or perhaps more accurately put, we see the lack of any other colour from these entities. But so accentuated the idea of blue sky is in our society, that I think some of us sometimes forget that there is nothing blue at all about our atmosphere. It is, like so many things, one of those representations of the planet, excessively used and now drilled into the very core of our understanding. If you don't believe me, consider for a minute what the world would look like if our oceans could be seen in their actual translucent property. How eerie a sight would be; how unnatural?

 
And still our misperceptions- tragic misunderstandings about our own home- are forever exposed. Those who consider the sky to be blue would quite likely describe a glacial environment 'white'. A monotonous whiteness that sweeps across in panoramic fashion, and yet glaciers rarely appear white, but blue. As snow is compressed into the glacial ice, so air bubbles are trapped and squeezed out. Just like the ocean, the presence of blueness is down to the Oxygen-Hydrogen bond in the water that absorbs light; in other words, glaciers appear blue, but are in reality clear. After all, how many times have you seen blue ice cubes served in drinks at your local pub? Having de-mystified the blueness, it would be equally inaccurate to say glaciers were white. Water is not white, so ice can't be either.

 
If the world is essentially not blue, then why the 'Blue Marble’? Why submit to such an inaccuracy? Perhaps it comes down to our detachment away from the Earth. So distanced we are in a world of virtual reality, that we only see the Earth, instead of understanding it. Interestingly enough, social media is often formatted upon a blue background, as scientists have concluded that we are likely to retain attention to something that is blue. If only we had more time for the Blue Marble too? Perhaps if we called it ‘hashtag Marble’ instead?