The Environment research group is a large cluster of human geographers and planners interested in understanding the manifold challenges that the environmental crisis poses. Members of the environment research group have undertaken studies with a focus on sustainable production and consumption, systems for urban food and food governance, and they have engaged with the emerging field of 'more-than-human' and animal geographies. These innovative fields of research are concerned with new interdisciplinary perspectives to nature, foods, health, animal diseases, animal welfare, water, materiality, pollution, species, gardens and rural sociability, able to cut across the borders between the natural and social sciences. The members of the research group share a commitment to field research as well as an interest in the development of new visual research methods and a strong experience in collaboration with researchers in natural sciences, humanities and visual and performing arts.
Current research is centred on the following themes:
Sustainable production and consumption systems:
Under this theme there are several projects focusing on a wide range of issues, such as sustainable communities (with the Sustainable Places Research Institute), ecological footprint; regulation of environmental risks within food systems, looking specifically at issues of biosecurity (Bovine Tubercolosis), understandings of risk, practices of risk management, public attitudes towards risk management practices, governance and regulation of risk practices, effects of new governance regimes on the regulation of risks. Sustainable rural development (Wales Rural Observatory, EU and WAG; EU FP6 project Enlarging Theoretical Understanding of Rural Development (ETUDE, 2007-2009); On public food procurement through involvement in an ESRC-funded project on school food systems in the USA, Italy and the UK (2005-2008); Researcher on “Knowledge-Brokerage Activities for Sustainable Food Production and Consumption” ( EU FP7 FOODLINKS, 2011-2013).
Planning and Governance:
With projects looking at delivering renewable energy under devolution (ESRC) and wind energy and justice to disadvantaged communities (JRF); Geographies of poverty and welfare, rural homelessness and rural space (Wales Rural Observatory), new geography of food (e.g. ITN Marie Curie EU-funded project on ‘Urban, Peri-Urban and Regional Food Dynamics: Towards an Integrated and Territorial Approach to Food’ (PUREFOOD, 2010-2014); Bio-patenting and animal breeding – applicability of patent law and recommendations for the future development of the regulatory and legislative framework; Simulating and Evaluating a Better Regulation of Converging Technologies (SEBEROC); Animal welfare policies (Welfare Quality Network) and implementation of current EU animal welfare regulation (Defra/AHVLA); Religious slaughter and halal /kosher food standards;.
Future research is likely to develop in relation to the following themes:
A new field of research on urban food systems in both developed and developing countries, building on and developing current funded projects which run until end of 2013 (FOODLINKS) and end of 2014 (PUREFOOD).
Nature-Culture assemblages and studies of more-than- human geographical topics (animals’ farming, nature, foods, health, animal diseases, animal welfare, water, materiality, pollution, species, gardens) which cut across the borders between the natural and social sciences – Taking forward current projects on Farmers' confidence in badger vaccination (Defra, 2015, and involving CCRI and AHVLA) - Farmers on the edge: understandings of risk amongst farmers in areas vulnerable to animal disease (Defra).
The development of new ethnographic, internet and visual research methods for mapping emotions and affectual environments, involving interdisciplinary collaborations.
Governance of genetic resources for food and agriculture, including but not confined to the role of intellectual property rights, transitions and contestation in regions and multi-level systems (low-carbon, biodiversity, resource extraction such as 'fracking'); Democratic Innovations - participatory and deliberative democracy in theory, research and practice (in environmental policy and planning and beyond).