Geography Teacher’s Diary For 2019



If you are planning your geography teaching programme for 2019, you might like to give attention to some of the key diary dates listed below. Lessons could be timed to correspond to special days, special celebration events could be planned, or they could provide a hook to hang homework, assemblies, or class work tasks.

If you have any further suggestions, please let me know!



20th – World Religion Day
21st – Big Energy Saving Week
27th – Holocaust Memorial Day
27th – World Leprosy Day


1st – World Inter-Faith Harmony Day
2nd – World Wetlands Day
12th – Red Hand Day For Child Soldiers
21st – International Mother Language Day
25th – Fair Trade Fortnight


3rd – World Wildlife Day
8th – British Science Week
8th – International Women’s Day
10th – World Glaucoma Week
11th – Commonwealth Day
14th – International School Meals Day
15th – Red Nose Comic Relief Day
18th – Global Recycling Day
20th – International Day of Happiness
21st – International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination
21st – International Day of Forests
22nd – World Water Day
23rd – World Meteorological Day
24th – World TB Day
25th – The Big Pedal
30th – English Tourism Week


4th – International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
5th – Walk to Work Day
6th – Discover National Parks Day
7th – World Health Day
12th – International Day for Street Children
18th – International Day for Memorials and Sites
20th – National Dark Skies Week
22nd – International Mother Earth Day
22nd – Fashion Revolution Week
23rd -World Immunisation Day
25th – World Malaria Day
25th – World Penguin Day
26th – National Richter Scale Day


1st – Local and Community History Month
1st – International Worker’s Day
1st – National Walking Month
5th – International Dawn Chorus Day
8th – World Red Cross Red Crescent Day
9th – Europe Day
11th – World Fair Trade Day
11th – International Astronomers Day
20th – Walk to School Week
21st – World Day for Cultural Diversity
22nd – World Day for Biological Diversity
23rd – World Turtle Day
25th – Africa Day
28th – World Hunger Day


1st – International Children’s Day
1st – Butterfly Education and Awareness Day
3rd – Bike to School Week
5th – World Environment Day
8th – World Oceans Day
8th – Bike Week
12th – World Day Against Child Labour
16th – International Day of the African Child
17th – World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
17th to 23rd – Refugee Week
20th – World Refugee Day
20th – National Clean Air Day



3rd – International Plastic Bag Free Day
7th – World Chocolate Day
11th – World Population Day
18th – Nelson Mandela International Day
27th – National Marine Week
30th – World Day Against Trafficking in Persons


9th – International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
19th – World Humanitarian Day
23rd – International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition


8th – International Literacy Day
13th – Great British Beach Clean
15th – International Day of Democracy
16th – Ozone Day
21st – International Day of Peace
23rd – Recycle Week
26th – World Maritime Day
27th – World Tourism Day


1st – Black History Month
1st – International Walk to School Day
1st – International Day of Older Persons
4th – World Animal Day
4th – World Space Week
7th – World Habitat Day
11th – International Day of the Girl Child
13th – International Day for Disaster Reduction
13th – World Sight Day
15th – International Day of Rural Women
15th – Global Hand Washing Day
16th – World Food Day
17th – International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
18th – Anti-Slavery Day
20th – One World Week
24th – United Nations Day
31st – World Cities Day


10th – World Science Day for Peace and Development
11th – Armistice Day
13th – Inter-Faith Week
16th – International Day for Tolerance
19th – World Toilet Day
20th – Universal Children’s Day
30th – Remembrance Day for Lost Species


1st – Antarctica Day
2nd – International Day for Abolition of Slavery
5th – World Soils Day
10th – Human Rights Day
11th – International Mountain Day
18th – International Migrants Day
20th – International Human Solidarity Day
Further details for these special days can be found at the sites below:

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Where Do Tourists Spend Their Money?


Image: Alpha Stock (creative commons)

There is a lot of data available to compare the number of tourists that visit different countries. However, the World Economic Forum has made it possible to also examine tourism through the amount of money tourists spend while abroad.

In 2017 international tourist arrivals grew by 7% – the highest increase since the end of the global economic crisis. Just under three-quarters of all foreign travellers came from either European countries (51%) or Asia Pacific nations (24%).

A 2018 report by United Nations agency the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reveals the preferred destinations and spending habits of tourists.


Last year international arrivals totalled 1.32 billion – some 86 million more than in 2016 – while tourist receipts increased 5% to reach $1.34 trillion.

France attracted more tourists than any other nation, with the 86.9 million arrivals in 2017 spending a total of $60.7 billion.

But as tourism continues to grow as an industry, can it ever be sustainable? These figures can be used in the classroom to help open this important point of debate.

Further information on this topic can be gained from the reference article at:

Reading this article led me onto the ‘Statistica’ web site – which is packed with interesting infographics that could be useful for geography teaching. It is possible to subscribe to a regular e-mail update for new additions to the site.

Here are two examples I came across that connect to this blog article, firstly displaying growth in visitors and spending in Japan:


Ten years ago, when Japan received less than ten million visitors, the country set the ambitious goal of increasing that figure to 20 million international visitors by 2020. Japan reached this goal five years early, and peaked in 2017 at 28.7 million visitors.

Secondly, the infographic below shows how China now has a leading position in global tourism, spending almost 258 billion US Dollars last year – around 20% of the world’s total spending on tourism.



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GPS Tracker Map Art


Image: Stephen Lund

I have recently been exploring the unusual interface created by a combination of GPS technology and creating works of art. I have been fascinated by the work of Stephen Lund, a marketing consultant from Canada who spends his spare time cycling through city streets of Victoria, British Colombia, while drawing maps using his ‘Strava’ GPS tracker.

Lund either plans routes that lets him doodle a continuous line to paint a picture, or he uses an alternative method which he calls ‘connecting the dots’. Here, he pauses his tracker at selected points, and then restarts it again at another point so that these points are joined with a straight line.


Image: Stephen Lund

“I use Google maps a lot. I zoom right in and if the roads don’t connect where I need them to connect. I look for a field I can cut across or parking lot that I can wind my way through. It’s very satisfying when I solve the problem. And I think the whole geography thing is interesting too. It’s all about working with the map”. (Stephen Lund)


Lund’s routes average about 70 kilometres of riding, the equivalent of about four hours on the bike. However, some of his more complex portraits can take up to 14 hours to complete. Lund is currently experimenting with ‘GPS doodle tours’, where he leads groups of cyclists on trips that produce a great takeaway map as a souvenir.


Web link:

Others have latched onto this idea, and started to make creative use of their Smartwatches, Fit Bits and other GPS gadgets to track their locations while cycling or walking and create some art.
There is even one case where an artist proposed by spelling “Marry Me” on a map!

Here are some other examples:


The 32 mile map of the world shown above was created by American teacher and cyclist Mike Wallace.


Image: PSFK (see web link below)

Web links:

The ‘MapMyRun’ running app recently ran a competition amongst its users to create some art using the built-in mapping feature. Here are some of the results:


Web link:


ScreenHunter_03 Dec. 05 15.02

Image: National Geographic

GPS is commonly used now in animal tracking, and many scientists already post their data recordings publicly on sites like Movebank and zoaTrack. I recently discovered an interesting book by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti called ‘Where the Animals Go’. They have used animal tracking data to create 50 beautiful and engaging maps that reveal the wanderings of animals captured by satellites, camera traps, drones, and other tools. The book is filled with records of amazing journeys, from bees in a backyard to migrating terns and jaguars patrolling their home territories.

ScreenHunter_02 Dec. 05 15.02

Image: National Geographic

Web link:

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The New Silk Road – China’s Most Ambitious Project To Date

China’s ‘New Silk Road’ project provides an excellent case study of a large scale development scheme. The $4.8 trillion OBOR (‘One Belt One Road’) initiative has been described as the ‘New Silk Road’, or ‘Silk Road 2.0’.


Image: Visual Capitalist (see web link below)

It is estimated that it will be completed in 2049, and will stretch from the edge of East Asia all the way to East Africa and Central Europe – affecting 65 countries.

China aims through OBOR to reach a new level as a world gatekeeper by building an extensive new network of infrastructure – including railways, roads, ports, pipelines and cables – to connect the growing economies in Asia, Africa and Europe.



Image: Visual Capitalist (see web link below)



However, it has not always been plain sailing for all countries involved. As an example of an infrastructure initiative, a deep water port is being developed at Gwadar in Pakistan. It is being funded by large loans from Chinese banks to the tune of $16 billion. However, with interest rates in excess of 13%, there are clear dangers to Pakistan should they default on their repayments.


Image: Visual Capitalist (see web link below)

Also, in 2017 a new port that was being established at Hambantote in Sri Lanka is being taken over by a Chinese company after it transpired that Sri Lanka could not meet its loan payments. China now has a marvellous strategic base in the middle of one the most important shipping lanes connecting Asia to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Most of Asia is supportive of OBOR – with the exception of China’s old rival India, who sees it as a threat to their regional dominance.

Content taken from following article:

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New Volcano App Game


I recently discovered an interesting app on the IOS store. It is called ‘Earth Girl Volcano’, and is an interactive game that involves making strategic decisions to minimise the risk for people living close to volcano hazards. It has been based on real-life situations amongst communities from the Pacific Ring of Fire, and allows players to prepare for emergency evacuations and respond during volcanic events such as ash fall, mudflows, and pyroclastic flows.


Villagers in the simulation provide information during the game play, and throughout the decision-making process, further tips and feedback is provided. The level of success in the game is directly related to the amount of interaction carried out with the virtual local communities.


The game has a nice artistic presentation, and instructions are clearly explained through a short tutorial. It would work well for individuals from year six upwards, as well as for students working in small groups. It has sufficient depth to engage older students – and best of all, it is FREE!


Search for ‘Earth Girl Volcano’ on the IOS app store, or use the following link:

There is also a ‘Tsunami’ version –

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New Research Reveals Geology Will Always Defy Total Brexit

As we move closer and closer towards Brexit, recent research has revealed that there is part of Britain that will remain forever connected to Europe whatever the result of the political negotiations.

Geologists from the University of Plymouth have analysed rocks from deep below ground and discovered that a distinct border divides Cornwall and parts of South Devon from the rest of the nation. Rocks to the north of the river Camel in Cornwall and the Exe estuary in Devon are what is expected for Britain, while rocks to the south of this line are identical to rocks found in France. It seems that the UK only acquired this part of southern England when it was struck by the landmass containing France some hundreds of million years ago.

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 05 14.18

Until now, it has always been thought that that England, Wales and Scotland were created when two landmasses collided over 400 million years ago. The northern landmass called Laurentia bore what is now modern Scotland, while the southern landmass called Avalonia contained England and Wales. It was also known that a third landmass called Armorica was involved in the story around 100 million years later, and thought to have crashed into Avalonia somewhere beneath the English Channel.

However, it is now thought that the British mainland was formed from the collision of these three ancient landmasses. It is believed that the collision took place much further north, with parts of Armorica providing the geology from Tavistock down to Penzance. The collision of Avalonia and Laurentia happened first, giving rise to what is now most of Britain. Armorica may then have crashed into Avalonia from the south, only to back away and leave behind some geology of its own. Later on, it advanced again and crashed into Avalonia once more.


So, although there is no physical line at the surface, there is a clear geological boundary separating parts of Cornwall and South Devon from the rest of the UK. These new findings could also explain the abundance of tin and tungsten in south west England – something that has always been a bit of a mystery. These metals are also found in Brittany and other areas of Central Europe, but not common in the rest of the UK.

It has always been known that around 10,000 years ago it was possible to walk from England to France. These new findings show that millions of years before that, the boundary between the two countries would have been even stronger. So if Brexit does eventually go ahead, there will always be at least one small link that will keep us connected to Europe, if only in a geological context.

Content referenced from the following articles:

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Food Sustainability Across The World

A third of annual food production across the world is wasted, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. This amounts to a total loss of revenue of almost one trillion US dollars. Not only is this a major ethical issue in a world of haves and have nots, it is also environmentally destructive.

So who is the most food sustainable country in the world? The UN has  graded 67 countries on food waste, sustainable agriculture and health and nutrition – and France finished top of the list (as they did last year).

In order for it to achieve top ranking, France has:

  • Introduced aggressive measures to tackle food waste (for example, it passed legislation in 2016 that requires supermarkets to redistribute left-over food to charities. Food waste in France amounts to 67.2 kg/person on average, compared to 95.1 kg/person in the USA)
  • Promoted healthy lifestyles
  • Approved eco-farming techniques (such as crop rotation and reduced fertilizer use)

China , USA and the UK failed to make it into the top ten countries on the ranking. China scored lowly due to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, while the USA lost out due mainly to an overweight population and poor diet. The UK slipped down on high greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture along with poor water management.

The top countries are listed below:

ScreenHunter_11 Dec. 03 18.10

(Source: Economic Intelligence Unit and the Barilla Centre for Food & Nutrition Foundation)

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