Harald Bugmann, Forest Ecology Chair at ETH Zürich, Switzerland
A bit more than 30 years ago, neither climate change nor its impacts on mountain regions were high on many people’s agendas.
A definition of mountains is not necessary for our friends and families; they know very well when they are in the mountains. Where this definition is needed to be known and accepted is in academia, an extremely complex world that requires precise definitions of virtually everything with which we work. In this world, when we say that a variable is normal (although we should say “it has a normal distribution”), we do not mean that it behaves normally, but that the distribution of its values makes a Gaussian curve. And we already understand each other. When we talk about uncertainty, we are not referring to the fact that we are unsure of something; we mean that there is a certain degree of error, which is normal and measurable, in our conclusions. This uncertainty is far from what general society understands by “I’m not sure.” In academia, we have, because we need, very specific definitions. Or at least we should have them.
By Audrey Vincent, geographer, lecturer-researcher at ISARA.
ISARA is an engineering school specialised in agriculture, food science and environment. We offer a wide range of Bachelor and Master level curricula in these fields. Next to teaching, we also have research activities as well as advisory and consultancy services. Every year, we offer in June a module dedicated to mountains, their specificities and their challenges. It is taught in English and can be followed by ISARA students as well as by students coming from our partner universities.
By Martin Price, Director of the Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland – with thanks to Euromontana for some of the links!
During the current Covid19 crisis, we have become ever more dependent on the quality of our broadband connections, for many aspects of our lives. All our meetings are now online (I have now used six different platforms!), those of us with children have had to become part-time home teachers (while trying to work full-time…) using online materials provided by their childrens’ schools (and, in the UK, the BBC) and universities have had to rapidly shift their delivery online. For some universities, this is not just a short-term measure: for example, Cambridge University has announced that all lectures will be online until the end of the next academic year.
By Jorge Gimeno Pawlowski, member of the board of Center for Innovative Education (CIE) and advisor for EU affairs.
Writing this article has been an exercise in responsibility, creativity and numerous debates within the Center for Innovative Education (CIE). Having the honour of being the second to write after Tor Arnesen, our partner in NEMOR and author of the great article that precedes this one, is not an easy task. In fact, we had a similar idea of writing about the mountains of opportunities springing from the coronavirus crisis we are experiencing.
By Tor Arnesen, researcher at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.
About half of the Norwegians has access to a second home and many people divide their time and lives between an apartment in the city and their cabin in rural mountain areas. When the Covid 2019-crisis hit in March 2020, the Norwegian government instructed, by emergency law, second home households to leave the mountains and return to the cities. The reason: the emergency preparedness in the rural mountain municipalities hosting second homes, is not capable of dealing with as many people as they de facto have in their community when second home households are counted in. (more…)