Readers' Blog: Demoting geography is a backward step we will regret

Readers' Blog: Demoting geography is a backward step we will regret

I am writing to express my concern at the demotion of geography as a core subject at junior cycle. Geography as a subject is now more relevant than ever as people need to be aware of the natural environment and its relevance to the future of our planet and species.

Ireland and the world need its citizens aware and knowledgeable about the key issues of our time. The last 10 years has seen Ireland’s environmental record become one of the worst in Europe, our continent experiencing a migration crisis on its southern border, global inequality on the rise, natural disasters becoming more extreme (flooding, drought, stronger weather events), a loss in biodiversity, global warming increasing rapidly, deforestation continue, an urban planning crisis due to lack of housing and services, increased traffic congestion due to urban sprawl, pollution due to microplastics in our oceans and many more issues.

If key policymakers had a better understanding of the link between the physical and human environment, we would have an improved environmental record with increased biodiversity, happier citizens and better services in areas such as transport, housing and recreation.

Unfortunately, we are not at this stage today but instead of trying to address these issues we are actually taking a further step backwards by downgrading the subject.

I would suggest that not only should we increase access to the study of geography, but we should also make it compulsory.

This would help the next generation of decision-makers in making better choices that unfortunately our politicians and leaders are failing to do regarding the future of our planet and young people.

Downgrading geography takes away the key practical and analytical skills that young people so badly need in today’s world.

This decision will be felt mostly in years to come when today’s second-level students will head out into society. I urge the key decision makers in politics and government to review this short-sighted and misguided move and reverse the decision so that we can look forward to having geographers solve the challenges facing the next generation at local, national and international level.

Edward Sheehy

Geography Department

Schull Community College

West Cork

Readers' Blog: Demoting geography is a backward step we will regret

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