Geography Personal Statement Example (Oxbridge)

Climate change and urbanisation demonstrate our planet’s dynamic nature. My passion for Geography comes from a desire to understand these changes and the social, economic and environmental issues they bring.

It is clear our climate is changing at a rate and to a level never experienced by our planet. Temperature increase is faster than Earth has ever experienced and CO2 concentrations have reached new heights. It is intriguing that we have entered unchartered areas and my ambition is to understand what the future holds.

My interest in the rapidly changing climate conditions led me to Dr James Hansen, who recently published a paper entitled Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms. He discusses the impact of ice sheet melting in Greenland and Antarctica, both consequences of warming. He assessed the possible impact of ice melting on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). He made me aware that this melting could halt the AMOC, driving superstorms far more powerful than any of modern time. I found this evaluation striking and it proves if we don’t change our habits we will put our lives at risk. It inspired me to join a campaign in which I sent an email to HSBC highlighting environmental problems caused by their investments, and how vital it is they change their attitude towards climate change. This was driven by a desire to contribute to reducing anthropogenic warming.

My concern for climate change led me to pursue an online course entitled ‘Climate Change’ by the University of Exeter. The new engaging content allowed me to develop my independent study skills, while furthering my knowledge. This introduced me to climatology, a new found strand that captured my attention leading me to A Very Short Introduction: Climate, which introduced me to how our climate system functions. The El-Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is discussed and the socio-economic implications of El-Nino events on countries in Asia and Pacific region became of particular interest to me. The event caused inflation in India; my knowledge of Economics allowed me to understand the adverse effects this has on an economy. Reinforcing my belief that the human population and the physical environment are entwined and showing climate systems have great power over our lives.

I uncovered that climate change is an increasingly important factor in urbanised areas. Further illustrating the interaction between the human population and physical environment. It is clear urban areas are crucial to the world economy. This prosperity could be undermined by climate change, a process to which urban areas contribute hugely. The process pushes people to the cities, as they escape the uncertainty of rural life caused by increasingly frequent extreme weather events, such as drought. They are driven to equally vulnerable urban areas. A World Bank article showed the 20 most vulnerable cities, I was initially shocked that the ever sinking Venice did not feature. After research I found that Venice is investing in the MOSE Project, which will protect the city and thus does not feature on the list. I am amazed that despite our knowledge we choose to base such fundamental parts of our world economy in vulnerable areas; with our decisions putting livelihoods at risk. It made me recognise how vital it is to our world economy that we change our attitudes. A huge challenge my generation will face, which I am determined to be involved in.

Outside academic study, I have participated in team sports which has required commitment and motivation, skills that can be transferred to a university setting. Part time work in customer service has developed my communication skills and confidence. Balancing my time between work and study has helped me hone my time management skills.

Equipped with a desire to understand our ever shifting planet, along with the skills I have acquired and a thirst to develop my knowledge, I believe I will be able to thrive in a university environment.

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