Professor Mark Macklin, Head of the School of Geography at the University of Lincoln and Foundational Director of the Lincoln Centre for Water and Planetary Health presents his inaugural lecture on the defining roles rivers have played and undoubtedly will continue to play in the global development of human society and culture.
In the 21st century we expect to see a growing demand for water, increasing pollution of river channel and floodplain environments, and anthropogenic global warming related changes in the frequency of floods and droughts that will have major environmental and societal impacts worldwide. Drawing on more than four decades of research conducted in the Danube, Indus and Nile Valleys, Central Asia, the Mediterranean, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, Professor Mark Macklin considers how rivers initially shaped hunter-gatherer (The rivers of Homo sapiens) and agrarian (The rivers of civilization) societies, and then how urbanisation, industrialisation, and intensified agriculture have more recently transformed river systems (The rivers of the Anthropocene) compromising planetary health.
Humanity now faces an existential environmental catastrophe of its own making and it will be on the world’s most densely populated floodplains where this crisis will be played out. Interdisciplinary catchment-based approaches are urgently required, and Professor Macklin will explore solutions to these problems using contemporary geographical methodologies.
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