The blog of Laszlo Bokor

The blog of Laszlo Bokor

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Why learn geography? Why learn at all?

Hi there,

I was going through my archived documents and I came across a piece of writing that I did a few years ago. It is about Geography and why I love this subject. I thought this should be posted to here, so here you are. Read it please and get motivated. 

~ Laszlo


I believe it does not matter what subject you choose to learn in the end. You must choose and learn something that makes you happy and that you will enjoy doing as a profession throughout your life. Geography has always been my hobby and some years ago, I chose to study and be a geography researcher (MSc), because for me it is the most attractive subject that I can shape, develop, and improve—and not to forget about the potential chance to travel the world. Now, I have achieved a new milestone in my life: I have also become a geography teacher (I have done PGCE). For me, no matter if I research or teach, as long as it has a link to my hobby and makes me happy, I love doing it with a great enthusiasm.

I would not like to talk about clichés, but education gives you knowledge and confidence. And knowledge is valuable. It does not matter if you self-educate yourself or attend a university, as long as you keep learning something that interests you, you will gain a powerful tool that will always come handy in your life. In the social world where we all live, however, every human has to be recognised by a qualification. This is the document, your degree that you obtain once you complete your studies in a higher education institution. Why not gain a comprehensive and competitive knowledge with plenty of experience from a subject that gives you the most, enjoyable, and you can do it as a hobby? 

When you think of geography, it is not only a simple subject. Geography encompasses everything that can be seen on Earth, and everything that surrounds you in your environment. I would call it “the knowledge of everything”. You can talk about life—yes, biology is a great part of it; you can talk about the weather—yes, physics is a great part of it; or you can talk about your holiday—yes, tourism is a great part of it; talk about your beer, your coffee, your hamburger, your car, your smartphone, your telly, and so on and on, no matter what it is, everything will have some links with geography. So why not to have the ability to see behind the scenes instead of only focusing on one thing? 

Geography for many people appears to be something very complex and difficult. Truly, it is a very diverse conglomerate of scientific disciplines, but the level of difficulty is only defined by you. People always forget about the fact that everything in life and on Earth is geographic. When you drive your car, when you eat your breakfast, when you drink your coffee—all of these have geographical significance. So, in this sense, everybody on the planet is quasi a geographer. As a professional, however, you can also synthesise things and you become more aware of how your car has an impact on the economy, how your breakfast affects the natural environment, and how coffee bean production gives jobs to tens of millions of people worldwide. You will know what the difference is between physical and human geography, and how to combine them to have an outstanding and sustainable knowledge that is worth sharing with everybody. If you, however, end up teaching something different, like I have taught mathematics, you will be even more capable of raising the standards of any subject you teach with the involvement of geography. 

So, learn Geography, but at least, learn something that is important for you and not for the others!

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Here comes the palm oil!

Hi everyone,

The other day, I went with The Sign Hunters to New Mills and then I just discovered that the famous Swizzels products are actually made here locally.


According to the sign at the Swizzels factory in New Mills, these sweets have been enjoyed for 90 years now which is really impressive. We all know these products and they often pop up in our lives. Even I have got one at home as the t-shirt printers normally hide one for me in the package as a little treat.


Once I was back home, I checked the packaging of one of their sweets and it was good to identify the actual production site on the package. However, if you look at the ingredients, the factory uses palm oil to produce these things. I wonder whether that was an actual ingredient that they used 90 years ago, too? (I doubt that very much!)


You know, they might have an ethical source, but since so many companies put palm oil into their products (lots of them could be avoided or replaced by other ingredients) and the demand is enormous, there must be a level where even the ethical is unethical. Another example among many things is coffee, which is my personal enemy, and nobody will ever convince me that coffee bean production has any positive impact on the environment or that Fair Trade is actually good for the planet and the environment. I think No Trade is the best for the environment, but this would trigger a lot of argument mostly related to money, economy and poverty management. 

I am just trying to say that the overall problem is not the palm oil itself. Palm oil is actually extremely versatile, high in saturates, and much easier to produce than other types of oils. So consuming products with palm oil is fine to some extent, as long as the palm oil comes from sustainable sources. This is when you need to keep an eye out for RSPO or Green Palm label, so you know that the company ensures that your purchase is made with certified sustainable palm oil. But one can argue whether the actual producer follows all rules that apply... 

 

I, however, cannot just walk past my doubts that palm oil adds that much into a product. What I know for sure, however, that palm oil production really puts a massive impact on the environment and that is not positive at all. I am also having a problem with the fact that palm oil is not produced locally in the UK, because as you know, palm oil cannot be produced in the UK, so these sweets and other, similar products have an even bigger ecological footprint. And since we buy these products, they increase our own ecological footprints, too. It is hard to believe that palm oil and all the consumerism are so essential parts of our lives. For me, the best way to enjoy life is to not buy products that are unnecessary in our lives. This is the best way to refrain yourself from being a large-scale palm oil consumer. That is when you do the most against environmental destruction. So, buy fewer luxury commodities and then you will help the environment the most.

~ Laszlo

Monday, 18 June 2018

The fifth anniversary of GLS 1: Locality and the Energy Resources

Hi there,

Yes I know, I am fully aware that I have been neglecting my own blog and my fantastic audience as I have not put anything on here for a year now. And you also know, there can always be some sort of explanation, lots of things that I had to go through and that I had to deal with. Good news fellas, I am not going to bother you with the details, so let us pick up the thread where we dropped it a year ago! Hopefully, I will open a new chapter in my life today and catch up with all the work that I have abandoned for a while...

Today is a special day then: first of all, it is my return to the path I want to walk, and it is a celebration because I achieved a milestone on the 18th June 2013 and we must remember that day!

Geographical Locality Studies is our (Frugeo's) open-access journal - free to join, free to download, free to share. Today, we celebrate the fifth anniversary of publishing GLS 1: Locality and the Energy Resources which marks an important milestone in the history of this scientific initiative.  

Every GLS issue is dedicated to someone who has left their influence on the subject area that the current number investigates. in 2013, Locality and the Energy Resources celebrated Dr Klára Bank's 60th birthday and praised her commitments to highlighting the role and importance of geography of energy resources within Earth Sciences. Exactly five years ago, therefore, we enjoyed a birthday, a book publishing, and a workshop on energy resources which took place at the University of Pécs in Hungary. Today, we remember the 18th June as we began something exciting then and there, and it is fantastic to see how much we have achieved so far over these years. (It was also one of the most classic days in my life as it was the middle of Summer, about 50 degrees in the classroom, and I was wearing a dark green, long-sleeved shirt. As you can see, it was not a winning choice, but hey-ho, life goes on...)

Well done to everyone who has ever, in any way, contributed in GLS and thank you for lots of people's continuous support over these years. I am very pleased to write these lines today to honour all your help, work, and achievements. Thank you!

~ Laszlo, Editor-in-Chief 











Selection of photos of the event on 18 June 2013 by György Mánfai
Other photos by Laszlo Bokor (Frugeo GRI Limited)

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Our GLS publications can be downloaded free of charge, but hard copies are still available for £15 each and all profit goes to support future projects. Click here to order one today: http://www.frugeo.science/shop.html  

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GLS is a co-operative British-Hungarian scientific journal that sets its specialist area in locality, sustainability, environment-related issues, and energy resources. All the published issues and papers are available free of charge at Frugeo's website.

Published numbers:
- GLS 1 (2013): Locality and the Energy Resources - available at http://www.frugeo.science/gls1.html

- GLS 2 (2014): Locality and the (un)Sustainable Settlements - available at http://www.frugeo.science/gls2.html

- GLS 3 (2015): Locality and the Impact of Human Consumption on the Environment - available at http://www.frugeo.science/gls3.html

- GLS 4 (2016): Locality and the Global Challenges of Energy Transition - available at http://www.frugeo.science/gls4.html

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