28 June 2016

Geography department guest speaker: Matt Dickinson

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The Geography department welcomed Matt Dickinson on Monday 20 June to give a series of lectures.

Matt Dickinson is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. His most notable film success was Summit Fever in which he reached the summit of Everest via the treacherous North Face. Matt has started writing fiction for teenage readers and to celebrate the launch of The Everest Files www.everestfiles.com. Matt spoke to Year 7, Year 9 and Lower Sixth students, perhaps inspiring a new generation of adventurers.

Matt’s tailored lectures focused on the extreme cold environments of the Himalayas – the rugged and unforgiving terrain, the altitude killer and the risk of deadly avalanches. Students left under no illusion that Everest is the ultimate test – to take the body to 8848 metres tests the human body to the absolute limit! The job of an Everest porter is arguably the toughest job in the world – mostly young men carrying twice their own bodyweight for six to eight hours a day for 20 Nepali rupees – many of these porters end up with spinal problems and crippling joint conditions which can last a lifetime, but the problem is a deep one – many uneducated young men have hardly any opportunities to earn money.

Matt also spoke about how climate change is impacting the high-altitude glaciers – the majority of the Himalayan glaciers are shrinking fast and one massive impact will be the gradual drying up of the many important rivers that spring to life in the high Himalaya. Many millions of people in Asia depend on these rivers for their livelihood. If the glaciers disappear so will some very important rivers.

Paul Thompson

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