Emeritus Professor of Geography at University College London.
I was a member of the original Board of Directors of Friends of the Earth in the early 1970s and have been involved in debates about environmental issues ever since. I am intrigued by the persistence of attitudes to risks. For the past 30 years, the same arguments, slogans and insults have been shouted past each other by the participants (or their descendants) in disputes about issues for which conclusive evidence is lacking. My current work on both risk and transport issues seeks to understand these attitudes and the reasons for their persistence, in the hope of transforming shouting matches into more constructive dialogues.
“Risk in a hypermobile world” encapsulates my present research interests. My attraction to transport problems grew out of my involvement in the 1970s and 80s as an objector at public inquiries, on behalf of Friends of the Earth, to the British Government’s road building plans. See “Hypermobility: too much of a good thing” for a summary of my current take on transport problems, or “Cross-Thinking about Sustainability: hypermobility – a challenge to governance” for an extended version.
In the last few years my interest in risk has broadened to include its financial aspects. In 2006 I was elected an Honourary Member of the Institute of Risk Management , and my essay “Risk management: it’s not rocket science – it’s more complicated” was awarded the Inaugural Roger Miller Essay Prize by AIRMIC (the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers).
I was a member of the RSA Risk Commission, and of the Metropolitan Police Covert Policing Ethics Committee – which quietly disappeared.
I am a Fellow of Goodenough College.
This blog has been set up by my daughter Laura who has become my computer Help Desk. My inaugural blog “On becoming Vashti: reflections of a novice blogger” will indicate the spirit in which I am approaching this venture.