Dr Meg Sherval
|Work Phone||61 2 4921 6809|
|Fax||(02) 4921 5877|
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
The University of Newcastle, Australia
I was appointed to a tenured position at the University of Newcastle in July 2009 after 2 years (July 2007-June 2009) as a lecturer in the Department of Environment & Geography at Macquarie University. My PhD and Masters of Environmental Science were studied part-time at Macquarie University.
- PhD, Macquarie University, 2008
- Master of Environmental Science, Macquarie University, 2000
- Climate Change Impacts
- Legal Gegraphy
- Political Geography
- Resource and Environmental Geography
- Rural Geography
Remoteness, Impacts of resource depletion, Resource contestation, Resource nationalism, Social and economic impacts of climate change, Territoriality, Environmental law and ethics, Land-use transformation, Rurality.
My research interests revolve around constructs of nature, resource use and the social, economic and political impacts of environmental change. At the core of my research is a desire to understand and explain the spatial and temporal dynamics of natural resource development. I am interested in the economic processes and cultural practices through which nature and the environment are visualised and enacted as resources for utilisation by humankind. I am also interested in what transitions need to be made when resource stocks begin to decline and communities are faced with an uncertain future. Through this focus on resources, my work problematises the treatment of the environment and the commodification of nature within modern economic development.
My geographic research interests lie in two specific domains: a) the international (specifically the areas of the Arctic and Alaska on the Pacific Rim) and b) nationally (in the Hunter and other locations where transition to the effects of climate change and resource extraction are taking place). In researching these places, I seek to understand the complicated dynamics associated with climate change, strategic decision-making and contestation over access to, and use of, resources and the natural environment. As this type of Environmental Geopolitics is a newly emerging field of study, it is my intention to contribute to and further academic discussions in this field. A focus of my research will concentrate on furthering understanding of the intricacies involved in making a transition (particularly in rural and remote regions) and dealing with uncertainty, vulnerability and risk which remain important as we grapple with the effects of climate change, land-use transformation and contested ideas around the use of nature and resources in a globalizing world.
My work contributes to a robust tradition of critical geographical inquiry which recognises how 'natural resources are not naturally resources until human intervention'. It examines how resource geographies are structured in significant ways by economic, political, environmental, social and cultural processes and how new resource geographies are created by greenfields discoveries and the opening up of new frontiers. At the other end of the scale, my work examines life in resource-dependent communities during post-production stages and also considers what alternatives may exist for these communities in the future.
This geographical focus therefore examines the complicated processes that produce nature and shape spaces and places, and engages with questions of knowledge, environmental governance, scarcity, vulnerability, transition and sustainability that are at the heart of modern environmental geography. It also examines the ongoing peripheralisation of remote, resource rich places by neoliberal corporate strategies and questions how the dynamics of climate change and globalisation might affect future decision-making. I seek to understand the complicated dynamics associated with climate change, strategic decision- making and contestation over access to, and use of, land, resources and the natural environment. Therefore, my research aims to answer the following over-arching questions:
- How do vulnerable communities cope when faced with dwindling resource supplies?
- Is there a viable alternate future for post-productive spaces?
- How does contestation over resources, territory & climate change manifest itself & how does it affect transitions associated with resource depletion and climate change at multiple scales?
- Is it possible to make the transition towards increasing climate extremes without enhancing more cumulative effects?
- What does the future hold for agriculturally -based industries in Australia?
- How do we ensure more sustainable usage of water without damaging our future needs?
Fields of Research
|Human Geography Not Elsewhere Classified(160499)||100|
Centres and Groups
Body relevant to professional practice.
- Member - Institute of Australian Geographers
- Member - International Arctic Social Sciences Association
- Member - Geographical Society of NSW
- Member - International Society for Environmental Ethics
- Member - The National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia
Committee/Associations (relevant to research).
- Member - Western Regions Science Association (USA)
- Member - Association of Polar Early Career Scientists
Rural Geography Study Group - Institute of Australian Geographers (Australia)
|2011||2011 Teaching and Learning Award |
The University of Newcastle (Australia)
For inspiring students through engagement in real-world scenarios offering ‘solutions’ to environmental problems by successfully challenging students to 'think outside the square'.
|'A Sustainable Agricultural Future for the Hunter Valley - Fact or Fiction?'|
The National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia, Australia (Invited Presenter)
|Fostering Climate-Change Adaptation in Rural Alaska through Boundary Spanning Collaborations and Knowledge-sharing Networks|
The National Science Foundation, United States (External Examiner.)
Honours coordinator (Macquarie University 2008), Acting Honours Coordinator (UoN 2010). Course Convenor - ENVS 1003, ENVS 1004. Lecturer - ENVS 2002 and ENVS 2008.
- Environmental Ethics
- Resource Management
Environmental Ethics, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, Geopolitics, Land-use transformation, Resource Geography, Sustainability options.