Academician Fu’s presentation gave an insight into geography from three areas: basic geography knowledge, the development of geography and last but not least, policies and decisions and geography. From the beginning, geography is a comprehensive discipline studying the intersection of both science and humanities. To give an idea of how geography intersects with different subject areas, he gave some examples. Economic geography, political geography are examples of humanities subject areas crossed with geography.
The mission of geography, according to Academician Fu, is to solve sustainability issues faced by humanity. Its theory, methods and technology can all be used to provide solutions. Beginning with the World Climate Research Program in 1980, the Global IGBP Change, IHDP and many more, geography has entered into a new period of time. Topics that are being focused on during this time include dynamic planet, which focuses on observing, explaining and predicting the trends and mechanisms in the changes of the Earth, its environment and social structure. Global development is another topic that discusses the sustainable development issues such as water, food and clean energy. Lastly, there is sustainable transformation, focusing on the socio-economic development and environment management strategies on a global scale.
Academician Fu then provided some examples that displays how geography in the new era manifests in. For instance, in the work of sustainable development, the protection and preservation of ecology, urban and rural planning and food crisis are some of the areas that are being focused on. 3S technology is present in all areas of problems involving geography. He also reported on the changes on the research topics in Geography in both U.S. and China. In America, climate, land and water resources, large scale landmark changes in human activities are some of the recent focus for NSF. For China, more sponsored researches are on hot topics in the international scene, such as global climate change, soil microbes, GIS, RS and spatial analysis.
In the final part of his presentation, academician Fu talked about the need for development in geography for national strategies. Global issues regarding environment, resources and sustainable development on regional and global scale are becoming one of the direst situations for mankind. While globally, climate change and integration of international economies are some of the policies that are focused on, in China the issues are more like new urbanization, urban-rural integration and more. The rapid development and urbanization of China brought unwanted consequences to the already fragile ecological system. Chinese geologists and geography in China should integrate with the international scene more, and improve on the high technologies to analysis data, hence able to be of value to policy making in China.
During the Q&A session, he engaged in conversations with students and continued to share his thoughts and gave recommendations for further reading. The lecture ended with everyone immersed in the great insights of Academician Fu. It was indeed a very productive afternoon.