James Borrell is a biodiversity scientist and science communicator researching how people and nature can adapt to environmental change.

Is there anything left to explore?

November saw one of the expedition and fieldwork highlights of the year, the annual Explore weekend at the Royal Geographical Society. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend as I was acting on the inspiration of the year before.

I think the thrill of exploring a place yourself for the first time, or making that journey despite many having done so before you, is often overlooked. No amount of media can prepare you for visiting the rainforest, or sailing an ocean for example. In that sense there will always be places for us all to explore.
Just before I left for South Africa, I had an email from Shane Winser at the RGS asking for thoughts on the topic “is there anything left to explore?” I jotted down some ideas as best I could and thoroughly forgot about it.

To my utter surprise, a few weeks later a friend emailed me asking “Is that you in Geographical?”, I assured him it probably wasn’t, being out of the country it wasn’t easy to check. Turns out, it was, and they quoted a couple of the things I said, alongside a scruffy picture from Madagascar.

I only had the chance to read it over christmas, and I couldn’t help laughing because they put me opposite Paul Rose. That was humbling, but I chuckled as I pictured him scanning across the page to my name thinking ‘James Borrell, who on earth is that!’ So thanks to everyone at the RGS, this has to be one of the highlights of my year.

Anyway, Paul Rose, Mark Mulligan and Helen Findley make some really great points, so I think it’s well worth a read (and without spoiling it – YES, there’s plenty left to explore!)