The Willow Project

Environmental and climate activists are using the internet to protest against a plan to drill for oil and gas in the US state of Alaska by a company called ConocoPhillips. The leader of their country, President Joe Biden, is trying to decide if he should allow this plan to go ahead. Many people have signed a petition online to say they don’t want the plan to happen, as well as sharing messages on social media with the hashtag #StopWillow to show their support for the cause. In recent weeks, there have been 50 million direct views of #StopWillow videos on TikTok alone.

While the project has supporters and opponents in its home state, it has become a lightning rod on social media. Over the past week, TikTok users have galvanized around halting the project, with a staggering number of people watching and posting on the topic.

What is the Willow Project?

A road and oil pipeline on Alaska's North Slope

A road and oil pipeline on Alaska’s North Slope

ConocoPhillips plans to spend $6 billion to dig for oil and gas in the North Slope Borough, Alaska. The place they want to extract oil is called the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a huge land area that people haven’t touched. It’s on the North Slope of Alaska, the biggest piece of untouched wilderness in the USA.

The proposed location of The Willow Project

The proposed location of The Willow Project

Will the Willow Project be approved?

President Joe Biden’s team has said they will allow a smaller version of the project. The people responsible for looking after the land, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), have looked at the plans and decided they like one option the most. This option would have fewer drill sites, a block on Arctic Ocean drilling and less surface development than the original ConocoPhillips plan. The company had wanted to dig in five different places and build many roads, seven bridges and pipes to transport the oil. A judge in Alaska had said that the original decision was not good enough because they didn’t think about the environment properly. A final decision about the project could be made soon, maybe even this month.

Why is the Willow Project important for Alaska?

The Willow project area holds an estimated 600 million barrels of oil, or more than the amount currently held in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the country’s emergency supply.

The project is important to Alaska’s economy. Oil production has declined in the state, which relies heavily on drilling.

ConocoPhillips said the project would deliver up to $17 billion in revenue for the national (federal) and local (state) governments and Alaska communities.

The Biden administration has also been urging U.S. oil companies to invest in boosting production to help keep the price of oil low for consumers.

Is there support for the Willow Project?

There is widespread political support in Alaska, including from those in power — Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy and state lawmakers.

There also is “majority consensus” in support in the North Slope region, said Nagruk Harcharek. He is president of the group Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat, whose members include leaders from across much of that region.

Willow’s supporters – including a coalition of Alaska Natives on the North Slope – say Willow could be a much-needed new source of revenue for the region and help fund schools, health care and other basic services. Supporters have called the project balanced and say communities would benefit from taxes generated by it. They say these would be used to invest in infrastructure and provide public services.

In recent weeks, several Alaska Native groups have also travelled to Washington for routine meetings that have often become about Willow and the state’s oil industry. Although some in the nearest town to Willow, Nuiqsut, are concerned about the project’s local impacts, many Alaska Natives stand to receive a slice of the revenue, which they say will help reduce poverty and boost generational wealth.

What is the Environmental Impact?

The BLM feel that a slimmed-down version of the project would be better for animals like polar bears and yellow-billed loons. This is because removing the most ecologically sensitive site in the project reduces the number of drilling sites from three to two. ConocoPhillips would need to shrink its development footprint by about 12 per cent to protect a yellow-billed loon nesting site and caribou migration paths.

Environmentalists are still against the project because they think it goes against what President Biden promised to do to help with climate change. They also think it would affect the land and the animals that live there through the construction of hundreds of miles of roads and pipelines carving through often pristine wilderness.

By the government’s estimates, the project would generate enough oil to release 9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon pollution a year – equivalent to adding 2 million gas-powered cars to the roads. Over 30 years, climate groups have estimated it would release around 278 million metric tons of carbon pollution, which is more than 70 coal-fired power plants could produce annually.


Sketch Notes in Geography

Geography is a fascinating subject that helps us understand our world. There is much to learn from studying natural resources, climate patterns, and human geography. However, it can also be challenging, with much information to remember (most GCSE specifications have too much content!). In all honesty, I have often struggled to retain key facts and figures about geography (and other aspects of life!). My children often joke that I have a terrible memory. Having seen several posts on social media about the power of sketch notes, I decided to investigate further. Sketch notes are a visual way of taking notes that involve drawing and writing to represent information clearly and concisely. Instead of just writing down words or phrases, sketch notes use images and symbols to represent ideas, making remembering and recalling them easier.

Below is my first attempt at a sketch note covering urbanisation. I still have a few tweaks (the data for megacities needs some work to make it more ‘sticky’), so let’s call it a first draft. Please, don’t judge my dodgy drawing skills and left-handed scrawl!

First attempt at a geography sketch note

The sketch note above was created using Procreate on an iPad. However, sketch notes can just as easily be created using other apps or with paper and felt tips or the holy grail of geography, pencil crayons.

The sketch note below was also created using Procreate on an iPad. However, it could easily be produced using paper and pens.

Natural Hazards Sketchnote

I’ve found several advantages and disadvantages to using sketch notes. Let’s focus on the positives first. The first benefit I found was that I could recall the information on the sketch note. Several days after creating the sketch note, I could recall all the key statistics, and for someone with the short-term memory of a sieve, I was pretty blown away by this. Secondly, creating the sketch note made me carefully consider the information I would include and plan the sketch note. This process made me evaluate the information I had at hand (for the experiment, I used a GCSE Geography revision book) and carefully consider the most important information I should include. At the moment, I’m thinking batch-making sketch notes and giving them to students will remove some of their power. Lastly, I was proud of my first attempt and felt engaged and motivated to explore this technique further (and write this blog post about it!). I’ve come across lots of educational snake oil in my time, and this is not an example. I’ve concluded that this is a powerful tool for improving recall. I’d be interested in exploring its wider application (any geography departments interested in exploring this, do let me know!).

On to the disadvantages. The sketch note took me quite some time to create. I redrafted several areas and didn’t quite get the layout right the first time. Perhaps this is part of the learning experience, and I will get it right next time now I have a bit of experience. Also, my drawing skills are not the best so I had to get some inspiration from the Internet. I’ve started creating a cheat sheet with images and icons I can use next time to overcome this. The perfectionists out there might find this challenging. Because I created this on an iPad, I spent too much time redrafting sections of the sketch note. Perhaps committing it to paper might make me less fussy about it looking ‘perfect’.

Using sketch notes for revision in geography could be an effective way to help students retain key information. With the vast amount of data and concepts to remember in geography, it can be difficult to keep everything straight in one’s head. Sketchnotes can help to organise this information into a visual format, making it easier to understand and remember.

For example, when studying urbanisation, there are many key facts and figures to remember, such as the percentage of the world’s population that lives in urban areas and the rate of urbanisation in different regions. Using sketch notes, students can create diagrams, charts, and maps to represent this data visually. They can also use symbols and images to represent key concepts, such as the impact of urbanization on the environment and society.

In addition to helping with memory, sketch notes can be a fun and engaging way to revise geography. Students can use different colours and styles to create visually appealing notes that they are more likely to enjoy reviewing. This can help to make revision less stressful and more enjoyable.

To start with sketch notes, students can create a basic layout for their notes. This might include a central theme or topic, with different branches representing key concepts or subtopics. They can then use images and symbols to represent these ideas, with arrows and lines connecting them to show the relationships between concepts.

When revising geography, it is important to focus on understanding key concepts and their relationships rather than just memorising facts and figures. Sketchnotes can help students to do this by breaking down complex ideas into simpler components and representing them visually. This can help to create a deeper understanding of the subject matter, which is essential for success in geography.

I would be tempted not to launch using sketch notes with students close to final exams. They will likely struggle to get through the content. Instead, I’d be tempted to teach them how to use sketch notes early on in the course and then set it as regular homework or, if you have time, have review lessons where the students can summarise learning using the technique.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on using sketch notes. If it is something you’d like to try, please drop me an email. If there’s enough interest, I’d happily put together some guides and cheat sheets to support your students using the technique.

Update – 14th March 2023: I’ve started assembling a guide to creating sketchnotes for revision on Internet Geography. In addition, Internet Geography Plus subscribers can now download an editable guide to creating sketchnotes (you need to be logged in to download) that can be shared with students to guide them through the process.



Food shortages in the UK

Seasonal food refers to the times of the year when the harvest or the flavour of a given type of food is at its peak. This is usually the time when the item is harvested. Before supermarkets, most food eaten in the UK was sourced in the UK and seasonal. Fruit and vegetables were available according to the season. For example, during the summer months, lettuce and strawberries were widely available, whereas, during the winter, parsnips and cabbage were sold. Food was also preserved by being bottled, frozen and pickled.

Today, we are used to enjoying seasonal fruit and vegetables throughout the year. However, because some food cannot be grown throughout the year in the UK, it has to be imported from other countries, along with food that is not native to the UK, such as avocado and mango. Therefore, there has been an increase in food being imported into the UK.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), a trade group, UK supermarkets import 95% of their tomatoes and 90% of their lettuce in December and typically import the same proportions in March.

Why is fresh food in the news?

Three big supermarkets in the UK have restricted how much fresh food people can buy, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. This is because they want to ensure enough food for everyone and don’t want the shelves to be empty. We don’t know yet if other shops will also have restrictions or if there will be a shortage of other types of food.

Fresh food shortages in UK supermarkets

Fresh food shortages in UK supermarkets – Empty shelves in Tesco.

How big is the problem?

Morrisons and Asda supermarkets in the UK have restricted how much fresh food people can buy. Morrisons says people can only buy two packs of tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers, and Asda says people can only buy three packs of broccoli, cauliflower, raspberries, and lettuce. On Wednesday, Tesco and Aldi said people could only buy three packs of peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Other supermarkets haven’t said anything yet, but some people think there might not be enough food for a few weeks.

What is behind the shortages?

Getting fresh fruits and veggies in the UK is becoming harder because of two problems. First, the weather in Europe and North Africa has been bad, so there isn’t as much food to import. Second, it costs more for UK and Dutch farmers to grow their crops in greenhouses because of higher energy bills, and they planted less food this winter. This means there’s not as much food in the UK, and stores have to rely more on getting food from Spain and north Africa, which were also hit by bad weather. This has led to a shortage of some types of fresh food.

Are things worse in the UK than the rest of Europe?

It seems like France and Germany aren’t having the same problems as the UK when it comes to getting enough food. There’s not as much fresh food in the UK because the weather hasn’t been good, and British farmers aren’t producing as much as usual. This means there’s not enough food, and stores have to ration how much people can buy. The National Farmers’ Union president says there might be even more rationing if the farmers have to pay high energy bills. Some farmers also waited to plant their crops because they weren’t sure it was a good idea with all the problems. It will take a few weeks before the UK can make enough food to fill in the gap. This means stores have to buy food from Spain and Morocco, but there’s not enough to go around, so stores might not have as much food as they need and might have to pay more for it.

So is Brexit to blame?

Many farmers and suppliers don’t think that the UK leaving the EU is the only reason why there’s not enough food in stores. However, some farmers say that Brexit and the pandemic have made things harder because they have to pay their workers more because there aren’t enough. Some people who bring food into the UK from other countries say that Brexit has made it harder to get it here on time because of more paperwork and higher costs. This is especially difficult for food that goes bad quickly and must be moved quickly.

What other food stuffs might run short?

Salad foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce are hard to find now. It’s also tough to get aubergines, lemons, broccoli, and lettuce from Spain. In the UK, frost damaged crops like cabbage and cauliflower. But that’s not all. There’s also a shortage of eggs because of a bad bird flu outbreak. All the birds must be kept inside, making it expensive to keep them warm and lit. So, there aren’t as many eggs being made in the UK as usual. One big supermarket, Sainsbury’s, has had to get eggs from Italy because there aren’t enough in the UK.

What could be done to help the situation?

The National Farmers Union wants the government to help British farmers who rely on energy. The president, Minette Batters, thinks it’s unfair that botanical gardens with large glasshouses get help with their energy bills, but food producers with greenhouses don’t. The farming minister, Mark Spencer, says the government is looking into this.

Even though salad crop prices are increasing, farmers might not make more money because they have contracts with supermarkets and suppliers that set prices. Some farmers are upset because supermarkets sell food too cheaply, below its cost. But supermarkets don’t want to raise prices too much and lose customers during the cost of living crisis.

The 2023 Turkey Syria Earthquake

We’re collating resources to support teachers covering the recent devastating earthquake in Turkey. First and foremost, we’ve shared links to anyone who can support NGOs working to help those affected. Additionally, there are links to support teachers in sensitively delivering events such as the earthquake, including advice on supporting the young people affected.

Earthquake Relief

There are many aid agencies providing support to those affected by the recent earthquake that has affected tens of thousands of people in Turkey and Syria, including:

Please email us if you are aware of other aid agencies providing support or can provide a link for donations to aid agencies.



Below we have included links to websites that support teaching events such as this in a considered way. After all, many children from Turkey and Siria are being educated in schools outside of the country and may be in one of your classes.

Primrose Schools

Blog – Teachers Pay Teachers

Supporting young people during the initial response to a disaster


Warning – Some of these videos contain footage you may find distressing.

Sky News – Devastation from Above – An aerial view of the Turkey-Syria earthquake

News Links


BBC News Turkey – Syria Earthquake Home

Turkey earthquake: Screaming, shaking… how it felt when the quake hit

Turkey earthquake: Where did it hit and why was it so deadly?

Turkey earthquake: Why did so many buildings collapse?

Turkey-Syria earthquake: Fire at Iskenderun port extinguished

Syria: Rescuers search for earthquake survivors in Harem

Turkey earthquake fault lines mapped from space – BBC News

Turkey-Syria earthquake: UK aid appeal raises more than £50m

Turkey quake: President Erdogan accepts some problems with response

Turkey earthquake rescue efforts disrupted by security concerns

Turkey earthquake: Roman-era castle destroyed by quake

Turkey earthquake: Hope as foreign help arrives in quake-ravaged Antakya

US pledges $85m for Turkey-Syria earthquake relief


The Economist (requires a free account)

What made the earthquake in Turkey and Syria so deadly?


The Guardian

The Guardian – Turkey – Syria Earthquake Home

Turkey and Syria earthquake devastation – in pictures

Tuesday briefing: Why the Turkey and Syria earthquake was a catastrophe

Before and after satellite images show scale of earthquake destruction in Turkey

Turkey earthquake death toll prompts questions over building standards

Istanbul stock market shuts to prevent selloff after earthquake


Sky News

Sky News Turkey – Syria Earthquake Home

Turkey-Syria earthquake: Which countries have offered to help and what aid are they providing?

Turkey earthquake: Strong, shallow and beneath a highly-populated area – this is the worst kind of quake

Turkey and Syria earthquake: Why have so many been killed, and will it be difficult to get aid to the right places?


BBC Science in Action – Turkey-Syria Earthquake


What is The Final Countdown?

The Final Countdown is a comprehensive set of resources to support students in the run-up to exams. The work of JB GeogTeacher inspired the initiative.

The Final Countdown has been created to provide students with weekly revision activities in the run-up to the AQA GCSE Geography exams in May and June 2023. Each set contains a six-week revision plan to support students in organising their revision. In addition, each week has a QR code to online resources, guides, quizzes and exam questions (including example answers and mark schemes) for students to use to prepare for their final exams.

Feedback from an Internet Geography Plus subscriber

Feedback from an Internet Geography Plus subscriber

The image below illustrates how The Final Coundown works.

The Final Countdown overview

The Final Countdown overview

Internet Geography Plus subscribers can access the six-weekly revision sheets when they are published (week 1-6 is available now!).

Each week, revision is divided into three sections, revise, quiz and exam questions.


Students revise an area of the specification, and the QR code will take them to a menu of pages on Internet Geography to support this. In addition, we’ve provided A3 templates for the students to use to structure their revision. These include knowledge organisers and mind maps. The image below shows examples.

Knowledge organiser and mind map templates are provided for each week

Knowledge organiser and mind map templates are provided for each week

Internet Geography Plus subscribers can download the first batch of knowledge organisers and mind maps for lessons 1-3. More are coming this week!


Review is an opportunity for students to revisit their learning by completing online multiple-choice quizzes to test their knowledge. These are all available on Internet Geography for free. Alternatively, Plus subscribers could direct their students to the Internet Geography Plus MS/Google forms quizzes to monitor progress (and completion!).

Exam Questions

Finally, students complete exam questions based on the area they revised the previous week. To support students, we’re putting together a guide to completing each question and an example answer.

We’ve published the first couple of student pages if you want to see an example here.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll add many resources to support The Final Countdown. Internet Geography Plus subscribers can access the resources here. However, if you’re not a subscriber, why not join to access this and hundreds of other resources? Please take a look at our subscription options.

If you have any questions, drop us an email.

Wind generated a record amount of electricity in 2022

Offshore Wind Farm in the UK

Wind-generated a record amount of electricity in 2022

In 2022, Great Britain generated a record amount of electricity from renewable and nuclear sources, exceeding the amount produced from fossil fuels such as gas and coal. This marks the second-highest level of renewable electricity generation after 2020. The switch to green power is a crucial way to combat the negative effects of climate change.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are also becoming increasingly cost-effective, which could result in lower electricity bills over time. While gas remained the primary source of electricity in 2022, according to the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), electricity from wind turbines increased in importance. Overall, 48.5% of electricity in Great Britain came from renewable and nuclear sources, while 40% came from gas and coal.

On a single day in November, wind power produced more than 70% of electricity, or around 20GW. This energy is sufficient to heat approximately 1700 homes a year. The record was broken again on December 30th, when wind turbines generated 20.918GW of electricity.

During five months (February, May, October, November and December), more than half of electricity came from zero-carbon renewable and nuclear sources. The use of coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, also declined, accounting for only 1.5% of electricity in 2022 compared to 43% in 2012.

Despite the increased capacity for renewable energy, the 2015 ban on onshore wind has limited the country’s capacity to increase wind power faster. In December 2022, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed to relax restrictions that effectively prevent onshore wind turbines.

Despite concerns about climate change, the UK approved the first new coal mine in 30 years and opened a new licensing round for companies to explore oil and gas in the North Sea.

The impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on energy supplies and pricing, as well as sanctions imposed on Russia, a major supplier of gas to Europe, also affected nations like Germany, Spain, Italy, and the US, leading to an increase in renewable capacity.

Finding Plus Resources

Since we started Internet Geography Plus three years ago, our bank of resources has almost reached 1000! We’ve put together this guide to help you find the resource you need because we know your time is precious!

Finding a New Resource

If you are looking for a recently published resource on Internet Geography Plus, there are two ways to find them.

Finding resources on Internet Geography Plus

  1. Click What’s New in the Plus menu. The What’s New page contains links to all the new resources on Internet Geography Plus. Each link will take you to the page where you can download the resource.
  2. The quickest way to find and download a new resource is to click the Search Plus link. This will take you to our search facility. The newest resources are listed at the top of the page. You can use the filter menu to find other resources on Internet Geography Plus.

Internet Geography Geography PLC+

Today we’ve launched our first in a series of new PLC resources to support teachers and students with revision. Internet Geography PLC+ has been designed to overcome one of the biggest weaknesses traditional PLCs have presented to teachers and students.

Personal Learning Checklists are typically used in one of two ways. Either they are completed by the teacher, based on the evidence they have of each student, or they are completed by the student, choosing red, amber or green for how confident they feel about each aspect of the unit. The former is time-consuming, while the latter is susceptible to students being over or under-confident resulting in them not directing revision effectively.

Our new PLC+ resources have been designed to support students in making more accurate judgments on their PLCs, support their revision, and improve their exam technique.

Our first PLC+ covers the AQA GCSE Geography Coastal Landscapes in the UK. As you can see from the image below, we’ve made some tweaks to the traditional PLC.


Firstly, each section of the PLC has a code. For example, C1 covers Waves. We’ve included a code so that when teaching Waves, this code could be displayed for the students, who then record it, providing them with a reference point in their notes for revision (they could go through their exercise books and do this retrospectively).

Secondly, we’ve added an exam-style question to each section of PLC+. When students are grading/RAG rating each section of the new PLC, they are to reflect on how well they would be able to answer the question. As students complete their PLC, you might want to challenge them to see what they would include in a particular answer to see how accurate their RAG score is!

Thirdly, we’ve added a QR code to a comprehensive collection of online resources on Internet Geography (free to access) to support revision and assist students in completing the exam-style questions on the PLCs.

PLC+ QR Code

Scanning the QR code takes your students to a page dedicated to the unit on Internet Geography. Each unit page contains links to online notes (for revision), a multiple-choice quiz, a short answer quiz and an example answer to each exam question on the PLC. The image below shows an extract from the Coastal Landscapes in the UK PLC+ page.

Internet Geography PLC+ Online Resources

Internet Geography PLC+ Online Resources

The online resources can be used in a range of ways, for example:

  • Students can complete the multiple-choice quiz and short answer questions before completing PLC+
  • Students can complete the example exam questions before filling in the PLC or demonstrate they are at Green by completing the exam question. Once they have completed the question, they can go online and check their answer against the mark scheme/example.
  • If students are Red/Amber, they can go online, read through the online notes, produce revision resources then check their knowledge using the quizzes. Finally, they can complete the exam questions and assess themselves against the online examples.

We are developing PLC+ resources for each AQA GCSE Geography unit over the coming months. PLC+ will also be made available as E-PLCs (Google/MS Sheets). We’ll then move on to other specifications.

Internet Geography Plus subscribers can now download the first editable PLC+ covering Coastal Landscapes in the UK. In addition, there is also a PowerPoint that can be used to present PLC+ to students.

Log in or subscribe to Internet Geography Plus.

Please let us know if you have any thoughts, comments or feedback about PLC+, we love hearing from you!


Coastal Management at Mappleton Video

Mauna Loa 2022 Eruption