Cool news: embodying sustainable cooling practices | Call for papers | Royal Geographical Society – IBG Annual Conference 2021 | extended deadline – 5 March

Abstract   (Deadline for submission – extended to 5 March 2021 at 23:59 GMT)
Increasing temperatures and erratic weather are set to triple the demand for air conditioning by 2050 (IEA, 2018). A sudden growth in the demand for electricity can put existing infrastructures on the verge of collapse and will result in potentially irreversible environmental damage (Khosla et al., 2020). In fact, current active space cooling technologies come with a number of issues for the environment: from the use of super greenhouse polluting refrigerants such as hydrofluorocarbons (McLinden et al., 2017) to disposal mismanagements of old technologies, which continue to leak environmentally harmful gases (Lickley et al., 2020). Evidence show that vernacular practices in rural areas (Mazzone, 2020) and green design and architecture can alleviate the effects of urban overheating (Yenneti et al., 2020).

This session proposes advancing the understanding of current cooling trends and particularly the lived experiences of cooling and heating, cooling practices, and material culture of cooling. It investigates how cooling needs are embodied by different groups in different geographies. Moreover, this session seeks to understand the individuals’ internal tensions and ambiguity over sustainable behaviours and cooling needs as a ‘rite of passage’, and how this tension intersects with energy transition measures taken by governments and international organisations to facilitate the global transition to a more sustainable, nature-based cooling.

Contributions to the session might address (but not restrict to) the following themes:

  • Passive green designs; vernacular architecture and thermal comfort. What can we learn from passive and vernacular designs? How can these be scaled up?
  • Geographies of cooling waste: disposal cooling appliances, environmental racism and lethal gas leakages
  • The spatiality and sociality of cooling consumption: shopping malls, green parks and urban forest in perspective
  • Cultures of cooling: understanding the intersections between culture and everyday practices: the role of food, clothing and traveling in cool places as strategy
  • Governing the green city – shaping solutions to avoid the heat-island effect in emerging mega cities
  • Language and world-making of heat and cold – What can we learn from the socio-linguistics of thermal sensations?

Embodying sustainable cooling practices: Negotiating green cooling practices between material culture, governance and people’s lived experiences. Sponsored by the Energy Geographies Research Group.

Session convenors: Dr Antonella Mazzone, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Oxford, School of Geography and the Environment (; Dr Komali Yenneti, Lecturer at University of Wolverhampton (; Prof Radhika Khosla, Associate Professor at University of Oxford, Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment (

We welcome abstracts of up to 250 words by the 5 March 2021 (extended deadline) – please email your submission to;; and

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