The International Geographical Congress that concluded at the University of Cologne just a few weeks ago was an unprecedented success for the IGU.  Thanks to the selfless efforts of the IGC2012 Local Organising Committee under the fine leadership of Dr Frauke Kraas and Professor Dieter Soyez the congress went off without a hitch.  Moreoever, the numbers of delegates surpassed all expectations, as more than 2800 Geographers from more than 80 countries across the globe decended on the University of Cologne to share their research ideas and network with each other.  Especially encouraging for the IGU was the large number of younger registrants.  The Congress proved that – by bringing it Down to Earth – it is possible to attract the participation of younger individuals in a very real way.  We study a discipline that uniquely straddles the social and natural sciences.  The failure (until recently) of science to understand the fundamentally integrated nature of earth systems at a range of spatial scales – something that Geographers recognised long ago – has led us to the brink of a global environmental crisis.  Let us use our talents – through research and teaching – and especially through the invigoration that our younger practitioners offer – to lead the way.  The Congress proved it can be done.  Congratulations to the organisers and good luck to the Chinese delegation who formally invited the delegates to the next one, to take place in Beijing in 2016.  In the meantime, you can catch highlights of the magnificent opening ceremony and the wonderful keynotes by following the link to: http://livestream.igc2012.org/

The ‘Blue’ team of volunteers who worked so hard to ensure the delegates were well cared for