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Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war."


Via Seth Dixon, Paige McClatchy
Al Picozzi's insight:

As a former British territory English is the main language for now.  Because of the country's success in harsh economic times immigration to this country is increasing, which is chaning the demographics.  Spanish is now growing in importance as immigrants from Gutaemala, Honduras and El Salvador enter Belize. These immigrants are supplying the cheap labor to work in the sugar and banana platations in the outlying areas, while others are working in the oil export industry and the growing tourism industry.  Much like the migrant workers that come to the US to work in agriculture, the immigrants to Belize are taking the low paying, but labor intensive, jobs that some people that do just not want to do.  One thing I found ironic, politicians "buying" votes to the new growing immigrant population...sound familiar??

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Chris Costa's curator insight, September 23, 2015 2:18 PM

It's interesting to compare and contrast the reaction of Belize's English-speaking population to an influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants with that of the United States. I enjoyed reading that the welcoming of immigrants by the ruling political system has done much to lessen racial tensions, with the various ethnic groups scattered along the political spectrum. This contrasts sharping with the American political spectrum, where there is a clear racial divide between conservatives and liberals. Americans could learn a lot from Belize in this regard, although the transition has been far from smooth in the nation. Although Spanish is now taught in schools as a result of the reality of the immigration wave in the country, there is some push-back from English speaking groups. Many employees of service industries are losing their jobs to those who can offer bilingual services, as well as some other economic changes as a result of the influx of new immigrants. However, the degree of this tension is a lot lower there than it is in the United States. It will be interesting to see how this debate shapes up in the future; it could very well serve as a helpful model for American politicians.

Alex Smiga's curator insight, October 4, 2015 11:49 AM

You won't BELIZE this link.... get it.

I'm hilarious.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 7:48 PM

This country of Belize seems to be a very interesting place. I never knew that in Central America, there was a country who's official language is English. It is made up of a lot of retired British soldiers and North American "sun seekers." Migration into Belize comes from other place in Central America, of its 300,000 person population, 15% are foreign born. It is now becoming a very mixed country and Spanish is making a gain on English. Schools teach in English, but Spanish lessons are mandatory. A  population boom both helps and hurts the economy. Most migrants are of working age and are willing to work low wages in brutal conditions. A lot of Belizeans tell census that they are not working and with Spanish gaining ground, a lot of monopolistic people are losing jobs to those who are bilingual. Although there are frictions between ethnic groups, in general things are good and political party lines are not divided by ethnicity. 

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Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"Even before the earthquake Haiti's environment teetered on the brink of disaster. Brent and Craig Renaud report on the country's deforestation problems."

 

What about a disaster is 'natural' and what about the disaster is attributable to how people live on the land?  This video highlights the poverty, architectural and environmental factors that exacerbated the problems in the Haitian Earthquake of 2010.  This is a merging of both the physical geography and human geography.  


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Wow amazing to see how one environmental tradegy, the deforestation, can have a huge outcome when a natural disaster hits an area.  There are no trees, literally, that can soak up the run off from heavy rains, this in turn weakens the soil, whcih when an earthquake hits with just make it that much worse.  We need to learn from this as cities int he US continue to expand further and further out.  We will ever reach this kind of deforestation?..who knows..look at the floods in Colorado which was in turned help by the huge forest fires, no trees to soak up all that water.  We need to head this warning and really plan when we are expaning our cities.

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James Hobson's curator insight, September 25, 2014 10:26 AM

(Central America topic 2)

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case:

Which came first, the deforestation or the disparity?

I believe the answer can be both.

At first such a country's inhabitants might not know what devastating impacts manmade environmental changes such as deforestation can have - or, they might just have no other choice. Here disparity comes first. But unfortunately such effects can be far reaching. Deforestation can 'come back around' and be the cause (not only the result) of disparity: erosion, flooding, landslides, lack of natural resources. These all contribute to further disasters and crises, which continue the repeating trend.

Dr. Bonin has held classes pertaining to this same issue of deforestation, among the other issues which Haitians face. IN addition, the company I work for has been sponsoring a campaign to help humanitarian efforts in the country, and I have worked with people who have lived there.

Lastly, I can't help but notice an uncanny similarity between the deforestation of Haiti and that of Easter Island. I hope Easter Is. will be used as a warning message.

 

Alex Vielman's curator insight, September 29, 2015 3:13 PM

Conditions in Haiti were bad in Haiti even before the disaster of the 2010 Haitian Earthquake occurred. The video shows images of the clear deforestation Haiti is suffering as a country. A lot of the mountain tops and hills are seen white without those bright green colors. It is said that the country is already 97% deforested. The reason so is because charcoal is basically the only way Haitians can cook and even make money off of if possible. Sometimes people do not like to accept that the countries own people, are affecting their living environment. Haitians live in a country where nights are spent in the dark in rural areas. The charcoal is the light Haitians depend on as well.

Haiti is a country of extreme poverty that don't offer an alternative to charcoal, which is the reason for its deforestation. A lot of Haitians blame the governed for the lack of infrastructure in the country but its all the mudslides fault. It is something that physically humans can not contain unless alternative methods are used to prevent deforestation. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 8:05 PM

Conditions in Haiti are just terrible. This place is 90% deforested and people use charcoal and such to cook. Haiti was hit by an earthquake in 2010, but even before the earthquake, deforestation was a major problem. Most of the people that live here live in darkness with no electricity. To get light, people use charcoal, charcoal has very many great uses in Haiti. Individual survival means cutting down as many trees as possible to get charcoal so you can provide for family. Problems with this country is that technologically and natural disaster survivalness is poor. Floods and mudslides will continue to happen and people will die, also the infrastructure will not improve. A lot of problem would come from the government too, lack of help from a government creates a failing nation. 

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Colombia's gold rush

Colombia's gold rush | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Gold fever is sweeping across South America and is at its most lethal in Colombia where it is fuelling the civil war.

 

 

 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

The war has now shifted from Cocaine to Gold.  Seems that alot of the planters when from planting cocaine to mining for gold...illegally according to the Columbian government.  The government is taking land from the native people and taking for themselves in order to get big business, especially foregin owned ones, to invest in their country.  Does it south familar.  It should.  1874, Black Hills in the then Dakota territory of the US.  Seems gold was found on Native American land..an expedition led by George Armstrong Custer confirmed gold was there...which led to..native Americans being forefully moved from their land into the Montana territory..which eventully led to the 1876 Great Sioux War in which Custer was killed and eventaully the Sioux and the Lakota and the Cheyenne being defeated by 1877.  Seems there is a parallel going on in South America.  Looks like the old axiom of those that do not learn history are doomed to repeat it proves itself correct again.

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Derek Ethier's comment, September 30, 2012 6:57 PM
This is a sad yet all too occurring phenomenon in underdeveloped nations. In Africa, they fight Civil Wars over minerals like oil and coltan. Here the fight is over gold. When government is unable to control militant groups, they take control over natural resources using violence. It is also unfortunate that international companies are coming in to sweep up the wealth. Colombia is unlikely to keep too much of this wealth in their own nation.
Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 6, 2012 10:30 PM
Colombia's gold mines are bringing out greed in all nations. Civilian wars are breaking out over the gold. Native people are scared and fleeing their homes. The Colombian government has to watch closely over who is working the mines. The government does not want miners without licenses in the mines, because the government will not be paid royalties on the gold.
Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 11:58 AM

In countries where the government is not as stable as most, the demand for gold makes people willing to literally go to war over mines in Colombia. In the 1990s there was a large outrage about "blood diamonds" out of Africa. This reminds me of that. In the developing world we are seeing horrible circumstances arising to gain wealth and provide a valuable commodity to the highest bidders. 

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Lax U.S. gun laws enable killing in Mexico

Lax U.S. gun laws enable killing in Mexico | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
U.S. needs to help end the violence....

 

When I say "illegal goods trafficked across the U.S.-Mexico border," most of us immediately think about narcotics from Mexico coming into the United States.  However, the border is more complicated than that--the violence on the border isn't only a problem with Mexican governance, but many of the deaths are directly attributable to guns coming form the United States.  This is an op-ed piece arguing the the United States' gun laws are a part of the ongoing problems along the border.   


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Illegal trade runs in both direction, drugs from Mexico north and guns and ammo south from the US.  Some of the trade was a badly handled "sting operation" to trace where the gun eventually went, but the government lost track of where they went and were not able to find the bigger bosses in the cartels.  Compared to gun laws in Mexico, yes ours are lax, however I think to state them as lax or weak in general might be an overstatement.  Some countries are even more strict, like Great Britian and there are some areas of the world where a child can buy an AK-47 off the street in broad daylight.  It is all taken in contex. 

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Brazilian Ethanol

Brazilian Ethanol | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"Distilling ethanol from tropical sugarcane takes less land and uses less fossil fuel than starting with corn grown in temperate climes. That makes Brazilian ethanol, unlike the pampered and grotesquely wasteful American version, competitive with hydrocarbons and genuinely good for the environment." 

 

Although ethanol is working well for Brazil, there is a growing literature supporting the idea that wide-scale ethanol production is not sustainable or environmentally beneficial.  This is a great example to demonstrate that economic and environmental policies are locally dependent on geographic factors and are not universally transferable.  For a simple explanation of the differences in the economic and environmental differences in the production of sugar and corn-based ethanol, see: http://cei.org/studies-issue-analysis/brazilian-sugarcane-ethanol-experience  


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Great idea here.  i know that using corn is much more expensive than sugar, nut imagine the tade we can get with Brazil if we imprt more sugan ans then use it for gas.  It will probably still be cheaper than the regular gas, and the corn ethanol.  In the long run if this is used, along with the shale oil depositis the US has, we can reduce our dependance on oil from areas like the middle east and other countries which in turn can create many jobs here in the US.

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 11:25 AM

Brazil is taking advantage of its natural resources to make themselves competitive in the global market. Today geography can change the shape of the economics around the globe. The prospect of economic growth and energy competitiveness has made them short sighted.  Brazil has to beware of becoming a mono-commodity country that relies on a business that is not sustainable.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:35 PM

While only Brazil is taking part in this and it hasn't completely replaced gasoline it is without a doubt a step in the right direction that hopefully other nations can learn from. While the hypotheses over how much oil fluctuates it is undeniable it isn't a permanent solution, the future of fuel must lie in renewal resources. Unfortunately oil companies hold so much sway in politics its unknown how much change is actually possible today. Regardless of this hopefully one day the world as a whole will realize this and seek to emulate Brazil's in innovation.

Taylor S's curator insight, March 23, 2016 7:58 PM

It is being said that the use of Brazilian, sugarcane produced ethanol is an effective means of self-sustainable energy, more officiant then the corn produced products. the reason this relates to my 5 year plan is due to the proposal that this energy can be used to reduce the emissions given off by different industries and provide clean energy. I believe that this is important as it would reduce the type of impact these organisations have on the environment.

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U.S. Travel To Cuba Grows As Restrictions Are Eased

The Obama administration has relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba, reinstating Bill Clinton's policy of allowing people-to-people travel.

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

With this news you can seen how the times are changing.  Compare this to my scoop on the Cuban Missle Crisis of 1962  i believe we need to normalize our relations with Cuba.  They really are not a threat to our national security, I can't see them alinging with countries like North Korea or terrorists like Al-Qaeda.  This area of the world as a whole needs to be somewhat like the Canadian border, not not completely open.  Can you imagine if a country like Cuba in NAFTA??  Why not? Great market for goods and services. Also the historian in me would love to see Cuba.  Lots of History there just to be seen..who knows maybe there will be an opening soon.

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Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, February 14, 2015 7:40 PM

The growth between the U.S and Cuba has increased business wise from their past. Allowing tourists travel to Cuba is a slow process of Growth leading to more of an expansion in whatever business whether it be oil or goods to trade its a slow process of trust that's appearing between the two.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 8:21 PM

I think it is a good idea to have lifted restrictions on Cuba. We are talking about a restriction put on a country because of a Conflict called the Cold War, but the Cold War is long done now. It is also ridiculous that as a free country we are not allowed to travel there really without government approved sightseeing. Although the government approved sightseeing is informative for both culture and education, with less restrictions, people should be able to do stuff outside pre approved government tours. Being able to wander the country freely might even possibly boost economy from money being spent. 

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 11:50 AM

with the relaxing of restrictions towards Cuba an increase in tourism can obviously be expected to rise massively, especially as Cuban repatriates gain the ability to go and visit family and ancestral homes. this new policy will prove to be good for Cuba.

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In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.

 

This skyscraper that was once a symbol of wealth, in an incredible paradigm shift, has now become is occupied by squatters. The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside. A complex web of geographic factors needs to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation. The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

An example of people doing what they need to do to live.  Some people look to the US and its system of captialism that say that is the cause of our issues, homelessness which is one of the issues.  But the Chevez, who has now died, government, which has critizied the US for not helping its poor, has the same issues, in a more government controlled economy.  All types of governements have their issues and it is not limited to just the US, China, Russia and so on.  Alot of people claimed Chevez to be an englighted leader, staning up to the US and providing for his people, however the reality is for him, and for all societies, not everything is perfect and  every country in every region has issues that need to be handeled.

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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:34 PM

The video we watched of the squatters living in an unfinished skyscraper was unlike anything I've ever seen before. In a country with such high population rates and a housing shortage, people have gotten creative and made homes in this 45 story building where they share what would have been office spaces and bathrooms.  Over 2,500 people have moved into the dilapidated skyscraper and made a home out of it for their families. They have rigged electricity that the government does not provide for them and built small stores on almost every floor.  The people have not been evicted because the government of Venezuela knows of the housing shortages, yet does not fix it.  

I feel ashamed that a country with so many oil resources has such high rates of poverty and no one is fixing it.  It shows the corruption in the government through an extreme although innovative example.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 2014 10:46 AM

The problems in Venezuela with housing and the lack of response to the problem by the government has led people to become squatters.  The using of the abandoned buildings was a good idea by the original squatters.  The vacant buildings can house many of the countries it is a shame that the government did not think of this solution to the housing problem and vacant building first, if they had, they could have made sure they were safer for the residence.  The idea of a vertical city springing up in this building is also an interesting one.  Not only are squatters living in these buildings but creating businesses and other services for the residence.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:02 PM

In life, I constantly find myself comparing situations with what I read and what I know. Imagine this skyscraper is the Prudential in Boston. How could something meant to be so great fall to its death (and to peoples literal deaths)? One day there is a massive financial building occupied with bankers and lavishness. The next day there is a skyscraper in the form of a house. Housing shortages are happening everywhere and Venezuela is being hit hard in this situation. Imagine visiting this country and asking where someone lives? "Oh, I live in the Tower of David, which used to mean a whole lot more."