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Island Biogeography

Part I, island biogeography in a World Regional context...click here to watch part II, why island biogeography matters in places that aren't on islands.  All links archived at: http://geographyeducation.org/2013/12/06/island-biogeography/


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

I really could see the idea of island biogeography when looking at islands and the ocean and how they species could develop that way.  Until I saw this video I do not think I could have made that cross over to continents.  Now I do see it.  If we build something across an open plain it will effect how species roam the area.  I remeber seeing pictures of the Alaskan pipeline raised in certain area and could not until now figure out why.  Now I know it was done, at least partly for, environmental reasons. So animals could still travel under it in order to move about.  If not Alaska would have been cut in half and prevented the animals form moving across the pipeline.  So as nature effected the developement of species with the rising and falling of ocean levels and islands, human effect the developmentof species with roads, farms and cities to name just a few.

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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 4, 2015 12:35 PM

There are times where I wish certain species don't spread.  Other times I understand the migration and think it's great.  If humans died out then I believe all species would flourish just as Sir Ken Robinson says.  

Corine Ramos's curator insight, December 8, 2015 8:19 PM

Island biogeography operates on different principles than we see on the continents.  Soem extraordinary creatures such as the komodo dragon and thylacine can be found in isolated places removed interactions with more generalist species.  Alfred Russel Wallace made some extraordinary discoveries combining biology and spatial thinking. 

 

Island biogeography is pertinent today since habitat fragmentation (from urbanization and argicultural land uses) has rendered 'islands' out of the wilderness that isn't being used by humanity.  Some animals such as the cougar are locally extinct from their historic ranges (extirpation).


Tags: biogeography, environment, ecology, Australia, Oceania.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:06 PM
Island Biogeography is the theoretical explanations as to why species occurs, it also studies the species composition and species richness on an island.. it is not specific to land masses around water. Isolation gives species a strong place in their environment. The fact that new species and things show up are amazing, but sometimes new species are not properly adapted because there is no other general force against them and they do not ever learn to defend themselves.
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Typhoon Haiyan Before & After

Typhoon Haiyan Before & After | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
View interactive before and after images showing the devastation Typhoon Haiyan has caused in Tacloban City, Philippines.

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

The devestation is just incredible and almost unbelievable.  It really shows just how we are at the mercy of nature no matter how we try to change our environment.  The technology is also incredible.  Not 10 years ago what we see now instantly would have taken alot longer.  This can also help the international rescue effort in going to where they are needed the most.  Having this information is priceless.

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Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 3, 2014 7:01 PM

A great set of photos to show the great destructive force of a storm on coastlines. The Philippines are a bunch of small islands made up of primarily coastlines so this typhoon destroyed huge amounts of the country.

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, December 8, 2014 1:16 PM

We know that natural disasters cause a lot of damage and personal loss but we don't really ever know how much damage is caused until we see it.  Even when we do see it if we don't know what it looked like before it really doesn't mean anything to us.  Using these before and after maps you can really understand how much destruction happened when the typhoon hit the Philippines.  You can see the loss of property, infrastructure and natural resources that were once there.  The loss of not only peoples homes, but entire neighborhoods wiped right off the map.  The remnants of roads can be seen but that is all they are, remnants.  The ability to see the before as well as the after really strikes a toll and makes people realize that this is serious and not just another storm for the people that live here.

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 9, 2015 2:51 PM

Such powerful imagery. I was tinkering around with the pictures and moving the scroller from right to left, keeping my eye on a particular house that stood before the typhoon. To keep scrolling to the left and to watch that image of the house completely disappear was absolutely surreal. It made the news of the devastation wrought by the storm seem so much more real; here I was, sitting in class and watching a home- a place where a family once lived, where lives had been and were continuing to be forged- completely disappear from the face of the map, never to return. I have lived in the same home for 15 years, and I could never imagine watching my home disappear in such a manner. The psychological impact of this devastation on such a massive scale is unimaginable, something that must be endured in order to truly understand- and, unfortunately for the people living in these areas, they now understand it all too well. The financial recovery from this storm will eventually come- perhaps not as fast as hoped, but it will, as always- but the recovery in human costs will take much longer. For those affected, many will believe that there can never be a recovery. Watching that home disappear in the blink of an eye makes me feel that they are probably right.

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HowStuffWorks "Why is the Sahel shifting?"

HowStuffWorks "Why is the Sahel shifting?" | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The Sahel, the band of land that divides the Saharrah from Africa's rainforests, is shifting. Learn about the Sahel.
Al Picozzi's insight:

Alot of factors are casuing this change.  Lack of rainfall from a shifting climate due to warmer oceans, exterme population growth that is effecting the straining the carrying capacity of the area beyond its limit, farming in a way that destorys the soil and not allowing the soil to absorb what rainfall does fall.  All of this combined it allowing the desert to expand into the Sahel area.  There are ways to stop some of what is going on, like the article states in Nigeria they are changing how the people farm, by leaving the tress in place that hold the soil and allow it to retain the rain that does fall is just one example.  This area needs more than money thrown at it inorder to survive.  People have to be taught how to use the area in a way that will both sustain them and still keep the area arable.

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Rapid Landscape Change

Rapid Landscape Change | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
BOULDER, Colo. -- National Guard helicopters were able to survey parts of Highway 34 along the Big Thompson River Saturday. Here are some images of the destruction along the roadway.

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Amazing to see that mother nature can and will destroy just about anything that we can build.  We know where there are flood plains and we know that flooding will occur.  What we might not know, fail to see, or just completely ignore, is how devestating these floods can become.  It seems to be a cost benefit analysis.  Cheaper to build and rebuild rather than building somewhere else maybe??  Does it seem to make sense?  Why are they still ancient Roman works still standing, and in use today?  Did they just build it better or did they just build in the right location??

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 26, 2013 9:29 AM

Looking at these photos reminded me of the video that we watched in class where water was rushing under a road and within minutes the road started to fall apart and eventually ended up completely divided in half. It is amazing how quickly the water can erode what is underneath and cause such damage to the road and area around it. Looking through the pictures it almost makes you nervous to drive on such a rode again because it all happens so quickly. It goes to show you just how powerful that water is to cause destruction like that. It is not easy to destroy a road like that. Again it goes back to the goegraphy. This type of thing doesn't just happen everywhere. Having a river like this presents the possibilities of something like this happening. Once is starts eroding it happens quick. A road that may look driveable one minute may be completely eroded 5 minutes later. It is amazing how a rush of water can cause such damage. Even if there are set systems to get the water through, sometimes the water rush is too powerful and breaks through and erodes the earth underneath anyway like we saw in the video in class. I have never seen anything like these picture before, and it really is amazing to see what can happen. 

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 12, 2013 12:59 PM

By looking at these pictures you can see that the water just completely ruined this road. The road sunk in and collapsed as well. Will this road ever be safe to drive on again if it gets fixed?

megan b clement's comment, December 15, 2013 11:24 PM
National helicopters caught these pictures along the Thompson river while the water rages next to a road. The destruction of the water and its erosion had deteriorated the road.
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Mountain Fire: Natural Hazards

Mountain Fire: Natural Hazards | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
On July 18, 2013, a fierce wildfire threatened Palm Springs, California.

Via Seth Dixon
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Al Picozzi's comment, July 20, 2013 3:58 PM
Alot of fire going on out west. Check out the NASA site http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/fires/main/index.html that shows them from a satellite view of the various fires.
Louis Culotta's curator insight, July 21, 2013 3:48 PM

I think this shows that the weather has entered into a world of extremes of very hot or very cold, wet or dry and not to much of regular seasonal changes of the past typical patterns.

It shows that with general warmer ocean temps, has lead to this new type of weather patterns resulting from global warming. 

Josue Maroquin's comment, August 12, 2013 9:20 PM
When we are liviing in a hot and dry climate we are bound to face more devastating fires accident made or not
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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Workers at an ailing paper mill in Siberia are clinging to their jobs in the face of financial pressure and criticism from environmentalists.

 

The environment, industry and politics play key roles in this story of an old style Soviet mono-town on Lake Baikal.  Monotowns had planned economies that revolved around one industry and today many of these are struggling in the post-Soviet era.  While the particulars of the political situation are a bit dated, the overall issue is still quite relevant to understanding Russia today.   

 

Tags: Russia, industry, labor, environment, economic, water, pollution, environment modify, unit 6 industry.


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

We never heard about this during the Soviet Union as the news was controlled.  Also during the Soviet time I do not believe environmentalists would have gotton the chance to investigate the area.  With the fall of the USSR the world can now see some of the environmental effects that communism had on Russia.  These towns are built around the factory.  Much like the old steele towns in PA, like Allentown.  However Allentown chnaged with the times and is able to support, although it is difficult, the population that was focused on the steele industry.  Here is this remote area of Russia, there is nothing else in the area.  There is no service economy in the area, just the paper factory.  It has been kept open because of Putin who basically said to ignore all environmental laws and regulations and he made sure the environmental groups are not an issue anymore.  Not surprising from a former KGB Lt. Colonel and the Director of the FSB, the sucessor of the KGB.  To solve the issue in these monotowns I think there needs to be government intervention to transition the economies in theses areas.  To keep these factories running in the long run will just hurt all the people in the towns with no end in sight.  However, I do not think this will happen unless there is a change in the leadership of Russia, something I do not think will happen anytime soon.

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Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 18, 2015 11:12 PM

Lake Baikal is one Russia's oldest and deepest body of freshwater but is turning into a swamp, Russian ecologists warn. They say that tons of liquid waste from tourist camps and water transport vehicles is being dumped into the lake. The financial crisis in Russian has been a big problem because it is leaving factories abandoned and leaving waste all over towns. If Baikal is ruined, it is going to put tons of peoples lives at risk for people who depend on this water. Also, a part of this Lake is frozen. This is fresh clean water that makes this lake what it is. 

The paper factory has caused some major pollution into the lake and all the chemicals are affecting the lake each and everyday. This beautiful land could possibly be destroyed for measures aren't taken, and can also just be another wasteland. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:31 PM

This mill on Lake Biakal was created in the soviet era. This was created and made a increasing well place to work with the promise of a bright future for its workers. Instead when it comes to the post soviet era its a failing community. Not because of the workers but because of the era that they live in. The age of environmentalists. because of this the mill and its workers are suffering. Many of the people that had moved there to work in the mill in the 60's with a promise of a bright future. However today the people who originally moved there and the descendents are paying the price for the soviet promise. If the mill were to forever close then the people of the area would basically have no life and future. They wouldnt even have enough money to move out of look for jobs.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 1:28 PM

Seeing this video and the lack of human development in this small town is astounding. They are destroying a lake and the environment about them, they do not care though. Unfortunately, they have to not care about the environment, they are so desperate for work to make money to live and support themselves and family, that they are willing to do what it takes to keep their jobs at the mill. The workers and citizens of the area know about the consequences of the pollution, they know it needs to be taken care of, but with the depravity they have, they have to. They are faced with a situation no one want to be in... work and destroy the environment so they have money to live, or be without life necessities. 

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50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster

50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster: Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. ...

 

A haunting gallery that displays the effects of environmental and political mismanagement. 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

I was 15 when this happened.  The scare of fallout was huge as this was a total meltdown.  I also remember Three Mile Island, PA in 1979 where the scare was not as big as it was only a partial meltdown.  Today though it is the newly independant countires of the Ukraine and Belarus, former Soviet republics, that have to deal with the long term issues.  The pictures here are just errie, like this place just stopped in time and since in can't be inhabited for 10,000 years, it will always look like 1986!

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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 3:03 PM

The pictures are breathtaking.  What was once a modern and prosperous area is now completely devestated and basically irreparable for hundreds of years to come.  In some of the pictures it is possible to see the haste and desertion of buildings and rooms which gives a sense of fear and panic that the people experienced.  There is surely still so much that can be explored, but the radiation limits people and the danger of the area is hard for civilians to be within the boundaries of Chernobyl.  Places like this show how drastic the rise and fall of the Soviet Union really was.  Similar to mono-towns in Siberia, these areas were set up for people to flourish and become successful, but as history went on and disasters ensued, the great empire came crashing down.

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:51 AM

These photo's are rather gripping.  Many of the images seen here are of objects that have not moved or been touched in 25 years.  The entire population of Pripyat had to pack their bags and leave all in an instant. The chaos that must have ensued after the nuclear meltdown must have been haunting. Pripyat will remain like this for years to come, and one can imagine what it will look like in 25 more years.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 5:06 PM

this is a haunting reminder that we must always try to prevent the horrifying failures that result from mismanagement. that this was an event that had impacts as far away as France is often forgotten, and the thoughts of what may happen if something larger happens is even more horrifying.

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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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Al Jazeera-Nepal's Forest Future

Al Jazeera-Nepal's Forest Future | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
In Nepal, government owned forests are being felled at record speed, while community managed ones are thriving.

 

This is a great link for discussing governance and the environmental interactions and community.   


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

This shows want can be done to help preserve some of the natural habitat that we all need to live.  While the government lands are being used, illegally, though the government does nothing to stop it becasue of the economic stimulus it provides the lands given too the commnity are surviving and actually striving.  So why can't something like this be done in the Brazilian rain forest.  Set some of it aside to the community so they can maintain it, let it grow so that one of the most important natural resoures on this planet just doesn'tend up as ashes.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 5:00 PM

The deforestation of Nepal to supply the growing needs of India is an example of how growth in one country strips another of its resources. While Nepal may gain in the short term form logging away their forests, deforestation has steep long term costs. Many people live off the forests and their disappearance could threaten to ruin their culture.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 23, 2014 1:05 PM

Rapid population growth and development in a country can lead to dangerous resource drains, both illegal and legal, in neighboring countries. India's growth demands more wood, and Nepal has been trying to supply their demand. In the last 20 years, 25% of Nepal's forests have been harvested for the logging industry. The demand for wood and rising prices has caused an illegal logging industry that threatens non-governmental forests. Luckily, in the 1980s, Nepal handed over 25% of the forests to communities, who have worked to preserve them.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 3:09 AM

This is really a sad thing to behold, these jungles which for many many years have provided resources to both wild life and resources for the people of Nepal. Unfortunately now partially because of globalization these jungles are far more valuable for their lumber than as living forests. The destruction of the environment such as this is a huge catastrophe for the world as a whole. Ideally the government or foreign powers will do something to prevent the entirety of the forests from being cut down.

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The Philippines' Geography Makes Aid Response Difficult

The Philippines' Geography Makes Aid Response Difficult | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

I mentioned this before in a previous scoop that just the location and the grographical make up of the Philippines is going to make this effort hard.  Not is this area made up of thousand of islands, but it is over 5300 miles from Hawaii, the main US Naval Base in the Pacific.  It is going to take time just to get there and time is not a something that can be wasted.  Once there to get the aid to where it is need they I think wil have to do like a military combat hosbital..triage.  Who needs the help first and most and the others will have to wait.  It will be impossible to help them all at the same time..the US and the world will try, its just not going to happen quickly.  Just look at how long it took New Orleans to get the full aid, and that was located literally in the US's own back yard!!!!

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Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 30, 2013 10:59 PM

This is a devastating time for the people of the Philippines. All they have to worry about is staying alive and being close to there family members. Help is on the way. Everyone in the world should pitch in and try to help them in anyway they can. But what I would like to find out is why this has happen when it has not before in this country. This country I have not seen in the news before this big devastation had happened. I am also curious to find out how come the help aid is taking so long to arrive when people are dying because they have no food available for them because it has been destroyed or it is trapped under all the debris from all the buildings that have collapsed because they were not structured properly. this situation is a repeat of hurricane Katrina in the united states were all the house were not hurricane proof and were built in places known for disaster.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 19, 2014 10:37 PM

Due to the fact the Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands, it makes aid response very difficult. When natural disasters such as typhoons occur in the Philippines it can negatively affect hundreds of islands, making it difficult to help the people on every island. It can takes days for supplies to arrive on some of the islands, and sometimes people do not even receive necessary supplies such as food and water. Countries, which are composed of numerous islands, face many challenges.  

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 3, 2014 7:09 PM

Fortunately, the Philippines has a relatively stable infrastructure so even though lots of areas were hit, the human fatalities and issues are not as bad as they could have been. Unfortunately, these are many islands and getting from one to the next is very difficult when all communications and landing areas are compromised.

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'Absolute Bedlam' In The Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan

'Absolute Bedlam' In The Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

The news from the Philippines, where it's feared that last week’s powerful Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 10,000 people, isn’t getting better as hundreds of thousands of people struggle to survive and authorities struggle to get help to them.

 

"Its absolute bedlam right now," says Richard Gordon, head of the Philippine Red Cross.  “There's an awful lot of casualties, a lot of people dead all over the place, a lot of destruction.”

 

According to the BBC, a huge international relief effort is underway, but rescue workers have struggled to reach some towns and villages cut off since the storm.

 

Tags: physical, environment, water, disasters, Philippines.


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Just the remoteness of the area is going to hinder the relief efforts.  Even though the supplies are getting through it is getting through to the areas that need it the most is the problem.  When the infrastructure is not that good to begin with, the damage done by this kind of disaster is multiplied.  Look at New Orleans when Katrina hit.  It still took days for relief and just water to get where it was needed.  Imagine what that would have been like if the infrastructure was like like that of the Philippines.  The country is overwhelmed by this disaster and needs the help.  Its getting it but the problem still exists of how to distrbute it now that it is there.  Makes you wonder if Subic Bay was still open as a US military base if it would have made it easier.  Sometimes having a military base is not a bad thing.

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Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, November 14, 2013 8:50 AM

Even though the death toll resulting from Typhoon Haiyan is around 1,000, it is expected to reach 10,000.  International aid will hopefully help cities such as Tacloban City recover from this storm.

Jack Born's curator insight, November 14, 2013 9:16 PM

This is insane. It has affected millions of people and and even killed people. Its good that so many people are going to help though.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 3, 2014 7:05 PM

With so many of the citizens living on the coast, a large typhoon like this completely destroys most of the country. When this much devastation happens all at one time it takes a very long time to recover.

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Human/Environmental Interactions

The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century.  Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.  The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates. 


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

This has to be one of the most telling video of an environmental disaster I have even seen.  A whole sea, 26,000 square miles, bigger than the state of West Virginia, is bascially gone due to Soviet mismanagement.  This is an environmental disaster now that the Russians do not have to deal with as it is now located in the independant country of Kazakhstan.  It effects them as well as the new countries that have come to be withthe collapse of the USSR.  Seems Russian dodged this just like Chernobyl.  This is something we need to lean from, on how not to use a natural resource until it literally has dried up.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 8:49 PM

I've read about the disaster of the Aral Sea before when I was taking a class on Eurasian history, but being able to visualize it made it even more striking. It was especially striking when, at the end, the man was talking about the great paradox he sees between people who are being threatened with rising ocean levels and then his people who are threatened by the drying of the Aral. It really does show how humans impact the environment, and demonstrates that areas in which people are manual laborers, working resources, health and environmental conditions tend to be worse. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 12:24 PM

The Aral Sea, located in Central Asia is a very important water source for the entire region.  Unfortunately, the Soviet Union designated this water sources as one which would provide water to rice and cotton crops, which are both very water-intensive crops.  This has resulted in desertification of the area due to the cyclical shrinking volume of the lake.  Sands and chemicals are now free to blow around, affecting people's health.  This is one of the best examples on earth of environmental exploitation due to a lack of environmental planning.  When the lake dries up, the inhabitants of the surrounding countries will be in huge trouble.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, October 6, 2014 10:38 PM

The Aral Sea was a source of food for the residents, as it was home to thousands of fish and water was used to irrigate crops.Also acted as a climate regulator. Therefore, its virtual disappearance has caused winters and summers are extreme.Today the drought is considered one of the greatest ecological disasters caused by man. scientists estimated that the Aral sea will disappear before 2020. A plan to expand the cultivation of cotton throughout Central Asia and thus a system of canals for irrigation that significantly decreased the amount of water reaching the Aral Sea. It angers me to see that the human has being causing many natural disasters.

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Inside the Colorado deluge

Inside the Colorado deluge | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it

"Two things that helped make this rainfall historic are breadth and duration. Colorado can get much higher rainfall rates for brief periods and over small areas."


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Almost seems like a perfect storm scenario.  Large amouts of rain over a long perod of time over a large area.  This combined with a late summer/early fall heat wave and tons of moisture in the air, with climate change all contributed to the disater in Colorado.  They also believe the changes made by people to the physical geography over the last hundred years or somade have contributed to teh flooding in the area.  Development can effect the way a place floods.  Where there were once open fields and trees, there are now parking lots and houses which just can't absorb rainfall.  Makes you ask the question, shouldn't there be more study of where we exapnd our cities and what effect this will have in case of a major rainfall, earthquake, blizzard, etc?

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 16, 2013 8:20 AM

Our thoughts are with our colleagues and friends in Colorado as they are dealing with the impact of this historic weather event.  The geographic factors that contributed to this flooding are explained in this article from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).  Some are calling this a millennial flood, as it is well past the 100-year stage of flooding.  You may view the areas impacted on an ESRI storymap. and in this NASA imagery


Tags: physical, disasters, environment, water, weather and climate.

Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 16, 2013 3:40 PM

The devastating flooding in Colorado has impacted so many. The rainfall Colorado has experienced makes it the most on record. The massive amounts of flooding and devestation in areas like Boulder are caused by the highly populated valley areas.  

Tony Aguilar's curator insight, September 18, 2013 5:27 PM

      What was interesting about this particular deluge was how much rain fell and how it happened in such a short time. Meteroligist high wet density levels of vapor that rose to high altitutdes and was able to condense into water and help in a perfect combination of weather to create a powerfully dangerous flash flood.

    The article recounts a former major colorodo flood that occured in 1978 and had killed over 150 people during a centenial celebration.

   After this occurence warning signs were put up beside the roads to warn travelers of flash flood possiblities and to promote safety. These floods do not happen in Colorado often and are usually a surprise. They do not when the nextmajor flash flood may occur in the boulder region but they know through historical patterns that it will happen again. 

This article stood out to me because I have friends that live in these areas and had to run for safety and move their cars to prevent damage in these same areas. The good thing is that the people that I know from this area are doing ok.

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A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next

A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
Prof. Arnon Sofer sets out the link between drought, Assad’s civil war, and the wider strains in the Middle East; Jordan and Gaza are also in deep trouble, he warns

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Seems that water, not oil, might be the cheif source of conflict in North Africa, the Middle East, and Africa in general in the near future.  Water, like food, is the most basic resource we need to survive.  If that is cut off people as well as nations are more likely to go war over water, since we know they will over oil.  The climate change is more than just rising water on coast lines, it effects the water supply of nations and regions that have issues getting fresh water even without the climate change.  Seems we have to solve the water problem, as well as the oil problem now.

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 11:25 AM

The article explains how population growth, climate change, drought, and water shortages could have contributed to the rise of war in Syria. This is an interesting interpretation, one which certainly could have been a contributing factor, but not all the Arab Spring can be attributed to water shortages so it is not a direct cause. The water shortages in Syria and a lack of government response certainly could have fanned flames which already existed due to an oppressive regime and regional conflicts. Climate change gets a lot of attention for the potential damage it could do to the environment, but I had not given much thought to the conflicts it could cause between nations and peoples.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:22 PM

Egypt may be the next country to be in deep trouble. With so many militant attacks coming out of Egypt to being with there is no surprise that the Middle East thinks it will be next on the list.

Pamela Hills's curator insight, July 18, 2014 8:37 AM

 A world at war and hot spots are growing with people caught in middle <3

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Turbulence on the Mekong River

Turbulence on the Mekong River | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The Mekong River was once a wild and primitive backwater. Today, growing demands for electricity and rapid economic growth are changing the character of what is the world's 12th-longest river.

 

Economic progress for some often entails job loss and environmental degradation for others.  The once isolated and remote Mekong is experiences some impacts of globalization with residents having mixed feelings about the prospects. 


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Seems the price of modernizing will be the local economy that as existed here for centuries.  It is not a small industy either, it is according to the report a billion dollar fishing industry.  However with a growing population and a demand for electricity the river is the perfect source for this power.  This globalization, like all globalization, will help some and will hurt some.  What you have to ask yourself is will it help more than it hurts?  Will it help in the long run, over time?  For everyone involoved in globalization these answeres are never the same everywhere.

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Michelle Carvajal's curator insight, December 11, 2012 9:04 PM

There must be a better way to transport items and in return save the Mekong river from being degredated. Technological innovations are affecting the life in the river as local fishermen are seeing less and less fish traveling in the river. This is impacting them in the sense that they use these fish for their survival as well as for selling. They fear that in building dams and creating advanced roads over the Mekong will change their enviroment altogether and will hinder their livelihood. This is a beautiful river and I personally feel there could be a better way but there is always something sacrficed when the government choses a location to build on. - M. Carvajal

Emma Lafleur's curator insight, April 30, 2013 8:03 PM

It seems to be a theme that across the bored, people are building things that directly and negatively impact the environment and the local people. There are always two sides to the problem. On one hand, the dam can help with the development of Laos because it will bring in money, but it will also destroy the fish population and therefore many fishermen will lose their jobs and people will lose a food source. It is a difficult problem because Laos needs money because there is a lot of poverty in this rural country and the fishermen do not add a whole lot to the economy, but the people need a way to survive and make money for their families as well. It's a problem that I think will be around for generation to come.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 9:21 PM

The Mekong river is a river that many fisherman in Laos depend on for food and income. Plans to build dams that will cause the fish to seek an alternate route to migrate upstream. Critics of the dams say that the dams will cause the fish to abandon the Mekong river and go through their neighboring rivers, leaving the residents without a source of income. Many in favor of the dams say the reverse, that building the dams will boost economy and cause the area to flourish.

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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, 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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Floods Show What Lies Ahead for Sinking Bangkok

Floods Show What Lies Ahead for Sinking Bangkok | Als Return to Education | Scoop.it
The Thai capital, built on swampland, is slowly sinking and the floods in Bangkok could be merely a foretaste of a grim future as climate change makes its...

 

If 'natural' disasters are becoming more fierce and impacting human societies more, we need to ask ourselves: are the physical geographic systems shifting independently or is it human society that is causing the changes?  Is it the force of the hurricanes, earthquakes, floods etc. that have intensified or is the way within which humans live on the land that make us more susceptible and vulnerable to the effects of these disasters?    


Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's insight:

Seems that sinking cities is not just a problem for Venice.  As the cities grow larger and more and more land is needed, small cities that were built on unstable land are now larger.  These new cities cannot  be supported by the land they were originally built on.  As the natural disasters occur, and we know they will, they are intensified by the fact that a city has grown and more people are there.  There will always be natural disasters, but when a major flood hits and unpopulated area it is still a natural disaster just not on the same scale as hitting a city that is overpopulated or built up to a point where the land it is on just can't support it.  It is the human part of the disaster that makes it much more then just a natural disaster.

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Tracy Galvin's curator insight, April 29, 2014 6:17 PM

This situation with Bangkok is the same problem that New Orleans is facing. Building on lands that used to get regular deposits of silt is a bad idea. The ground not only continues to compact and essentially "sink" but the planet is covered in water that changes level regularly. Unfortunately, New Orleans has shown that levees don't really work and the earth will always reclaim the land it wants back.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 12:44 PM

Bangkok is one of the many cities that is severely threatened by flooding. Bangkok's slow sinking into the marshland combined with sea level rise could prove fatal for this city. Already the capital experiences major flooding, and officials are considering the prospect of moving the city. Otherwise, billions of dollars a year would be required to stave off the effects of climate change. 

 

Now that coastal cities (especially highly populated cities) are at more threat than ever from climate change, countries are going to have to figure out a way to battle the issue. Should we fight to maintain these lands, or do we allow them to return to nature? Natural environments are better able to buffer natural disasters such as storms and floods, but the cost, both culturally and economically would be incomprehensible.