AP Human Geography RSGC
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AP Human Geography RSGC
A collection of article summaries with analysis to coincide with the different units of study in the CGU4U-AP curriculum.
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Urban Planning Gone Wrong? (Unit 7)

Urban Planning Gone Wrong? (Unit 7) | AP Human Geography RSGC | Scoop.it
Simon Thomasson's insight:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/carlschramm/2013/05/14/its-time-for-city-planners-to-adapt-a-new-model/

 

            This article discusses how urban planning has become a less realistic business, taking less into consideration. The economic considerations are becoming less of ‘how can we afford this, and how will this make us money’ to ‘if we build this, hopefully it will make us money’. Urban planning is becoming “faddish” as it is becoming increasingly related to how the esthetic of the new design will be. Mayors of top American cities do not even plan for population either now or in present. There are no adaptations being made in consideration for future populations as neighbourhoods are designed based on perceived need. These neighbourhoods are often not even based on economic classes and associations with certain jobs. Analysis of jobs most highly concentrated in an area should provide a basis on which neighbourhoods (especially suburbs) are established. Proximity to the job infrastructure should be a major factor in determining the target income group for a specific region of a city, but this is often being completely overlooked. The lack of concern for public wellbeing, and focus on how the city will be perceived by others does not seem to be an effective way to go about planning the layout.

            I found this article to be rather shocking in that it explains a total disregard for all of the factors that we learned about that should go into urban planning. Learning about the urban models, we determined that agglomeration of businesses and similar establishments would make sense in that it reduces travel times and transportation costs. Building a residential area close to a factory or largely populated working establishment would seem to make sense. The American economy has indeed shifted away from primary industry in a shift towards more tertiary technology based industries, which might explain the lack of emphasis on proximity to the workplace. Detroit is a prime example of this as the economy has been completely destroyed by the lack of auto industry. I would still think that an effort would be made to promote working at a certain location by promoting close, accessible residences. This article explores the delicate balance of planning a city to function and support itself, and in this instance, perhaps jobs and the economy is not the primary concern of the city. Perhaps this is a city in a state like California where much of the industries are footloose and do not require a specific location from which business takes place. In this case, the esthetic would be likely important as this technology would promote and warrant a more modern city. This is an interesting comparison and one that could be analyzed in great depth.

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GMO's (Unit 5)

GMO's (Unit 5) | AP Human Geography RSGC | Scoop.it
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http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-protection-act-signed-by-obama-gmo-bill-written-by-monsanto-signed-into-law/5329388

           

Genetically modified organisms are widely debated topic in today’s society as the pros and cons of these engineered foods are weighed against one another. Ample research has yet to be conducted to fully determine all adverse effects on human health that could result from the consumption of modified organisms. Many people are completely opposed to the idea of genetically modifying crops as this will also affect the genetic diversity of crops as crops are designed to outlast all harmful conditions. GMO’s could be a very profitable endeavor for big agri-businesses, in particular Monsanto. Monsanto aims to monopolize the food industry and control the lions share of all food produced, including GMO’s. A large business like Monsanto is however very unlikely to take risks with possible human-negative side effects caused by the ingestion of GMO’s. This is where the Monsanto Protection Act greatly benefits the company. The bill signed by President Obama fully protects Monsanto from any possible legal action taken in response to a health concern. This bill simply guarantees profits for Monsanto, and in turn the American economy and government, making it a strategic move at best.

            The signing of this Monsanto bill can be argued to be beneficial to Americans, however I believe that the negatives greatly outweigh the positives achieved by this bill. This bill essentially eliminates all right of Americans to promote their safety and well being by eliminating the ability to take legal action against these big corporations. It is unlikely that one person would win a legal battle against a company like Monsanto, but there is something to be said for allowing the public the right to try. These GMO’s are part of the modern day agricultural revolution, which will ultimately benefit the world in that it provides a reliable food source to support our ever-growing population. Many of the advancements being made simply support bulk production and are not always concerned with safety and I feel as though there should be more emphasis on health. Industrial ranching has gotten a lot of heat recently as the practices used to raise livestock are becoming widely known and disliked. I believe that people have a right to challenge policies that they do not support. Buying grain fed meat, or organic vegetables to avoid any genetic modification is very expensive and not accessible to everyone, and those only able to afford the mass produced products should still be able to have confidence in the nutrition and health of their food. 

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Balkanization (Unit 4)

Balkanization (Unit 4) | AP Human Geography RSGC | Scoop.it
Simon Thomasson's insight:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/world/europe/clinton-urges-serbia-to-accept-kosovo-and-its-borders.html

 

            United States Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, has told the Serbian Prime Minister that he must accept the boundaries between Serbia and Kosovo. Serbian forces were driven out of Kosovo in 1999 after a NATO airstrike completely obliterated the Serbian offensive force. There was a large ethnic clash between the two regions, as the Serbians did not like the largely Albanian population. Serbian Prime Minister Slobodan Milosevic (Prime Minister at the time, not currently) was an extremely racist and fascist leader and had been given power for the first time. The Republic of Yugoslavia had just collapsed, creating six new Balkan states. Kosovo was a region within Serbia, however the two populations were nothing alike and hated each other. The Serbs did not favour the largely Albanian population and the conflict eventually escalated into violence in the Kosovo War in 1999. The Kosovo forces were no match for the Serbian army so NATO stepped in and ended the war. Kosovo became an autonomous region, but was not internationally recognized as its own nation until 2008. Serbia has refused to accept the terms and boundaries imposed by the UN, and the nation is fearful of the largely Albanian populated Kosovo government. The two populations have been clashing since the fourteenth century so there is bound to be some lasting animosity, which does not surprisingly create some fear. The two nations are in extremely close proximity and it would take very little to start and facilitate a war. Serbia has been told they must improve relations with Kosovo in order to be accepted into the European Union, which would include integrating the Serbian population in Kosovo with the rest of the citizens. The Serbian population is largely segregated and schools and programs are even funded by the Serbian government, an activity that must be stopped as a condition for Serbia to join the EU.

            This article connects completely to our class discussions about Yugoslavia and balkanization. Cultural and ethnic clashes are often a result of subsequent and superimposed boundaries as these are not always able to properly accommodate the two different populations within a state. Yugoslavia was broken up into six different states, which made it even more challenging to satisfy all parties involved. Sovereignty was finally to be had by all of the new independent states, which had previously not been allowed to make their own decisions, and this was bound to lead to exploitation of power. Increased nationalism would have been experienced by these new states who would have felt the need to prove themselves on the world stage, case and point Albanian-Serbian conflicts. I think this article is extremely interesting in that it shows the continuation of an extremely long conflict that has not been resolved even with physical separation of the two opposing forces. Centrifugal forces continue to divide the two sides, who likely are not even sure what their conflict is about after all this time. Our in class discussions about Yugoslavia and the balkanization of the region provided excellent background for this slightly complicated topic. I feel as though there is no good reason why the two sides still disagree, however I feel that way about most conflicts. I feel as though Serbia will make an effort to get along with their neighbours in order to reap the benefits of joining the EU.

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Endangered Language (Unit 3)

Endangered Language (Unit 3) | AP Human Geography RSGC | Scoop.it
Simon Thomasson's insight:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nataly-kelly/dying-languages_b_2641505.html

 

            Languages can become endangered due to many different factors, and once a language is lost, it is very difficult to revitalize the language and the culture of the people who once spoke it. MIT researcher Deb Roy is making great strides to improve the chances of reviving a language once it has been lost. He presents the idea that the key to this is having data and historical documents recorded in the language that has been lost. One language dies every fourteen days, which means that by 2100, more than half of the languages spoken on earth will have disappeared. This means that we must start to record our languages so that they can be revived in the event of a catastrophe, which causes the language to be lost. There is evidence to support Roy’s claim through the actions of one very impressive First Nations woman. Her tribe’s language had been lost for over 150 years when Jessie Little Doe Baird decided she wanted to acquire the language spoken by her ancestors. The language spoken by the Wampanoag tribe was not easily accessed, however she was able to uncover some historical documents written in the native tongue. She was able to make deductions as to the grammatical structure and pronunciation from centuries old transcripts. The idea now is to have video and audio recordings to make these endeavors much easier. The Living Tongues Institute partners with National Geographic and is a world leader in language preservation. The group, founded by K. David Harrison travels all around the world in an effort to preserve the language and culture of small, endangered groups. With permission from group leaders, they collect modern data as to the function of the group and the way they speak to one another. This will allow future generations to easily protect and revitalize the languages of the past. Future generations are the key to a thriving culture and Microsoft is making great strides to keep languages alive by implementing operating systems in many new languages, recently including Cherokee. The loss of a language typically signifies the loss of human knowledge, and this is far more important than the loss of the language itself.

            I found this article to be extremely interesting and has in fact opened my eyes to a new career path. I have always enjoyed learning new languages and I feel like it is extremely important to keep other cultures alive. We can learn so much from other people and the way they live from their language, and if we lose that language, we lose knowledge of the history of the human race, which could be fascinating and eye opening. This article is a prime example of how folk culture is being overrun by pop culture and how it is becoming increasingly difficult to survive as a smaller community. English is becoming the language of business and it is very hard to get a job without speaking this international language. Efforts of multi-national corporations like Microsoft to increase awareness and support for smaller groups and somewhat unknown cultures are a great step towards world recognition and acceptance. Cultural extinction is becoming a huge problem as economic factors are influencing the spread of cultural traits (especially language). Younger generations are becoming increasingly acculturated in order to thrive and break the cycle of life their families have lived for generations. This all ties back into the theme of pop vs. folk culture in that advertising and flashy cars, money, models, music are all things that influence younger generations to want things their ancestors had never been exposed to. This article ties in with human geography as it perfectly represents cultural hardships and the relationships between different groups of people and their locations. The people at risk to lose their languages and culture are often very isolated and have smaller populations. I think that there is a lot of progress to be made in preserving smaller cultures and recording data pertaining to their languages is a fantastic start.

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Bolivia's Resources (Unit 6)

Bolivia's Resources (Unit 6) | AP Human Geography RSGC | Scoop.it
Simon Thomasson's insight:

http://nacla.org/blog/2013/5/23/industrializing-bolivia’s-gas-bolivia-not-brazil

 

This article discusses the economic advancement of a previously outer reliant nation, Bolivia. Bolivia has abundant natural gas and quinoa resources, but other than that is not the most self-sufficient nation. Bolivia has remained fairly undeveloped economically as they do not provide many tertiary services and relies mainly on their primary and secondary sectors (mining and farming) to provide economic stability. This new plant that has been constructed is the first step towards industrialization. The plant is able to separate rich gases form the natural gas extracted from the ground in Bolivia. This allows Bolivia to produce its own butane, ethane, and gasoline. Bolivia is now able to produce over $16 billion in hydrocarbon resources from their natural gas and spend less than the $1 billion they currently pay Brazil annually for gasoline. This new plant will make Bolivia self sufficient with surplus, allowing for over $500 million to be made in distributing hydrocarbons to neighbouring countries. This plant has paved the way for industrialization in the field of natural gas as two more plants are being built in Bolivia in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. Bolivia is making great strides towards becoming a more autonomous, economically developed nation. They are producing excess of the resources they have, and these happen to be very valuable and will strongly benefit the country.

This article provides a modern day adaptation to the industrial revolution. Bolivia is transitioning from a relatively undeveloped nation into one that will perhaps become a leader in natural gas and hydrocarbon production. Utilization of the resources most easily available to the region is the best way to maximize profit as less money is spent on their production or extraction. This article connects directly with the industrialization unit, as it is a prime example of how industrialization directly impacts a society and an economy. This boost of jobs and an increase of income to the country will promote further economic development, which will in turn help the country to develop socially. With a higher GDP, the government will be able to provide better services such as healthcare and welfare to those in need, as well as improve living standards. Industrialization will lead to Bolivia climbing from somewhere around a 3 on the DTM (Demographic Transition Model) model closer to the 4’s and 5’s of developed countries as development often leads to slower population growth and longer life expectancy. This plant not only offers economic independence to Bolivia, but hope for a better future for the country and its people.

 

 

 

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H1N1 Epidemic (Unit 1)

H1N1 Epidemic (Unit 1) | AP Human Geography RSGC | Scoop.it
Simon Thomasson's insight:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/swineflumulti1.shtml

           

        The Swine Flu (H1N1) outbreak was an extremely hot news topic globally in 2009. There are many different types of flu viruses caused by three different influenza viruses (A, B, and C). Swine flu is a strain of flu caused by influenza A and was not a known strain of the flu at the time of its outbreak. There are thousands o different varieties of the flu strain, and H1N1 is actually quite common, however the swine flu contained strains of the flu from a plethora of different animals and this mixture made it almost impossible to have immunity to the virus. Every year there is a rise in the outbreak of flu cases during the winter, which is a natural phenomenon. The numbers of people becoming infected in 2009 skyrocketed when a new strain of flu first appeared in Mexico. The standard flu season was not the only time when cases were increasing (large numbers experienced during the summer, which was very unusual) and red flags began to go up. Soon people all over the world were experiencing similar symptoms as the illness had spread from Mexico internationally. Schools and workplaces were essentially farms where the virus had time to grow and spread over large populations. By February 2010, over 15,000 people had died from this new strain of flu, as there was no cure and inadequate healthcare in many parts of the world. Like most pandemics, the swine flu eventually simmered down and less and fewer cases were reported. Although it lasted for less than a year, this pandemic showed how vulnerable modern society is to natural phenomena and how globalization and travelling has increased diffusion of many different components of society (especially illness) to areas that would have been inaccessible 100 years ago.

        This article directly connects with the study of diffusion and globalization. The flu strain originated in a fairly remote part of Mexico and was spread all over the world, very fast. This is a prime example of contagious diffusion; as people are exposed to the illness, they become infected with in and will infect others they come in contact with, not selectively. This is both qualitative and quantitative data as it can be represented with percentages and numbers, as well as personal impact. This article shows how many things can become a global issue and spread from a small starting point.

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Changing Immigration (Unit 2)

Changing Immigration (Unit 2) | AP Human Geography RSGC | Scoop.it
Simon Thomasson's insight:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexnowrasteh/2012/07/09/the-rise-of-asian-immigration/

 

            Asian immigration has surpassed Latin American immigration as the largest source of immigrants into the United States. Mexican and Asian immigration originally began in 1965 when the Immigration Act passed, loosening the restrictions on immigration. Many people sponsored their family members to travel to the US as it was seen as a land of great opportunity. The number of immigrants from Mexico has steadily increased every decade since 1940. About 300,000 came to the United States legally in the 1950’s, with the largest number coming in the last decade (2000-2010) with over 3 million legal immigrants coming to the US with their green cards. Illegal immigration is a well-known problem for the US and there is an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. This presents a huge problem as they are not paying taxes and are not contributing to the economy unless participating in a labour job. Hispanic immigration has slowed recently in large part due to the economic troubles. The recession led to less need for labour jobs such as construction, which are notoriously popular among Mexican immigrants. The Mexican baby-boom has slowed, combined with an improved economy south of the border has allowed more people to live comfortably in their home nation and are not required to emigrate for a better life. As the Hispanic immigration is slowing, Asian immigration is increasing drastically. Technological corporations have created a super wealthy Asian economy, empowering many previously impoverished families. This is allowing many more people to seek a different life in the United States. Many young people do not support their governmental views and are seeking better education and therefore travel to the US to attend school. 50% of Asian Americans have a college degree compared to just 28% of Americans, which shows their desire to educate themselves and be employed in profitable work sectors. The global shift away from hard labour and minimum wage towards education and technological industries has changed the population of people seeking better opportunities and favours those with educational goals.

            This article is very interesting and definitely pertains to Canada as well as the United States. There is a large Asian population in Toronto and many are students attending facilities such as University of Toronto and Ryerson University. These educational facilities are great examples of pull factors for potential immigrants as they are world-class institutions and are seen as the way tow a better life and better economic standing for people. These facilities also cause chain migration as new travels home from these places and family members and friends wish to visit or attend the same institutions for education or search for a better job. This increases the immigration rate drastically as more and more people will spread the news of their success with contagious diffusion. This article shows a clear correlation between opportunities presented and the amount of immigration a country experiences. The United States and Canada both have many pull factors, things about our nations that would be desirable to outsiders and therefore have increased rates of immigration from the people who would find the things we offer to be attractive.

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