Confidences Canopéennes
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Robotics in Agriculture

Autonomous robots created at the University of Sydney can count fruit on trees, spray weeds, and even herd cows.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 19, 11:26 AM

We all know that agriculture is becoming increasingly mechanized.  In addition to large, expensive machinery, this video showcases some robots that are automating work that was previously very labor intensive. 

 

Questions to Ponder: How will robotics impact agriculture and other industries in the future?  Will this impact the spatial dynamics of agricultural land? 

 

Tagsfood production, agriculture, foodeconomic, industry, scale, agribusiness, technology.       

 

 

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, May 20, 10:08 AM
Until robots understand holism and acquire a metaphysical connection with Nature, agriculture will probably continue down a path where soon they'll design artificial bees for pollination, and chemical-exuding worms to breakdown the nutrients predigested by bacteria ... if that works, which I doubt.
John Edwards's curator insight, June 2, 4:18 AM
I remember doing my GCSE French oral presentation on exactly this matter - "L'exode rural". Seems we're moving slower than I thought.
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The Ganges River Is Dying Under the Weight of Modern India

The Ganges River Is Dying Under the Weight of Modern India | Confidences Canopéennes | Scoop.it
The country’s future depends on keeping the holy river alive.

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Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 7:00 PM

The Ganges River is a place of religion for these people, they see it as a place where they can bathe for the forgiveness of sins and for ancestors alike. The only problem with this really is that it is a very dirty river, sewage and other sorts of waste, germs and disease are running through it. Unfortunately, the people are drinking from this river.  

Alex Vielman's curator insight, December 15, 2015 12:21 AM

The Ganges River is the most populated region in all of India. The river is sacred and is very holy to the people of India. The river is a religious river in which the people residing in the area use it as a symbolization or purification, life, bathing and drinking. The bigger issue for 'purification' is the fact that the river is very polluted and unsanitary. The pollution not only threatens the people because it could be used for drinking but it also affects the thousands of species, for example fish, that are in the river. The fish could be a source of food for the very overpopulated area but instead the very own people of India are damaging the river. One would think that a river so sacred would be protected and cleaned but it fails to meet these standards. Overall, regardless of the pollution, India still uses it for its religious beliefs and still declare it a holy river. 

Sarah Holloway's curator insight, February 16, 6:26 PM

This article touches on very serious religious and environmental issues connected to the Ganges River.  The Ganges is the sacred river of Hinduism and in part because the river valley is the most heavily populated region of India.  Simultaneously, this holy river is an incredibly polluted river as it's the watershed for a industrial region that struggles with significant sanitation problems; this is a great article on the environmental and cultural issues of development.

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Why eating insects makes sense

The world's population is projected to reach 11 billion by the end of the century. Feeding that many people will be a challenge, and it is further complicated by the impact of climate change on agriculture. That is why some people advocate an unusual way to boost the food supply and feed people sustainably: by eating less meat, and more insects.

http://econ.st/1sDYlfM


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LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, June 8, 2015 9:33 AM

When speaking of sustainability, many seek new options, new and more efficient—productively speaking—ways of exploiting resources, different types of energies to make up for the missing future expected quota. However, at not point do they seem to ask themselves what makes inefficiency be the norm, and scarcity the automatic reason to why we need more. The solution is right there, in front of our eyes, and not necessarily in the form of insects., though under the current monetary and economic paradigm, that may seem like a good option.

Nancy Watson's curator insight, June 19, 2015 10:18 AM

Agriculture, Food security, sustainability, Culture - Yuck factor!

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 3:31 PM

While it might make economic, nutritional, and environmental sense, I'm sure that many are squeamish at the idea of insects primarily because in violates many deeply engrained cultural taboos.  The main reasons listed in the video for promoting the production and consumption of more insects:

  1. Insects are healthier than meat.
  2. It is cheap (or free) to raise insects.
  3. Raising insects is more sustainable than livestock.

 

Questions to Ponder: Would you be willing to try eating insects?  How do you think this idea would go over with your family and friends?  What cultural barriers might slow the diffusion of this practice?    

 

Tagsfoodculturediffusioncultural norms, economic, food production, agriculture.

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Why the side-hustle is key to Nigeria's economy

Nkem Ifejika meets with Nigerian entrepreneurs who show how the nation's economy is finding lubricants other than oil.

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Rowena Spence Cortina's curator insight, March 10, 2015 10:37 AM
Seth Dixon's insight:

The shadow economy, the black market or the side-hustle; these are all names for the informal sector of the economy.  In many countries such as Nigeria, this is a way of making money outside their normal jobs to boost their income and try to rise above just getting by.  "It was my grandmother who taught my mum that if you were lucky enough to have a salaried job, that was just pocket money. The real money came from your five to nine."  If working 9-to-5 represents the formal economy, this BBC podcast (and accompanying article) are all about the 5-to-9 economy

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, March 14, 2015 9:11 AM

unit 6

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 8:12 AM

The shadow economy, the black market or the side-hustle; these are all names for the informal sector of the economy.  In many countries such as Nigeria, this is a way of making money outside their normal jobs to boost their income and try to rise above just getting by.  "It was my grandmother who taught my mum that if you were lucky enough to have a salaried job, that was just pocket money. The real money came from your five to nine."  If working 9-to-5 represents the formal economy, this BBC podcast (and accompanying article) are all about the 5-to-9 economy. 


Tags: economic, labor, Nigeria, podcast, 

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First taste of chocolate

"To be honest I do not know what they make of my beans," says farmer N'Da Alphonse. "I've heard they're used as flavoring in cooking, but I've never seen it. I do not even know if it's true." Watch how the Dutch respond to a cocoa bean in return or you can watch our entire episode on chocolate here.


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Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 6:02 PM

this is an interesting demonstration of the disconnect between the consumer and the producer. we would consider chocolate to be the product these guys are producing, yet we forget that they only deal with it at the rawest level. something we see everyday is something as rare as gold to these guys.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 3:12 PM

how do these people not know what the crop they are producing is or tastes like? that is amazing to me how you can be so oblivious to what you are doing. and how the place that produces cocoa does not actually have access to it.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 8:15 AM

What is the geography of chocolate like?  This video was produced in the Netherlands, the global center of the cocoa trade, but the world's leading producer of cocoa is Côte d'Ivoire.  There is a dark side to chocolate production; the dirty secret is that slavery is commonplace on cocoa plantations in West Africa.  Although the worst of the situation is glossed over in this video, it still hints at the vast economic inequalities that are part and parcel of the global chocolate trade and the plantation roots of the production.  What are some of your reactions to this video?  


Tags: chocolate, Ivory Coast, Africa, poverty, development, economic, globalization, industry, labor.

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Where Ships Go to Die, Workers Risk Everything

In Bangladesh, men desperate for work perform one of the world's most dangerous jobs. They demolish huge ships in grueling conditions, braving disease

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 28, 3:34 PM

What happens to massive cargo vessels after they are outdated?  There are tons of scrap metal on these ships, but they aren't designed to be taken apart.  The ship-breakers of South Asia (Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are 3 of the 4 global leaders in recycling ships) risk much to mine this resource.  This is an economic function that is a part of a globalized economy, but one than was never intended.  There are major health risks to the workers and pollutants to the local community that are endemic in this industry that manages to survive on the scraps of the global economy.

 

Tags: BangladeshNational Geographic, South Asia, poverty, development, economic, globalization, industry, labor.

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Reefer Madness

Reefer Madness | Confidences Canopéennes | Scoop.it

"There are around 6,000 cargo vessels out on the ocean right now, carrying 20,000,000 shipping containers, which are delivering most of the products you see around you. And among all the containers are a special subset of temperature-controlled units known in the global cargo industry, in all seriousness, as reefers.

70% of what we eat passes through the global cold chain, a series of artificially-cooled spaces, which is where the reefer comes into play."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 18, 2015 3:05 PM

I have written in the past about how containerization has remade the world we live in, but not much about the role of the refrigerated container (reefer).  So many economic geographies and agricultural geographies in the our consumer-based society hinge of this technological innovation.  This is yet another podcast from 99 Percent Invisible that is rich in geographic content.  


Tags: transportationfood distributiontechnology, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic, podcast.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, October 10, 2015 6:19 PM

An interesting addition to any study of global trade connections 

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 8:06 AM

I have written in the past about how containerization has remade the world we live in, but not much about the role of the refrigerated container (reefer).  So many economic geographies and agricultural geographies in the our consumer-based society hinge of this technological innovation.  This is yet another podcast from 99 Percent Invisible that is rich in geographic content.  


Tags: transportation, food distribution, technology, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic, podcast.

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Why Some Countries Are Poor and Others Rich

"The reason why some countries are rich and others poor depends on the quality of their institutions, the culture they have, the natural resources they find and what latitude they're on."

 

Tags: development, statistics, economic, globalization, poverty.


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Kaitlyn Evans's comment, July 30, 2015 5:24 AM
I'm not sure if I believe everything this video stated, however I think it is a good topic to analyze. I think it would be interesting to see how the rich countries became rich. They can't just have started on top. I also believe the rich countries abuse the poor countries because we can get goods/minerals/just about anything for a small price and then sell it in the rich country for much more.
Rob Duke's comment, July 30, 2015 3:34 PM
...certainly privilege from times past when there were no international watchdogs comes into play, but even when we control for colonialism, certain countries do much better than others. I'm inclined to think like Jared Diamond (The World Until Yesterday) and David Landes (The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. 1998) that institutions matter. If we protect property, provide vertical institutional support while also making room in the shadow of the law for ad hoc cooperation (see Elinor Ostrom's work), and protect intellectual property rights, we tend to have more wealth developed.
Adrian Bahan (MNPS)'s curator insight, March 14, 7:49 PM

I can't say I agree with all the arguments put forward in this video, it can still be a nice starting point to get students to critically analyze the ideas put forth and assess the merits of the claims being made.

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How American Agriculture Works

How American Agriculture Works | Confidences Canopéennes | Scoop.it
There really are two different Americas: the heartland, and the coasts....

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Bob Beaven's curator insight, January 29, 2015 2:38 PM

These maps are interesting, in the fact that the heartland of the United States differs so much from either coast.  Both the coasts, as seen in the first map grow fruits and vegetables.  The center of the country grows wheat, and wheat is the dominant  crop of the country.  This might account for the reason why fruits and vegetables are more expensive than grain based products.  The second map helps to drive home this point even further, of how different the coasts are from the heartland.  What I also thought was funny, however, was the author's comment that it looks like an electoral map.  Perhaps, the reason heartland states tend to side with each other and republicans is because of shared interests in the political arena.

Adriene Mannas's curator insight, March 22, 2015 10:24 AM

Unit 5 Agricultural and Rural Land Use

 

This picture and article talks about the main use of the agricultural growth in the United States. It shows how most and almost all of the agribusiness is in the growth of feed and food for animals on the ranches rather than humans. The amount of money made is astounding with how far the table tilts toward animal feed.

 

This relates to Human Geography because agriculture is one of the main points. It shows how people use agribusiness and ow it leans more toward the consumption of animals rather than humans. 

Daniel Lindahl's curator insight, May 25, 2015 1:22 PM

This link consists of two maps that show agricultural land use in America. Nearly all of the "breadbasket region" is used not to feed people, but rather to create feed for cows and other animals. 

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Business Languages In Africa

Business Languages In Africa | Confidences Canopéennes | Scoop.it

"The Main Languages of Business in Africa."


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Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:46 PM

This map is a simple but powerful one. Africa is the continent that contains the most nations (53), yet it uses only six languages for business. Not surprisingly, all of the languages (with the exception of Arabic) are European in origin. Clearly, the effects of colonialism are still felt around the world in former colonies. The languages that were forced upon various African countries by their colonizers have endured and become the main languages of business in their respective countries. What is just as unfortunate as the roots of colonialism holding fast, if not more so, is the absence of any indigenous languages being used as the language of business in any of the countries of Africa. While using a business language that is spoken by much of the world is surely a matter of practicality and logistics, it is still robbing African countries of their heritage and culture to some degree.

 

This brings up the issue of globalization and how it is constantly at odds with the preservation of culture and tradition. In order for Africa (or any continent or region or country) to function in the modern world, it must be capable of conducting business in a language that is spoken by its business partners. The ability to do business with virtually any person, company, or country in the world is an obviously invaluable one. At the same time, however, it allows for the subtle and gradual erasure of unique culture and traditions. So while it would be ideal for cultural preservation for countries to conduct business in their indigenous languages, it seems to be a necessary evil for smaller and less influential countries to adopt the languages of their more powerful and influential business partners if they wish to survive in today's world. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 29, 2015 4:24 PM

The lingering effects of colonialism, so strongly relevant in every aspect of African ways of life, are perhaps most evident in the "lingua franca" of African nations today. With a multitude of different ethnicities and languages in use in every African nation today, the result of the arbitrarily drawn national borders made by European colonizers, necessitates the use of the one language that's commonly spoken across every independent nation- a European tongue. This system, while a necessity in today's world, is a solution that no one is quite happy with. It reminds Africans of all ages of the power still held by their colonizers over their everyday lives, a stark reminder of the horrors of the previous century at every business meeting and every exchange of goods. This harms the national psyche of each nation, as well as undermining the importance and pride Africans deservedly maintain in their own native languages. European-made borders, however, make it difficult to find another, native language that every ethnic group can agree upon. As a result, the European languages are still in use in Africa, and will most likely still be in use for some time to come. It's a system that no one likes but, for the time being, everyone must accept as reality.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 30, 2015 7:26 AM

This map is a great resource in showing the diversity of language in Africa. Of course, this map discounts the many native African languages. It instead focuses on the language of business in the continent. That language, has been influence by the European colonization of Africa. The chosen language of business is often tied to the colonizer of the region. The diversity of language in Africa is staggering to say the least.