I wrote about wetlands in Today Is World Wetlands Day 2011. In that post you can find out more about wetlands, why they’re important and what their role could have been in preventing some of the destruction and sorrow during Hurricane Katrina. Below is the World Wetlands Destruction infographic detailing the current state of our wetlands...
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Energy usage projects to be one of the great geograpical problems of our time. As ideas such as sustainable economic growth enter the public consciousness, changes to the status quo seem as the more inevitable for the future. That will the future of consumption look like? What should it look like?
There are currently 1 billion people in the world today who are hungry. There's also another billion people who over eat unhealthy foods.
Food production around the world today is mostly done through industrial agriculture, and by judging current issues with obesity, worldwide food shortages, and the destruction of soil, it may not be the best process. We need to be able to feed our world without destroying it, and finding a more sustainable approach to accomplishing that is becoming more important.
The current system contributes to 1/3 of global emissions, is a polluter of our world’s water resources, and is a contributor to health problems. Industrial agriculture relies on mass produced, mechanized labor-saving policies that have pushed people out of rural areas and into cities, consolidating land and resources into fewer hands.
Agroecology looks to reduces agriculture’s impact on climate by working within natural systems. This is especially beneficial in rural areas, because the local community a major part of the growing process. The approach can conserve and protect soil and water — through terracing, contour farming, intercropping, and agroforestry — especially beneficial in areas where farmers lack modern irrigation infrastructure, or have farms situated on hillsides and other difficult farming sites...
"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.
TED Talks What does environmental devastation actually look like? At TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project -- and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat.
This is a visually stunning portrayal of Canadian landscapes. He shows incredibly gorgeous photographs of the ecosystems of the boreal forest, indigenous cultural landscapes and natural scenery. This is unfortunately the backdrop for the impacts of industrial extraction of oil from the tar sands of the Athabasca in Canada. Collectively, this makes for a jarring justaposition of environmental landscapes.
This video (like the book with the same title) explores the course of human history to find the geographic factors that can help to explain the global inequalities between societies. Jared Diamond’s answer lies in the military strength (guns), superior pathogens (germs) and industrial production (steel) that agricultural societies were able to develop as the critical advantages over hunter/gatherer societies. The raw materials at the disposal of the societies inhabiting particular environments partially explain the economic possibilities before them. Diamond hypothesizes that the orientations of the continents play a critical role in the relative advantages among agricultural societies (East-West orientations allow for greater diffusion of agricultural technologies than North-South orientations since the growing seasons and ecology are more compatible), giving Eurasia an advantage over Africa and the Americas. The Fertile Crescent had native plant and animal species ideal for domestication, which then diffused to Europe. Societies that have more developed animal husbandry develop a resistance to more powerful germs. Consequently, when two societies come in contact those with the best resistance to the worse diseases are more successful. Similarly, industrial production depends on an agricultural surplus since specialization requires that some workers not needing to produce their own food to work on technological innovations. Societies that had agricultural advantages were able to invest in technologies (primarily steel) that would enhance their advantages over other societies, as seen during colonization. Societies that had the best environments had access to large plant eating mammals suitable for domestication and the most productive grains would be poised to produce more dangerous guns, germs and steel—the key resources for economic dominion resulting in global inequalities.
Diamond’s critics argue that the ‘geography hypothesis’ is environmental determinism that does not properly value human choices into the equation. Still, the core of this book is the search for connections between the themes of Geography with a spatial framework and the video is available via Netflix, public libraries and many other outlets.
Levi Strauss & Co. believes that water is a precious resource and everyone should do their part to lead a more WaterLess lifestyle. Find out more about our w...
More and more companies are strategically rethinking manufacturing to be less harmful to the environment. There are sound economic, cultural, marketing and sustainability reasons for rethinking the manufacturing process. In the past Levi's used more than 11 gallons to produce 1 pair of jeans to get that aesthetic look just right...this video looks at the restructuring process to make these essentially 'waterless' jeans.
http://www.ted.com Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Paul Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of...
This provocatively title TED talk would be an excellent resource for discussing sustainable development. What are the economic, environmental, political and cultural ramifications of suggested policies that seek to lead towards sustainable development? What are the ramifications of not changing policies towards sustainable development?
The NDVI (Normalized Digital Vegetation Index) is on of the primary methods for detecting healthy vegetation using satellite imagery. This also serves as a useful way to distinguish between distinct ecological and agricultural regions and the temporal patterns of planting seasons.
If we accept that controversial dams will continue to be built for economic benefit, how can we limit their damage on the environment?
"Of all the ways we have engineered Earth in the Anthropocene, the Age of Man, surely nothing rivals our audacious planetary-wide re-plumbing of the world's waterways. But is our control of Earth's arteries causing dangerous clots?" The human-environmental interaction theme of geography is as readily apparent in this issue as any.
The Internet can be a hazardous place to mingle around, and it’s apparent people are taking all the precautions they can to protect themselves and their children. However, personal safety isn’t the only concern when it comes to the Internet. There are far more areas where the Internet is causing some serious physical harm, maybe not directly, but to the environment and indirectly to us. When everything is about how “green” something is, it is not hard to understand that someone analyzed the Internet in that way.
Because trees help absorb greenhouse gases, forest preservation plays an important role in controlling climate change. When forests are destroyed or degraded that harms our ability to control climate change. A new report from the Congressional Budget Office says there are three big challenges: building capacity to better document forest absorbtion capacity and its loss; improving governance in countries where the problem is most pronounced; and calibrating policy responses so they’re effective on a global scale. The study is titled “Deforestation and Greenhouse gases.”
The world's population is predicted to reach 9 billion people by 2050, and they will all need food, water, and energy to survive. Our current growth patterns are highly inefficient and stand in the way of truly sustainable development. The way forward is inclusive green growth that is clean in its treatment of the environment, efficient in its use of natural resources, resilient, and meets the needs of all people.
This infographic provides an overview of the electric car industry and describes their environmental and energy impact...
This visualization offers numerous statistics, facts and global comparisons on the future of electric vehicles, in terms of costs, environment, sales and the role of electric vehicles in our transportation systems across the globe.
Our modern society depends on greater connectivity between places. Regionalized economies, politics and transportation networks are increasingly integrated with far-flung places now more than ever before. Our biosphere and natural environments are exceptions to this pattern. Wilderness areas are 'islands' in an ocean of human controlled environments. We create transportation linkages that unite people economies and cities, but separate herds from there extended habitat.
We've all seen road kill on major highways. Species like deer, elk, and grizzly bears and other large-bodied animals need a wide range for numerous ecological reasons. These bridges are an attempt to ameliorate some of the problems that our roads pose for the non-human species that still call Earth home. From a purely economic standpoint, many argue that these bridges save society money given the accidents and property damage that can be avoided.
Tags: biogeography, transportation, environment, land use, sustainability, environment adapt.
One of the key things I reinforce in conversations about globalization is that the advantages are unevenly distributed and the negative externalities to the system are also unevenly distributed. This clever infographic highlights both rather effectively.
This talk (based on his controversial book, Collapse) explores the economic and environmental causes behind why a society that is overextended might collapse or recede from a golden age. Jared Diamond uses multiple historical examples such as classical Mayan civilization and Easter Island as well as modern societies such as Rwanda and Haiti, to argue that unsustainable management of the environmental resources might lead to short-term economic successes, but the environmental degradation may threaten the long-term economic viability of the economic system. This talk ties agricultural patterns, economic practices and political policies that can strengthen or weaken a society and the book looks to the past to assess the challenges of the present and future. This TED talk brings geographic concepts and spatial thinking to many of contemporary global issues.
http://www.ted.com Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see whats po...
Jaime Lerner does not see cities as the problem; he sees urbanism as the solution to many global problems. This video outlines practical plans to rethink the city to be more sustainable. To see an trailer for a documentary about the urban changes in Curitiba, Brazil, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swQTTG3NcYY
What did the Delta look like 200 years ago? See an interactive map of the historical habitat and present day landscape, as well as the old photos, maps and journals used by historical ecologists to answer that question.
This interactive module has over 20 different maps and perspectives to show both the physical and human geography of a particular environment. As the delta's ecosystem has been failing, the importance of understanding the interconnections between people, places and our environment becomes all the more critical.
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