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Human/Environmental Interactions

The video talks about what is happing to the Aral Sea. I am surprised I have never hear about it until this class. The fact that the affects of this is showing up in penguins in the north pole shows that what happens in one part of the world affects the rest of it in one way or another. While it is commendable that people are trying to lessen the effects of the shrinking sea is will never bring it back.


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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 20, 2013 1:11 PM

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.

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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Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too?

Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too? | Education in the world | Scoop.it

I can understand their desire to hold on to their language as it makes them feel close to their heritage and nationality. However as pointed out in the article language alone does not promote patriotism. There are many other ways and forcing something on people will not help bring the community together.


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Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:14 AM
It is definitely important for Latvians to hold on tightly to their culture. However, the Soviet Union caused Russian culture and language to spread throughout the USSR and countries are feeling the effects today. There are millions of Russians in former satellite nations who hold on to their Russian culture. At the same time, these nations wish to regain their national pride especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is a difficult conundrum, but I do agree with the Latvians' decision.
Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 15, 2014 8:37 PM

It was interesting to read that in order to become a Latvian citizen you need to speak Latvian.I can see the point of view from both sides.Russian speaking residents want to be treated equally and Latvian citizens want to keep their cultural identity. However it does seem that there may be some deeper issues of discrimination that a unified language may not eliminate completely.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 5, 4:54 PM

About 35 percent of Latvia's population (5,000,000) contains Russian ancestors. Russia does not want to give Latvia credit for practicing Russian languages and the Russian heritage because Russian feels like since they take up about 11% of the world, they don't need to share their heritage with any other country. It's kind of like copyright laws that Russia seems to have.

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50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster

50 Pictures Of Chernobyl 25 Years After The Nuclear Disaster | Education in the world | Scoop.it

I have always been very interested in Chernobyl. And would live to one day take one of the tours they now offer. I am amazed by the fact that a whole city was abandoned and will never be used again. I also think of those who died in this epic disaster. One of the thinking that always strikes me about the photo’s I see is the over growth from the weeds and all the green trees. It is incredible to me to nature thriving in such a polluted poised place. Chernobyl to me is also a great argument against Nuclear power. I know people say it is safe however one disaster and a whole area is poisoned for thousands of years. I do not nuclear power is worth it


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Ashley Raposo's curator insight, October 16, 2013 7:51 PM

Absolutely frightening to see a city so empty.  To only imgine what could have been in Chernobyl today if this nuclear disaster didn't happen.

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.

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Folk Cultures: Fiddler on the roof

I have seen Fiddler on the Roof on stage but I have never seen the movie. The movie is able to point out symbols and more cultural symbols and daily life then in the stage version. I enjoy how he speaks about how dangerous living can be it can be but they do it because it is their home and because of tradition.

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In Russia, a lack of men forces women to settle for less

In Russia, a lack of men forces women to settle for less | Education in the world | Scoop.it

I had no idea that domestic violence in Russia was such a large issue. I was also shocked to read there are no laws against domestic crimes. It is sad the women feel they need to be in a relationship and will not only put up with the violence but are also okay with infidelity. When the women should be coming together to support each other they are instead fighting and backstabbing to get one another’s man.


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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 6:54 PM

This article is digusting and shocking.  The feminist in me flew at my screen when I read that domestic violence is "not only rampant...but accepted."  I feel indescribable pity for women who live in a country where they are required to live under the rule of a man, even when there are not enough to go around, so they are forced to settle for brutes who know how much power they wield over the women.  If it were acceptable for a woman to live as a single, independent individual, things would be much different but these girls who are held to lesser standards by their own culture have to suffer domestic violence and infidelity due to a shortage of men. 

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 18, 2014 10:02 PM

When hearing of Russia's imbalance of men vs. women I did not think further into how much this fact could affect not only hetero relationships, but the relationships amongst the sexes themselves as well.  Morality is altered in this society where men are so scarce and are "shared" by the women.  It is known that Putin, a married man is married and has had a long term affair, and child with another  women.  The article states "no one really cares."  With our fair share of presidential affairs both in the far past and fairly recent, we see how unacceptable society finds such behavior.  But would the game change if all of sudden men were so scarce?  It is also disheartening that the female population is not united due to the lack of men.  

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 12:14 PM

This is a great example of population geography shifting cultural geography. The altering of gender norms in Russia due to the shortage of men shows how all types of geography are intertwined and cultural and population are related deeply. This is a contemporary example of that.

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Remote Sensing and Land Cover Change

Remote Sensing and Land Cover Change | Education in the world | Scoop.it

Anyone who thinks we are not affecting our environment should look at this. It makes me sad all the damage we are doing. Seeing the lake drying up is scary.


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Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 22, 2014 2:24 PM

Looking at the images above it is understandable that the disappearance of the Aral Sea is known as the greatest environmental disaster (that we are not talking about). The amount of change that has taken place in this area is incomprehensible for the amount of time it has taken. Humans so often do not consider their actions on this planet , I believe what has taken place here is an utter shame.

Jake Red Dorman's curator insight, November 13, 2014 2:25 PM

Clearly the water level has decreased in Kazakhstan from 1990 until now. Farming, mining, and building are all indirectly changing the geography of some places. The use of rivers for cotton irrigation has shrunk by 3 quarters in the last 50 years and it is extremely affecting the Aral Sea. 

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 13, 2014 3:10 PM

Is sad to see how humans are changing the environment forcing the wild creatures to abandon the places they've been living for hundred or years or die of starvation. I wonder what will happen in 300 years when there is no more big lakes and the oceans will be completed polluted .

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How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan

How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan | Education in the world | Scoop.it

Wow! I had no idea Estonia was so technological advanced! I always thought of them as a poor non industrialized country! I was shocked to read this and lean that my ideas of this country could not be father from the truth!


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Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 11, 2012 11:03 PM

I actually like the idea of the computerized ID card.  Yes, undoubtedly from the outside looking in this does appear to have some big brother qualities but I think it's brilliant.  The card allows people to transfer money and vote.  It's also nice to see a country that doesn't just treat their internet use like a toy.  They use it to benefit their society, making it accessible to everyone in the country and not just those who can afford it. 

Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 13, 2013 10:43 AM

Just an amazing fact to see a county that was once under the controll of the USSR for so long as come so far.  Now a part of NATO and the EU Estonia has stepped out of the control of Russia to become a virbrant place to live.  Once independant and then under the contol of the USSR at the start of WW II it has once again become a nation itself.  Also notice a very different view in the article, the people there feel this electronic system lets them keep and eye on the government and not a big brother view many people in the US have over electronic ID systems.  Is it because they have always been use to being looked at by the government, ie the USSR over the last 50 years and because we are so use to freedoms that we have had for hundreds of years?

Cam E's curator insight, February 27, 2014 11:04 AM

I actually had no idea that Estonia birthed Skype. It was an amazing foresight that Estonia immediately jumped into the computer and internet age, and even more surprising that you can get Wi-fi across most of the country, no matter how remote. That's something that hasn't been accomplished in even the US. They had Internet in most schools by 1997 and can even vote online!

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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal | Education in the world | Scoop.it

The paper mill is what is keeping this town going and the only way for it’s people to make money. The problem is the paper mill is not making any money and it is killing the once pristine lake. The government is not really fixing any of the issues. The paper mill cannot go on forever and the lake is being polluted more and more every day. They are only putting a Band-Aid on the situation


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Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 20, 2013 2:43 PM

The story of this particular mono-town is very tough to "pick sides".  The factory undoubtedly pollutes the air and land like most other industrial areas, but being so close to Lake Baikal gives environmentalists a stronger reason to complain.  The lake is considered one of the purest and most unique in the world, yet the paper mill located on its banks raise controversy.  This is where the locals and workers are stuck between a rock and hard place.  Located in Siberia, such a vast and open region with little settlements compared to the western part of the country reminds the people living there that their resources are limited.  Closing down the factory would almost eliminate income and economy for the mono-town.  This is where the fine line is drawn; the workers surely aren't happy about the pollution and environmental hazards that go along with keeping the mill open, but at the same time the people could wither away if it wasn't up and running.

Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 1:42 AM

THough the Soviet Union has been gone since the early 90s, it's hold on Russia is still creating problems. The creations of monotowns were already flawed. But to have this one monotown on Lake Baikal has gained the attention of enviromentalists. All odds are against that monotown. Without it's paper factory they have no jobs and no need for the town. It is a fight between enviromental geography and human geography in this area of the world. These people are stuck in a time where even the Soviet Union looked a little better than the constant wondering of your finacial stability in an up and coming capitalist nation.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 12:05 PM

The Soviet Union scattered "monotowns" around their territory; these monotowns consist of a job-creating industrial institutions like factories which then allow the formation of towns around them.  They are located all around the former Soviet Union and are very isolated.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these towns continued to run due to the privatization of the industrial center.  Today, Russia's Lake Baikal, which is the deepest lake in the world and contains 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water, is home to one of these monotowns.  This particular town's economy is based on their paper mill which uses and deposits tons of chemicals.  Environmentalists are very concerned for the future of the lake while the citizens are only concerned with feeding their families and this is creating social unrest.  Due to the isolation and distance from Moscow, people cannot just pick up and leave.  Also, working with "cleaner" alternatives is way out of this town's budget.  Today, many citizens in these monotowns miss the support that the Soviet Union offered and people are literally stuck in a place where their only income is dirty.

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Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union'

Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union' | Education in the world | Scoop.it

I know he says they do not want another USSR you can’t help but think of that. I do not think a Eurasian Union would be a good idea. Russia is still dealing with the effects of the break down of the USSR. I don’t think it would be in the best interest for many of the other counties especially those that are doing well.


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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 2, 2013 12:59 PM

Putin is calling for a Eurasian Union. He said it would change the political and economical configuration of the continent and have positve global effects. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have already formed an ecomonical allicance and it removes customs barriers. Putin has however denied that he is propsing for the recreation of the Soviet Union.  

Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 13, 2013 10:16 AM

So is this just to compete with NAFTA and the EU on an economic level?  Or is this to compete with the EU on economic, political and military level, much like the EU's EuroCorps?  Putin states thie is not a return to the USSR, but Russia has always been weary with the growing of NATO and the EU on its borders.  How about if Turkey gets int the EU right on the Russian border?  This action might move thie bloc creation even more forward and Putin might become more forceful to its creation.  No that former KGB member Putin is foreful.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 8:26 PM

It is more than understandable that former Soviet satelite states are weary of any kind of union with Russia. However, some sort of treaty could benefit the block, particularly an arangement like the one already held between Russia, Belarus, and Kahzakstan. An agreement that would ease travel between the two countries appears to have little downside.

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The Russian Cross

The Russian Cross | Education in the world | Scoop.it

It is easy to see from this chart how the collapse of the USSR had on the population. With the collapse people no longer has a government system to help provide food and medical, which contributed to the growing death rate. People were most likely afraid to have children as they could not take care of them as they were barely able to survive themselves, which caused the low birthrates


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James Hobson's curator insight, October 20, 2014 9:30 PM

(Russia topic 4)

The "Russian Cross" refers to the point at which Russia's population began to shrink. The number of births 'crossed' beneath the number of deaths occurring in a given period of time. Coinciding with the USSR's collapse, this decline in population hinted at a tougher future for the nation. More elderly and fewer young signify a greater dependency upon those who work, causing more of an economic strain. Ironically, this seems to echo the effects of the American 'baby boomers' as they have been approaching retiring age now. Though other factors are certainly involved, it is interesting to note how different situations as these can have such similar outcomes.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 2014 6:52 PM

This graph shows that while we in the west think of the fall of communism as a freeing and positive event in reality many in Russia have been severely damaged by this. While the Soviet government was known for oppression it also provided security and was dependable. With its fall the people were plunged into confusion leading to a decline in birthrate and a raise in suicide and alcoholism.    

Danielle Lip's curator insight, February 16, 7:42 PM

This graph of Births, Death and Natural Growth shows that the Natural Growth along with the Births in Russia have declined since 1950, the main downfall is during the collapse of the U.S.S.R. While the Deaths in Russia are increasing gradually as the collapse of the U.S.S.R approacher. There are many factors that could be causing deaths in Russia, people are not getting enough food into their systems and sickness is easily attracted. The real for the downfall in births is because women and men are not mating and having a child because they are too busy working and building a life for themselves. Back in 1950-1952 families were consisting of 3-4 children and now families only have one child at maximum 2.  How can Russia increase these birth and natural growth rates? The social development of Russia must increase and people have to start living life differently.