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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, 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, 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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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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Venice sinking five times faster than thought?

Venice sinking five times faster than thought? | Education in the world | Scoop.it

I never though about Venice sinking until I read this article although I have wondered of buildings to not corrode in the water. I also never thought about possible flooding issues in the city although it makes sense that it could be an issue. It is weird to think about such a beautiful city one day being sunk


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Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, September 30, 2013 8:47 PM

The famous city in Italy is sinking, and quickly.  It seems that the transient opportunities of a transient town are like that of other areas exposed to natural inclemence- such as New Orleans, and earthquake zones.  Sooner or later, places that are exposed to disaster will become inhabitable, and possibly abandoned.  When I hear of this city sinking, it makes me think of the Titanic, and how people should likely jump ship out of this situation, before the whole city 'goes under.'  I also think of marshy areas that would not be well-suited for development and inhabitance, and it seems that there is a history in the town that united people to live there in spite of the abundance of water.  Some of my ancestors were from Italy, and I wouldn't want harm to come to their homeland, but it really makes me wonder why they chose such a place to live...  It seems likely to me that the mere fact that it was sinking was not really considered much back then;  they were not as realistically concerned about the longevity of the city in the long run, than they were about the 'now' and the time at hand.  This reflects many facets of humanity and the hedonistic lifestyles that accompany many humans.  Humans that live for today and forget about tomorrow are doomed to live a life of sorry.  Humans that live for tomorrow and not today are out of touch and fail to seize the day.  Humans that live for today but remember tomorrow are the masons that build stairways to new lands for their descendents, and along with that, myriad new possibilities for positive opportunities.  I think some of the wisdom of Italy was put into its architecture and structural design, so that we might remember- we are dying in this life, just as Venice sinks, but we should live life as best as we can, and pave the way for future generations.  Like so, the dumping of wastes into the ocean seems tiny at first, but accumulates over many generations and will leave many ocean species dead, and harm the overall functionality of the Earth as a whole.  Let Venice be a reminder.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 9:27 PM

So not only is Mexico City sinking, but Venice is as well, and five times faster than we thought at that. If the heart of an urban, sprawling city becomes completely destroyed what changes will be made to the outlying areas? Will they break up into multiple, smaller districts each with a central area? Where will the rich who used to reside in the heart move to?

Brett Sinica's curator insight, October 8, 2013 3:36 PM

Day to day, even looking into next year the rate of 2 millimeters per year may not seem drastic.  To a city that has been around for hundreds of years, it's assumed the city plans to stay standing for hundreds more.  Considering the age of the city, say in a couple hundred more years, some buildings could begin to take in water.  It is also possible that certain parts of the city could be sinking faster than others.  There is a similar situation in Mexico City where it was built on a lake and each year that source diminishes due to the demand of water by its residents.  Certain parts of the city are sinking and some buildings are slanted due to the results.  These cities are beautiful  but reality shows that as time passes, it will probably only get worse.  Hopefully preventions can be taken to at least reduce the speed of sinking so that people after us can appreciate the architecture and atmosphere the city has provided all these years.

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Brazilian Ethanol

Brazilian Ethanol | Education in the world | Scoop.it

To many times we put our convenience and cost before the environment. To me this is yet another example. With all the technology out there it is still me start looking at ways to bring down cost without killing the world.

 

 


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Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 1:27 AM

Here we have just one example of how technological advances have helped solve some of our world's energy problems.  Ethanol is slowly becoming a popular commodity.  However, until ethanol can be used in every single vehicle, it will not overtake traditional gasoline, and gas prices will continue to be high.  Because these hybrid vehciles are becoming more and more popular, less gas is being bought, and us non-hybrid users are paying the price for it.  This is a good step in the right direction, but the process needs to move faster if we are truely going to all benefit from the use of these alternative fuels.  

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 24, 5:03 PM

Difference in economical and ecological factors have everything to do with what Brazil is doing with ethanol. Since ethanol in Brazil is simpler and easier to obtain, American ethanol is highly useless and apparently not worth the money.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 29, 4:52 PM

Even though other countries have yet to catch on, the ethanol trend is a clever way to get ahead.  Their new strategy is a model for economic and environmental stability. Eventually, resources such as oil will run out as they are finite and in the long term, Brazil will have the upper hand. When the day comes that oil is extremely scarce, Brazil ill be hundreds of years ahead of the game.

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China now eats twice the meat we do

China now eats twice the meat we do | Education in the world | Scoop.it
We can learn a lot from examining the way China's diet has changed in the last 20 years -- as well as its required efficiencies and the agriculture that supports it.

 

The United States still consumes more meat per capita than China, but as China's economy has grown (along with it's income and standard of living), the consumer habits have changed as well.  What will the impacts of the rise in Chinese meat consumption mean?   How do they get all this meat?  http://www.scoop.it/t/geography-education/p/1661841673/this-little-piggy-is-going-to-china


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Crissy Borton's insight:

I wonder if this will bring on a meat shortage. At the least it is helping to full "factory" farmer and the feeding on cheep corn to cows. I wonder how much this will effect global warming.

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Seth Dixon's comment, July 25, 2012 8:09 PM
As more societies aspire to 'American lifestyles,' consuming meat goes up. As a country gets wealthier, their capacity to have a meat market expands. But China is so big, that shift is actually a big deal.
Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 29, 2013 2:07 PM

This is actuallty very believable considering the population growth that China has experienced.  It only makes sense that the more people there are, the more meat will be consumed.  It is part of their cuisine to include meat.  Pork and chicken are among many of the popular proteins which are found on their dishes.  There is also the expansion to go along with all of the growth.  The landscape of the eastern part of the country has become more agriculturally accomodating for crops and livestock alike.  Therefore to match the trend of growing population, is the need to match it with meat and other foods.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 14, 6:25 PM

China now eats twice as much meat than America. However, this chart does not touch upon "per-capita" which plays a major role in where the food is being dispersed and consumed. 

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Studying "Green"

Studying "Green" | Education in the world | Scoop.it

"Green is an unusual film. It is both a hard hitting portrayal of the causes and consequences of deforestation in Indonesia, and a film which captures the tranquillity and calm of wild nature. It contains no narrative or dialogue and yet helps us understand complex commodity chains. Green needs to be taken seriously.  In these pages we present a series of short essays in response to the film." 


'Green' is a female orangutan in Indonesia, beset with deforestation and resource exploitation of her habitat.  This is a non-profit film follows her; watch at the film’s website or view the trailer: http://www.greenthefilm.com/


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Al Jazeera-Nepal's Forest Future

Al Jazeera-Nepal's Forest Future | Education in the world | 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.   


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Crissy Borton's insight:

This is a great example of how communities can help themselves and their land. It works because the people live there and they have to not only think about today but tomorrow so they do not exploit their recourses

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Don Brown Jr's comment, July 30, 2012 10:55 PM
Investing in the environment is a very beneficial way to promote sustainability in an increasingly urbanized world and a cheap way to increase air quality.
Al Picozzi's curator insight, November 13, 2013 12:07 AM

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.

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.

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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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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 6, 3:05 PM

This is crazy! Within the short 24 years that have passed since 1990 the Aral sea is just about dried up.  After sliding the bar across the land you can see just how much of the sea has gone dry.  Seeing the little areas of land poking out of the sea in 1990 is interesting, you think that you would have to go very deep to find the bottom, but clearly you don't have to go very far now, as the sea is very close to being dried up.

James Hobson's curator insight, October 21, 6:44 PM

(Central Asia topic 3)

The Aral Sea is perhaps one of the most rapidly-changing, large-scale examples of climate change. Though the climate of the region has been getting statistically drier over recent years, it is impossible to say that the full extent has not been exacerbated by humanity. Yes, growing more and more crops seems like a good idea at first, but if it means having no water to grow crops the next year it is much more detrimental.

I found it interesting how not only the water level is dropping, but effect it is having on the local climate as a result (such as less lake-effect precipitation). This goes to show how truly interconnect our planet's systems are to themselves.

Also, I couldn't help but notice the obvious parallels between the Aral Sea and Lake Mead: growing populations, increased water usage, and 'domino-effect' impacts on their regions.

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 22, 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.

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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, 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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The relative merits of Corn Ethanol

The relative merits of Corn Ethanol | Education in the world | Scoop.it

I know this is the not point of the video but watching it all I could think of was how much Monsanto gets when land is converted to farm land and how everytime we add more corn fields the more roundup gets pumped into our land. The video though also shows once again how we look for short-term answers and not long term effects. Long term studies should still be done even if we need quick answers. Also that fact that people like the one gentlemen in the video who only want to look at how it affects their area and not globally is another issue.


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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 1:25 PM

Its a fact that we need to move towards alternative energy sources. To do so many countries have to evaluate what resources they have that can help provide energy for their population. In Brazil, they have used their physical geography to their advantage and have made a very sustainable biofuel. But this kind of fuel is not as cheap for other countries than it is for Brazil. I think it is important to note how Brazil is using its resource advantages to find a way to produce fuel. In the US we need to find a way to use our geography to overcome reliance on foreign oil. 

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Infographic: United States of the Environment

Infographic: United States of the Environment | Education in the world | Scoop.it

I must admit I was surprised at many of the states on here. I lived in Indiana for 35 years and I certainly did not think it was very “trashy”. I was also surprised at Rhode Island’s. I wonder why breast cancer is so high here.


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Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, March 6, 12:03 PM

This map perfectly displays the varied negligences of the environment by all 50 states. This map speaks a thousand words about a states geography, ecology, policies, and industry.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 18, 10:39 AM

(North America topic 6)
Though this map may come across as rather bleak at first, in my opinion it really doesn't necessarily lay fault to the people that live in these states. In other words, some things mentioned on this map seem expected and, in a sense, acceptable to me. For example, California may have the most smog, but it cannot be entirely blamed on just the population (though even I can argue that *most* of it can). Major cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento are in low-lying valleys, which cause air masses to stagnate. If these cities were located in less-enclosed areas smog would not be able to built up as densely. 

In addition, I find fault with some of the categories. An example would be that of Florida having the most boat wrecks. Large ships have been traveling to/around Florida since the 1500s, and Florida has the longest coastline of all contiguous states. In this way it only makes sense that this is true. Perhaps a better research method would have been "most shipwrecks per capita". Similarly, "most CO2 emissions *per capita*" would have been a better categorization to consider. But then again, mapmaking is an art, not just a science, and perhaps another message is meant to be sent here...

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, September 22, 3:11 PM

Rhode Island excels at having the lowest CO2 emissions. This makes a lot of sense when you consider the characteristics the State as it relates to pollution. Manufacturing is not a large part of Rhode Island's production, therefore CO2 emissions from factories is less than many other states. Furthermore CO2 from automobiles is low because of the small size of the state. Commutes for people working and living in Rhode Island are no longer than an hour each way. The minimal drive time for each person also cuts down possible emissions. 

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Finding the flotsam: where is Japan's floating tsunami wreckage headed?

Finding the flotsam: where is Japan's floating tsunami wreckage headed? | Education in the world | Scoop.it

Scientists model where and when the debris from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami will be.  The likelihood that the debris (not radioactive) will reach the U.S. west coast is increasingly likely.  Look at the great video attached to the article.   


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Crissy Borton's insight:

Interesting to see were all the “junk” is going. I wonder how it effects the water and the ecosystem as it moves.

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Brett Sinica's curator insight, December 10, 2013 5:02 PM

This video showed time elasped which stopped in the summer of 2013, it is now December.  At the time of the video the mass was entering the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean so I'm curious to where it is now.  I can't find any current imagery of the vast ocean but it would be a neat, yet dangerous spectacle.  I could only imagine any of the harm it's causing on the sealife on its way across the pacific.  We can only hope that doesn't bring too many issues once it washes up on the west coast, if at all.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 6:09 PM

Hopefully none of the wreckage that reaches the US is radioactive.... But the projected travel of the debris shows how ocean currents create, almost, a "natural" globalization of natural disasters. 

Gregory S Sankey Jr.'s curator insight, September 1, 10:43 AM

Although it's important to know where all of this trash is headed, this just makes me think of how we might prevent this. We can't prevent these catastrophic natural disasters, but how might we lessen it's effects on our cities and settlements? Furthermore, how might we lessen our impact on ecosystems during these times of catastrophe? 

It's only called a catastrophe when it hits human populations for a reason, it's not just devastating to us. Remnants of our lifestyle are carried far and wide, able to cause harm on many other species. 

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Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Taking Root tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement ...

 

Community, agriculture, gender, politics and the environment... it's all here in this inspiring clip.  


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Crissy Borton's insight:

This is such an inspiring video. All it took was for one women, Wangari Maathai, to have an idea and to stand up for that idea for change to take place. How cool that from that one women a government was changed at 35 million trees planted!

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Sean Rooney's comment, November 5, 2012 2:52 PM
S.R. This video clip covers a wide range of the different aspects in geography. We talked about the significant impact of natural resources in countries that rely on natural resources to stimulate the economy. For example, planting trees will stimulate the economy and create jobs in Africa. This is the first step towards industrialization in Africa. The community, agriculture, gender, politics, and the environment are all interconnected.
Ana Cristina Gil's curator insight, December 10, 2013 7:02 PM

To me seem that it was more than just planting trees. Is was a way for this woman to have some type of control. Their story show how nothing is impossible, that sometimes we think that whatever little thing we do, it would not make a different. Those woman illustrate that no matter how powerless you feel. If you believe in something no stop until you get it accomplished.

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 12, 2013 1:20 AM

It seems that the people depend on planting. it also hurts that these people have little access to water. Where other parts in this world there is too much water and it is hurting the people. It is devastating what is happening to them. The trees that are planted could help them get water in some kind of way. But it might take them a while because to grow a tree it takes years to grow.