Geography 200
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Rising Anti-Immigration Sentiment in the EU

Stratfor Europe Analyst Adriano Bosoni discusses the political implications of the increasing number of migrants from the European Union's periphery to its c...

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video describes the increase in immigration into EU countries from other EU countries.  The EU agreements on free movement are being challenged in countries that feel rightly or wrongly that the immigrants coming in are a drain on their economies during this difficult economic time.  It is interesting to see how Europe deals with this immigration issue compared to how America deals with its immigration issues.

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Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 7, 2015 4:05 PM

Western Europe is facing the troubles of immigration for jobs. Countries in Europe, such as Eastern countries of Bulgaria and the P.I.G.S. are moving to core countries in search of work that the cannot find in their own land. The problem becomes a matter of the core country citizens not having jobs for themselves as their economy joins other in slowing down. Racial tensions are rising because of this. The video generalizes the anti-immigration as just anti-immigrants but as images in the video would suggest, much of the resentment is  towards Muslim immigrants.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 4:42 PM

this is hardly surprising that anti-immigrant sentiment has risen to this level. with no go zones in most major European cities it is unsurprising that people are trying to push back. considering that there are areas in Britain with sharia law, it's hardly surprising.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 15, 2015 1:58 PM

whenever you think about people rejecting immigration and illigal immigration being a problem you think about the united states but it is a problem all over the world. it does effect demographics of countries and places need to figure out how to balance helping others by letting them come to your country without it negatively effecting the well being of you own citizens in regards to jobs.

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Exclaves and Sovereignty

Exclaves and Sovereignty | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"Prime Minister David Cameron is 'seriously concerned' about the escalation of tensions on the border between Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I was unaware that the UK owned this part of Gibraltar.  It seems like a throwback to the UK’s naval policies of the past that they would still to control this point of entry into the Mediterranean.  It will be interesting to see how this will be resolved.  As it is a dispute between two countries that are both part of the EU. 

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karenpinney's curator insight, August 12, 2013 5:13 AM

Relationships between Britain and Spain.

megan b clement's curator insight, October 13, 2013 12:37 AM

"The video explains about Spain and Gibraltar and how they have feuded back and forth with one another and their borders for some time now. Gibraltar has made a articfical reef to mess with the Spainish fisherman and SPain has made travel to Gibraltar nearly impossible and dreadfully long for tourists. Spain understands how essential tourism is to their economy. Until they are able to come to an agreement thei matter is only going to intenisfy more and worsen."

Aidan Lowery's curator insight, March 21, 2016 11:59 AM
unit 4
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Bubonic plague kills boy in Kyrgyzstan - Telegraph

Bubonic plague kills boy in Kyrgyzstan  - Telegraph | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
A teenage boy has died of bubonic plague in Kyrgyzstan, health officials have confirmed, adding that an epidemic was not likely.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article is a reminder that this is where the plague came from.  It was spread by the Mongol Hordes and brought devastation to medieval Europe.  Luckily, according to this article, it is not a strain of the disease that will cause a plague situation to occur, but they are sending researchers to the area where the boy lived to investigate. 

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Russian Summer

Russian Summer | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
At the dacha, the soul of Russia--and its cultural divide--is on display. In vacation cottages the women are in housedresses. The men, Speedos and rubber boots. They brood, plant, party, and restore their souls.

 

The dacha (a seasonal second home or a vacation spot) is incredibly important in Russia.  It is is estimated that over 50% of city residences in Russia own a dacha as a way to culturally connect with the countryside.  This is a nice glimpse into that life. 


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article talks about the almost mythical feelings of a Russian summer spent in a dacha.  The brief summer is enjoyed and experienced from a home in the country that is a representation of freedom to the Russian people.  The oppressive Soviet sate was hard to escape but for a few months out of the year, people who owned dachas could get away and enjoy life.  It gave city dwellers a place to garden and to relax from the city.  The dacha is still an integral part of the Russian soul.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 2014 12:02 PM

This is definitely a part of the country/cultural side of Russia. Bathing with animals and in lakes like this is definitely not a part of urban Russia. Throughout societies, there is always an urge to live a different lifestyle. In this country, the residents are given an option to live both countryside Russian life and urban Russian life.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, October 27, 2014 9:07 AM

“Everyone in Russia has a dacha story”. Dachas are small, summer cottages and cabins that over half of Russia’s population owns. While many people in the United States have this mental image of Russians as drunk, stern, communists, the dacha shows insight to a life much more similar to ours than many people would probably imagine. Russians use dachas as a form of escape, in the same way that many Americans visit a beach house or a mountain cabin in the summer. The need to escape and break through the rut of the daily grind is something that transcends ethnicity or nationality. The need to leave our concrete jungles for the simplicities and feeling of completeness offered by the natural environment is something much more  primordial.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:12 PM

Everyone in Russia has a dacha story. It may be a trace of childhood memory like playing ball late into evening by a sun that won’t set, gathering pinecones to perfume the fire, or swimming in an icy pond. It may be quietly romantic, a first love that fades with the season or blossoms into marriage. An older woman tells of coming home from work to find her husband in bed with her best friend. She kicked him out and, with retirement looming and no husband, wondered, What will I do now? The answer was the dacha she bought for 500 rubles, with a forest nearby for mushroom hunting, a lake, and a garden. “The dacha saved my life,” she says. Sweet or bitter, lighthearted or dark, the story always takes place in summer. A dacha, after all, is a summer cottage.

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Daily Show: How I Meteored Your Motherland

Russians have seen so much crazy s**t that they've become unfazeable.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

Ok this was very funny.  The idea that the Russians see such weird stuff daily that a giant meteor exploding above them doesn’t seem to faze them  at all in just odd form an American perspective.  Some of the footage from the car dash-cams was fighting and bazaar!

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The Geography of Chechnya

The Geography of Chechnya | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
The Caucasus region, dominated by the imposing Great Caucasus mountain range and stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, has long been known as one of the world’s ethnically and linguistically most diverse areas.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

It is amazing to consider such a small area (the size of New England) could hold such a vast area of languages.  The mountainous region certainly helps in creating such diversity as it isolated villages from each other in the ages before modern communication and travel.

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Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 17, 2013 3:01 PM

Using this article helps to teach ourselves, students, and others about particular places in the world that are unknown or very little known.  We can use articles such as this one to be less prejudiced and more apt to think about these places of the world in a different context rather than just a negative, terrorism-related one.

Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 19, 2013 10:16 AM

Most Americans had never heard Chechnya before the Boston bombing in April 2013. Now, most think that it is full of America-hating terriosts. However, Chechnya is so very complex and diverse a place, that it is ludacris to think that. Over 100 languages are spoken in the country. The southern half speaks languages such as Georgian, Svan and Mingrelian. Turkish, Iranian and Chechens are the languages you will probably hear in the North. Another misconception is that there are many Christians in Chechnya as well as Muslims. This country is made up of so many different groups, it is incredible. 

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 2014 6:46 PM

This map does a fantastic job of highlighting the cultural diversity within Russia and the former Soviet states. Understanding how these cultural regions overlap one another is paramount in understanding the region's tensions and the repercussions that result including Chechen terrorism in Russia and even in America (Boston bombings).

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Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations—and the Gerrymandered Ethnic Map

Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations—and the Gerrymandered Ethnic Map | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"An earlier GeoCurrents post on Chechnya mentioned that the Chechens were deported from their homeland in the North Caucasus to Central Asia in February 1944.  However, the Chechen nation was not the only one to suffer such a fate under Stalin’s regime."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article describes the practice of Lenin and Stalin of Russifacation.  This policy led to many ethnic minorities with in the Soviet Union being deported from their home soil to the interior of Russia.  The aim was to place ethnic Russian in boarder areas and to bring the ‘undesirable’ ethnicity into the interior to become Russian or sent to the gulags to die.  The effects of this mass relocation of ethnicity is still being felt today.  The rising conflict in Ukraine is a direct result from these policies as the country is split between ethnic Ukraine and the decedents of the ethnic Russians move there to secure the ports to the Black Sea.

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Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 12, 2014 1:43 PM

The Soviet Union forced vast amounts of people and ethnic groups out of their historical homelands to settle new areas during the early and mid 20th century. Many of those forced into resettlement died, and today some consider it a genocide or crime against humanity. As ethnic groups were moved out, ethnic Russians were moved in to take their places, and explains why many places outside of Russia (Ukraine) have populations that still maintain strong Russian identities. It also explains why places like Chechnya have such a long history of insurgency and extremism against Russian authority and power.

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:37 PM

This graph represents the areas where many of the Chechnes had been displaced to in the era of Stalins regime. Many of these people were displaced from their homes and forced to move. Many of them either had to leave family behind of they were forced to move together and had no initial home to live in.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:51 PM

i see this as history retelling itself. for some reason throughout history terrible men think that their race is better than another, this is not true and if a person wants to think this that is their prerogative, but some men think it to such an extent that they seek to eliminate the entire other people. nothing good can come of this and it turns into mass conflict every time. it destroys countries and breeds hate on all sides.

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Trek through wilderness in Patagonia, South America

Trek through wilderness in Patagonia, South America | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
PATAGONIA’S stunning landscape is the star attraction in this remote and rugged corner of South America, writes Jenny Stevens
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article talks about the beautiful landscape in Patagonia.  Hiking there is a wonderful experience with scenic views of an unspoiled landscape..  Its descriptions make me want to go there.

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Sustainable Urbanism

"Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see what’s possible in the metropolitan landscape.  From building opera houses with wire to mapping the connection between the automobile and your mother-in-law, Jaime Lerner delights in discovering eccentric solutions to vexing urban problems. In the process he has transformed the face of cities worldwide."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video is enlightening.  The speaker uses the city as a model for fixing problems in the world.  Instead of seeing the city as an enemy to environmentalism, he purposes changing the cities and reworking old sites like quarries into something that is useable today.  He also advocates the integration of the transportation systems to make commuting more feasible as well as less pollution generating. 

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 15, 2014 8:02 AM

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.  Click here to see the trailer for a documentary about the urban changes in Curitiba, Brazil. 

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In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.

 

This skyscraper that was once a symbol of wealth, in an incredible paradigm shift, has now become is occupied by squatters. The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside. A complex web of geographic factors needs to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation. The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The problems in Venezuela with housing and the lack of response to the problem by the government has led people to become squatters.  The using of the abandoned buildings was a good idea by the original squatters.  The vacant buildings can house many of the countries it is a shame that the government did not think of this solution to the housing problem and vacant building first, if they had, they could have made sure they were safer for the residence.  The idea of a vertical city springing up in this building is also an interesting one.  Not only are squatters living in these buildings but creating businesses and other services for the residence.

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Erica Tommarello's curator insight, December 4, 2013 9:13 PM

Venezuela clearly can not take care of its people as the Tower of David is occupied by squatters in the middle of the city. The abandonment of construction of this tower openly symbolizes the financial and social crisises that Venenzuelans are enduring. The squatters do not want to live in the rural areas that boasts open lands. They insist that living in an essentially wall-less and water-less unfinished sky scraper is better then the rural areas and the street.

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:34 PM

The video we watched of the squatters living in an unfinished skyscraper was unlike anything I've ever seen before. In a country with such high population rates and a housing shortage, people have gotten creative and made homes in this 45 story building where they share what would have been office spaces and bathrooms.  Over 2,500 people have moved into the dilapidated skyscraper and made a home out of it for their families. They have rigged electricity that the government does not provide for them and built small stores on almost every floor.  The people have not been evicted because the government of Venezuela knows of the housing shortages, yet does not fix it.  

I feel ashamed that a country with so many oil resources has such high rates of poverty and no one is fixing it.  It shows the corruption in the government through an extreme although innovative example.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:02 PM

In life, I constantly find myself comparing situations with what I read and what I know. Imagine this skyscraper is the Prudential in Boston. How could something meant to be so great fall to its death (and to peoples literal deaths)? One day there is a massive financial building occupied with bankers and lavishness. The next day there is a skyscraper in the form of a house. Housing shortages are happening everywhere and Venezuela is being hit hard in this situation. Imagine visiting this country and asking where someone lives? "Oh, I live in the Tower of David, which used to mean a whole lot more."

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Brazil Faces Obstacles in Preparations for Rio Olympics

Brazil Faces Obstacles in Preparations for Rio Olympics | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Ambitious development plans for the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as the 2014 soccer World Cup, involve large-scale evictions from numerous slums, whose residents are refusing to leave.

 

The urban revitalization issues in Rio de Janiero are not new, but they will intensify in global importance (or at least coverage) as the time for the World Cup and Olympics approaches.  What are the aesthetics and economics behind revitalization?  What are the social issues that should be addressed?  


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article highlights the problem facing Brazil when the country needs to build new facilities to host the Olympics and World Cup.  The clash between the government and poor people who are squatting on land they do not own causes much stress and unrest.  How the country comes to resolve these issues are important for the people in the future.  The fact that people are being displaced is sad and perhaps not fair however, on the other hand, these people are squatters and built their homes on land they did not own and have no infrastructure which is also dangerous and a public safety issue.  The unrest over this issue will cause a pale over the games to be held in Brazil.

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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:24 PM

The people protesting the destruction of their homes in the slums of Brazil are right to do so.  The government wants to destroy homes that while they are shabby, have been host to more than one generation of some families strictly so they may host the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympics.  I understand that government is glad to host these events because it will bring tourism to the country and bring in large profits but in doing this, they are neglecting their own people!

Brazil is not in a good financial state to take on the endeavors of building the stadiums and hosting the massive crowds that come to both events.  Rio de Janeiro also has a very high crime rate.  Destroying the favelas to clean up the city and make more space will only displace the poor and lead to further problems for the country because before a nation focuses on the rest of the world, it needs to secure and take care of itself and Brazil is not doing so. It is cruel politics to displace thousands of people and will not do any good after the few weeks of the Olympics comes to an end and Brazil is left with another mess to clean up.

Cam E's curator insight, February 11, 2014 11:41 AM

With the Olympics comes countries trying to hide all their dirty secrets that they don't want the world to see. It's easy to say that money shouldn't be spent on creating a large stadium and instead to help the impoverished, but it should also be recognized that with the Olympics comes a huge boost in jobs and tourism for the country.

Kayla, Sean, and Max's curator insight, February 24, 2015 1:25 PM

Max

The coming of the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympic Games requires the building of many stadiums for the games, as well as hotels, restaurants, stores, etc. for the tourist traveling to see the games. This not only is causing gentrification but is also causing mass eviction as the government is forcing people to leave the slums to make room for the new buildings.

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The Changing Geography of Quinoa

The Changing Geography of Quinoa | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I have never heard of Quinoa until I read this article.  I found myself amazed at the properties of this food especially when it is grown in such an inhospitable environment for growing other crops.  It is sad that the poor people eat less of it now but the income it generates for them is a good thing.  It allows them to increase their standards of living and entices people to return to their home villages rather than crowd into cities. With the increased income they can improve the variety of foods in their diets even if it means the decrease in consumption of the quinoa. 

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Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 1, 2014 8:48 PM

Bolivia and Peru once enjoyed Quinoa as a locally grown grain that was used in a nutritious diet. However, because  other parts of the world are becoming increasingly accustomed to Quinoa it is driving the price of the grain in both countries, which is putting the locals in a tough pot because it is practically tripling in price. The poorer citizens are struggling to get Quinoa, something that they once got relatively easy.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:12 PM

This is an example of the harmful effect of globalization, those who grew quinoa for food are now forced to ship away their food source leading to starvation and a slew of other issues. Those in the west with their obsession with "Super Foods" have without realizing it driven up the price of this grain to the extend that those who relied upon it as their staple crop can no longer afford to eat it themselves.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 3, 2015 12:54 PM

I remember walking into Panera Bread one morning a few months back. In the doorway, they had a sign that read, "Now serving Quinoa Oatmeal." I thought to myself, "What the hell is a Key-noah?" Now, it seems I can't go anywhere without hearing about this grain.

 

Touted as the super grain, Quinoa has been used for centuries as a source of sustenance for the dwellers of the Andes. But what happens when a traditional food source, only able to grow in a small region is suddenly desired by large parts of America and Europe? Supply and demand has kicked in and if it's more profitable to eat something else and sell your crop, then I'd imagine most folks would do just that like they are in the Andes. The problem with selling your main source of nutrition is that when you aren't eating it, you're not getting the nutrients you normally got. Is stripping a people of their ancestral food source and malnutrition worth it for a bowl of oatmeal at Panera? 

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Exploring Mexico through Dynamic Web Maps

Exploring Mexico through Dynamic Web Maps | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"One of the people I regard most highly here at Esri has created an online atlas of Mexico.  The maps can be accessed in many different ways, such as an ArcGIS Online presentation with a description here, as an iPad iBook, but I think most importantly, as a series of story maps.  Each of these separate story maps contains 1 to 6 thematically related maps on the following topics:

Explore Mexico (Crime vs. Tourism)Mexico’s Natural WondersMexico’s Historical MonumentsGeography of Mexico – Did You Know?Indigenous People of MexicoCartograms of Mexico

 


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This site is neat.  The ability to use interactive maps to explore this country is very informative.  I recommend this site to anyone interesting in learning more about Mexico!

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Cam E's curator insight, February 11, 2014 11:00 AM

I had no idea Honduras was the country with the highest murder rate in the entire world! These map are extremely interesting, as we see the obvious tourist destinations are everywhere on the coasts as opposed to the interior of the country of Mexico, yet the majority of the historical structures are in the interior centered around Mexico City.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 17, 2014 10:17 AM

These maps all come together in a somewhat story-like sense. They are thematically related and can be separated to be able to look at each map individually. I like how there are multiple ways to access the maps.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 5:05 PM

An interactive map system like this is great, it has different topics to look at that will continuously amaze you on the information it holds. After looking at such a map like this will all the different options offered, I was able to learn things about Mexico that I had never known before. It is maps like this that really make geography fun and help us to understand what each region is all about. 

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Geography in the News: Eurasia’s Boundaries

Geography in the News: Eurasia’s Boundaries | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"Europe and Asia, while often considered two separate continents, both lie on the same landmass or tectonic plate, the Eurasian supercontinent. The historic and geographic story of the Eurasian boundary is intriguing."


Via Neal G. Lineback, Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

I find this discussion very interesting.  How we define the boarders of the continents may not seem important but they do hold much in the way of historical and cultural meanings.  Is Europe separate from Asia or is it one super-continent?  The answer to that has many implications politically and culturally as well as historically.

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Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 18, 2014 2:26 PM

If Europe and Asia are not different continents based on the tectonic plates that they both share, would that mean that Russia is in a fact a part of Europe. Wouldn't its ties be closely link to that of Asia, because growing up in school, I was taught that Russia was closely related to the Asian continent than it was to Europe. Though Russia is sometimes perceived as being its own continent, I wonder what this discovery will mean for them long term.

David Lizotte's curator insight, February 20, 2015 1:32 PM

The article states that the idea of separate continents comes from European scholars whom wanted to give more definition to there culture and area of the world, essentially there region. I wonder if this could be said in regards to the inhabitant East of the Ural Mountains. Did they want a form of boundary to represent and distinguish there region? None the less, we live in the west so the western perspective is what guides us. 

Even if there never was a Europe and an Asia, there would still be land disputes as to whom has claim to which region/area of land. On a global perspective its viewed as Europe and Asia but when one takes a closer look its simply country and country... not continent and continent. This article is revealing the importance of Eurasia, how it truly does exist. A quasi boundary is not going to separate the once "two continents" rather nothing separates the continents, its all part of Eurasia. 

A neat part of the article is how the writer states recognizing the land mass as two continents is old and out of date. Its basically wrong and non-intelligent. I believe this is important and is something that needs to be recognized on a national scale (here in the United States). Personally I've always recognized the realm as "Eurasia." I now feel more intelligent for doing so! How do people in Europe and with this being said Asia, feel about this more reformed definition of the supercontinent? Do they even recognize it as true? Perhaps they realize there are more important issues at hand like current  countries  disputed and invaded borders.

None the less there is disputed boundaries on a more micro level, when compared to the continent versus continent scheme. For example Russian backed separatists have claimed a portion of Eastern Ukraine. Do people actually see this as Asians expanding into Europe or rather a transcontinental country (Russia) expanding itself more westward. The importance here lies in the disputed country boundaries, not continental boundaries, yet one cannot not deny the significance of the  "continental boundary" which some people do believe in. But the core of the matter is the country to country ratio. 

 

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 9, 2015 2:25 PM

This was interesting to read because I don't associate the two till I can visually see it.  Then to further call it Eurasia makes sense as well.  There is a population that are considered Asian Russians.  I did a study on this culture and I couldn't believe there were Asian Russians. This sounds crazy.  It would make sense for cross cultures in this region.  

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9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.

 

In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation.  The statistics don't reveal the sources of this disparity, but there are nine main reasons American metro areas have ended up so much more car-dependent than cities in Western Europe.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article gives a nice comparison between American and European car use.  It points out cultural differences as well as governmental policy differences that lead to different views on public transportation and car usage.

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Kendra King's curator insight, January 28, 2015 7:51 PM

According to this article, “U.S. (transportation) planners” look to Europe for inspiration as the planners try to decrease Americans’ “car dependency.” Instead of giving answers about how to solve the “car dependency” issue, the author provided nine reasons for why Europeans walk and bike more. Ideas like how the European infrastructure was built (i.e their zoning laws, highways, and biking/pedestrian lanes) were discussed. I found the implication that European’s were able to walk more because residential areas and businesses were intermixed the most interesting of all these reasons. It could never really matter because most of America’s land is already developed, but it did make me remember an earlier study mentioned in the article in which 70% of Americans wouldn’t walk a mile when they could. Triggering this just made me think that intermixing our buildings wouldn’t matter because we are too lazy to walk. Some may come back with the idea that a lack of relaxed pedestrian and bike lanes prohibit this option. However, with the amount of sidewalks around, I just keep thinking it all goes back to how much we exercise (which isn’t much). So honestly, it is an unhealthy attitude that planners need to change. Meaning some drastic action would need to occur in order to actually change people’s habits.

 

 More drastic ideas like decreasing government subsidies on oil, taxing cars, and implementing policies that “shifted behavior” (i.e. no parking zones) were also explained. However with oil companies and car industries around, I don’t actually see lobbyist letting that happening in the short term. Ironically, the article mentioned that the reason U.S. planners were thinking about how to change transportation was because the model the county uses is “unstainable.” This means the transportation system cannot be maintained for either “environmental, social, or economic reasons” (see included link for definition). Thinking about these factors, I just kept coming back to oil. Environmentally it is a fixed resource, socially people want less of it due to climate change, and economically it is typically more costly. What this all means is that an alternative energy source is needed. When that eventually happens, America will probably believe the transportation system is sustainable again regardless of “urban sprawl” and lack of “public transportation.” I say this because the author pointed out how America thought itself stable during the 80’s and 90’s when energy prices were low thereby implying the bigger issue is the oil needed to change people’s behavior. 

 

Overall, the author did provide an in-depth list that made me pay attention to the cultural and government differences between America and Europe from the way space interacts with these regions.

 

*http://environment.transportation.org/environmental_issues/sustainability/#bookmarksubSustainableTransportation

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, February 4, 2015 6:41 PM

 A big reason why people are more car dependant in America is because we are a lazy nation.  Americans are always looking for the easy way to accomplish things, so if you can drive a mile to work in 2 minutes or walk in 15, its almost guarenteed that the American is walking! This is obviously a general term and does not apply to all Americans but a vast majority would opt for the vehicle.  As someone who has taken several trips to Europe, people there are in far better shape than in America and i'm sure that fitness along with better eating habits attribute to that.  

Another reason I believe America is more dependant than Europe on cars is because it is far easier and cheaper to travel via train or subway in Europe.  Train stations and public transport in America are expensive and only take you to highly populated areas while the trains in Europe will take you all over the continent.

 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 2:40 PM

This has major impact on health issues, because nobody wants to walk or bike anymore which most of us did until 16 years old, it is a good form of exercise and can keep a persons body weight down. Which would lead to less health issues. Also the pollution from the vehicles and illegal dumping of tires and batteries and oil which leads to environmental problems. Socially we would meet more people and even see more of our surroundings if we drove less. Economically we as individuals would save money by not driving or would we? We would save on gas, licenses, maintenance, but on the other hand our renewal of licenses, registration, and even taxes on the vehicle help support our schools, busing and other community projects. This funding would be cut and therefore taxes will rise on something else we would end up paying for. I personally just think as Americans we drive everywhere and spend less time taking bikes, walks even skateboards all over the city which we loved to do as teenagers. I don't expect to be rollerblading or skateboarding at an older age but why do we stop at 16. It is because we are allowed to under the law to drive and everyone can't wait until high school to get their license. Once we give up our bikes and rollerblades, skateboards, walks it is hard to go back to it.

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Eurasian economic union with Russia at centre of Putin’s endgame

Eurasian economic union with Russia at centre of Putin’s endgame | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
THE effective seizure of the Crimea by Russian forces on Saturday has caught many in the West off-guard. They should have known better.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article points out how the actions of Russia recently should not have been a surprise.  The EU and the west have been blind to the realities of geopolitics.  By naively believing that the peace in the west is the norm in the world, that the agreement to not use economic coercion or war is something that the whole world signed on too.  This article points out that Russia will stop at nothing to maintain control over its satellite states and that China should not be ignored either.  Both large countries have felt slighted and diminished in recent history and will work or redress the balance that they feel has been lost.

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Ukraine’s leader urges Putin to pull back troops

Ukraine’s leader urges Putin to pull back troops | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Ukraine's interim prime minister says the country is "on the brink of disaster."

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

That this could happen at all in this day and age just goes to show that the Cold War may be over but Russia is still flexing its muscles.  As a child of the 1980s, this turn of events frightens me.  I lived my childhood with the fear that there could be a nuclear war at any time always in the back of my mind.  Younger people just don’t understand what it was like living during the cold war and perhaps poo-poo it a bit too much.  But the threat was always there and it was something that was real and did not lesson until the fall of the Soviet Union.  The fact that this event has occurred just brings up the old fears and memories of the tensions between America and the USSR.  I hope that a solution can be found that doesn’t hurt the Ukrainian people.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 2, 2014 6:46 PM

Many observers fear that Russia's military control of the Crimea could lead to more centrifugal forces in the region.  In response, pundits are discussing what the U.S. response should be; clearly this will be a major issue for the Obama administration.

Linda Alexander's comment, March 3, 2014 9:29 AM
We've been asleep at the wheel while the genocide goes on in Syria and Russia blocks UN action. Well, this is the outcome...Putin acts as though no one will blink. Shameful.
Jessica Rieman's curator insight, March 5, 2014 4:41 PM

Crimea has been a region whee Russian traditions have been strong throughout the years and will continue t stay strong but if Putin is going to be the President who decides that he wants to isrupt part of Europe by putting the Ukraine and Russia against eachother on a battle field then there are going to be some drastic differences and not just in Crimea.

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Chechnya: 200 years of background in four minutes


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video gives a good background to understand Chechnya.  The dislocation and genocide that the people had to suffer under Soviet Russia certainly has led to the violence in the region.  We are not separate from our pasts and if anything this video explains where that violence and hatred comes from.  It doesn't excuse the violence but it does explain it.

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Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 16, 2015 1:20 PM

Chechnya may not be a country that one hears much about, but it is a country who has suffered the most from its powerful reigning neighboring countries. Chechnya has important oil deposits, as well as natural gas and others. Overall, Oil is a resource a lot of countries fight for and this is why Chechnya suffers from Russia. Russia wants to have territorial denomination of Chechnya. Russia throughout the years has fought and bombed over Chechnya for territory. It is similar to the situation in Africa, where small nations have been trying to break free from their regional superpowers and colonial rulers. The resulting anarchy in Chechnya strengthened Russian belief that the region should not become independent and undermine its territorial integrity. Overall, this is a problem all over the world and Chechnya still stands strong as an independent country. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 1:40 PM

Clearly, Chechnya has a very violent past. It is nothing but a place of death and heavy conflict. You can even say it had a genocide going on, when the citizens of Chechnya was sent to Siberia to pretty much be killed off by the extreme cold. It is also important to understand that Chechnya wants to be it's own country. It is sad to hear about this country in such  negative way with all the fighting going on and the fact that the Boston Marathon bombers came from there... Why could we not hear of it in a better way better way? For example, they want to be a country of their own. 

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:47 PM

first off i would like to say that i am pretty sure half of the world did not even know Chechnya existed until the marathon bombing happened. also this stuff is really important to know because it give you background and insight into what these people were thinking and how what goes on on the other side of the world can twist people in such a way that it effects us here at home.

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Aral Sea Basin

Aral Sea Basin | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"Dust blows from what was once the Aral Sea floor. Tragic mismanagement of a natural resource."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This startling picture from space of the Aral Sea is heartbreaking.  The destruction of this inland sea is a terrible thing to behold.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 2014 8:36 PM

The Aral Sea Basin has been a topic of conversation throughout geography for many reasons. What used to be filled with water is now blowing dust because its that dry? This basin is no longer a natural resource.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 3:30 PM

Here is a question. Do you think perhaps in the future this could happen to lake Mead in Nevada/Arizona? With all the non-stop building and no rain perhaps one day could it run dry or do we have a way to stop it.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 7:17 PM

Once there is less water in a lake there is less water in the air therefore less rain. The long term consequences is that the fishing industry is destroyed where once upon a time there were 61000 workers and now there are under 2000. The water is more saltier. The lands are now ill suited and unbuildable. Also the people there are prone to health problems.

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150 Years Ago, Sochi Was the Site of a Horrific Ethnic Cleansing

150 Years Ago, Sochi Was the Site of a Horrific Ethnic Cleansing | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Czar Alexander II may have freed the serfs, but his war against the stateless people of the Caucasus cannot be ignored

 

The czar’s approval of this rapid expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Circassians to the Ottoman Empire resulted in an ethnic cleansing through disease and drowning as overcrowded ferries crossed the Black Sea. The Ottomans were unprepared for the influx of refugees, and the absence of adequate shelter caused even more deaths from exposure. Those Circassians who attempted to remain in the Russian Empire and fight for their land were massacred. Sochi’s “Red Hill,” where the skiing and snowboarding events will take place during these Olympic Games, was the site of the Circassian last stand, where the Imperial Russian armies celebrated their “victory” over the local defenders.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

It is interesting to learn the history of a place that most American’s didn’t know existed until the Olympics.  It is always helpful to have things placed in a historic perspective.  The historic background makes understanding modern day events easier

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 2014 8:33 PM

This is basically like a mini Holocaust. When do people think its okay to do something like this? It boggles my mind how things like this can actually go on in the world still with todays technologies and armed forces. 

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 5, 2015 2:27 PM

This article shows the great deal of overlap between Geography and History.  Today, when people think of Sochi, they will remember the Olympic games, and the epic hockey battle between the USA and the Russian Federation.  Yet, as this article discusses, Sochi was once the sight of a military battle, and a massacre.  The Russian Empire under Alexander II wanted to expand its borders to be well defined and would wage war against the Circassians who lived in the region.  When they would not go to the Ottoman Empire, and fought the Russians, the army and the Czar were prepared to fight them.  As a result, on Red Hill, the native people had a last stand against the Russian Army and were massacred.  Yet, the southern region of Russia near the middleast, to this day, is not secure.  The history of this region has guaranteed that the people living in these regions of the country would come to loathe Russia.  In fact, this area in the form of Chechnya, has exported the hatred and Islamic fervor of the region, to the United States in the Boston Marathon Bombings of 2013.  History and Geography are not neat boxes that are separate from each other, they are always influencing one another in all actuality. 

Calem Cauley's curator insight, April 7, 2016 10:16 AM
I didn't know how ruthless this leader was. At the little lest threat the czar would fight them and demolish them. 
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Amid Epic Drought, South America’s Largest City Is Running Out Of Water

Amid Epic Drought, South America’s Largest City Is Running Out Of Water | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
January was the hottest month on record in the city, Reuters reported, and meteorologists expect little rain in the next week.
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The lack of rain in areas is a definite problem especially in highly developed urban areas were the concentration of people makes the drought more severe as there are more people competing for limited resources.

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LANDFILL HARMONIC: Inspiring dreams one note at a time!

A heartfelt & moving story of how instruments made from recycled trash bring hope to children whose future is otherwise spiritless.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video was very moving.  I was surprised how the recycled instruments sounded exactly like the real things.  I think this should make us think about how much of the trash we generate could be put to some use besides rotting in a landfill.  It also shows the ingenuity of people to find a use for a resource even if that resource is trash.  It just goes to show that the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” is true.

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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 2014 12:11 PM

This is really cool.  You would think that people living on a pile of trash would be really miserable and have a negative outlook on life, which in a way these kids probably do.  However they have found a way to bring joy to their lives and bring them closer together.  Going through the trash they are sometimes lucky enough to find actual instruments that have been thrown away, but more times than others only find pieces they can use.  Taking the pieces of trash that they find and turning them into instruments to make music is the highlight of most of these kids day.  They go to show that they can live in the worst of the worst but that doesn't mean that that will stop them from becoming something in life.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 5, 2014 10:59 AM

It is fascinating to see how a community living in very poor conditions have found a way to make their society and culture flourish. Where most residents make a living sorting through garbage, they have found a way to use that same trash to create instruments and an orchestra, adding rich culture to their community and giving the youth opportunities they would not have otherwise. It shows that while a community may live in less than ideal conditions, it is still possible to have a thriving culture.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 12:58 PM

this story is a wonderful example of how even in a horribly impoverished area people can still make art, and overcome massive hardships to chase something they truly want.

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Uruguay’s government, new pot dealer on the block

Uruguay’s government, new pot dealer on the block | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Amsterdam, eat your heart out. This South American country has big plans for marijuana fans.

 

The distribution of narcotics impacts virtually every country in the world; there are incredibly divergent strategies on how to mitigate these problems that are a result of sophisticated distribution networks.  What is the best way to stop the flow of dangerous drugs and the illegal activities that accompany the drug trade?  If you were in charge, what strategies would you recommend? 


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article is interesting in it is a different view of how a government should combat drug related violence.  The idea that to legalize lesser drugs will bring down the demand for harder illegal drugs is an interesting stance.  The hope is this will cut the feet out from under the dangerous and violent drug cartels and bring down the crime rate in Uruguay.  It will be interesting to see what comes of this move.

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Kendra King's curator insight, February 8, 2015 4:37 PM

The brilliance of this plan is in the taxes. I am not sure allowing people to smoke marijuana will get them to stop doing cocaine. Especially since, the article mentioned citizens are already allowed to legally use marijuana if they wish. If this was the countries only argument in favor of the legislation, I would be against it as there is no evidence to support the idea of replacing one for the other. However, the money garnered from the State being the sole supplier would then go to treating drug addicts. So unlike our drug war, this country logically went after a part of what is causing the problem in the first place. Such an idea has a great deal of potential for stopping repeat users. Eventually though, the money raised from these taxes might also need to go towards prevention education as well.  

 

Drug war aside, I think regulating marijuana is a good idea anyways. As long as people are going to do it, you might as well control it. Not only does the country profit from the taxes, but the citizens are safer. As it stands right now, people are getting the product from the black market and there is no proper product standard on that market.   Under the State people would actually getting a type of weed that wouldn’t be tainted or has an overly potent does to THC. Honestly, that reason alone would sell me. However, with violence in an area that is “traditionally the safest,” the benefits of regulation probably aren’t too high on the list of political motivation.  

David Lizotte's curator insight, February 9, 2015 4:48 PM

This was an interesting article, a bit outdated, yet still informative. I personally know nothing about the legalization of drugs, specifically Marijuana, in any foreign country.

It certainly comes off as is the Uruguayan government is trying to monopolize the growing and sale of Marijuana. From a government perspective they would be able to handle the sales of pot and use the profit for state needs... I am assuming state needs. The article stated the revenue would be roughly $75 million, thats a good amount of money to throw around in regards to infrastructure and other further investments. In time the government would allow for private organizations to grow Cannabis but would have to sell it over to the government to be legally distributed. Not only would the government be setting the price for the buying of bulk from the producers but they would also be reaping all the benefits from sales. Also, the growers of Marijuana would be taxed... The government is winning either way. 

An issue with this plan is the fact that the government is a direct beneficiary of the profits obtained from the drug. It is clear that the government wins. Who else wins? Stoners? I suppose it is good that they wont be busted for smoking anymore... I hope there is a good amount of money from this revenue going back into the state. I'm sure jobs will be created to keep up with the Marijuana sales. What will happen to the people already selling Marijuana? They can't sell it anymore if the government is only allowed to. Perhaps this could create an issue? 

I understand the purpose of this project/plan. I believe it needs more structure and perhaps a more descriptive outcome, not just the government reaping the profits and not saying where they will spend the money. 

Louis Mazza's curator insight, February 12, 2015 7:15 PM

Uruguay was one of the safest nations in the Latin America until an outbreak of hard drugs, with violence following it. in order to combat this outbreak Uruguay wants to legalize the "soft core" drug of marijuana. the government thinks this should reduce the consumption of Crak-cocaine and other forms of the coco leaf. this is following he current trend in the America's. this would not legalize the growing or selling of marijuana, it would make it state mandated and taxed while the possession of small amounts is legal.

i think that this will be great, with easy access to the drug it will take the exhilaration out of doing drugs. i do think this will ease people off of harder drugs to the accessible drug of marijuana. although people who use crak will not be changed immediately and satisfied with pot, it will help the whole economy from trying crak- cocaine.

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Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade

Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — South American engineers are trying to tackle one of the continent's greatest natural challenges: the towering Andes mountain chain that creates a costly physical barrier for...

 

At the NCGE conference, noted author Harm De Blij mentioned a daring project that would link Eastern South America with the Pacific as engineers were planning to tunnel under the Andes mountains.  Here is a link to an article on this intermodal transportation project that would lower the shipping costs from East Asia to the Southern Atlantic.  Government officials in both Argentina and Brazil have described the  project as a matter of "national interest."  

 

Tags: transportation, LatinAmerica, globalization, industry, economic, development, unit 6 industry.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article expresses the need for better transportation in South America.  The need to bridge the Andes to better move trade goods from the pacific to Atlantic sides of the mountains.  This would have a huge effect on the economies of the two countries involved as well as an impact on international trade, just as the Panama Canal did when it was built.  The ability to cut through a mountain range and build a rail system is amazing and hopefully this vision of transportation can happen.

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Rachel Phillips's curator insight, May 7, 2015 12:54 PM

This is a great idea for a region that has the need to travel so much through such a tough area. Even if it will cost a lot of money to accomplish, in the long run it will save more than it costs to build.  This could change so much, and really boost their economies. Not only would it speed up shipping time and lower shipping costs, but it would allow more shipping to be done which means more business throughout the entire year as opposed to the situation now with snow getting in the way. Not only would it effect that aspect of the economy but it would also produce jobs for the time of the work being done, which is never a bad thing.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 2015 8:19 AM

If this project can be accomplished, it would truly be one of the greatest engineering feats in human history. To build a railroad tunnel through the Andes mountains seems impossible, but in all likelihood with the right amount of funding, it can be done. The tunnel would have great economic benefits for both Brazil and Argentina. Goods from both countries could be shipped in both directions with out any issues. The larger world would also benefit from the train tunnel. It is estimated that the tunnel would lower the shipping costs from East Asia to the Southern Atlantic. The entire global trading market would benefit from this development.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 7, 2015 12:44 PM
Doing something such as this is a brilliant move in engineering. Making a tunnel through the Andes will connect countries together, make shipping much easier and doing so may cut the cost of goods being shipped and received. Just like the Panama Canal increased the cargo freight lining industry for shipping, this will also increase an industry for railways,.
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Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
What America can learn from one of the most sustainable food nations on Earth.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article is interesting as it shows a cultural difference that leads the people of Bolivia to choose traditional food and food vendors over the corporate model like McDonald’s.  This shows that people in small countries can fight against globalization if the majority of the people choose not to spend money in globalized businesses.  It also shows the strength of the Bolivia people’s commitment to their cultural ways. 

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Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 28, 2015 5:50 PM

This is a fine example of people looking out for one another.  It might be easier to industrialize their food market but it's more admirable to preserve tradition, help small indigenous business, and try your best at making the country more healthy.  I applaud them for doing this.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:33 PM

I think I might want to move to Bolivia one day! Reciprocity is often a term used for corporate culture; you but from me and I'll buy from you type of relationship. This is still true in Bolivia only they do it on a much more personal level. Farmers share equipment, they share crops, seeds and develop a rapport not easily undone by corporations such as McDonald's. Bolivia's multiple micro-climates allow it to grow a wide variety of foods for their citizens, thus making it easier to trade within their circle of neighborhood farmers. "I'll trade you ten pounds of potatoes for five pounds of Quinoa."

The article goes on to state that Bolivians do indeed love their hamburgers, a handful of Subway's and Burger King's still do business there, but the heritage of picking a burger from a street vendor has been passed down by generations. These cholitas, as they are called, sell their fare in the streets of Bolivia and this type of transaction is not easily duplicated by large corporations. I have added Bolivia to my bucket list...

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 30, 2015 10:28 PM

" Whats Bolivia doing so right that McDonalds couldn't make it there?"

Food is not a commericial space here.

Morales, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in February, slammed U.S. fast-food chains, calling them a “great harm to humanity” and accusing them of trying to control food production globally.

“They impose their customs and their foods,” he said. “They seek profit and to merely standardize food, produced on a massive scale, according to the same formula and with ingredients which cause cancers and other diseases.”

Even still, with one of the lightest carbon footprints in the world, cherished food practices and progressive food sovereignty laws on the books, Bolivia could still be a model to the rest of the world—the United States especially—for a healthier, more community-based food system.

 

What an insightful read. I never thought of considering our food a s a "commercial space" but that is essentially exactly what it is. Our food has been extremely commercialized. Products our pushed through advertisement continuously. Most of the foods in America are not even real food but food products, factory made. This is absolutely a role model country for how food should be consumed.