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Turbulence on the Mekong River

Turbulence on the Mekong River | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
The Mekong River was once a wild and primitive backwater. Today, growing demands for electricity and rapid economic growth are changing the character of what is the world's 12th-longest river.

 

Economic progress for some often entails job loss and environmental degradation for others.  The once isolated and remote Mekong is experiences some impacts of globalization with residents having mixed feelings about the prospects. 

 

The technological resources from the Mekong River are needed to keep up with population demands suchs as electricity.  However in building dams, the wildlife and naturalness on the river is being stolen.  Farmers and fishermen fear that fish will be destroyed and blocked by the dams.  They are already noticing effects from upstream- the work China has done on the river is effecting Laos' societies.  Elizabeth Allen


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Emma Lafleur's curator insight, April 30, 2013 8:03 PM

It seems to be a theme that across the bored, people are building things that directly and negatively impact the environment and the local people. There are always two sides to the problem. On one hand, the dam can help with the development of Laos because it will bring in money, but it will also destroy the fish population and therefore many fishermen will lose their jobs and people will lose a food source. It is a difficult problem because Laos needs money because there is a lot of poverty in this rural country and the fishermen do not add a whole lot to the economy, but the people need a way to survive and make money for their families as well. It's a problem that I think will be around for generation to come.

Al Picozzi's curator insight, November 26, 2013 11:35 AM

Seems the price of modernizing will be the local economy that as existed here for centuries.  It is not a small industy either, it is according to the report a billion dollar fishing industry.  However with a growing population and a demand for electricity the river is the perfect source for this power.  This globalization, like all globalization, will help some and will hurt some.  What you have to ask yourself is will it help more than it hurts?  Will it help in the long run, over time?  For everyone involoved in globalization these answeres are never the same everywhere.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 9:21 PM

The Mekong river is a river that many fisherman in Laos depend on for food and income. Plans to build dams that will cause the fish to seek an alternate route to migrate upstream. Critics of the dams say that the dams will cause the fish to abandon the Mekong river and go through their neighboring rivers, leaving the residents without a source of income. Many in favor of the dams say the reverse, that building the dams will boost economy and cause the area to flourish.

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Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
Jakarta's traffic is legendary and locals have now become experts at finding ways to get around the jams, with some even making money out of them.

 

The population of Indonesia is heavily concentrated on the island of Java, and the capital city of Jakarta faces a tremendous strain on it's transportation network.  This video show that resourceful people will find inventive ways to make an unworkable situation manageable. 

 

Traffic. Just waiting for your turn to move a few feet. I can only imagine the frustration of commuters in Jakarta. The governemnt needs to make improvements, quikly. If they provided more public transport and better infrastrucure, traffic conditions would greatly improve.  Many other countries have faced this issue.  Without the government's help, Jakarta may be congested for a long time.  Carool regulations in a poor community provoke crime.  If people can make a living helping others commute into the city, they will.  The "jockeys" see an opportunity to provide for their families, while it is illegal- they are desperate enough to try an evade police and help the commuters.  Elizabeth Allen


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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 2:35 PM

The amount of traffic in Jakarta is staggering and the traffic itself has built up a business of making commuting to work easier. What is troubling is that the government hasn't made enough of an effort to fix the problem of traffic in its largest and most economically viable city. If Jakarta wants to keep growing the government has to step in and find a way to make getting to work realistic for Indonesians.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, December 15, 2014 9:38 PM

The traffic in Jakarta is insane, to be in a constant standstill on your way to work is unreal. The reporter in the video says that if the city of Jakarta continues on its current path, it could be "in a state of Paralysis" which for an entire city is not good. The traffic has, for some, become a way to make money, illegally but money nonetheless.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 13, 9:01 PM

Humans instinctively look to profit when the situation arises, this is one of those situations. The government implemented regulations that barely seem to manage the traffic jams, i.e. having 3 people per car. Since people do have to work and may not always be able to meet the requirements, others have started making a living as a “jockey,” an individual who offers to ride in a car so the 3 people limit is met. Doing this is considered illegal. Yet, there aren’t good enough jobs for people to work (otherwise they won’t be a jockey) and those who do work can’t seem to always follow the rule without it harming there work life.  Plus, more police now turn their attention towards these people thereby deterring them away from their other duties. I realize that the state probably never intended these consequences to happen, but now that it is I really wonder just how useful this law really is. One thing is certain though, without better planning or economic innovation by the government, the jams will continue to happen.

 

I find it odd that the people keep staying despite the major traffic problem. As one interviewee mentioned. I guess as long as you can find ways to stay productive and still receive enough compensation, the time spend in traffic isn't enough of a hassle for them. As someone who has enough economic opportunity with far less wait time in traffic though, I would find this situation unbearable. Clearly, this isn't that case though. So, I am not sure of the immediate solution. As we learned in class, the government tried transmigration. This just lead to more problems. It was then suggested that the type of opportunity. If that is the case though, what should the government do now? Waiting for a more natural economic opportunity to get the people out of Jakarta won't happen quick enough to curb the increasing population growth. Therefore the strain on the infrastructure will continue because the population's carrying capacity is exceeded. Whatever the answers, I think this would be a great case study for urban planning and the impact raising car dependency has on a society as this driving nightmare shows just how important planning is with more cars. 

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Myanmar's Isolation Gives Way To A Flood Of Visitors

The rapid pace of political change in Myanmar in the past year — capped by the recent election of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to Parliament — has tourists and foreign investors rushing to the country.

 

So many tourists want to see the change come to the democratic institutions of Myanmar to become a politically just Burma.  And yet, they also nostalgically want to keep Myanmar in a non-globalized state.  In what can be called the paradox of progress, many westerners want an idealized pre-modern state. 

 

What a transition. Burma is now free. After suffocating under military rule, Myanmar now has the chance of progressing politically and economically. With better government practices in place, under the pro democracy leader- Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar is able to prosper financially.  Hotels are a big boost to the economy.  Because tourists are interested in the transition of Burma, many are flocking there.  Hotels are able to raise prices and hire more workers. Myanmar is able to open its doors and allow others in.  It appears to be a sense of an awakening for Burma- politically and economically.

Elizabeth Allen


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Stacey Jackson's curator insight, May 8, 2013 8:40 PM

This article touches on something I've always thought about when considering tourism and development. Many of the cities and places I like to visit I go to because of there charm and lack of robust tourism culture. This is a bit of a dual edged sword. Cities and countries stand to gain considerable wealth from the expansion of their tourism industry. But, part of me wonders if something else is also lost. 

Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 10, 2013 8:03 PM

Due to rapid pace of political change in the last year tourists and foriegn investors are flooding into Myanmar. The country went through 50 years of brutal military rule and isolation that has left them stuck in time. What has been so heartbreaking for the people of Myanmar has is they same thing that makes it attractive and appealing to tourists and brings them now pouring in. Many of the tourists like it there because it hasnt been "ruined" by corporations and fast food chains yet.  

James Hobson's curator insight, December 4, 2014 9:02 PM

(Southeast Asia topic 9 [independent topic 1])

Myanmar (aka Burma) might end up being the next 'hidden gem' that ends up being scratched by over-visitation and over-westernization. However, this is by no means set in stone (no pun intended...).  Just as locals don't want to spread word about their favorite swimming hole, many past visitors and some locals hope that they can maintain that which keeps Myanmar unique. On the other hand, the welcoming of change offers the lure of increased tourism revenue and further globalization to an area recovering from isolationism. In my opinion a balance should be reached, in which local culture is properly maintained while modest introduction of foreign culturals is done in an as-necessary, beneficial-majority-proven basis.

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Planting Rice

Thailand...

Feel free to mute the commentary...this video demonstrates the truly 'back-breaking' work that is a part of paddy rice farming. 

 

To watch these women break their backs(and their fingers must be shriveled from going in and out of water) for rice paddys, helps us recognize how important rice is. These women know they have to perform this work- Rice is a staple crop for Thailand; they need rice commodity to live.  Not only do most of thai societies eat rice, it is also valuable as an export.   Elizabeth Allen


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James Hobson's curator insight, December 3, 2014 2:01 PM

(Southeast Asia topic 4)

I think this goes to show that certain people just don't realize how easy parts of their lives are until they've either experienced or come to understand the lives of others. But then again, that could be a matter of stance. What to many business people, for example, may seem as back-breaking labor might be the polar opposite to outdoor lovers. Though obviously ricing is a labor-intensive task, I'm sure some people would prefer picking the crop to being stuck in an office all day.

    On a slightly different topic, it's extremely ironic how those who make basic life necessities possible (such as rice farmers) are paid (and even valued) so little compared to those in other occupations. Life can exist without luxury cars and fine jewelry, but not without staple foods like rice. In this way, these farmers are who really keep the populations fed.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 4:46 PM

This video truly highlights how some forms of agriculture today are still without mechanization and require incredible labor to harvest. Where we make use of massive machines that render planting and harvesting of crops incredibly easy the farmers of Thailand must rely solely on man power. Rice is already a difficult crop to grow as it must be dry at some points of it's growth and wet at others. This is just something to consider when eating ones rice at dinner. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 17, 2014 10:41 PM

Doing this all day must be exhausting. To imagine women and men who do this for their entire lives makes me respect their dedication and work ethic. It also makes me think of the toll it must take on your body doing that day in and day out.

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BBC: Development-How bottles bring light to world's poorest

BBC: Development-How bottles bring light to world's poorest | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
A simple initiative in the Philippines is bringing a bit of brightness into the lives of the country's poorest people.

 

This clip is brimming with classroom potential.  Development is a key component to this clip, but it could also become a service learning project as students adopt a great project to help others in more difficult financial situations.  Learn more about the project at: http://isanglitrongliwanag.org/

 

This technique using an empty soda bottle, piece of metal, water, and a little bleach is affording communities to have light.  Of course it is a great recycling practice as well.  60 watts for under a dollar is priceless in most Phillipine neighborhoods.  More importantly,this new technique is being used in schools as well. This is truly amazing to see how innovative cultures can be. While they cannot afford electricity due to the high prices, they still have found an inexpensive alternative. Now with the mimicked lighting, people in poor areas of the Phillipines can still go on with their daily life uninterrupted.  Elizabeth Allen


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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 12:32 PM

The term "one man's trash is another man's treasure" is brought to new light with this video. Increased urbanization in the Philippines is creating a landscape of small, wall-to-wall huts with no windows. The lack of natural light coupled with limited energy resources makes these houses incredibly dark on the inside. One man figured out an ingenious  way to battle this issue while also reusing materials that otherwise would be considered trash. By using plastic soda bottles and a bleach solution, this man has created a type of skylight, providing light to those living in the slums of Philippines. 

 

This project has incredible potential not just in the Philippines, but on a global scale. Self-help housing all over the world could benefit from a light source while decreasing local problems with plastic waste.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 11:31 PM

This is very innovative as people in the Philippines have found a way to light their homes with just a plastic bottle. Using bleach and water and a piece of metal, there is temporary light for many people who would otherwise live in darkness. Starting with just 1 bottle in 1 home, this homemade product's total is now 15,000 units. I was very impressed that something as simple as a bottle filled with water can cost just $1 to make and give off even more light than an average light-bulb. I predict that this mini invention will become even more widespread as more poor countries catch on to this new, resourceful idea. 

Bob Beaven's curator insight, April 26, 3:45 PM

The solution to a problem in this video owes itself to geographical factors, had this been a problem in the US, the solution would have been different.  Having said this, the "American Way" to solve problems isn't always the best way to do so.  The Philippines is a collection of islands and they are ravaged by hurricanes, so to put above ground powerlines would be highly expensive, and to connect the whole nations infrastructure would require the nation running very expensive powerlines underneath the ocean.  What the man does in this video is ingenious given the location and the solution to the problem.  Since the Philippines are a warm country and the houses only have a single roof layer, by cutting a whole in the roof taping a coke bottle into the whole (filled with water and a bit of chlorine) allows a cheap and effective source of light.  By doing this, the people will not have to spend a great deal on electricity (if it is in their region) and if they do not have electricity then they still have a source of light. 

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Drought led to demise of ancient city of Angkor

Drought led to demise of ancient city of Angkor | Geography 400 at ric | Scoop.it
The ancient city of Angkor — the most famous monument of which is the breathtaking ruined temple of Angkor Wat — might have collapsed due to valiant but ultimately failed efforts to battle drought, scientists find.

 

Why do societies collapse?  Often they are overextended, consume too many resources for their hinterland network to supply or they aren't able to adapt to changes to the system.  Angkor Wat, the largest urban complex of the pre-industrial world, collapsed primarily due to drought conditions and a changing ecology.  Without sufficient water resources, the network collapsed.  What other environment 'collapses' can you think of?   

 

Societies can collapse if they fall victim to poor economics, poor political systems, and poor geographical reasons. In this case a major factor in Angkor's collapse was due to the change in climate. The drought was severe enough to crumble the city.  Considering the times, Angkor had sufficiant modern technology to gain water resources; however it just was not enough.  Here is an example of how drastic climate changes can effect a society.  The image of Angkor Wat can be seen as a symbol of pride for Cambodia.  The depiction is on Cambodia's flag.   Elizabeth Allen


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Cam E's curator insight, April 8, 2014 12:29 PM

It's easy to forget that for most of history, even the greatest of empires were subject to the whims of the climate. The ability to survive in places where humans really shouldn't thrive is only a recent development thanks to technology, but a drought is something the mightiest army can't fight, and all the wealth in the world will not stop, without the right technology.

James Hobson's curator insight, December 4, 2014 9:12 PM

(Southeast Asia topic 10 [independent topic 2])

Naturally, that which fails to adapt to its environment will not survive. Such was the likely fate of Angkor. But was this early industrial area the cause of its own drought demise? I'll answer this question with another modern one: Are booming metropolises of today having an impact on their environment? Look at the American Southwest, where the booming populations of Las Vegas and Phoenix, and the water use that goes along with it, are slowly sucking dry Lake Mead. Though in both cases the climate is becoming drier itself, adaptations could be the remedy. Just as the inhabitants of Easter Island caused their own demise as well, it truly pays to learn from the past and take proactive precautions to prevent such worse-case scenarios. Luckily today there is knowledge to do such that, and now the issue goes to getting that message acknowledged and acted upon.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 2:37 PM

This reminds me of the theories as to why Easter Island fell. Although what many people know of Easter Island is the giant heads, there was once a flourishing civilization in the area but many scholars theorize that they deforested the island to a point that they ran out of resources and had to flee to survive.