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Geography 400 Blog
Geography, History, Economics, World
Curated by Derek Ethier
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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? | Geography 400 Blog | Scoop.it

This model shows how interconnected the world is now. Acid raid caused by factories in Michigan used to land in Canadian lakes, ruining the ecosystem. Today, debris from Asia washes ashore on America's West coast, dirtying its beautfiful beaches and likely harming its ecosystem as well. It is unreal to think that over 900,000 metric tons of debris is floating throughout the vast Pacific as a result of the 2011 tsunami. I would guess that in island nations throughout the Pacific, massive amounts of debris have washed ashore. This is an unintended consquence of globalization and urbanization. Weather phenomenons and mother nature are unpredictable and also very deadly.


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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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South Asian floods take economic toll

Seasonal monsoons have devastationg effects across South Asia. While these rainstorms are essential for growing rice, they also have very negative effects as well. Damage to homes, crops and infrastructure as well as disease, malnutrition and death come in masses due to these storms. In countries like Nepal and Bangladesh at the foothills of the Himalayas, the steep slope leads to fast erosion and all fertile soil is deposited downriver. Half the farmland has been abandoned due to this accompanied with high flooding.

 


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Matt Mallinson's comment, November 7, 2012 3:41 PM
The people that live here understand that they will have flooding every year. They're smart to build elevated roads so they have some way of transportation over flooded areas. It's weird to think that this is a normal thing for them and for us we close everything down and wait in our houses.
Elizabeth Allen's comment, December 7, 2012 12:17 AM
In an area already stricken with poverty, the floods manifest the problems. High rains and low elevations cause massive floods in areas such as Bangladesh and Nepal. Most areas do not receive aid, especially the remote areas of the villages.
Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 4:55 PM

The "socio-economics of flooding" is a side of the natural disaster we don't normally think about. People most affected by floods tend to live in areas with poor infrastructure and large populations. Their displacement to cities, like Dhaka, has incredible cost. For both the family and the new place they relocate to. 

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Turbulence on the Mekong River

Turbulence on the Mekong River | Geography 400 Blog | Scoop.it

The Mekong Rivers and its powerful waters provide industrial opportunities. This river was primitive and very untouched by civilization even as recently as when the United States was present in the region during the Vietnam War. This 5,000 km river can employ many citizens in industrial sectors as they build over 70 dams in Laos alone, but there is also collateral damage. Many fisherman are unhappy, claiming that the dam will block channels crucial for migratory fish, damaging the multi-billion dollar fishing industry. However, even village leaders are in support of dams which will greatly advance the area and improve the economy.


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Michelle Carvajal's curator insight, December 11, 2012 9:04 PM

There must be a better way to transport items and in return save the Mekong river from being degredated. Technological innovations are affecting the life in the river as local fishermen are seeing less and less fish traveling in the river. This is impacting them in the sense that they use these fish for their survival as well as for selling. They fear that in building dams and creating advanced roads over the Mekong will change their enviroment altogether and will hinder their livelihood. This is a beautiful river and I personally feel there could be a better way but there is always something sacrficed when the government choses a location to build on. - M. Carvajal

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.

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Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal | Geography 400 Blog | Scoop.it

Russia's struggle to transition from Communist to Capitalist society is being put on display on the shores of Lake Baikal. Due to the one factory towns created under Communism, Russia's economy is heavily reliant on industry. One town along the shores of the planet's last truly primordial lake struggle as environmentalists pressure their paper mill company. Due to continued environmental violations committed by the company, they recently shut their doors. This resulted in massive unemployment followed by strike due to job loss and back pay. Communism, the workers argued, at least stabilized their lives. The tumultuous times of a new era in Russia has literally left millions homeless, starving and even dead. 


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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.