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Geography 400 Blog
Geography, History, Economics, World
Curated by Derek Ethier
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Vanuatu: Meet The Natives

  These five men very literally went on the adventure of their lives. While watching this video and seeing them experience so many fun and interesting things, I wonder whether or not they would wish to return to their old lives. And if they did, would they miss America? When they returned home, they did not adorn the traditional dress, but instead wore Western style suits in front of their kin. This video shows that although globalization is occurring very rapidly, there are still societies nearly untouched by "civilization." The South Pacific is one of the last "Garden of Eden" type places left in the world, and we must be careful not to destroy it.


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Caleb Gard's curator insight, December 12, 2013 7:15 PM

These five men that were from the Pacific Island of Tanna go to America to get an experience for themselves of western culture for the first time. They travel many miles to find out for themselves what our culture was like. In doing this they brought over their own culture into America, making this a great expierience for themselves and those that they came in contact with on their journey. When these men came from Tanna to America to experience the cultural difference between the two places. Some long term effects of this experience is that the men might bring American cultures into their tribe, and they most likley had brought their cultures over here with the people that they came in contact with. Over all this excurssion will help the people cominig on contact with it learn about others cultural defferences from their own.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 3:14 PM

This promotion for the series "Meet the Natives" is a laughable cross-cultural experiment in forced globalization. While there are many political and cultural problems with this video, perhaps the Vanuatu people are less isolated and exotic than we really think. It's naive to think they are totally backward with no interest in connecting with the world.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 23, 3:46 PM

It is amazing to see travels of Pacific Islanders to America and their brief takes on their journey. Usually it is the other way around with the Americans telling the stories. These pacific islanders are greeted by their friends upon their arrival home and talk about how they met so many great people.

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NYTimes Video: Apartheid Haunts South Africa's Schools

NYTimes Video: Apartheid Haunts South Africa's Schools | Geography 400 Blog | Scoop.it

Schools in South Africa remain as deeply divided as ever. Although Apartheid is over, blacks and whites are still segregated in schools based on where they grow up/income inequality/etc. This very situation still occurs in America today as well. Although Jim Crow laws in the South are long gone, the segregated school system remains today. Entire urban neighborhood are occupied by black residents and so school patterns are reflected by this. White flight has left many whites in suburban areas and better funded schools. In a way, post-Aparthied South Africa and post-Jim Crow America have many things in common.


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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:43 PM

In this video, it is inspiring to see the South African children have big dreams regardless of the situation in their country.  Even though they are impoverished and the public school system remains segragated and insufficient, they have hope.  Apartheid left deep scars on the country of South Africa and the kids in this video quite obviously still have hard times but they strive for education that is now available to them, continuing to work in the absence of teachers and struggling home lives.

Cam E's curator insight, March 18, 9:44 AM

With apartheid having just recently ended in the scope of history, this is not surprising. Tensions will always exist after conflicts, segregation, or wars for many in the generations that experienced it. Time will tell how South Africa handles this situation, but as it is now many of these children's parents were deeply involved or effected by the apartheid system.

Ido Lifshitz's curator insight, April 21, 3:40 PM

most of the whites study in private school which they get there better education , and it's very expensive so only few  of the black get the money to study there, however the blacks have Affirmative Action to get to the university after the school

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Worker safety in China

The worker safety in China, or lackthereof, shows why they are allowed to advance to newfound heights economically. They cut corners on workers safety, environmental regulations and other codes to meet capitalist interests. The workers risk their lives daily for meager wages that are often below sustenance levels. Hopefully they will modify their system of codes soon.


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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, December 14, 2013 2:13 PM

This video is jaw-dropping proof of how China cuts corners in their quest for growing their economy. With such a large population looking for work China does not really need to protect their workers. I wonder if China will experience a labor movement similar to the one in the US that introduced protective legislation.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 12, 6:19 AM

This video shows a complete lack of concern for worker safety in China. The workers use the backhoe as a makeshift platform so one of them can cut the rebar suspending a massive piece of concrete from the side of the building. These kinds of shortcuts are the ways which China is able to keep a competitive edge in the world market. With hardly any regard for fair wages, worker safety, or worker rights, China is able to manufacture goods for prices no one else can compete with. Eventually, China will face opposition from its workforce as its industry matures and the government can either appease them or face revolution.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 14, 3:47 PM

In Beijing, workers safety is not a top priority. This video may shock viewers to the extreme levels workers will go to for such a small paycheck. This worker, many stories up climbs onto an excavator to be lowered down to a area that could not be reached. It is insane how these unsafe conditions compare to Americas. It makes you wonder how China has such a growing economy and a global leader when when things like this are happening on a day to day basis.

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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 11:43 AM

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 18, 2013 10:42 PM

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, 9:05 AM

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.