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Geography 400
Justin Roscoe
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Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | Geography 400 | Scoop.it
BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war.

 

Justin Roscoe-It’s interesting to see this movement of Salvadoran and Guatemalan immigrants entering into a country that is geographically so close but yet so culturally different especially in this day and age where globalization brings cultures closer together. This is most likely due to relatively poor economies in many of the Central American countries where global communication isn’t easily accessible to the general public. As the article states many of these immigrants are entering the country not having to learn the local language but in many cases forcing the local to learn their language. Service jobs are being given to those who are predominantly Spanish speaking to appeal to the growing Spanish speaking population. It is difficult to think of a nation so willing to adapt to the immigrants rather than having a sense of what Americans would call patriotism and attempt to preserve its current culture and make the new comers adapt. In Belize this more acceptable especially given there history where there country has “long been a country of immigrants.” It seems as though the people of this country have it in their blood to adapt and welcome the immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. This is not to say the spike in population does not come with its faults. In the article they discuss the migrants offering to work for less than that of what many of the current citizens work for. Which has increased the unemployment have almost a quarter of Belizeans saying they are currently unemployed. As this immigration movement continues it will be interesting to see what the future holds as far as whether the national language will stay English or be change and how the country’s culture, which is always changing, will adapt to the immigration.


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Chris Costa's curator insight, September 23, 2015 2:18 PM

It's interesting to compare and contrast the reaction of Belize's English-speaking population to an influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants with that of the United States. I enjoyed reading that the welcoming of immigrants by the ruling political system has done much to lessen racial tensions, with the various ethnic groups scattered along the political spectrum. This contrasts sharping with the American political spectrum, where there is a clear racial divide between conservatives and liberals. Americans could learn a lot from Belize in this regard, although the transition has been far from smooth in the nation. Although Spanish is now taught in schools as a result of the reality of the immigration wave in the country, there is some push-back from English speaking groups. Many employees of service industries are losing their jobs to those who can offer bilingual services, as well as some other economic changes as a result of the influx of new immigrants. However, the degree of this tension is a lot lower there than it is in the United States. It will be interesting to see how this debate shapes up in the future; it could very well serve as a helpful model for American politicians.

Alex Smiga's curator insight, October 4, 2015 11:49 AM

You won't BELIZE this link.... get it.

I'm hilarious.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 7:48 PM

This country of Belize seems to be a very interesting place. I never knew that in Central America, there was a country who's official language is English. It is made up of a lot of retired British soldiers and North American "sun seekers." Migration into Belize comes from other place in Central America, of its 300,000 person population, 15% are foreign born. It is now becoming a very mixed country and Spanish is making a gain on English. Schools teach in English, but Spanish lessons are mandatory. A  population boom both helps and hurts the economy. Most migrants are of working age and are willing to work low wages in brutal conditions. A lot of Belizeans tell census that they are not working and with Spanish gaining ground, a lot of monopolistic people are losing jobs to those who are bilingual. Although there are frictions between ethnic groups, in general things are good and political party lines are not divided by ethnicity. 

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Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | Geography 400 | Scoop.it

"Even before the earthquake Haiti's environment teetered on the brink of disaster. Brent and Craig Renaud report on the country's deforestation problems."

 

Justin Roscoe- Seeing this video and understanding the effect the people have on the environment and that the environment has on the people/economy is an amazing sight. It is a fitting depiction of exactly what a vicious cycle is. Due to a less than poor economy the people are forced to live off of the land, unfortunately doing this affects the nation, geographically, in a negative way. Since the country is 97% deforested it makes it that much more likely for natural disasters to occur. When it rains in Haiti there is nothing to slow the rain down or to soak it up. Mudslides occur often and the flooding has devastating effects on agriculture and on roadways. Haiti is currently in an economic state that is very difficult to get out of. The land has little use left to it and one of Haiti’s only assets is tourism although the resort areas of Haiti are fenced in and are a far cry from what is really happening in Haiti. While it is inevitable that natural disasters will occur in certain places, the damage to these areas depends greatly on the affect the people have on the land with which they are occupying. The recent earthquake in Haiti was devastating mostly due to how the people were living. The number of people injured would have been much less if all the people where in proper housing and in areas deemed safe for building. Haitians are living in huts, traveling by dirt roads, living off of the little profits they receive from charcoal sales and the government does little to help increase the standard of living due to what many believe is corruption. 

 

 


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James Hobson's curator insight, September 25, 2014 10:26 AM

(Central America topic 2)

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case:

Which came first, the deforestation or the disparity?

I believe the answer can be both.

At first such a country's inhabitants might not know what devastating impacts manmade environmental changes such as deforestation can have - or, they might just have no other choice. Here disparity comes first. But unfortunately such effects can be far reaching. Deforestation can 'come back around' and be the cause (not only the result) of disparity: erosion, flooding, landslides, lack of natural resources. These all contribute to further disasters and crises, which continue the repeating trend.

Dr. Bonin has held classes pertaining to this same issue of deforestation, among the other issues which Haitians face. IN addition, the company I work for has been sponsoring a campaign to help humanitarian efforts in the country, and I have worked with people who have lived there.

Lastly, I can't help but notice an uncanny similarity between the deforestation of Haiti and that of Easter Island. I hope Easter Is. will be used as a warning message.

 

Alex Vielman's curator insight, September 29, 2015 3:13 PM

Conditions in Haiti were bad in Haiti even before the disaster of the 2010 Haitian Earthquake occurred. The video shows images of the clear deforestation Haiti is suffering as a country. A lot of the mountain tops and hills are seen white without those bright green colors. It is said that the country is already 97% deforested. The reason so is because charcoal is basically the only way Haitians can cook and even make money off of if possible. Sometimes people do not like to accept that the countries own people, are affecting their living environment. Haitians live in a country where nights are spent in the dark in rural areas. The charcoal is the light Haitians depend on as well.

Haiti is a country of extreme poverty that don't offer an alternative to charcoal, which is the reason for its deforestation. A lot of Haitians blame the governed for the lack of infrastructure in the country but its all the mudslides fault. It is something that physically humans can not contain unless alternative methods are used to prevent deforestation. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 8:05 PM

Conditions in Haiti are just terrible. This place is 90% deforested and people use charcoal and such to cook. Haiti was hit by an earthquake in 2010, but even before the earthquake, deforestation was a major problem. Most of the people that live here live in darkness with no electricity. To get light, people use charcoal, charcoal has very many great uses in Haiti. Individual survival means cutting down as many trees as possible to get charcoal so you can provide for family. Problems with this country is that technologically and natural disaster survivalness is poor. Floods and mudslides will continue to happen and people will die, also the infrastructure will not improve. A lot of problem would come from the government too, lack of help from a government creates a failing nation.