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Geography textbook changed after Crimea row

Geography textbook changed after Crimea row | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A geography textbook that prompted a complaint from the Ukrainian embassy for showing Crimea as part of Russia is changed.
Seth Dixon's insight:

How we describe and categorize geopolitical shifts matter, and can ocassionally ruffle some feathers.  More important than the ruffled feathers is the fact that how we present the issues helps to shape students' perspectives.  In a somewhat related article, the Russian annexation of Crimea has magnified internal divisions in Kazakhstan.  

 

Tags: UkraineRussia, geopoliticspolitical, Kazakhstan.

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Education 's curator insight, March 4, 4:09 AM

How we describe and categorize geopolitical shifts matter, and can ocassionally ruffle some feathers.  More important than the ruffled feathers is the fact that how we present the issues helps to shape students' perspectives.  In a somewhat related article, the Russian annexation of Crimea has magnified internal divisions in Kazakhstan.  

 

Tags: Ukraine, Russia, geopolitics, political, Kazakhstan.

Leonardo Wild's curator insight, March 8, 3:51 PM

How we describe and categorize geopolitical shifts matter, and can ocassionally ruffle some feathers.  More important than the ruffled feathers is the fact that how we present the issues helps to shape students' perspectives.  In a somewhat related article, the Russian annexation of Crimea has magnified internal divisions in Kazakhstan.  

 

Tags: Ukraine, Russia, geopolitics, political, Kazakhstan.

Jodi Esaili's curator insight, March 9, 8:40 AM

How we describe and categorize geopolitical shifts matter, and can ocassionally ruffle some feathers.  More important than the ruffled feathers is the fact that how we present the issues helps to shape students' perspectives.  In a somewhat related article, the Russian annexation of Crimea has magnified internal divisions in Kazakhstan.  

 

Tags: Ukraine, Russia, geopolitics, political, Kazakhstan.

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Where China and Kazakhstan Meet

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"While people often say that borders aren’t visible from space, the line between Kazakhstan and China could not be more clear in this satellite image. Acquired by the Landsat 8 satellite on September 9, 2013, the image shows northwestern China around the city of Qoqek and far eastern Kazakhstan near Lake Balqash.

The border between the two countries is defined by land-use policies. In China, land use is intense. Only 11.62 percent of China’s land is arable. Pressed by a need to produce food for 1.3 billion people, China farms just about any land that can be sustained for agriculture. Fields are dark green in contrast to the surrounding arid landscape, a sign that the agriculture is irrigated. As of 2006, about 65 percent of China’s fresh water was used for agriculture, irrigating 629,000 square kilometers (243,000 square miles) of farmland, an area slightly smaller than the state of Texas.

The story is quite different in Kazakhstan. Here, large industrial-sized farms dominate, an artifact of Soviet-era agriculture. While agriculture is an important sector in the Kazakh economy, eastern Kazakhstan is a minor growing area. Only 0.03 percent of Kazakhstan’s land is devoted to permanent agriculture, with 20,660 square kilometers being irrigated. The land along the Chinese border is minimally used, though rectangular shapes show that farming does occur in the region. Much of the agriculture in this region is rain-fed, so the fields are tan much like the surrounding natural landscape."


Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, environment modify, food, agriculture, agricultural land change.

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Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 15, 2015 10:24 AM

It is amazing what irrigation can produce.  The border between China and Kazakhstan is a perfect picture of land with irrigation and one without supplied water.  Eastern Kasakhstan has farmland but it is only subsidized by natural rainfall whereas on the greener Chinese side of the border it is supplemented with water by the farmers.  Great picture!

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 12:00 PM

Seeing such a striking difference between two countries that are so close together is strange and thought-provoking. Knowing a little bit about the two countries can make a world of difference, though. In this case, we have China and Kazakhstan, two countries located in East/Central Asia. Kazakhstan borders China to the west, along the northern part of its western border. Much of China's inland land use is devoted to agriculture, as the majority of its industry is located near its coast. This is evident by the amount of green space seen in the satellite image above. With well over a billion people to feed, China needs to make use of as much of its arable land as possible. Kazakhstan, on the other hand is a much smaller country with much less land devoted to agriculture. Its farmland is mostly large and industrial, as a result of Soviet-era farming and is rain-fed rather than irrigated, like China's.

 

Knowing the history as well as the economic strengths of a country can therefore be useful in interpreting satellite images such as the one in this article. A lack of knowledge about China and Kazakhstan's economy and history may lead to an assumption that the Chinese are just better farmers than the Kazakhs. This is of course not necessarily true, but what is true is that China has a much larger and more immediate need for agriculture than does Kazakhstan and so devotes more of its land, time, and energy to farming. Likewise, it shouldn't be assumed that Kazakhstan has no need for agriculture at all. Instead, its history has largely influenced its economic strengths and needs, and the result is a country that looks very different from China. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 12:41 PM

It's crazy to see how much human influences can reshape the landscape, or how things we tend to think of in more abstract terms- like national boundaries- can be very physical in nature. I liked reading about the differing agricultural approaches the two nations take, and being able to see the physical manifestations of those two different approaches so obviously. It's impressive to think that China is able to support such a massive population- one in every 5 people alive on the planet is Chinese- with so little land, and the consequences are plain to see in the image above. Increased irrigation efforts leads to the unnaturally bright green patches in the middle of a relatively dry area, serving as a symbol of man's attempts to bind mother nature to his will. Although not always successful, such attempts appear to be working well here. In contrast, Kazakhstan's population demands vary wildly from that of China's, and its solution for feeding its people can therefore take a more natural, backroads approach, with food production concentrated in a few areas. I wonder what other international borders can be seen so neatly with the naked eye.

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Take Me Home, Mother Russia

Take Me Home, Mother Russia | Geography Education | Scoop.it
10 places that would welcome a Putin landgrab, and 10 parts of Russia that want the hell out.
Seth Dixon's insight:

One of the ideological weaknesses in the idea that Russia should annex Crimea because of the large number of ethnic Russians that want to join the Russian Federation, is that there are many places within the Russian Federation without a majority of ethnic Russians that would want out of the Russian Federation.  This list from Foreign Policy is pretty intriguing and they provide insight about the geographic context for each place on the list.

Top 10 looking for a way into Russia (abbreviated)

  1. Transnistria
  2. Donbass
  3. New Russia
  4. Abkhazia
  5. South Ossetia
  6. Belarus
  7. Northern Kazakhstan
  8. Russians in the Baltic
  9. Nagorno Karabakh
  10. Brighton Reach, Brooklyn


Top 10 look for a way out of Russia:

  1. Chechnya
  2. Tatarstan
  3. Idel-Ural
  4. Kalmykia
  5. Kaliningrad
  6. Karelia
  7. Komi Republic
  8. Circassia
  9. Karachay-Balkaria
  10. Birobizhan
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Kevin Barker's curator insight, March 22, 2014 10:03 AM

For every argument to aquire land based on ethnic boundaries, there is at least one that would argue land should be lost. This would apply to essentially any country in the world. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 10:57 AM

In the recent light of the Crimea annexation and following conflict, many are questioning what Russia's next move will be and how this region may change in the future.  The former USSR encomassed a huge amount of land, and therefore many different ethnic groups.  Of course this has always been a problem, and this article illustrates how it probably always will be a problem.  As politics and cultures in different countries change, people will favor either secession or affiliation due to these centripetal or centrifugal forces .  While some may be far-fetched (Siberia and Brooklyn), it is important to remember that as long as there are some people who are in favor, there may be conflict at same scale.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 5, 2015 2:43 PM

This article is interesting because it shows that as Russia could potentially gain land, it could also lose parts of the country as well.  I thought the Brooklyn Beach point was funny due to Putin's argument that wherever Russians live should be Russia (Crimea).  I don't think the United States would ever let this happen though, even if it is just a single part of NY, the US would never let Russia back onto the North American Continent after buying Alaska from them back in the 1800s.  I also thought it was an intriguing point to state that China could try to make a move at getting Siberia from Russia.  I personally don't think that Russia would willingly give up a resource rich region of its nation to China easily, and if China wanted to buy the region, I'd bet Putin would make them pay a pretty penny for the area.  The fact that Russia is such a varied nation, especially in the south of the nation, is not surprising due to winning the land from the Ottomans, and the best thing Russia could do, in the case of Chechnya would be to let them go.  This way the country could achieve a lasting peace, rather than always fighting campaigns against the region, which as a result, will make the people hate the Russian government even more.  However, I do not think Putin will allow his country to decrease in size, Putin only wants increases.

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The Strategic Importance of the Caspian Sea

"Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Eugene Chausovsky examines the Caspian Sea's large energy reserves and its conflicting maritime boundaries."

Seth Dixon's insight:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world's largest lake went from having just two countries on its shores to five. Dividing the maritime borders has been especially difficult since the Caspian Sea has rich energy reserves and this lake will remain a place of strategic interest for many regional powers.  This video has been added to my ESRI StoryMap that spatially organizes place-based videos for the geography classroom.    


Tags: borders, political, geopolitics, Central Asia, energy, resources, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russiaeconomic, water.

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Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:48 PM

The Caspian Sea, an area of importance for the middle east, is divided between 5 countries. It was once divided between 2 but was divided post soviet era. The sea is a area of importance because it is a hub of transportation and economic significance for transporting goods and services. Because of the waterway in Azerbaijan they have a significant way of gaining ecnomic growth by controlling the trade in and out of the Caspian sea.  

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 2:09 PM

The Caspian Sea which is bordered by five countries, Russia, Turkmenistan, Iran, Kazakstan and Azerbaijan. The seas importance come from its abundance of resources. It contains large volumes of oil and gas, an estimated 48 billion barrels of oil lies within and 8.7 trillion cubic meters of gas. Much of offshore oil has not been tapped because of disputes over maritime borders. Europe is interested in energy sources as well in the southern corner as a release from Russia's grip. Both Iran and Russia seem to disagree because of the idea of a TransCaspian pipeline.    

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 17, 2015 12:44 PM

The Caspian Sea is an intriguing geopolitical situation. The region was once dominated by the Soviet Union but  after the collapse is shared by multiple countries. Further complicating matters is the sea is full of untapped oil deposits. Territory disputes in such a situation are almost inevitable raising tensions in the region. Azerbaijan also wants to make a deal with Turkmenistan and Europe to move gas through a pipeline to diversify their income and provide Europe and alternative to Russian fuel. Naturally the Russians with the help of Iranians are making this difficult because it would threaten their profits. It seems that  the whole area likely needs a neutral party to try and arrange fair economic usage zones in the area. The Ukrainian conflict has further exasperated this since Europe is sanctioning their key fuel provider which in turn leads to more tension over pipelines. Hopefully all the oil exploitation doesn't also lead to poor environmental consequences such as the Aral sea economic usage. It is clear that central Asia while free from communist rule is still very much tied to Russia and its past decisions.

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Alluvial Fans

Alluvial Fans | Geography Education | Scoop.it
When streams emerge from mountains, they often spread out and deposit sediment in a distinctive pattern known as an alluvial fan.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In dry areas of interior drainage (such as Central Asia and the Great Basin in the U.S.), the human settlements are often clustered along the foothills of the mountains near landforms called alluvial fans.  Take time to analyze this image (and this one as well); in alluvial fans and the agricultural patterns that people create on them, we can see some striking geometric and spatial configurations that show how human settlements are highly dependent of the physical environment.   


Tags: spatial, remote sensing, geospatial, Kazakhstan, Central Asialandscape.

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Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 3:27 PM

These fans are like a good Delta. People live between the mountains and the desert. Water runs down the mountains making a fan to where now a little distance away farms are produced and good vegetation.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:29 AM

these are the fascinating geographic anomalies. its amazing the civilizations that rise up on earth, but are totally alien to us, even in the age of instant communication.

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 17, 2015 12:02 PM

An interesting little piece of Kazakhstan geography here. I find it fascinating that not only are these unique to deserts due to low vegetation but that they become perfect for agriculture (an irony of sorts I suppose). I also rather enjoy how the agricultural areas are spread out like a fan like the water runoff from the mountain. One key feature I didn't notice until I read it was the railroad that goes right through the fields to reach the town on the outskirts of the Alluvial fan. I am particularly curious to how many areas actually use this to make the desert a hospitable place for habitation (since it is usually a bad idea due to lack of water and food). It would also have been more interesting if the culture of the people who inhabit these places was discussed since it would likely be different in other places since they are only relying on 1 main water source. Geographically and historically I can imagine that places like this would have also been key strategic locations especially when traversing the arid areas.

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Will There Be a Central Asian Spring?

Will There Be a Central Asian Spring? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Kazakhstan may not be ripe for revolution, but the West is making the same mistakes it made in the Arab world.


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Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:36 AM
It is sad to see Western nations ignoring Kazakhstan's drift into dictatorship as it ignores all democratic ways of governance. Since the current leader in charge is friendly with the west, powers like NATO do little to intervene. The hypocrisy behind it is that we did and said much more in Syria and Egypt where similar events took place.
Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 11, 2012 11:44 PM

It bothers me that this is being over looked by our government.  If they are going to stand up and back the resurgance in Syria and Egypt then why are we not doing it here to?  All it would take would take is a backing from our government, but due to the ties that the have with the West, we are not stepping in.  This shows complete hypocrisy on our part. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 10:36 AM

I couldn't view this article for some reason. It wanted me to subscribe to something.