Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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The World's Newest (Official) Ocean

The World's Newest (Official) Ocean | Geography Education |

"The Southern Ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60 degrees south latitude. The Southern Ocean is now the fourth largest of the world's five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean, but larger than the Arctic Ocean). The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has  declared, named, and demarcated the Southern Ocean as a fifth, separate ocean."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Typically we define oceans and seas based on their borders with land as their most important characteristics.  Also, we rarely look at the bottom of the globe as the center of our global perspective.  Those are a few of the reasons why American students usually have never heard of the Southern Ocean, but Australian students see it as one of the world's main oceans.  


TagsOceaniaAntarctica, water, environment, physical.

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Ecotourism in Australia

Ecotourism in Australia | Geography Education |

"Ecotourism strives to protect the native cultures and environments of destinations while entertaining and informing tourists of all ages. For many years people within the tourism industry have debated what destinations and practices truly qualify as ecotourism without reaching a definitive consensus."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Ecotourism is an important aspect of Australia’s success. The Australian Government produced a website, that is dedicated to the tourism and ecotourism industry.  There is a debate of land claims between the Australian Government and indigenous people. The cultural difference plays a significant role in the success of ecotourism because tourists enjoy the cultural heritage. The separation has created social, political, and economic reasons to be involved or not in ecotourism. The Australian Government has developed certificates and policies to allow aborigines rights of their land.


Tags: biogeography, environmentindigenous, ecology, Australia, Oceania.

ROCAFORT's curator insight, July 10, 2016 2:46 AM
Ecotourism in Australia
Sally Egan's curator insight, July 18, 2016 9:08 PM
The trend for Ecotourism is presented in this article with questions raised about what practises fulfil the requirements of truly ecotourism. Appropriate to the future directions of Tourism as a global economic activity.
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The Great Barrier Reef was not bleached naturally

The Great Barrier Reef was not bleached naturally | Geography Education |

"This year, we’ve seen alarming bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, caused by warm sea temperatures. A recently completed aerial survey of the reef found that 93 percent of the smaller reefs that comprise it showed at least some bleaching, and in the northern sector of the reef, the large majority of reefs saw bleaching that was severe — meaning many of these corals could die.  There was already considerable murmuring that this event, which damages a famous World Heritage site and could deal a blow to a highly valuable tourism industry, did not simply happen by chance. And now, a near real-time analysis by a group of Australian climate and coral reef researchers has affirmed that the extremely warm March sea temperatures in the Coral Sea, which are responsible for the event, were hardly natural."


Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, Australia, Oceania.

Seth Dixon's insight:

UPDATE: An infographic from NOAA answering the question, What is coral bleaching?

easyaccentor's comment, May 5, 2016 3:11 AM
Verturner's curator insight, May 29, 2016 6:01 AM
Not good for our reef
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Lessons from New Zealand’s disappointing (and now complete) flag referendum

Lessons from New Zealand’s disappointing (and now complete) flag referendum | Geography Education |
New Zealanders finally completed voting in their flag referendum, but the results may be disappointing. PRI's vexillology expert looks at what's right — and mostly what's wrong — about this proposal.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Vexillogist: someone nerdy enough about flags to know that vexillogy is the study of flags.  As national symbols, they matter and changing a national icon is no small matter.  


Tags: Flags, New Zealand. 

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New Zealand panel unveils four alternate flag options, to a largely negative reaction.

New Zealand panel unveils four alternate flag options, to a largely negative reaction. | Geography Education |
Kiwis aren't showing their enthusiasm toward the final four alternate flags they'll be allowed to choose between. We analyze the results.
Seth Dixon's insight:

What is in a flag?  A flag is intended to represent a people and government while portraying a common heritage and a sense on timelessness.  This may seem like a small decision, but symbols can be incredibly potent political and cultural forces; New Zealand better get this right.

Tags: Flags, New Zealand.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, September 8, 2015 1:03 PM

unit 4

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 10, 2015 6:43 PM

a flag is a strong national symbol. How strong? enough to have a change of heart on the black silver fern. This is where globally a crisis in one country can have an impact on what other countries do. New Zealand decided the colors were Isis colors and didn't want to send the wrong message. This reminds me of gang colors. It affects anything from colors of bandanas to professional sport wear. innocent sport fans have been targeted by gang members for the colors of their jersey.

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 19, 2015 4:03 AM

To be honest I feel as though the changing of the new Zealand flag has more to do with outside opinion than their own. Two of the main reasons they wished to change their flag was to first be differentiated from Australia and two please the native population. Unfortunately when you have a long time it is very difficult to change because people identify with it. I personally think they should keep the old flag for they make their identity and culture not the flag. Also if they must choose it should be the second from the left since it looks the closest to the old flag keeping traditionalists happy while adding new elements. Plus the swirl one to be honest looks pretty bad.

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The Great Barrier Reef

"Australia urged the UN's World Heritage Committee to keep the Great Barrier Reef off the 'in danger' list to protect their tourism industry. But that doesn't mean the ecological treasure is not in danger."

Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, Australia, Oceania.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the most beautiful things in the world can be the most susceptible to sweeping environmental transformations.

Danielle Kedward's curator insight, September 12, 2015 7:38 AM
World Heritage for Year 7
Sally Egan's curator insight, November 23, 2015 6:29 PM

Great article for the GBR as an ecosystem at risk.

Chris Costa's curator insight, December 1, 2015 4:27 PM

I have enjoyed the emphasis on the human aspect of geography in this course, and how geography impacts us. However, as much as the world influences us, we do have a substantial amount of influence on the composition of the planet, oftentimes for the worse. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the greatest wonders of the world, home to some of the most spectacular sights one can see; as someone who has been scuba diving a handful of times, I can only imagine what it must be like to explore such a world below the surface, seeing all the life that surrounds me. I would love to be able to at some point in my life, but there is a great probability that I might never get the opportunity, as the reef is dying- fast. 50% of the reef has been lost over the past 3 decades, and while Australia has pledged to reserve over a billion dollars to fund conservation efforts, it might be a case of too little, too late. Man-made climate change as a whole is taking a toll on one of nature's greatest treasures, and it might be out of the hands of the Australian damage to reverse the damage that has already been done. I would love to have the opportunity to see this one day, and I hope I get to, but I don't know if I ever will if current rates of reef loss continue. Here's to hoping humanity gets it act together and tries to save the geography we often take for granted; we won't like the ugly landscapes that will follow if we don't.

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U.S. Territories

A set of Supreme Court decisions made over 100 years ago has left U.S. territories without meaningful representation. That’s weird, right?
Seth Dixon's insight:

Disclaimer: this does come from HBO and the content might not be right for your classroom, but in classic John Oliver style he points out the political inequities that exist for those living in Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa. 

Tags: Puerto Rico, Oceania, political.  

Sameer Mohamed's curator insight, May 27, 2015 9:06 AM

I think it is interesting one point that he brought up was the ability for someone who is born in a US territory may vote for president, however; if that candidate would like to win votes from his home territory he cannot. This is because the territory is unable to vote for presidents. Puerto Rico is also spoken of in which it highlights their ability to become a state and the difference they have in language.

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 12, 2015 10:57 PM

This was amazing! I love him! I  am embarrassed to admit that i had no idea about any of this. I did not know that those territories were part of my country. This populations complete commitment to serving our country without any of the benefits is jaw dropping. We should be completely ashamed of our selves. I am honestly completely surprised that even in today's day in age this hasn't been fixed. Everything about this is unconstitutional. How this case loses in a court is beyond me. One of the things that stood out to me the most was the fact that 67% of Guam shows up to vote in though their votes dont count and yet only 61% of all of the US does...that embarrassing. We have clearly taken for granted our freedom to vote.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, December 3, 2015 8:50 AM

The plight of our territories is a smudge on our nations character. The most controversial of these issues is Puerto Ricos status as a territory of the United States. Puerto Ricans are United States citizens by law, yet they have no representation in their government. They can not vote in presidential elections, have no real representation in the congress except their non voting delegate, and they have no representation in the electoral college.  Something must be done, to rectify this situation. A possible solution may be to pass a 23rd amendment for Puerto Rico. The 23rd Amendment provides residents of the nations capital the right to vote, and representation in the electoral college. DC is given a number of electoral votes equivalent to the least populous state. That number is 3 electoral votes. The amendment does not provide DC  with representation in the Congress. This Amendment has been controversial since the time of its ratification in 1961. Congress later repealed the amendment with a new DC voting rights amendment  that gave DC representation in Congress. The new Amendment failed to garner enough support amongst the states for ratification. To me the 23rd Amendment solution is the best possible compromise. It gives Puerto Rico representation, while persevering the rights and sanctity of the states.

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Countries in multiple hemispheres

Countries in multiple hemispheres | Geography Education |
Seth Dixon's insight:

The equator is a great circle that bisects the Earth into equal halves commonly referred to as the Northern and Southern hemispheres.  The map above shows a few of the countries that straddle the Eastern and Western hemispheres as defined by two important lines, the Prime Meridian and the 180th Meridian.  Now, only ONE COUNTRY is in all four hemispheres as defined by these great circles...any guesses before searching? 

ACTIVITY: A fellow geographer shared with me that he had a map from an old atlas showing latitudes as is typically presented but the lines of longitudes along the top and the bottom were based on two different systems. Greenwich was becoming the standard at the time it was printed, but this U.S.-published map also references longitude from Washington D.C. as the Prime Meridian.   So a fun classroom exercise would be to count multiple-hemisphere countries with DC set to 0 degrees. This can be repeated for any other city or landmark.

SPECIAL TRIVIA BONUS: That previous trivia fact is about as geo-nerdy as knowing what 2 countries in the world are double landlocked.  

Tags: fun, trivia.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:12 AM

This articles starts off describing the two meridians that divide the eastern and western hemispheres, the prime meridian and the 180th meridian. The prime meridian is the line of longitude where longitude is equal to zero. Countries east of the prime meridian are considered in the eastern hemisphere, while all countries west are located in the western hemisphere.

                Eight countries intersect in-between both of these hemispheres, there are the United Kingdom, in Europe France, Spain, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Togo.

                The 180th meridian is opposite the prime, and countries to the west of the 180th are in the eastern hemisphere.

                This is an interesting thing to examine because these locations are not set in stone. The tectonic plates that hold these countries will always be shifting in different directions. So in 20 years from now I wonder is the number 8 will increase or decrease?

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 7, 2015 9:21 PM

Pretty neat information contained on this page.  Kiribati is the only country in the world located in all four hemispheres.  That is a place that I would love to visit.  There are not many countries that can say they are even a part of two hemispheres, let alone four.  

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, December 4, 2015 9:27 AM

Being in multiple hemispheres at the same time is fascinating. The UK is mostly in the western hemisphere. Except, a little sliver is actually located in the eastern hemisphere. France is the opposite. The majority of the country is located in the eastern hemisphere, but a small minority is actually in the western hemisphere. This division is possible, do to the advent of the Prime Meridian. It seems to me, that the equator gets all the publicity in Geography. The Prime Meridian is the distain step cousin that everyone avoids. Looking at the world through the lens of the prime meridian is actually much more interesting. These more scientific distinctions of East and West, hardly jive with the more accepted cultural distinctions. France is a western nation, yet it is mostly in the Eastern section of the globe. The gap between science and culture, is often drastic.

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Dozens Of Countries Take In More Immigrants Per Capita Than The U.S.

Dozens Of Countries Take In More Immigrants Per Capita Than The U.S. | Geography Education |

"If you think the United States is every immigrant's dream, reconsider. Sure, in absolute numbers, the U.S. is home to the most foreign-born people — 45.7 million in 2013. But relatively, it's upper-mid-pack as an immigrant nation. It ranks 65th worldwide in terms of percentage of population that is foreign-born, according to the U.N. report 'Trends in International Migrant Stock.'  Whether tax havens and worker-hungry Gulf states, refugee sanctuaries or diverse, thriving economies, a host of nations are more immigrant-dense than the famed American melting pot.  Immigrants make up more than a fourth (27.7 percent) of the land Down Under; two other settler nations, New Zealand and Canada, weigh in with 25.1 and 20.7 percent foreign-born, respectively. That's compared to 14.3 percent in the United States." 

Tags: migration, population, USAAustraliaOceania.

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 30, 2015 3:08 PM

The son of an immigrant, I am always taken aback at the intensity of the hatred that is held by certain Americans towards foreign born individuals, as if being born in a different country is the greatest affront to all that we as Americans are supposed to hold dear to us. There is a lot of rhetoric in the current political climate concerning the rate of immigration to the US, with most conservatives unanimously declaring that there are too many foreign born peoples in the US; that our economy, ways of life, and culture are doomed to collapse under the weight of huge waves of uneducated, impoverished immigrants. While immigration is a controversial topic in this country that does deserve a portion of the attention that it receives, it was interesting to learn that immigration is so largely blown out of proportion here in the US, especially compared to other countries. 14.3% of Americans are foreign born; this number seems relatively large, until you learn that 1 in 4 New Zealanders were not born in New Zealand, and yet the immigration debate isn't anywhere near as fierce in New Zealand as it is here in the states. Perhaps we should borrow from the New Zealand model, and show a little more tolerance towards those who were born elsewhere, but call our country home. We pride ourselves on being the "melting pot" of the globe, and it's time that we actually start acting like it, instead of giving into ignorance, fear, and internal fighting.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, December 4, 2015 9:35 AM

Immigration has become a dominate issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. For those who believe that the United States is letting in to many immigrants, I refer you to the statistics in this article. Only 14 percent of our population is foreign born. The United States ranks 65th in the world in the percentages of the population that is foreign born. We are far behind the two most prominent Oceanic nations, Australia and New Zealand. Nearly twenty eight percent of Australians are foreign born. Twenty five percent of New Zealanders are also foreign born. Those nations are actually more representative of the melting pot philosophy, than the United States is.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:16 PM

the us is not the choice nation of nations. it is not the most sought nation for migrants. that means we must be doing something right or wrong.

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What Happens When a Hurricane Meets a Volcano?

What Happens When a Hurricane Meets a Volcano? | Geography Education |
When Iselle crosses the Big Island of Hawaii, it will offer a rare glimpse at a clash of the titans

Tags: disastersOceania, physicalweather and climate.

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, May 4, 2015 10:42 PM

It seems as though the volcanos have more of an affect on hurricanes than vise versa.  It is interesting to watch these two natural forces come together and play off of each other in their natural state.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:28 AM


 What happens when a hurricane meets a volcano? Well according to Victoria Jaggard of when Hurrican Iselle crosses the big island volcano of Hawaii it will show us a clash of the titans. The scientists do not believe that the hurricane will cause eruption because previous storms and numerous amounts of rainfall has not affected the lava. I assume it will just evaporate when touching lava. Although gasses and particles could make phases of the hurricane more intense.

                This is interesting to see if a change in geography does really occurs when these 2 natural forces meet eachother. 

Lena Minassian's curator insight, May 7, 2015 12:20 PM

This was very interesting because I did not realize that a hurricane can clash with a volcano. Hurricane Iselle traveled across Hawaii and clashes with the Kilauea volcano. Hurricanes rarely happen in Hawaii and this is why this was unexpected. Gases and particles from the volcano will make the hurricane worse and more intense. Heavy rain will occur but the volcanic activity may only add more lightening than anything. 

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Highly concentrated population distribution

Highly concentrated population distribution | Geography Education |

"Only 2% of Australia's population lives in the yellow area. "

Seth Dixon's insight:

Questions to Ponder: Why is Australia's population so highly clustered?  What is it about the yellow (and white) areas that explain this pattern?  How does this map of rainfall add to our understanding? What other layers of information do we need to properly contextualize this information?   

Just for fun, here is a Buzzfeed list that highlights the dangerous biogeography of Australia.  Maybe this is why people aren't living in the yellow region.   

Tags: AustraliaOceania, population, density.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 10, 2015 7:28 PM

The yellow represents desert and with no rainfall what are you going to grow. the white area is the area that gets plenty of rain, good farmland for raising livestock, excellent natural harbors and resources. the yellow upper part probably is not desert but I bet its cold up there.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:08 PM

this seems like the same sort of situation that Egypt has, it seems like a good sized area but the large deserts make most of it uninhabitable, the country's livable space is much less than you would think.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 10:17 PM
What we have here is a representation of the desert area that only 2% of the population lives in, this is because to sustain life, you need high amounts of water to grow food which will never happen here and then the white being the mainly inhabited areas. These areas are mainly inhabited because of sufficient rainfall which makes agriculture good and good enough to sustain populations of people.
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A. R. Wallace: The Other Guy to Discover Natural Selection

This paper-puppet animation celebrates the life of Alfred Russel Wallace, who is co-credited with Charles Darwin for the theory of natural selection.  Read the story here:

Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the greatest discoveries in biology began as spatial discoveries.  Alfred Russel Wallace made some amazing advances in biogeography and discovered the appropriately named Wallace Line

Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, historical.

Kelsey McCartney's curator insight, December 10, 2013 9:40 PM

A sweet animation of the wonderful Alfred Russel Wallace, the oft unaknowledged simualtaneous discoverer of evolutionary mechanisms.

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:13 PM

Wallace is one person you rarely hear about in the classroom, especially as a person who made a dent in science as a co-founder of natural selection. As someone who did his research in Brazil, Darwin, founder of the Natural Selection theory believed that Wallace may have come across one of his published manuscripts in order to make his claims be known. But one thing Darwin may have missed is how Wallace was reaffirming is scientific claims. 

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Pacific Islanders transform Utah’s football scene

Pacific Islanders transform Utah’s football scene | Geography Education |
New demographic study in California reveals nation’s changing face. Plus how Pacific Islanders changed high school football in Utah and why a Somali Bantu band from Vermont is in demand around the country.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This news article of 'odds and ends' has some interesting geographic content.  Having lived in Utah for many years, I can attest to the fact that the "Polynesian Pipeline" for Utah schools is incredibly important and represents a chain migration that has culturally shifted both the 'host' and 'migrant' population.  The 'haka' is now institutionized as a part of Intermountain West football culture.   

Also in this article:

--Hispanics to outnumber whites in California by 2014

--Somali Bantu band from Burlington, VT in demand across the country

Tags: migration, culture, diffusionreligion.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 23, 2014 6:30 PM

Pacific islanders transform the Utah football team. Yes, that's right now football has a more diverse team roster and they said they are going to keep on expanding to receive top players from these countries and states in order to build a new kind of diverse team. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 10:06 PM

Going to school in another place is a great experience. For these pacific islanders they get the chance to get an education in the U.S. while playing a game they love. Utah was the first of many states to start this trend and now other states are trying to do the same.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, April 26, 2015 4:28 PM

This article shows how ethnic groups who come the US adopt the culture of the country in their own unique way.  Polynesians are known for being great at football due to their size, and some even make it into the NFL.  However, the reason many Pacific Islanders come to the US is for better opportunity and education than they would have had at home.  It is interesting to see how the face of a sport can change, and how some ethnic groups who come to the nation are drawn towards certain sports.  Whereas Dominicans love Baseball, Pacific Islanders love Football.  In fact, Troy Palamalu, who just retired from the Steelers during the offseason has Polynesian heritage and he was a great football player in his prime.  The inclusion of the haka into football games out west,  as noted by Professor Dixon, is also interesting due to the fact that parts of Polynesian culture are becoming part of American sport culture as well. 

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Climate Comparison Maps

Climate Comparison Maps | Geography Education |

"Triton1982 makes maps by comparing each of the city's highest and lowest average temperatures against the Koppen classification system."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Many maps are shared on Reddit, and this series of maps help make some far off places easier to relate to.  I think these cross-regional comparisons can also help students also see that countries can have a great degree of internal variety.  


Tags: Australia, Oceania, mapping, visualization 

Profesor Vázquez Rubén Andrés's curator insight, September 13, 2016 3:55 PM
Comparacion climatica
Lee Hancock's curator insight, November 1, 2016 5:46 PM

Australian climate. Note the comparative climates of our future case studies, Kosciuszko Alpine ecosystem and the Great Barrier Reef.

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Poles of Inaccessibility

Poles of Inaccessibility | Geography Education |
Geography nuts have located the hardest place to get to on every continent and beyond.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The middle of nowhere...this is a common expression that is used to convey isolation, backwardness, wilderness, or a lack of network connections.  This article focuses on 8 places that are the farthest away from coasts as well as land (known as 'Poles of Inaccessibility').  The point on the map above is Point Nemo, right in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean; it is the farthest place on Earth from land and is one of the best candidates for the world champion title of "the middle of nowehere."  What is it close to?  Nothing. 


Tagsplace, distance, site, Oceania.

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The Most Aussie Interview Ever

"The 2 Aussie legends that prevented a fast food shop robbery get interviewed!"

Seth Dixon's insight:

While this is hardly common in Australia, and most people don't speak this way, it only makes sense if you know Australian culture well.  There are so many jokes, phrases, and words that don't make sense if you don't understand the cultural context.  Just to help you start to make sense of this: busted pluggers = broken flip-flops.   


TagsAustralia, language, placeculture, Oceania.

bridget rosolanka's curator insight, March 7, 2016 2:16 PM

While this is hardly common in Australia, and most people don't speak this way, it only makes sense if you know Australian culture well.  There are so many jokes, phrases, and words that don't make sense if you don't understand the cultural context.  Just to help you start to make sense of this: busted pluggers = broken flip-flops.   


Tags: Australia, language, place, culture, Oceania.

Leonardo Wild's curator insight, March 8, 2016 2:27 PM

While this is hardly common in Australia, and most people don't speak this way, it only makes sense if you know Australian culture well.  There are so many jokes, phrases, and words that don't make sense if you don't understand the cultural context.  Just to help you start to make sense of this: busted pluggers = broken flip-flops.   


Tags: Australia, language, place, culture, Oceania.

Jodi Esaili's curator insight, March 9, 2016 8:44 AM

While this is hardly common in Australia, and most people don't speak this way, it only makes sense if you know Australian culture well.  There are so many jokes, phrases, and words that don't make sense if you don't understand the cultural context.  Just to help you start to make sense of this: busted pluggers = broken flip-flops.   


Tags: Australia, language, place, culture, Oceania.

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The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing

The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing | Geography Education |
Most of the 1,000 or so Marshall Islands, spread out over 29 narrow coral atolls in the South Pacific, are less than six feet above sea level — and few are more than a mile wide. For the Marshallese, the destructive power of the rising seas is already an inescapable part of daily life. Changing global trade winds have raised sea levels in the South Pacific about a foot over the past 30 years, faster than elsewhere. Scientists are studying whether those changing trade winds have anything to do with climate change.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The impacts of climate change might feel far off or something that will affect other places...not so for those in the Marshall Islands. 

Tags: Oceania, environment, resources, watercoastal, environment depend, climate change, political ecology.

John Puchein's curator insight, December 4, 2015 6:47 AM

Although there is controversy with climate change, many are feeling the affects. From the Marshall Islands, to Venice, Italy, to as close as Miami, many places are feeling the impact of rising seas.  

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, December 12, 2015 6:21 AM

Climate change is a controversial issue in the United States. The debate over climate change in our current political environment is stuck in a denial or belief stage.  It is foolish to deny that our climate is changing. The overwhelming majority of scientists have provided the world with data, that proves that man is altering the climate. Those who deny climate change, probably do not really believe that it is not occurring.  They are denying climate change, because they do not favor altering our economic system in an attempt to stop the phenomenon. To really effect climate change, major changes are going to have to be made in the way we consume our energy. Our current political environment cannot and will not implement these changes. As with most problems, nothing will be accomplished until a large swath of Florida is underwater.

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Designs That Might Be New Zealand's Next Flag

Designs That Might Be New Zealand's Next Flag | Geography Education |
It’s not everyday that a nation chooses a new flag by its own volition, with the support of the voters, without any drastic regime changes. New Zealand is doing exactly that. With the Flag Consideration Project, the Kiwis are trying on a new look.

Tags: Flags, New Zealand.

Seth Dixon's insight:

What is in a flag?  A flag is intended to represent a people and government while portraying a common heritage and a sense on timelessness.  This may seem like a small decision, but symbols can be incredibly potent political and cultural forces; New Zealand better get this right.     

Ken Feltman's curator insight, August 12, 2015 8:21 AM

The Kiwis will come up with a unifying new flag. Recent U.S. experience with flags has been divisive.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, December 3, 2015 8:20 AM

New Zealand faces a major decision. A countries flag is its main symbol of independence and sovereignty. The flag stands as the universal symbol of the nation. It binds people together based on a common ideal and heritage. The country of New Zealand is holding a design contest in order to choose the next flag of their nation. The entire situation is an unusual occurrence in the world. Countries generally only change their flags after there has been some revolutionary upheaval in the country. New Zealand lacks any of revolutionary upheaval. The country is changing its flag, because there is a general feeling that the flag is not New Zealand enough. Their current flag looks to much like the Australian flag. New Zealand is seeking a flag that will give them a proper distinction on the world stage. I wish them luck with their desire for change.

Patty B's curator insight, April 29, 2016 12:51 PM
This was a pretty interesting article. It dealt with some aspects of nationalism and patriotism. It showed how a country's flag illicit's feelings of pride and identity for citizens. For instance, the reason New Zealand underwent this flag alteration process is because its citizens felt as though the previous flag contained too many similarities to Australia's flag. New Zealand citizens wanted to create a new flag design in order to establish a new sense of national pride and wanted their new flag to directly reflect the people and environment of New Zealand. I think this move represents an attitude many countries have, which is that they are getting lost in the shuffle within an increasingly globalized world. Smaller countries are becoming less and less recognized and often times are lumped together within a larger region.
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Papua New Guinea

"Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia in 1975 and has over 800 languages;  87% of the population lives in rural areas." 

Tags: Papua New Guinea, Oceania.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video is a part of World Vision Australia's school resources.  These resources for Papua New Guinea focus on health and human well-being.   

Chris Costa's curator insight, December 1, 2015 4:20 PM

I found this video to be very interesting, providing a brief overview of contemporary Papua New Guinea and the struggles the nation faces as we push deeper into the 21st century. Once a colonial possession of Australia, the nation gained its independence in 1975, although it retains close relations with its former colonizer; Australia is the nation's greatest provider of foreign aid. Although great strides have been made in areas such as education, health, and infrastructure, the nation lags far behind the West in terms of industrial development; just 58% of Guineans are literate, with a meager 3% of reads being paved, and the average Guinean having a lifespan some 20 years shorter than their Australian contemporaries. Although this may seem backwards to many Westerners, Guineans are proud of a rich, vibrant culture, with some 800 languages being spoken on the island. With each language representing a different culture, it becomes apparent how diverse the population really is, achieving a level of cultural complexity that has oftentimes been discouraged in today's Western world. We would do well to embrace the differences that are celebrated today in Papua New Guinea. While it is hoped that improved education will ultimately lead to a higher standard of living for all the people of Papua New Guinea, this writer hopes they don't lose track of the differences that make them so wondrous in a world that is oftentimes so intolerant of others.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, December 7, 2015 2:49 PM

Re-scooped from Professor Dixon's page, some of the stats are mind boggling and they are actually portrayed as being good. For example, while 87% of the population is rural, 58% are literate. I figured the literacy numbers would be rather poor in a country where the entire population lives in rural areas, but I didn't think that 58% literacy would be something worth bragging about. Maybe except in North Korea.

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Kiribati and Climate Change

You might not be feeling the effects of climate change, but Kiribati, a small country in the Pacific, is actually drowning because of rising sea levels. Check out how the government there is trying to run a country that might not exist in a few years.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The impacts of climate change might feel far off or something that will affect other places...not so for the citizens of Kiribati.  This video is the 1 minute version of the political/environmental situation, and this is the 15 minute version.    

Tags: Kiribati, Oceania, environment, resources, watercoastal, environment depend, climate change, political ecology.

Fred Issa's curator insight, December 2, 2015 3:39 PM

The people who do not agree that Climate change is real, need to look further than their own neighborhoods for proof that it is real. This really blew me away. Entire island populations that have to relocate to other islands, as their home island of Kiribati continues to sink lower and lower until you are walking in water when the high tide comes in? Imagine that the highest reference point on your island or chain of islands is your town's dump? What is positive about these people's plight is that they are being trained professionally in much needed fields, and second is that they are openly welcomed to other nearby islands. Fred Issa,

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:15 PM

this is an example of a small, innocent nation being hit harder by something caused by large nations which are having no negative impact on them. these large nations will not take responsibility until they must face the same results as Kiribati.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 10:07 PM

The video explains how the volcanic island will eventually disappear. The reason that the island will disappear is because of erosion and the sea is eating away at it. What makes them so easy to erode is the fact that the volcanoes are no longer active. Soon, coral reefs that are created will be the only thing holding the island together. Most of the island will be destroyed eventually and what is left behind will be in the shape of a caldera. 

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First photographs emerge of new Pacific island off Tonga

First photographs emerge of new Pacific island off Tonga | Geography Education |

The first photographs have emerged of a newly formed volcanic island in the Pacific Ocean after three men climbed to the peak of the land mass off the coast of Tonga. Experts believe a volcano exploded underwater and then expanded until an island formed. The island is expected to erode back into the ocean in a matter of months.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Additionally, here are two islands off the coast of Japan that 'kissed' after a volcanic eruption caused them to coalesce into one island

Tags: physicalimages, volcano.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:17 AM

A new one mile island of the coast of Tonga in Oceania west coast of Australia. A volcano exploded underwater, turning lava in rock and pushing through the surface of the ocean to expose a new island. Three men have scaled the peak of the mountain to date. The men say the surface was still hot and the green lake in the crater smelt strongly of sulfur.

                This is great example of geography constantly undergoing changes and new looks and features. Officials say that this island will be eroded away within the next month so they will not even name it I wonder how many islands like this has happened to, or if inhabitants went to live there then the next day there home is underwater. This is another great example of plate tectonic and active under sea forces that we do not see with our eyes, and what most people do not think of on a daily basis, but is working on a daily basis, constantly changing geography and our world. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 7, 2015 9:34 PM

I just find this fascinating.  History is excellent to study but so is the watching history in the making.  This volcanic island formation off the coast of Tonga is a modern day phenomenon which will one day be history.  Some people predict it will erode back into the water but some others think it will be able to last longer.  Either way stuff like this is pretty cool to watch and study while it is happening before your very own eyes.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:20 PM

This is pretty cool that a new island is being formed, due to a volcano that erupted under water. I am sure there are many more in other places, but it is a new opportunity for life, development and travel. Although since it is new, obviously now would not be a good time because you do not want a volcano erupting on people, that would not be an ideal situation. Although, I hope to one day be able to travel to this new island to check it out. 

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Volcanic Landscape Change

Volcanic Landscape Change | Geography Education |

"Mount Tavurvur, on Papua New Guinea's New Britain Island, erupted on August 29, 2014, throwing ash (gray-brown areas of September image) over surrounding areas. Its last major eruption was in 1994. Tavurvur is a stratovolcano, a volcano consisting of alternating layers of lava and ash, and is located along the eastern edge of the Rabaul Volcanic Complex. Simpson Harbor forms part of the much larger (mostly submerged) Rabaul Caldera."

Tags: disastersremote sensing, Oceania, Papua New Guinea, physical.

Danielle Lip's curator insight, April 22, 2015 9:16 PM

There may not be may words on this article but a picture can speak a thousands words as I've seen when looking at these pictures. The climate changing is not only affecting the way people live but it is also affecting the structure of the world's atmosphere such as the melting glacier in Peru called Qori Kalis. The ice and glacier has retreated so much that the ice has melted and created a small lake right in the middle where the huge glacier used to stand. What is going to happen to the work if these type of disasters keep occurring? What other types of physical changes will occur? Any type of change in the land can affect how people live, how they find shelter and any other aspect of living.  These type of physical changes are not only happening far from the United States but also in the United States such as California. It is important to look at these 302 photos because it really put life into perspective, showing how something can easily change over time.

Suggested by Renata Hill!

Aerial Photographs Catalogue the Life and Death of Volcanic Islands

Aerial Photographs Catalogue the Life and Death of Volcanic Islands | Geography Education |

Volcanic islands can seem to appear out of nowhere, emerging from the ocean like breaching monsters of the deep. Below, Mika McKinnon explains how these odd geological formations are born, how they evolve, and how they eventually vanish back beneath the waves.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Where an island is along this developmental continuum says much about the human populations that may inhabit said island.  If the island is tall and young with rich volcanic soil, the mountain will attract rainfall and the soil could support agriculture, making the island able to sustain a higher population density.  On the other hand, an old, eroding island with little rainfall and depleted soils will need human inhabitants to rely on the ocean's resources for food and would thus support a more minimal population.  These islands are changing, even if the time scale is slow--but just recently two disconnected islands 'merged' as growing volcanic island has expanded in the Pacific. 


Tags: Oceania, physical, geomorphology, landforms.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, December 2, 2015 3:30 PM

Re-scooped from Professor Dixon, pretty cool story on the formation of islands in the south Pacific. A couple of them look like the island visible from the beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico where I stayed. The island is one giant rock so nobody lives there and it's a naval base for the U.S. military. This, however, is a different situation when you realize that not only do people live here, but kind of a lot of people live here.

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 9:00 PM

What causes the death and the caldera in a volcano? One thing that happens in a deceased volcano is the center of the volcano starts to either erode or the inside finally caves in. Once this happen a caldera takes shape and the ocean starts to take over. As the waves eat away at the shores it will eventually create a island that is shaped like a "U". After this happens that island will someday retreat back into the ocean and someday form a barrier reef.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 10:52 PM

Based on general knowledge, I know that the taller a volcano is, the younger it is and the shorter it is, the older it is. The reason they start to get short is from erosion. Hot spots in the Earth's crust make small islands from molten rock. Young islands can be very dangerous, because if they are inhabited, they have the possibility of erupting, whereas an old island does not since the volcano is lnactice and eroding. Over time the inactive volcano will crumble and a caldera will take shape and after even more time, that caldera will slip under the ocean and become a reef. 

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Island Biogeography

Part I, island biogeography in a World Regional here to watch part II, why island biogeography matters in places that aren't on islands.  All links archived at:

Seth Dixon's insight:

Island biogeography operates on different principles than we see on the continents.  Soem extraordinary creatures such as the komodo dragon and thylacine can be found in isolated places removed interactions with more generalist species.  Alfred Russel Wallace made some extraordinary discoveries combining biology and spatial thinking. 


Island biogeography is pertinent today since habitat fragmentation (from urbanization and argicultural land uses) has rendered 'islands' out of the wilderness that isn't being used by humanity.  Some animals such as the cougar are locally extinct from their historic ranges (extirpation).

Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, Australia, Oceania.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 17, 2014 11:45 PM

It is fascinating to see how life evolves differently on isolated islands. The unique biomes often lack enough diversity to fill certain roles, so the animals move to fill them. For example, the komodo dragon was able to evolve to its large size because there was not large predator sitting on top of the food chain to prevent its growth. Sadly, the unique nature of island biogeography also makes it much more delicate, and species are much more likely to become extinct.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 4, 2015 12:35 PM

There are times where I wish certain species don't spread.  Other times I understand the migration and think it's great.  If humans died out then I believe all species would flourish just as Sir Ken Robinson says.  

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:06 PM
Island Biogeography is the theoretical explanations as to why species occurs, it also studies the species composition and species richness on an island.. it is not specific to land masses around water. Isolation gives species a strong place in their environment. The fact that new species and things show up are amazing, but sometimes new species are not properly adapted because there is no other general force against them and they do not ever learn to defend themselves.
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What is a Hotspot?

1) What is a hotspot? A volcanic "hotspot" is an area in the upper mantle from which heat rises in a plume from deep in the Earth. High heat and lower pressure at the base of the mantle facilitates melting of the rock. This melt, called magma, rises through cracks to the surface and forms volcanoes. As the tectonic plate moves over the stationary hot spot, the volcanoes are rafted away and new ones form in their place.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Why are the Hawaiian Islands a linear formation if there are not plate boundaries in that region?  Why are the islands seemingly arranged from largest to smallest?  The answers lie in the physical geography of 'hot spots.'  After this introductory video, you can learn more about the geologic life cycle of a hot spot volcanic island in this companion video

Tags: Oceania, physical, geomorphology, landforms.

Danielle Lip's curator insight, April 22, 2015 9:46 PM

While watching this video you can learn a lot about a hotspot in just 2 minutes, understanding that a hotspot is an area in the upper mantle in which heat rises and slowly begins to expand, building up pressure. The magma, which is hot rises and the cold matter sinks. the magma rises through the cracks and the plates actually carry the volcano. How did the whole idea of a volcano occur? Who knows where these volcanos are?  The hotspot can cause volcanos to erupt or even cause the volcanos to spread out, who knew a hotspot could be such a huge influence on the world, causing massive landforms and causing much tragedy.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:33 AM

What is a hotspot? It is a source of localized energy from the seafloor that creates volcanoes. It is not just a shallow reservoir nor a pipe filled with liquid. It is a constant stream of magma that does not move. Simple the plate move over it creating a row of multiple volcanoes, such as the Hawaiian Islands. When the magma erupts thru the surface the magma then turns to lava, and dries to rock. This process repeats until the built up lava is a volcano, still with hotspot in the middle. The plate moves and the hotspot creates a new volcano.

                This is interesting because hotspots are always changing geography, and causing map makers and teachers everywhere to learn new islands. 

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:18 PM

this is a good way to discover how volcanoes are formed, and if you are trying to understand the Oceania region then this is information you need to know.