Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
I'd never hear the term biopiracy before this month, but this idea is this: companies from wealthy countries commercially develop the genetic resources of developing countries with local assistance but don't fairly compensate the local population. I never had the vocabulary to describe such a thing, but that is biopiracy in a nutshell and the EU is working to end that. It doesn't only impact the pharmaceutical companies but heavily impact the agricultural industries as well. Anyone in the developed world eating quinoa and kale 20 years ago? Being marketed as 'superfoods' has changed the global production systems but also impacted local indigenous food supplies (some are referring to this as food gentrification).
INDIA’S general election will take place before May. The front-runner to be the next prime minister is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently chief minister of Gujarat. A former tea-seller, he has previously attacked leaders of the ruling Congress party as elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Now he is emphasising his humble caste origins. In a speech in January he said 'high caste' Congress leaders were scared of taking on a rival from 'a backward caste'. If Mr Modi does win, he would be the first prime minister drawn from the 'other backward classes', or OBC, group. He is not the only politician to see electoral advantage in bringing up the subject: caste still matters enormously to most Indians."
This article from the Economist is dated since Mr. Modi is now the prime minister of India, but this analysis of how caste was used as a political asset in the election is a timely reminder that while the caste system has been officially abolished, the cultural ripples are still being felt today in a myriad of ways that impact social interactions (marriage, jobs, etc.).
"Over the course of human history, thousands of languages have developed from what was once a much smaller number. How did we end up with so many? And how do we keep track of them all? Alex Gendler explains how linguists group languages into language families, demonstrating how these linguistic trees give us crucial insights into the past."
"Brash, baroque and steeped in native Andean symbols, the mini-mansions are a striking sight on the caked-dirt streets of El Alto, the inexorably expanding sister city of Bolivia's capital."
The pre-Columbian symbols of the condor, serpent and Tree of Life adorn the architecture of these brightly colored ballrooms that also have European-imported chandeliers, arches and other baroque elements. The spread of globalization is often assumed to be a homogenizing cultural force, but local cultures typically take elements of the global, and make it their own. The global becomes local and deeply rooted in place and reshapes place.
"There have been calls for clearer labelling of halal products in shops, restaurants and takeaways. But what is halal food? And why are campaigners so concerned?"
I know just enough Arabic to read the word Halal (حلال) and know that it means permissible, the opposite of Haram (حَرَام) which means forbidden or illegal. In the context of meat, it means meat that has been prepared in accordance with Islamic traditions and is therefore permissible for an observant Muslim to eat (very similar to Kosher for Jewish people). Today, Halal is becoming an important issue within the European Union for two main reasons: 1) more Muslims are migrating to Europe and 2) Europeans are searching for less artificial food products. Some Europeans, however, feel that the Halal labeling and marketing is a change to the cultural landscape that they are not comfortable with, and don't want to see it become more mainstream. Other meat companies try to present their products as Halal, but don't adhere to all of the customs according to some more strict Muslims. Halal, then is a lightning rod, in either direction right now in Europe. If you want to see the inner workings of a Halal slaughterhouse in New York, this video will show you what it is like.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Textbooks|
Surprising alternatives to "so what do you do?"—from New Orleans to New York.
The types of questions that you ask when you are meeting someone new for the first time has some regional variations but there is much more to the geography of small talk than that as see in this 4 minute video. People want to understand your cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic context by asking spatial questions about where you are from. Identity and place are tightly woven and these neighborhood questions are almost invitations to share much more personal information, as if to ask, "how do you fit in this world?" When you are being introduced to someone, what are the questions that you ask, and what type of information are you hoping to get? Each person has their own little geography that has profoundly shaped who they are---so what’s your story?
Thanksgiving has some fascinating spatial components to it. My wife and I prepared an article for the Geography News Network on Maps101.com that shows the historical and geographic context of the first Thanksgiving and in the memorialization of Thanksgiving as a national holiday (if you don’t subscribe to Maps 101, it is also freely available as a podcast on Stitcher Radio or iTunes).
One of my favorite combinations of maps for Thanksgiving involves the geography of food production and food consumption. When we start looking at the regional dishes on Thanksgiving plates we can see some great patterns. This ESRI storymap asks the simple question, where did your Thanksgiving Dinner come From?
This StoryMap is a great resource to combine with this New York Times article that shows the regional preferences for the most popular Thanksgiving recipes. Where are sweet potatoes grown? Where do people make sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving?
Plymouth County, MA is heart of only 3 cranberry producing regions and is was also home to the first Thanksgiving. How has this New England local ecology and traditional food patterns influenced national traditions?
For these and more Thanksgiving resources on scoop.it, click here.
"The popularity of Quinoa has grown exponentially among the health-conscious food consumers in the developed economies of the world. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is rich in protein and is a better grain for those seeking to lose weight. Quinoa has historically be rather limited but this diffusion is restructuring the geographic patterns of many places."
This map from a Geography in the News article shows that Quinoa has historically been grown almost exclusively in the highlands of the Andes Mountains. This was a localized food source for generations but this new global demand has increased the economic possibilities for Quinoa growers. At the same time, local consumers that have traditionally depended on cheap Quinoa to supplement their diet are now effectively priced out, as stated in this Al-Jazeera article.
Questions to Ponder: What modern and traditional agricultural patterns can we see in the production of Quinoa? How have global and local forces reshaped the system?
"Counties where at least 10 percent of people speak a language other than English at home."
While this is ostensibly a map that would be great for a cultural geography unit, I'm also thinking about the spatial patterns that created this map. What current or historical migrations account for some of the patterns visible here? What would a map like this look like it it were produced 50 years ago? Why are Vermont and West Virginia the only states without a county with over 10% of the population that speak another language at home?
By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM DECLINE IN OCEAN FISHERIES The world may be running out of places to catch wild fish.
I recently posted a New York Times video about the rapid rise in industrial fishing and the production of Talapia. Even with the rise of aquaculture as a major source of seafood, the world's oceans are still depleted. As the world's population rises, many folk cultures with their roots in small fishing villages have transformed into primarily urban societies, but these urban societies still have a strong cultural preference for seafood and consume at levels that are not sustainable.
The Esri Thematic Atlas is a configurable web application that uses a collection of intelligent web maps with text, graphics, and images to talk about our world.
ESRI is moving towards creating a dynamic, authorative, living digital atlas and empowering users to create their own. See this great political map of 2008 U.S. presidential election that is a part of the altas; it goes far beyond simple blue and red states. StoryMaps are also democratizing the mapping process. Explore these excellent examples of storymaps (Endangered Languages and top 10 physical landforms).
What America can learn from one of the most sustainable food nations on Earth.
Many feel that corporate expansion within the food industries is inevitable because that's what we are currently experiencing in highly globalized countries such as the United States. Bolivia proves an example of a country that that has rejected corporate hegemony in the marketplace because they support traditional food choices and local vendors. Keep in mind that we shouldn't overly romanticize Bolivia, but they are a compelling example showing that consumers can impact food options.
"We came to Sri Lanka with every intention of filming a video about an organic, fair trade tea farmer. That is exactly what we were planning when we set foot on the small tea farm of Piyasena and his wife Ariyawatha. What we didnt expect was to be so taken with the relationship between the two of them. What started as a farm story quickly turned into a story about love and dedication amongst the Ceylon tea fields."
The beginning of their love story is rooted in cultural traditions that many would find oppressive (arranged marriage), and yet there is much about their sweet relationship that is near-universally admired.
"China's one-child only policy and historic preference for boys has led to a surplus of marriageable Chinese men. Young women are holding out for better apartments, cars and the like from potential spouses...30 to 48 percent of the real estate appreciation in 35 major Chinese cities is directly linked to a man's need to acquire wealth — in the form of property — to attract a wife."
"Every year, as a result of prenatal sex selection, 1.5 million girls around the world are missing at birth. How do we know these girls are missing if they were never born? Under normal circumstances, about 102 to 107 male babies are born for every 100 female babies born. This is called the sex ratio at birth, or SRB."
MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP) — The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture.
Some folk cultures, such as the Samaritans, have historically intermarried and have been plagued by genetic diseases. Recently, they have turned to global solutions to their local demographic woes. "Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community."
(3rd UPDATE) The new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics is expected to deliver a speech in an hour
The juxtaposition of the hypermodern coverage of the election of a new pope (telecasts, social media, instantaneous global network coverage, etc.) with the archaic medieval rituals of the conclave (locked doors, smoke signals, etc.) is endlessly fascinating to me. Even in the 21st century, there is a place for the traditional. So who is Pope Francis? As the first South American pope, some feel this reflects the southern demographic shift within the Catholic Church. Also, click here for the science behind the white vs. black smoke.
I've seen other "Where the Hell is Matt" videos and this recent one is building on that tradition. These videos show some fantastic international icons and people around the world. Simultaneously, this video show the unique cultural elements seen around the world while showing the essential beauty of our common humanity. Who wouldn't want to go to all the places that Matt has been?
A TV program about firewood, mostly showing a fireplace in use, has aroused passions in Norway.
In so many countries this would be one of the worst rated TV shows of all time, and yet in Norway, where a rustic, outdoorsman connection to the forest is ingrained in the culture, it's a hit and one that sparks debates and discussion. Isn't it good, Norwegian Wood?
Tea plucking machines are threatening the livelihoods of tea pickers in the Indian state of Assam, reports Mark Tully.
This is yet another example of the uneven impacts of globalization.
For years, researchers have puzzled over why Viking descendents abandoned Greenland in the late 15th century.
As the climate began to cool the diet of the Greenland settlers changed dramatically. Originally their diets consisted of about 20-30% seafood, but as farming became nearly impossible on this increasingly marginal land, it jumped up to about 80%. The economic livelihood of the settlements was in danger and the solution lay in a cultural transition, but one that they didn't want to make. "They saw themselves as farmers and ranchers rather than fishermen and hunters...[and were] worried about the increasing loss of their Scandinavian identity." In essence they abandoned Greenland in part because they chose not abandon their Viking heritage to embrace a culture that would have be more like that of the Inuits. Cultural factors may have mattered more than economic limitations.
Thousands of members of the Russian Orthodox Church marked Epiphany on January 19 with a dip in freezing waters blessed by a cleric. Epiphany is a celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ and the...
Some of the photography and photo galleries of this cultural event are breathtaking--literally for those taking the plunge. Russians cut the ice in the shape of a cross and bath in water that is blessed and considered holy. This appears to be a religious tradition that is particularly adapted to the environmental conditions of the religious adherents (since it appears that the extreme climate plays a critical role in the activity). Part of the practice involves sacrifice; the colder the swim, the greater the manifestation of religious devotion.
Should we look to traditional societies to help us tweak our lives? Wade Davis takes issue with the whole idea
Jared Diamond is famous for his work in writing Guns, Germs and Steel as well as Collapse. His latest work, The World Until Yesterday, he encourages modern readers to examine the traditional societies for insights on how to improve the human condition. In this book review by Wade Davis, he critiques this approach and suggests that we should see indigenous societies as reminders that our modern lifestyle is not the only way.
Watch the video Boontling: A Lost American Language on Yahoo! Screen
In Booneville, CA, local residents literally created their own language over 150 years ago and had it was locally accepted enough to be taught within the school district. This language of Boontling (Boont Lingo) but one that the younger generation has not fully adopted, but is still spoken by the older residents.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
West Virginia aims to put its residents on the map
While this article does occasionally play off of the country bumpkin stereotypes we've all heard about West Virginians, there are some important concepts lying under the surface in the article. All places have a location (both absolute and relative), but not one that is easily discernible to an outsider unfamiliar with the area. Many emergency responders rely on geocoded addresses and GPS systems to location those in need, and the state of West Virginia is trying to ensure that even the most rural of residents is on the grid. Many location-based technologies lose their value as soon as you leave a named road, so these systematic campaign will strengthen the push for modernization and digital systems. How will this change the cultural landscape?