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Power of Place

Power of Place | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Explore educational and professional development resources for teachers and classrooms on Annenberg Media's learner.org. Companion to the Annenberg Media series Power of Place.

 

Maquiladoras, outsourcing, migration and regional differences within Mexico are main themes in this video.  This is a resource of videos that many are very familiar with, but this is worth repeating for those not familiar with the Annenberg Media's "Power of Place" video series.  With 26 videos (roughly 30 minutes each) that are regionally organized, this be a great resource for teachers. 

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 4, 2014 12:59 PM

During this video you can distanctly see the differences between the outsourcing that Latin American had to do in order to surivive with their goverment the way it was and also how the mirgation came into play by which groups of people migrated to specific regions and what made them move there. Regional differences are also a major factor because of the regions and how they have progressed theought time and what will happen in the future.

miya harris's curator insight, September 10, 2014 9:46 AM

This video talks about the migration in Mexico and the reasons the people had for migrating. At the beginning of the video it talks about border patrol and people trying to illegally  cross the border from Mexico to America. When border patrol wrote up the reports they had to record what city the people came from and that helped geographer Richard Jones with his research plan to find out what regions were driving people out of Mexico.

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Brazilian Ethanol

Brazilian Ethanol | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Distilling ethanol from tropical sugarcane takes less land and uses less fossil fuel than starting with corn grown in temperate climes. That makes Brazilian ethanol, unlike the pampered and grotesquely wasteful American version, competitive with hydrocarbons and genuinely good for the environment." 

 

Although ethanol is working well for Brazil, there is a growing literature supporting the idea that wide-scale ethanol production is not sustainable or environmentally beneficial.  This is a great example to demonstrate that economic and environmental policies are locally dependent on geographic factors and are not universally transferable.  For a simple explanation of the differences in the economic and environmental differences in the production of sugar and corn-based ethanol, see: http://cei.org/studies-issue-analysis/brazilian-sugarcane-ethanol-experience  

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 11:25 AM

Brazil is taking advantage of its natural resources to make themselves competitive in the global market. Today geography can change the shape of the economics around the globe. The prospect of economic growth and energy competitiveness has made them short sighted.  Brazil has to beware of becoming a mono-commodity country that relies on a business that is not sustainable.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:35 PM

While only Brazil is taking part in this and it hasn't completely replaced gasoline it is without a doubt a step in the right direction that hopefully other nations can learn from. While the hypotheses over how much oil fluctuates it is undeniable it isn't a permanent solution, the future of fuel must lie in renewal resources. Unfortunately oil companies hold so much sway in politics its unknown how much change is actually possible today. Regardless of this hopefully one day the world as a whole will realize this and seek to emulate Brazil's in innovation.

Taylor S's curator insight, March 23, 2016 7:58 PM

It is being said that the use of Brazilian, sugarcane produced ethanol is an effective means of self-sustainable energy, more officiant then the corn produced products. the reason this relates to my 5 year plan is due to the proposal that this energy can be used to reduce the emissions given off by different industries and provide clean energy. I believe that this is important as it would reduce the type of impact these organisations have on the environment.

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Mexican Cartels not just a Border Problem

Police in Mexico arrested a man they say is one of the country's largest methamphetamine producers. The arrest comes as Mexican drug gangs are moving aggressively to try to dominate methamphetamine markets not just in the U.S.

 

The drug issue is often described as a border problem and though that one little line was the only space necessary for understanding the problems.  This podcast highlights how many places are a part of the networks at play in this complex economic geography that causes political, demographic and cultural strife on both sides of the border.  

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 4, 2014 12:54 PM

Mexican Drug cartels used to be just a border problem that needed to be addressed and now it;s not the only problem that the United States has to worry about. Mexican cartels have transfered into the economic demography and contributed into the border problem as a whole and have changed the US control.  

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Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | Geography Education | 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."

 

What about a disaster is 'natural' and what about the disaster is attributable to how people live on the land?  This video highlights the poverty, architectural and environmental factors that exacerbated the problems in the Haitian Earthquake of 2010.  This is a merging of both the physical geography and human geography.  

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 2014 1:49 PM

Natural disasters occur because of two things; the environmental reason and how people react to it. This earthquake was only half the reason Haiti is in a natural disaster state. The people who don't know how to respond to such "natural disasters" are the real reason of problematic changes.

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.

 

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. 

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Brazil's disappearing favelas

Brazil's disappearing favelas | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Infrastructure demanded by the sporting world's most powerful corporate interests render families homeless in Brazil.

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Erica Tommarello's curator insight, October 2, 2013 12:52 PM

FIFA 2014 is being hosted in Brazil. This article details the completely flawed and inhumane plan that Brazil has to get ready for the madness of FIFA. They seem to be too caught up in artificial aesthetic and have lost focus on development, while displacing thousands of poor Brazilians on the way.

Investors Europe Stock Brokers's curator insight, July 15, 2014 3:21 AM

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 12:04 PM

With the world cup and summer Olympics being hosted in Brazil, the government are forcing people out of favelas to improve their image for tourists. What is frustrating about this is that bringing in a large sporting event like the Olympics and world cup actually looses money for the hosting country. So in their haste they are damaging the country twice over. First the government of Brazil is creating thousands of displaced and poor citizens, and on top of that they are spending valuable resources on preparing for a sporting event that will not turn a profit. What will happen after 2016, when you have a massive population of desperate homeless people migrating back to the favelas.

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Brazil Rides Wave of Growth as Larger Economies Struggle

Brazil Rides Wave of Growth as Larger Economies Struggle | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Brazil, South America’s largest economy, is finally poised to realize its potential as a global player, economists say.

 

This article, dated 2008, shows how at the beginning of the global economic downturn, Brazil and other "BRIC" countries were comparatively doing better compared to the more established economic powers.  Although Brazil has been frequently noted for it's unequal distribution of wealth, since 2001, this income gap has been shrinking and a middle class is starting to grow. 

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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 11:23 AM

Despite the U.S, Europe and other countries suffering serious economic loses, Brazil is experiences its biggest economic expansion in the last 30 years. Brazil has been long waiting for its spot in the global economy and it is finally reaching its potential with the new oil discoveries off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The country also exports commodities like agricultural goods and oil which has driven most of its recent growth. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 12:58 PM

I found this original article interesting because it challenge some of my assumptions about inequalities. Although inequality is bad, in the developing world large inequality is not a black and white issue. Some argue that high inequality leads to incentive but massive equality is harmful as well. Now that Brazil's middle class is growing as it becomes more economically competitive around the globe. Which shows us that inequality is only beneficial to an extent.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 28, 2014 11:04 PM

This article is about exactly what the title suggests, Brazils economy growing at a steady rate and how the country itself is seeing a boost, with both the richest citizens and the lowest earning citizens gaining more , Brazil is proving that it is only getting closer and closer to becoming one of the world's next core countries.

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In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Geography Education | Scoop.it
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.

 

This skyscraper that was once a symbol of wealth, in an incredible paradigm shift, has now become is occupied by squatters. The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside. A complex web of geographic factors needs to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation. The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.

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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 5:34 PM

The video we watched of the squatters living in an unfinished skyscraper was unlike anything I've ever seen before. In a country with such high population rates and a housing shortage, people have gotten creative and made homes in this 45 story building where they share what would have been office spaces and bathrooms.  Over 2,500 people have moved into the dilapidated skyscraper and made a home out of it for their families. They have rigged electricity that the government does not provide for them and built small stores on almost every floor.  The people have not been evicted because the government of Venezuela knows of the housing shortages, yet does not fix it.  

I feel ashamed that a country with so many oil resources has such high rates of poverty and no one is fixing it.  It shows the corruption in the government through an extreme although innovative example.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 2014 10:46 AM

The problems in Venezuela with housing and the lack of response to the problem by the government has led people to become squatters.  The using of the abandoned buildings was a good idea by the original squatters.  The vacant buildings can house many of the countries it is a shame that the government did not think of this solution to the housing problem and vacant building first, if they had, they could have made sure they were safer for the residence.  The idea of a vertical city springing up in this building is also an interesting one.  Not only are squatters living in these buildings but creating businesses and other services for the residence.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:02 PM

In life, I constantly find myself comparing situations with what I read and what I know. Imagine this skyscraper is the Prudential in Boston. How could something meant to be so great fall to its death (and to peoples literal deaths)? One day there is a massive financial building occupied with bankers and lavishness. The next day there is a skyscraper in the form of a house. Housing shortages are happening everywhere and Venezuela is being hit hard in this situation. Imagine visiting this country and asking where someone lives? "Oh, I live in the Tower of David, which used to mean a whole lot more."

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Unrest at Turrialba Volcano, Costa Rica

Unrest at Turrialba Volcano, Costa Rica | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Emissions of gas and ash indicate an increase in activity at Costa Rica’s Turrialba volcano in January 2010.

 

A new vent opened this month on Turriabla, the easternmost of Costa Rica's active volacanoes.  This false-color, near-infrared satellite image would be an effective teaching tool to discuss the importantce of geospatial technologies to monitor the Earth's surface. 

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 6, 2014 11:51 AM

This article reminds us of how fragile the earth’s crust can be.  The rock can be ‘rotten’ when it is cooled prematurely due to rain, causing it to fracture more easily.

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 28, 2014 1:56 PM

Using different teaching methods and technologies is a part of every day life. Figuring out new ways to teach students about observing and identifying whats happening in a photo is highly important. This geospatial photograph can be used in many ways. It can be used to note color differences, and realize that this volcano has emissions that can be seen in the picture erupting from it.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 28, 2014 9:50 PM

(Central America topic 9)

Having a volcano that looms behind your city suddenly come back to life is about as much of a wakeup call as anybody would want. Though in this case it was determined that a major eruption was not immanent, it raises the question as to weighing the risks of living in such areas.  However, to me it seems that living at the base of Turriabla is not much more risky than living in other regions. Costa Ricans may have to deal with volcanoes, but so do those living around Mt. St. Helens, islands in the Pacific Ring of Fire, and even around Yellowstone. Aside from volcanoes, other environmental risks (floods, droughts, extreme temperatures, hurricanes, blizzards, landslides, tornadoes, wildfires, etc.) are other things just as worthy of being revered. So if you're safe from volcanoes, it's still likely you're more at risk from another form of nature's wrath.

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Migrants’ New Paths Reshaping Latin America

Migrants’ New Paths Reshaping Latin America | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In Mexico and Latin America, old migratory patterns are changing as migrants move to a wider range of cities and countries, creating regional challenges and opportunities.

 

Diffusion and patterns of migration are by their nature, going to be fluctuating.  Whether and why people stay or go, has profound impacts on the human geographic landscape of a variety of regions.  With less Latin American migrants coming to the United States and the Maquiladora zone of Northern Mexico, this has allowed southern Mexico and other countries to reap the benefits of maintaining portions of their most educated and entrepreneurial population. 


Via Mr. David Burton
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WalkerKyleForrest's curator insight, September 16, 2013 10:10 AM

My insight on this would be how that Latin American countries have more educated people than other countries, then they spread to surrounding counties, providing many challenges and opportunities. Some opportunities would be that speading education would bring jobs. And the challenges would be the issue of mixing diversities, which could cause stds and gene mutations.- walker

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 6, 2014 11:46 AM

This article points out how when the pattern of immigration shifts it creates new challenges for the country of immigration, even if it is internal migration as opposed to external migration.  The path and flow of people moving from place to place can change the shape and nature of a country.  

Gareth Jukes's curator insight, March 24, 2015 12:52 PM

Consequences of migration: socioeconomic, cultural, environmental, and political; immigration policies; remittances-

This article speaks of how migratory patterns are changing for illegal immigrants, and how it is causing problems. It states that as more countries and cities are exploited, their needs to be more jobs created. Sometimes, even new immigration policies are needed.

 

This article portrays the idea of consequences of Migration because it speaks of what those nations must do in order to thrive and survive the wave of illegal immigrants.

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Giant outdoor escalator built in Colombian shantytown

What impact will this escalator have on this poor neighborhood?  Was this a wise use of funds?  If you had $7 million to invest in a shantytown with the goal of revitalizing the neighborhood and benefiting the lives of the residents, how would you spend these funds? 

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 11:20 AM

This escalator seems like a waste of money. I understand that it will make life easier for the locals and possible cut down crime. But I feel with $7 million the government is choosing to attack the symptoms of living in the shantytown rather than treating the cause of inequalities. Perhaps they could have opened up local markets, started some sort of commercially viable industry, or help educate citizens that could provide the community members with a way to get out of poverty rather than.just making it easier to live in these shantytowns.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:09 PM

This is an interesting idea simply because of the discussion that can arise from it. Would the construction of this escalator actually benefit the people living within the slum to any foreseeable degree? On one hand some claim that yes it will have a positive impact as it could cut back on the number at attacks and muggings of those stopping to catch their breath as well as simply allowing them to conserve energy. While those on the other side of the issue say that the benefit the escalator my bring doesn't out weigh the cost of building it. Simply throwing money at a situation like this wont actually bring any relief. 

Kendra King's curator insight, February 8, 2015 4:40 PM

I sincerely believe that was a waste of money. Sure people can now get out of the area in “6 minutes” instead of “30 minutes” which, as was mentioned in class, can get people out of the area so as to get to jobs quicker. However what good does that really do in the grand scheme of things? Do the citizens still have poor jobs? Are their homes unsafe? Are there still sanitation issues? I am pretty sure the answer is yes, to all of the above. Clearly, these issues are more pressing than an escalator. So even if investing in an area can benefit a population, I think the improvement could have been greater because there are other more pressing needs of the area where the money could have been invested. 

 

I am actually surprised people were happy with the new addition. Given that it was a short clip, not all sides were seen. However, I feel that once people get over the novelty of the new toy and back to the reality of their everyday situation tensions could raise. Especially if the outdoor elevator breaks down, which is bound to happen given its exposure to mother nature, as the escalator just adds more of  a maintenance cost in a place that doesn't seem to have money. It wouldn't surprise me if people were later angered by the addition. In fact, I am actually surprised their wasn't protests that stopped the escalator from being built in the first place.  

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A Fight to Save One of Latin America's Oldest Neighborhoods

A Fight to Save One of Latin America's Oldest Neighborhoods | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In Panama City, a plan to build a marine viaduct around a colonial-era neighborhood has residents up in arms...


Urban preservation, the historical geography of communities and the cultural character of the urban environment are themes that are deeply embedded in this quick yet potent article by geographer, Thomas Sigler. 

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Paige Therien's curator insight, February 12, 2014 11:34 PM

This is an issue that citizens and governments struggle with all around the world.  Spots like this one, which is "the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas", are treasured by residents, citizens, and tourists alike.  But when does a historical area need to adapt to growing populations (and therefore increasingly congested streets)?  Or should they at all?  Projects like these take a lot of time, effort, and money to complete.  When visual reminders of local history are taken away, it risks the chance of the knowledge of  the history being lost as well.  The funny thing is, this development is felt to be necessary in order to better accommodate large influxes of tourists which are attracted to this historical site, which if the development takes place, may ruin the charm of the neighborhood; it is a viscous cycle.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 29, 2014 2:23 PM

The preservation of this neighborhood is important for one's sense of place.  The marine viaduct would take away for the history that is embedded in Panama City. While a viaduct would be incredibly useful and profitable, i understand why residents would be concerned.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 16, 2014 10:23 PM

Just from looking at this picture, this doesn't really look like a bad neighborhood to live in, despite it being one of the oldest in Latin America. They wish to turn the old neighborhood into a highway with six lands of traffic. The neighborhood was founded back in 1673 by the Spanish Crown. It is described as a charming colonial-era World Heritage Site and as previously stated, the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast. The cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial architecture and majestic plazas have earned a considerable amount of international acclaim in the past 10 years, attracting tourists. Back and forth the debate goes about whether or not to demolish this neighborhood. A neighborhood resident and real estate agent has been fighting against the project. She got a group together and so far they have been successful at protesting and even meeting with the President to voice their opinion. At the moment, it is unclear at what the outcome will be.

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New cars for Cuba?

New cars for Cuba? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Raul Castro will be lifting the embargo on cars.  Cuban cars are from before the revolution (1959).  Here is an op-ed article that is favors the removal of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.

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Border Economies: the Maquiladora Export Landscape

Border Economies: the Maquiladora Export Landscape | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Maquiladoras are a well-known example of developed countries outsourcing factory work that is cited as a factor leading to de-industrialization in the Northeastern USA.  While many geography classes discuss this macro spatial reorganization, this link challenges us to look at the micro spatial systems of maquiladoras that make them economically efficient.  Some good graphs, maps and images.  

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Derek Ethier's comment, September 20, 2012 10:15 PM
Developed countries outsourcing jobs has become largely beneficial for developing countries. In the case of Mexico, the residents are given new opportunities in manufacturing jobs that they may have never had before. The industrialization of the border area can only lead to increasing development and hopefully a better standard of living for citizens. Unfortunately, it has the exact opposite effect on the U.S., which is giving away jobs.
Joshua Choiniere's comment, September 26, 2012 11:14 AM
This article is displaying the postive and negative side effects that these Maquiladoras have upon the development of stronger economic economies for such countries as Mexico. These buisnesss that invest in the border of Mexico allow these towns/cities to grow and become industrilized. This provides low skill work for the people of Mexico but the logistics of the companies are still being done in the country that has invested in these places. This is good because it lets countries like the United States keep educated/high paying jobs in the States. The negative aspect is that the only jobs the Mexicans recieve are the low paying uneducated type. However still it has postives for both countries and its something we must get used to because its the way of the future.
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For Mexico City, a Repurposed Landfill

For Mexico City, a Repurposed Landfill | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Methane from a landfill will flow to a power plant, helping to keep the lights on in the city."

Seth Dixon's insight:

When Mexico City’s government shut down the giant Bordo Poniente landfill last December, officials announced that they had a full-blown plan for the site...the city aims to capture the methane gas produced by the landfill to fuel a power plant that could supply electricity to as many as 35,000 homes.

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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 14, 2014 4:20 PM

Usually when a landfill becomes overloaded, it just gets shut down and left to rot. Mexico City is trying to do something new and ingenious with its massive landfill. Instead of closing off the land and letting it stay as reusable space, Mexico is hoping to develop a way to harness landfill gases in order to make electricity. If it is successful, it could prove to be a world-changing solution for other large, developing cities. It has the potential of lowering energy costs, creating jobs, and finding a purpose for land that would otherwise remain unusable for probably centuries. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 16, 2014 7:58 AM

In class we discussed the numerous environmental issues that exist in Mexico City. This is a great way of turning a negative into a positive. On a larger scale, I think this is going to be the kind of solutions that every country will have to eventually find. Creative ways of using technology to turn harmful waste into energy is a great idea. Methane is a cleaner than coal and recycling lessens the burden on natural resources.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 11:31 AM

this is a genius use of a necessary evil [landfills]. in the modern world energy is necessary, and the use of methane from a landfill means that the fuel is cheap, and that cost will transfer to the cost of power for the people buying it.

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Haitian 'invasion' in rural America

Haitian 'invasion' in rural America | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Over the past 18 months thousands of Haitians have flocked to a small town in rural North Carolina.

 

This video is filled with geographic content.  How does immigration change the cultural and economic profile?  While large cities are typically the destinations for migrants why are these Haitians coming to this small town? 

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 8, 2014 5:52 PM

This video is about a sudden influx of Haitian immigrants in a small rural town in North Carolina. This is not typical because because immigrating to the United States usually means settling in cities.

 

The atypical destination is the result of where job availability is currently located in the United States. Many of the immigrants had originally tried Florida and found either little work or much worse conditions in a city like Miami. In this rural area of North Carolina, there were some grueling factory jobs (I worked one once, they suck but the pay was not awful) that weren't being filled so the Haitians simply went where the jobs were. Filling the jobs that weren't being filled can only be good for that local economy and signs of Haitian culture are cropping up in the form of restaurants and church services. Unfortunately, poverty is a problem for these immigrants but being in a rural area means the cost of living is likely lower so there may be a better quality-of-life for them there than a city so long as the jobs last.

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 13, 2015 12:06 AM

It made me happy to hear that they were welcomed in by locals. I don't feel like Americans have the strongest track record of accepting new comers. I am happy that the people have an new opportunity at life, they deserve it just as much as anyone else.

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Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | Geography Education | 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."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Belize has a much higher Human Development Index ranking that its Central American neighbors such as Guatemala.  That fact alone makes Belize a likely destination for migrants.  Given that Belize was 'British Honduras' during colonial times, English is (still) the official language, but that is changing as increasingly Spanish-speaking immigrants are changing the cultural profile of Belize.      

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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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In Honduras, Police Accused Of Corruption, Killings

The Central American nation is the most violent country in the world, according to the United Nations. A mix of drug trafficking, political instability and history adds up to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico.
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Paige Therien's curator insight, February 11, 2014 1:36 PM

Honduras' role in the drug trafficking industry has increased immensely which does not mix well with their already corrupt government and police force.  However, a history of U.S. aid and security "support" is what rooted this country in violence.  Honduras' situation is spiraling out of control because the drug trafficking industry has taken advantage of its already weak state.

Amy Marques's curator insight, February 12, 2014 10:55 PM

In the news we sometimes hear about violence taking place at the border of the US and Mexico, but you never hear of the violence in Honduras. With a mix of drug trafficking, corruption, political instability and history has led to a murder rate that is now four times that of Mexico., which is pretty hard to think of since there Mexico already has a high muder right. The situation has gotten so bad that the Peace Corps has withdrawn its volunteers.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 24, 2015 6:53 AM

While Mexico gets all the bad press when it comes to violence and police corruption, Honduras is actually a  more violent place to be. The murder rate in the nation is four times that of Mexico. Like Mexico, the rule of law in Honduras is quite questionable. Most of the nations police force is corrupt. Many police officers are  on the payrolls of drug lords and gangs. Average citizens have no respect for law enforcement, which they view as an extension of the drug trade. A country without  the rule of law, will descend into anarchy. This situation is playing out in Honduras, to the detriment of its people.

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U.S. Travel To Cuba Grows As Restrictions Are Eased

The Obama administration has relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba, reinstating Bill Clinton's policy of allowing people-to-people travel.
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Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, February 14, 2015 7:40 PM

The growth between the U.S and Cuba has increased business wise from their past. Allowing tourists travel to Cuba is a slow process of Growth leading to more of an expansion in whatever business whether it be oil or goods to trade its a slow process of trust that's appearing between the two.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 8:21 PM

I think it is a good idea to have lifted restrictions on Cuba. We are talking about a restriction put on a country because of a Conflict called the Cold War, but the Cold War is long done now. It is also ridiculous that as a free country we are not allowed to travel there really without government approved sightseeing. Although the government approved sightseeing is informative for both culture and education, with less restrictions, people should be able to do stuff outside pre approved government tours. Being able to wander the country freely might even possibly boost economy from money being spent. 

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 11:50 AM

with the relaxing of restrictions towards Cuba an increase in tourism can obviously be expected to rise massively, especially as Cuban repatriates gain the ability to go and visit family and ancestral homes. this new policy will prove to be good for Cuba.

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Taming the City of God

Taming the City of God | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Years of hatred and mistrust are thawing in some of Rio's most violent slums.

 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This compelling video depicts some of the challenges that the police in Rio de Janeiro face in trying to bring more effective governance into some of the more poverty-stricken, drug-riddled neighborhoods in the city.  This slums, known as favelas, are receiving increased attention as Rio is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

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James Hobson's curator insight, September 30, 2014 9:08 AM

(South America topic 7)

The details pertaining to how Rio's police force has been regaining control in favelas surprised me, but in a positive way. For example, having officers work and volunteer with children is a great idea to stop the generation chain of fearing the police as the enemy. I believe the message that this communicates is that the police are human too, sharing many of the same aspirations as those who they serve. It's unfortunate that this ramping-up in force comes mainly because of the approaching Olympics, but at least it is still a step in the right direction.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 12:42 PM

This video shows the tense relationship between the favales and the government of Brazil. I can't help but notice how people in the favales are being treated as lesser citizens that are not part of the collective identity of Brazil. As these big sporting events draw near, the government is more concerned with hiding or eliminating the systemic inequalities that are occurring in the favales. If I lived in these areas I would find it hard not to see the government as an enemy.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 7, 2015 12:10 PM
I think that it is very good that tensions between the police and the citizens of the city are cooling down. Yes, there were many problems in the past, but that is the past, now there is just the present and future. With police being more active in the community responding to calls more frequently, or attending schools to show that not all of them are bad people. It is also good to know that an officer holds a martial arts program for the kids, something like that really gets people, especially the young to feel safe around them. Also, with schooling and environmental projects becoming much better, it seems as if the City of God is going in the correct path that it should.
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Brazil's economy overtakes UK's

Brazil's economy overtakes UK's | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's sixth largest economy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research says.

 

The "BRIC" countries are surging forward and are seen as major players in the global economy (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Brazil just recently past the U.K. as the 6th largest economy.  China passed Japan not more than a year ago.    Furthermore, Russia and India are poised to pass the traditional European economic powers (U.K., Germany, France and Italy) by 2020.  In this restructuring of the global economy, what will the impacts be on various regions of the world? 

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Cam E's curator insight, February 11, 2014 11:46 AM

BRIC has always interested me as an alternative to the traditional centers of economic power. The four BRIC countries are all powerful up and comers and their positioning all around the world and lack of cultural commonality make them a very intriguing force.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 11:55 AM

The rise of the BRIC countries shows that the global economy is changing due to globalization. Now that transportation is cheaper, communication is more fluid, and economies can intermingle easier than before, countries can be more competitive with previous economic powers. I find it interesting that it is likely that in the next century we will see the US slipping further down this list.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 2015 8:01 AM

While this may seem surprising, this event should not be taken as such. Countries such as China, Russia, India and Brazil are becoming more powerful with the passing of each day. The biggest challenges to the United States are China and Russia. They are the only nations who can compete with us on both a political and economic scale. Russia is currently causing the most issues. Putin is an agitator on the world stage. I truly believe that it is his desire to recreate the great Russian Empire of old. His continued medaling around the globe will be a serious threat for the foreseeable future. China is the longer term threat. They are the only ones who possess the economic abilities to compete with us. Brazil and India, while growing are still not any were near us in terms of political or economic strength. Our government should do all it can, to foster good relationships with these nations. Especially sense are relationships with China and Russia are problematic at the moment.

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Photo of the Day-Iguazu Falls

Photo of the Day-Iguazu Falls | Geography Education | Scoop.it
See a photo of Iguazu Falls in South America and download free wallpaper from National Geographic.

 

Beautiful image!  South America's equivalent to the Niagara Falls is a place that students should see.

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 11, 2014 12:11 PM

This image of Iguazu Falls in South America is just another visual example of how beautiful the world is!

James Hobson's curator insight, September 29, 2014 10:12 PM

(South America topic 3)

What a perfect photo for "National Geographic"! As is the case with many of its other cover or insert photos, it shows what many have seen before (or similar to it), includes a human element in some way, but is taken from an unusual angle or distance. As another example of the pattern I'm noticing, I took a random National Geographic off my bookshelf. The cover shows the Statue of Liberty (a well-known landmark), Manhattan skyscrapers (the human element), but as would be seen from underwater (the unusual perspective). It's something about seeing something familiar from an unfamiliar perspective that makes one stop and reimagine the scope of whatever it is they have experienced.

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 30, 2015 10:40 PM

what a beautiful view of South America...

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Haiti: After the Quake

Haiti: After the Quake | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Al Jazeera's Sebastian Walker asks why a system that was designed to help Haitians ended up exacerbating their misery.

 

Why isn't more money the answer to the 'poverty problem?' What geographic factors make Haitian development such a difficult issue? 

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Tracy Galvin's comment, January 30, 2014 2:41 PM
Once again, American's arrogant beliefs about how everyone else SHOULD live their lives has caused a bad situation to become worse. We rush in to help, with good intentions, but we fail to see what the Haitians really needed help with. Instead of asking them "What can we do for you?" and really listening to the answer, we rush in and help them the way WE want to. Ultimately our 'help' actually makes their situation worse.
Tracy Galvin's curator insight, February 4, 2014 5:57 PM

Once again, American's arrogant beliefs about how everyone else SHOULD live their lives has caused a bad situation to become worse. We rush in to help, with good intentions, but we fail to see what the Haitians really needed help with. Instead of asking them "What can we do for you?" and really listening to the answer, we rush in and help them the way WE want to. Ultimately our 'help' actually makes their situation worse.

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 12, 2015 11:58 PM

I couldn't stop watching. I felt horror for those people who so desperately needed help and instead were treated like criminals. The mass injustices were ridiculous. The continuous tropical storms, earthquakes, and flooding create disastrous situations for Haitians in poverty. The way the government tried to desert them in a barren area was disgraceful if they were afraid those people would be angry they should be. They have a right to be angry. People were more busy guarding spilled milk then saving the lives that were still alive in that market!!! It absolutely was a massive failure!

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Latin American integration: Peaks and troughs

Latin American integration: Peaks and troughs | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The financial crisis surrounding the Euro has led many to feel that supranational organizations and regional coalitions are more trouble than they are worth.  The OAS (Organization of American States-which the USA is a part of) may dissolve and the CELAC might be its successor.  The CELAC's (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) emergence shows that the United States "is declining in a region it once called its 'backyard.'"  Spain is also diminishing in influence among its former colonies are forging new economic and political ties while Mexico and Brazil are exerting more regional influence. 

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 21, 2013 10:04 PM

The United States influence is delining in an area it called "its back yard". Along the financial crisis causing this, it has also begun to declin Spains influence in there former colonies as well. I think this could be a good thing as far these areas finally getting out from under other countires control even though they have been free for so long. But it could be bad because know that they are doing things on their own what will they do   

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NPR: In The Hills Of Rio, Shantytowns Get A Makeover

Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting soccer's World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, is trying to remake its hundreds of favelas.


Seth Dixon's insight:

There are urban geography applications obviously, but what about the cultural, political and economic logic of purging the slums before "the world comes to visit?"  We've seen this recently in Beijing and in other sites of international events.  Why now?  Why not before?  

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Derek Ethier's comment, September 30, 2012 7:01 PM
Rio is clearly trying to clean up their slums so they do not embarrass themselves on a national stage. During events like the World Cup, all eyes are on the host nation so they do all they can to improve all aspects of their country. Unfortunately, Brazil cares little for their people and more for the money the World Cup will flood into their nation.
Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 6, 2013 9:02 PM

The facelift that Rio de Janeiro is receiving in anticipation of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 is sapping up a large amount of Brazil's resources, resources that some lower class Brazilians argue should be allocated to improving roads or schools. The government led make-over reminds me of the upper-class driven gentrification of urban areas in places like NYC that were previously neighborhoods for lower-class residents. I don't think we will be able to understand the effects of this remodeling until after the Cup and the Olympics have come and gone. If Brazil keeps it up and continues to "improve" outlier areas, what will Brazil look like in 20 years?

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 8, 2014 11:21 AM

I find it sad that although Rio de Janiero obviously has a huge socioeconomic gap between the wealthy and the poor, it takes the prospect of the World Cup and Olympics for them to act. Furthermore their solution to cover up their slums is short sighted and they refuse to look at the deep seeded roots of the issue.

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NYTimes: In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find Skyrise

NYTimes: In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find Skyrise | Geography Education | Scoop.it
An unfinished skyscraper occupied by squatters is a symbol of Venezuela’s financial crisis in the 1990s, state control of the economy and a housing shortage.


Seth Dixon's insight:

 Incredible paradigm shift as a skyscraper is converted from a symbol of wealth to a building that is occupied by squatters.  The lack of a vibrant formal economy and more formal housing leads to a lack of suitable options for many urban residents--especially with problems in the rural countryside.  A complex web of geographic factors need to be explained to understand this most fascinating situation.  The video link "Squatters on the Skyline" embedded in the article is a must see.

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Stacey Jackson's curator insight, February 22, 2013 12:35 AM
The fact that one resident featured in the video said she has "nothing to complain about" says a lot about the housing situation in Caracas. She didn't seem to think she deserved to live in a better environment- instead she accepts the unfinished skyscraper with rudimentary services and no sewage removal. It is a shame that Caracas hasn't been able to meet the housing demands of their growing population. I'm sure the issue is more complex, but it seems like this oil-rich nation should be able to build proper housing for its citizens. Also, 2,500 squatters is an astounding figure. Just to put it into perspective, my neighborhood (in Providence) has a total population of 2,669. I can't imagine all of us being crammed into one building without electricity, air conditioning, or proper plumbing.
Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 11, 2014 12:23 PM

Squatters occupy a building that was constructed to symbolize great wealth in Venezuela including a landing pad on the roof and floors to occupy office buildings. Due to a financial crisis, the building was never finished and squatters have taken advantage of this empty building. There is no windows, plumbing or an elevator to reach the higher levels of this skyscraper. Because of this, many safety issues have risen, including deaths. There is no other place for these squatters to live, it has become their home and they are temporarily making the best of it.