Activists in the Indian city of Mumbai launch a campaign to demand free public toilet facilities for women.
This is an interesting article that touches on themes of development, gender and modernization in the regional context of South Asia.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"In the poorest regions of the world, girls are among the most disadvantaged people on the planet.
---One billion people live in extreme poverty—70% are women and girls.67 million children worldwide don’t go to school, over half are girls.
---One extra year of primary school can mean 10-20% higher wages for a girl.
---When a girl in the developing world stays in school for seven or more years, she’ll marry later and have fewer, healthier children."
This site links to the "Because I Am a Girl" initiative which is designed to break the cycle of poverty and strengthen communities. http://www.planusa.org/becauseiamagirl/ ;
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To successfully create a sustainable society, you need development in three areas: social, economic and environmental sustainability. Gender empowerment, many argue is the key to creating a society that not only is more just, but is more sustainable. For more read: http://www.rtcc.org/living/eu-summit-empowering-women-a-triple-win-for-sustainable-development/
A five-part, multimedia series on the coming dystopia that is urbanization.
This is a great introduction to the explosion of the slums within megacities. This video as a part of the article is especially useful. Click on the title to read the accompanying article.
|Suggested by Martin Daumiller|
Between 1990 and 2009, cigarette consumption in regions of the world like Western Europe dropped by more than 25% - but that is only one side of the coin. Historically, cigarette consumption has been a privilege to the rich and high-income countries. Now, with those countries understanding the risks of cancer and the dangers of smoking, the number of smokers decline. But in the past twenty years, for example, the use of cigarettes in the Middle East and Africe has increased by 60%: "Among the 14 countries where 50% or more of men smoke all but one country (Greece) are classified as low- or middle-income."
"As consumption rates continue to increase in low- and middle-income countries," the ACS report reads, "these countries will experience a disproportionate amount of tobacco-related illness and death." In 2009, China consumed 40% of the world's cigarettes.
|Suggested by W. Robert de Jongh|
The latest data from the U.S. Census´s American Community Survey paints a fascinating picture of the United States at the county level. What are the connections between place, education and earning power? What patterns are what you would imagine? Why? Any shocking patterns that emerge from this dataset?
"Competition for increasingly scarce water in the next decade will fuel instability in regions such as South Asia and the Middle East that are important to U.S. national security, according to a U.S. intelligence report."
Geographic thinking is about uncovering the spatial connections between issues that on the surface might not seem related. Multinational river basins are a perfect example of environmental resources that demand international cooperation for successful management, and it regions of scarcity and population growth, it is easy to envision clashing viewpoints on how to fairly share such resources.
Discussion questions: What geographic themes are evident in this article? What geographic problems could exacerbate the problem? What could alleviate these issues in the future?
A look inside the controversial underground tunnels that link Egypt and the Gaza Strip, where smugglers funnel fuel, food, and potentially weapons into the isolated territory.
This video is a look inside the some of the hundreds of tunnels that are used to smuggle goods into Gaza that have become more intensely used since the blockade on goods that went into effect in 2007 when Hamas came to power. Also, members of the Israeli military demonstrate the evidence they have that these tunnels are being used to bring weapons.
The Palestinian territory is in the midst of a construction boom, more than three years after a major Israeli assault that left much of the territory in ruins.
There has been a formal ban on building materials entering Gaza since 2007 (when Hamas took over the territory) since the Israeli government fears they could be weaponized or aid the military efforts. Still, if the demand is high enough, some of the supply will still enter as we goods entering Gaza through smuggling tunnels from the Egyptian city of Rafah.
An estimated 600,000 Americans are homeless, but the spread isn't uniform. Some cities have been hit harder than others.
When I teach cultural geography, I discuss the idea that some thing are "in place" and others are "out of place" based on the cultural norms that change from place to place. Homelessness is almost always "out of place." What parts of the built environment in your city are purposefully uninviting to the homeless? What is the connection between the city (and urbanization) and homelessness? What could (or should) be done in major metropolitan areas with high rates of homelessness? What is the spatial patterns evident in the geography of homelessness? What accounts for these patterns? What surprises are in the data from the article?
One of the focal points of the protests raging in Zuccotti Park and around the world is the sizable gap between the rich and everyone else. Yet as the below graphic shows, there are many different levels of wealth among even the richest of the rich.
Sanjay Wijesekera: This achievement shows that where there is a will, it is possible to truly transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people for the better.
The MDG (Millennial Development Goal) to cut the global population that does not have access to clean drinking water was cut in half, and five years ahead of schedule. The World Health Organization and the United Nations are very pleased with this achievement, but it is a timely reminder of the developmental problems of poverty and access that still exist. For example, 783 million people still do not have access to clean drinking water. 3,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases (usually from bad drinking water and poor sanitation). Although some success should be celebrated, the world, in the currently constituted social, economic and political framework, still does not provide the most basic of requirements for a sizable portion of humanity.
One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged.
There was significant publicity last year when the world population reached 7 billion. Barely a whisper was heard when the global population of slum dwellers exceeded 1 billion. When the world's population reached 7 billion, it was used as a moment to reflect on sustainable growth, resources and the common good for humanity. This 'milestone' of 1 billion slum dwellers needs to also serve as a teaching moment to reflect on urbanization, migration, human development and the underlying causes that have lead to this explosive growth primarily in the developing world.
|Suggested by W. Robert de Jongh|
This interactive map shows national estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line. That is a quite problematic situation to map, since the operational definitions of poverty vary considerably among countries. Also, there are some counties without data (Central Africa, North Korea, etc.) However, there is still considerable value to be gleaned from this map. What regional patterns do you notice? How will this map inform our understanding of migration patterns and political unrest?
Although slavery is no longer legal there are still millions of people living in slavery today. One place and industry where slaves still exist is the cocoa ...
The world's leading producer of cocoa is Côte d'Ivoire and dirty secret is that slavery is commonplace on cocoa plantations in West Africa. Children are smuggled from countries such as Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso and then are placed on remote, isolated plantations. While statistics are all guesstimates, this video is purporting that 35% of the world's chocolate is produced by slave labor (I've seen higher estimates). What factors lead to this horrific condition? How is this a geographic issue?
South Asian nations are making the least progress in the Asia-Pacific region on meeting MDGs, an Asian Development Bank official says...
The UN's developmental goals are include reducing child and maternal mortality, halving poverty and hunger, providing universal primary education, gender equality and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS. In the Asia/Pacific region there are 17 countries that are not meeting the goals and all South Asian countries (except Sri Lanka) are labeled as 'off track.'
"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.
Years of hatred and mistrust are thawing in some of Rio's most violent slums.
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.
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.
Brazil, Russia, India and China are profoundly shaking up the G8. All of these newcomers give aid to developing countries. And yet some still receive substantial aid themselves from the U.S. and other donors.
This seems to be a is a strange juxtaposition: surging countries in the global economy are also recipients of international aid from NGOs. Too often we view the country as though that is the logical scale at which to discuss all issues such as economic growth and poverty. Too often we view the border as though all things within the border are homogenous and difference lies on the other side of the border. The author of this article argues that the future for NGOs is increasing collaboration and partnerships with the private sector to lead to a 'convergence' between the economic aims of the local economy and the humanitarian goals of the NGOs.
See the share of Americans’ income that comes from government benefit programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, veterans’ benefits and food stamps.
This is another fantastic interactive map from the NY Times, allowing students to explore the changing economic geographies of the United States during this recent global recession.
Visit Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Feeding America's helps provide food to over 37 millions Americans each year.
Food insecurity is an important issue in human geography that, like so many things, impacts people is different ways depending on where they live. This interactive map is a great tool for student projects, and local comparisons. This is also a great tool to build geographic empathy and (for American students) to see that issues of dire poverty aren't only in the developing world.
The following is a post from David Schalliol, the Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Sciences at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
This is photoessay focuses on urban decay in a deindustrializing cities in the United States. The goal is not to strictly bemoan the urban blight and see these ares as 'victims of decline,' but to also acknowledge the community that has emerged despite the economic hardships.