Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over
Curated by Seth Dixon
Some of the most beautiful things in the world can be the most susceptible to sweeping environmental transformations.
"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."
"Only 2% of Australia's population lives in the yellow area. "
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.
Part I, island biogeography in a World Regional context...click here to watch part II, why island biogeography matters in places that aren't on islands. All links archived at: http://geographyeducation.org/2013/12/06/island-biogeography/
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).
Over half of Australia lies above the Tropic of Capricorn, but it is home to only five percent of the population. It is a frontier land with little infrastructure, populated by cattle barons, crocodile hunters and aboriginal tribes.
Australia's Northern Territory(NT) is region that is climatically inhospitable to large human settlements and is the least population region of the lightly population country. Uluru (Ayer's Rock) is the Northern Territory's iconic landscape, and the territory is home to approximately 212,000 people according to the 2011 Australian census. Most of the economic activity centers on resources extraction (mining); aboriginal groups control 1/5th of the NT which many hope to discourage. This photo gallery provides a excellent glimpse into these remote places. See also this list of the best places to visit in Australia.
Photo by Jean Paul Ferrero/Ardea/Caters News (via Exposing the Truth Lake Hillier is a pink-coloured lake on Middle Island in Western Australia. Middle island is the largest of the islands a...
Pictured above is Lake Hillier, located on a small island south of Western Australia. Around the world there are many pink lakes; most of them can attribute their hue to their high salinity composition. Some algaes that thrive in salt water produce organic pigments with a reddish/pinkish coloration. This particular lake's coloration is a mystery. If you any additional information, feel free to share in in the comments section below.
Aboriginal leaders threaten to ban tourists from a top Australian landmark in protest at "racist" government policies.
This is an old article, but a fascinating topic that cuts across many geographic issues. Uluru, the landform that that European explorers named Ayers Rock, was the key place that is at the center of a struggle between indigenous people and the government. Many feel that the government's course of action in the mid 2000's was paternalistic and racist. They banned alcohol and pornography in over 70 indigenous communities in an attempt to lower the rates of child sex abuse. Sex Abuse is high (and often hidden) in aboriginal communities where a child is 7 times more likely to be abused than in the rest of the Australian population.
Questions to Ponder: Would the government impose such measures on other populations within Australia? When crimes have a racial component, does a government have the right to limit a particular groups' actions? Why or why not?
The insect is so large — as big as a human hand — it's been dubbed a "tree lobster." It was thought to be extinct, but some enterprising entomologists scoured a barren hunk of rock in the middle of the ocean and found surviving Lord Howe Island...
Island Biogeography is endlessly fascinating and provides some of the most striking species we have on Earth. The physical habitat is fragmented and the genetic diversity is limited. Within this context, species evolve to fill ecological niches within their particular locale. This NPR article demonstrates the story of but one of these incredible species that never could have evolved on the continents. In modern society, more extinctions are happening on islands than anywhere else as 'specialist' species are in greater competition with 'generalists.'
Divers on Australia's Great Barrier Reef recently snapped rare pictures of a wobbegong, or carpet shark, swallowing a bamboo shark whole.
The diversity of life on this planet and the ecosystems which such creatures live in is something that continually leaves me in awe at the wonders of the natural world.