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Geography Education
Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography students and teachers. http://geographyeducation.org
Curated by Seth Dixon
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What is halal meat?

What is halal meat? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"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?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

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.   

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Ms. Harrington's curator insight, May 17, 7:14 AM

Halal means permissible, the opposite of Haram  which means forbidden or illegal. 


Halal meat means 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). 


Within the European Union more Muslims are migrating to Europe.  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. - From Seth Dixon

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Venice wants out of Italy

Venice wants out of Italy | Geography Education | Scoop.it
VENICE, Italy – Venice, renowned for incomparable Gothic architecture and placid canals plied by gondolas that make it one of the most recognizable cities in the world, may have had enough of Italy.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the wealthiest regions of the poorest countries of the European Union are seeking for greater regional autonomy and even independence.  As one resident said, "I have always felt as a Venetian first, and Italian second."  The scale at which people construct their primary identities and political loyalties play a key role to the political geographic concept of devolution, where power shifts from a central authority to more local control.  So independence moves are to start negotiating.  As another Venetian said, "I think we'll end up with a little more autonomy and a little more pride in our city" and not actual independence.


Tags: Italy political, economic, states, autonomy, devolution.

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Mr. Gresham's curator insight, April 23, 9:09 AM

In Unit Four: Political Geography we discussed forces that lead to devolution.  This article highlights which of these forces?

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, April 24, 11:13 AM

unit 4

Paige Therien's curator insight, April 24, 1:34 PM

Italy, especially in recent years, is very poor and is in chaos in terms of economic and national policies.  The people of the region in which Venice is located, called Veneto, are voicing a majority opinion to secede from Italy.  Venice is and has been for centuries a very important place and a leader in terms of the arts and trading.  It is a very wealthy region of Italy and many supporters of this movement feel as though they work hard just to see their money go to other regions of the struggling country.  Although Veneto has been a part of Italy for over 100 years, strong regional identities still persist and are playing an even bigger role today; as the rest of the country struggles, Veneto pride over their world-renowned accomplishments are fueling popular opinion in the region.

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Love 'em or hate 'em - Britain's rocky relationship with the EU

Love 'em or hate 'em - Britain's rocky relationship with the EU | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The United Kingdom's relationship with the EU - or, in political parlance, 'Europe' - has long been one of the most divisive, emotive issues in British politics."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The beginnings of the European Union are rooted in the aftermath of WW II, with Europe exhausted from war many politicians wanted to unite European countries in a way that would make war with each other impossible.  The United Kingdom, though has had a complicated with the EU, sometimes (and for certain issues) wanting greater European integration to strengthen their regional position and at other times have resisted regional collaboration for fear of losing national autonomy.  This is very over-generalized, but this BBC article gives a nice historical perspective on the rocky relationship of between the two.  


Tags: Europe, supranationalism, currency, economichistorical, sovereignty, UK.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 2, 5:40 PM

Britain has always participated in its own events of politics and government. They have had a back and forth relationship with the European Union and have had its ups and downs throughout the years. The U.K. doesn't want to conform to the European money system and instead want to keep their own monetary system.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 10:00 AM

GB wants greater European intergration to strengthen their regional power,

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Eastern and Western Europe divided over gay marriage, homosexuality

Eastern and Western Europe divided over gay marriage, homosexuality | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Recent developments in Croatia and Scotland highlight a stark divide between Eastern and Western Europe on the topic of same-sex marriage.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Regions are fluid constructs that we use to think about places.  The region that we think of today as "Latin America" would not have been a discrete region 600 years ago since historical events have shaped the geographic evolution of the attributes of the region and the borders of world regions will continue to be redrawn.  Some have recently argued that since the end of the Cold War, the monikers Eastern and Western Europe are less meaningful in an economic context.   This map shows this old division can still be seen in this cultural/political context.  Some have argued that Russia's recent move against gay rights is a geopolitical strategy to differentiate themselves from the West. 


TagsEurope, regions.

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 25, 1:40 PM

It appears Western and Eastern Europeans are still different in one way or another. Some countries that are closer to Russia share similar views with one another, such as an opposition towards gay marriage.  It seems as you travel further west towards areas such as the UK and France, views on the subject of gay marriage are different.   

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 1, 3:09 PM

It seems that the countries with higher GDPs and better standards of living are also least likely to have a problem with homosexuality. Norway, Sweden and Finland are among the top ten countries on the quality of life list and they are in full support.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 9:58 AM

Gay marriage and the issue of homosexuality is all over the world. In Europe is seems to be pretty divided among "people who think gays should lead their own life" and those who oppose that thought. People are influenced by everything in their lives. They are influenced by the culture around them, their community and environment and the people they come in contact with.

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Exclaves and Sovereignty

Exclaves and Sovereignty | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Prime Minister David Cameron is 'seriously concerned' about the escalation of tensions on the border between Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video and article briefly show the reasons behind the current tension between Spain, NATO allies and fellow EU members.  The deeper, underlying issues though are all fundamentally rooted in the complex local political geography.  As an exclave of the UK on a peninsula connected to the Spanish mainland that controls access to the Mediterranean Sea, there is naturally going to be friction over this unusual political configuration. Spain, in what the chief Minister of Gibraltar calls "sabre-rattling," is flexing its muscles and considering using their border and airspace as a political leverage.  Spain is upset that Gibraltar has created an artificial reef in waters that their fishermen use.  Spanish fisherman have recently condemned the escalating political rhetoic.


Questions to Ponder: Why are both parties politically and culturally invested in this piece of territory?  What challenges are there for a small exclave when neighbors aren't friendly?  How does Spanish and British suprantional connections impact this issue?


Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty, Spain, Europe, autonomy.

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karenpinney's curator insight, August 12, 2013 5:13 AM

Relationships between Britain and Spain.

megan b clement's curator insight, October 13, 2013 12:37 AM

"The video explains about Spain and Gibraltar and how they have feuded back and forth with one another and their borders for some time now. Gibraltar has made a articfical reef to mess with the Spainish fisherman and SPain has made travel to Gibraltar nearly impossible and dreadfully long for tourists. Spain understands how essential tourism is to their economy. Until they are able to come to an agreement thei matter is only going to intenisfy more and worsen."

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 10:55 AM

I was unaware that the UK owned this part of Gibraltar.  It seems like a throwback to the UK’s naval policies of the past that they would still to control this point of entry into the Mediterranean.  It will be interesting to see how this will be resolved.  As it is a dispute between two countries that are both part of the EU. 

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How To Say 'Beer' Everywhere In Europe

How To Say 'Beer' Everywhere In Europe | Geography Education | Scoop.it
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Ryan G Soares's curator insight, December 3, 2013 10:34 AM

I really find it interesting how such a popular beverage is said from place to place in one area. Depending on where you live in one country or continent can change how something is said. Me living in the Eastern part of the United states we could Beer, beer. Compared to Europe calling "Beer" ale, pivo, cervesa, etc. Its facinating how depending on one's culture such a popular thing can be changed.

 

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Song: European Union

Song: European Union | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Germany and France spent decades at each others' throats. Now, bound by a common currency, they're working together to save the euro zone. It's a story that's begging for a musical number — which, as it happens, we have right here."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This playful song dramatizes the current E.U. financial crisis.  This humourous highlights what the E.U. was designed to be, and showing the advantages and disadvantages of enhanced regional cooperation.  This is certainly worth a listen.       


Tags: Europe, supranationalism, currency, economic

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Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:16 AM

This song does every bit of telling the truth while still being humorous in nature.  It is only fitting that there is some comedy here, because there is some irony in what the EU was supposed to become and what it has turned into since it's installment. 

Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 1:04 AM

A catchy little tune that shows the simple comincal version of how the European Union came to be and turned out. Amazing how a cute little tune shows the troubles of a huge organization such as the European Union.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 29, 5:05 PM

Some countries such as Germany and France were once enemies. Now they are trying to forget their negative past, as many European countries are struggling financially and this funny song encourages the people to unite, due to the fact they share a common currency. 

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Flag wars

Flag wars | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Mr Füzes had voiced support for the Székler people, a group of ethnic Hungarians who live in Transylvania, after two Romanian counties banned the display of the Székler flag (pictured above with men in hussar uniform) on public buildings. Zsolt Nemeth, Hungary’s state secretary for foreign affairs, described the ban as an act of “symbolic aggression” and called for local councils in Hungary to show solidarity by flying the Székler flag from town halls. The Hungarian government then raised the Székler flag above Parliament, further enraging Bucharest..."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Flags are important symbols of cultural identity and displaying them can be a strong political statement.  For Hungarians, displaying symbols of a "Greater Hungary" shows some desire for irredentism--to redeem Hungarians of the 'wrong' side of the border.  For those Hungarians in Romania this is an act of defiance that show that they want greater autonomy. 


For sports fans, ESPN did a "30 for 30" documentary on the early 90's Yugoslavian basketball team that was a major talent (1990 World Champions) but was torn apart as devolutionary forces fractured the countries and the once-teammates were estranged after what some perceived as disrespectful acts to the Croatian national flag.  Vlade Divac (a Serbian) was pitted against some of his best friends from Croatia as the civil war was playing itself out on the court as well.  This is a great way to get a sports fan to learn about ethnic conflict and about the importance of cultural symbols ("Once Brothers"--$1.99, free for Amazon Prime users).   

Tagspolitical, conflict, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Conor McCloskey's comment, April 30, 2013 10:26 AM
The past is the past. Or is it? The past seems to mean more to the people of Hungary and Romania these days. The Treaty of Trianon of 1920 sectioned the region of Transylvania from Romania to Hungary. For the ethnic Hungarians living in Transylvania, this posed quite the issue. For many people around the world, the homeland does not always match up with geopolitical boundaries of the country that they live in. While this identity crisis causes conflict for many groups of people all over the world, in Hungary the fight to regain greater-Hungary continues today.
This article also poses interesting questions of voting and citizenship. The Hungarian government granted citizenship beyond its borders, and jurisdiction, to ethnic Hungarians in Romania. What does this say about those Hungarians in Romania? Does it bring Hungary any closer to regaining the borders of the once Greater Hungary? Regardless of the questions of citizenship, such public and federal efforts to expand their borders and regain their ethnic population and homeland is doing more then turning heads. Look to this region for future conflict because the failure of geopolitical nations to represent ethnic homelands rarely ends peacefully.
John Peterson's comment, April 30, 2013 10:37 AM
This article helps to illustrate tensions that can be caused by seemingly simple acts within a society that is home to two conflicting groups. While flags do not have any actual influence or power in society, they are a source of emotion, and pride in ones nation and heritage. Because of the emotion that is tied with flags, it can be a very tense situation when the use of these flags is banned, or if these flags are taken down or destroyed. It is amazing how something so simple as a flag can bring about so much anger, and be the source of such bad blood and violence between different nations or ethnic groups. In the example given, there has been conflict for years, which was recently fueled even more over the use of a flag. While the act of displaying a flag is simply a display of loyalty, the actions of the Romanian government against this practice shows how although it is not a violent act, it can lead to very hostile actions and interactions.
Zakary Pereira's comment, April 30, 2013 4:12 PM
This article got me thinking. The tensions between Hungary and Romania seem trivial to me. The Romanians are the right ones in my opinion and the act of displaying the Székler flag about the Hungarian Parliament was plainly a theoretical middle finger to Romania. The more than a million Hungarians living in present day Romania relates to our unit on culture and nations/states. There is a Hungarian nation of people in Romania that the Hungarian government has now granted rights to, again purposely antagonizing Romania, and Romania is rightfully concerned of their dual-loyalty. Overall, the situation is taken way out of proportion by Hungary and what former piece of an empire wants that flag flown in their country. In Ireland do you see the Union Jack… that’d be a no.
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Top 10 Countries That Disappeared In The 20th Century

Top 10 Countries That Disappeared In The 20th Century | Geography Education | Scoop.it
New nations seem to pop up with alarming regularity. At the start of the 20th century, there were only a few dozen independent sovereign states on the planet; today, there are nearly 200!
Seth Dixon's insight:

This list of countries that no longer exist in their current form include Czechoslovakia, Tibet, Sikkim, the Ottoman Empire and the Soviet Union. 


Tags: unit 4 political, historical, devolution.  

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Kevin Cournoyer's comment, May 1, 2013 12:54 AM
I found this article really interesting for a few different reasons. As a history major, the article provided a lot of information that I thought was interesting and of which I was unaware. It’s important to understand the reasons for the breakup and/or formation of countries when studying history. Part of understanding that is recognizing and analyzing the geographic implications of these changes.
Perhaps most importantly, the disappearance of countries would certainly have severe economic repercussions. The complete absence of an economy that had been around for decades, or the emergence of several new economies all at once would have serious effects on the interaction between neighboring countries and the global economy. Cultural unity and tension also plays a large role in the disappearance of countries. Examining patterns of cultural dissimilarity and hostility explains the breakup of these countries and makes for nations that possess a great deal of cultural homogeneity and a palette of cultural diversity in a small geographic area.
Al Picozzi's curator insight, July 2, 2013 11:38 AM

Amazing to see many of the countries and empires that are no longer around.  Also with the dissoution of many of the empires it lead's to many of the issues that were are dealiing with today.  Splitting the Austro-Hugaraian Empire after WWI along ethnic lines didn't really work and helped to lead to WWII.  The Germans in the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia fro example.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sudetendeutsche_gebiete.svg

 for the area of German population.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 5:01 PM

10 countries that have become nonexistent in the 20th century include Tibet, East Germany and Yugoslavia. These countries have died off because of ethic, religious and cultural falls that were quickly taken over by bigger and more powerful countries.

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Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros

Catalonia asks Spain for 9 Billion Euros | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The independence-minded region of Catalonia asks the Spanish central government for an extra 9bn euros (£7.7bn) in bailout money.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Catalonia appears to want the benefits of independence AND of being politically connected to Spain.


Tags: Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.

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Dean Haakenson's curator insight, February 4, 2013 2:31 PM

Another peg in the collective EU coffin...

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:21 AM

This is sad news for an area that is trying to persuede the world it deserves to be independent. Unfortunately,  they still have to rely on the Spanish government to help their economy, something that does not help their case.  While other countries do take money from other powers, one that is trying to establish itself might want to have a more optimistic outlook on it's economy before it tries to go off on it's own.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 11:28 AM

This area seems to want it both ways.  To be independent from Spain, but also dependent economically on Spain.  This region should sort out its priorities and decided if independents is worth it and if so then they should not be asking Spain for help.  It’s like a twenty-something person that moves out of their parents’ house and then comes back again and again with their hand out.  Catalonia seems to be facing this same issue.

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What if Greece quits the euro?

What if Greece quits the euro? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A Greek exit from the euro has become a bomb fizzling at the heart of the eurozone. What could happen if it explodes?
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is still all speculation, but this speculation is grounded in the very real possibility that Greece may leave the Eurozone.  This one possible scenario would have a profound ripple effect throughout the European Union and beyond.  This interactive explores each of these 8 possible results.  


Tags: Greece, Europe, supranationalism, currency, labor, economic



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Kelsey Grill's curator insight, December 3, 2013 3:47 PM

This is really interesting. When I was learning about this I realized that Greece is pretty much screwed no matter what they do. However, if they leave it will hurt more countries than if they just stick to the euro.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 5:05 PM

Money controls everything. Because parliament has to make some budget cuts, money must be spent elsewhere. Because of this, Greece leaving the euro could lead to a downward spiral including a sovereign debt crisis, a recession and political backlash. Should Greece keep the euro?

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 8:02 AM

This article explains eight possible outcomes of Greece leaving the Euro Zone. None of them favorable for Europe, except maybe the UK which could possibly borrow more cheaply. For the rest of Europe, the results are either increased burdens for the more economically strong EZ nations like Germany, or a domino effect which accelerates the decline of the struggling economies of countries like Italy and Spain.

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Hope during Economic Crisis

Flashmob en Madrid (España) organizado por el programa de radio CARNE CRUDA 2.0 Martes y jueves, 16:00, http://www.carnecruda20.es Lunes, miércoles y viernes...
Seth Dixon's insight:

I have previously posted on how successful flashmobs often times use public places in a way that symbolically merges the meaning of that space with the message of the that place.  This is a fabulous example of that and I find it incredibly moving and poignant, given the recent economic woes of southern Europe.  


As Jordan Weismmann said about this flashmob in the Atlantic, "I'm not sure if this video is more heartbreaking or heartwarming, but it pretty well captures what's going on in Europe's economy right now. While the day-to-day drama of the continent's debt crisis has subsided, painful austerity measures have helped leave huge swaths of the population jobless. In Spain, unemployment is at 25 percent."   

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Trisha Klancar's curator insight, January 13, 2013 2:15 PM

We never know when we will make a difference in people's lives. Spain has undergone a very difficult time the last couple years...this is short video reminds us we all need to smile and enjoy no matter what!

Shelby Porter's comment, September 19, 2013 1:46 PM
This video is a great example of what a difference someone can make. Before this group started playing, you could see that most of the people on that room looked down, but they certainly got some sun and happiness brought to them. It doesn't matter where in the world you are, the littlest things can certainly make a difference.
Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 5:21 PM

Flashmobs bring so much positive energy to any environment. In Madrid, this video shows how positive vibes from music are contagious and transmitted into positive energy at an unemployment office. "Here comes the Sun" is a way of saying things are going to get better, just look at the bright side. 

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The Greek island of old age

The Greek island of old age | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The inhabitants of a small Greek island live on average 10 years longer than the rest of western Europe. So what's the secret to long life in Ikaria?
Seth Dixon's insight:

As more countries have entered the later stages of the Demographic Transition, we expect people to live longer than ever.  On this island and other "blue zones" they attribute their long life to a traditional diet and an unpolluted environment.  


Tags: aging population, medical, population, demographics, unit 2 population, Greece, Europe.

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 25, 12:49 PM

It is nice to know there are still areas in the world, such as Ikaria in Greece, with little pollution. The air is much cleaner, people are more active, there are plenty of  natural foods and unpreserved wine keeps natives young. By making the simple move to his homeland, a man diagnosed with lung cancer lived decades longer than expected. These simple changes in lifestyles pay off in the long run.

Cam E's curator insight, February 27, 11:35 AM

In my travels through the Greek Islands I never made it to Ikaria as it was closer to Turkey and I mostly traveled along a route to Crete. I'm not surprised that this isolated enclaves allow for longer life. Our modern world has many advancements, but it was not all gain. On an island like Ikaria there is no pollution, and people are kept active by force in the mountainous terrain. Compare this to the US where a recent study found that some people get less than an hour of exercise in an entire year due to the availability of services and transportation.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 7:41 AM

This article describes the "blue zone" of Ikaria, a small Greek island where the people, on average, live longer than elsewhere. The people in these blue zones seem to mostly preserve and enjoy old traditions and diets which keep them from eating processed foods while keeping them more active. In the case of Ikaria, the preservation of the traditional diet and active lifestyle is a probably result of isolation. The island itself has kept Ikaria and its traditions protected from some of the unhealthy effects of globalization.

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How the Potato Changed the World

How the Potato Changed the World | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Brought to Europe from the New World by Spanish explorers, the lowly potato gave rise to modern industrial agriculture
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Colombian Exchange is a term that describes the most dramatic biologic transfer in history.  European explorers brought animals and agricultural items from the Old World to the New and subsequently brought back items from the New World back to the Old.  This exchange profoundly reshaped many societies as agricultural diffusion of the potato lead to the changes across northern Europe. 


Tags: agriculture, food production, diffusionhistorical colonialism, Europe

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Loreto Vargas's curator insight, April 27, 5:10 PM

Potatoes changed the old world! 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 1:38 PM

Potatoes were very important in the Colombian Exchange, which was the exchange of plants and animals to and from different lands where they are not native to.  Today, the potato is the fifth most important crop in the world.  Food is deeply routed in culture and this massive exchange changed societies.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 28, 11:41 PM

Potatoes were brought to the New World through the Columbian Exchange. It does have a negative connotation but the trade route was used to diffuse cultures by trading food. 

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Culture Ministry Affirms 'Russia is not Europe'

Culture Ministry Affirms 'Russia is not Europe' | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"A state commission working on a much-discussed report titled 'Foundations of State Cultural Politics' will release their findings in two weeks, presidential advisor Vladimir Tolstoi announced last week, adding that the basic formula of the report could be summarized as 'Russia is not Europe.'"

Seth Dixon's insight:

At times Russia has sought to be perceived as a part of Europe only to be excluded in the minds (and institutions) of Western Europe.  Now, in a discursive way to protect itself, it is reaffirming and building a cultural buffer zone between Europe and Russia.  What are the borders of Europe as you think of it?  Can world regions change over time?  Any examples of regions having their borders redrawn?  


Tags: RussiaEurope, regions.

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Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 12:46 AM

Russia is usually associated with Europe but not Western Europe but there is a push to separate Russia from Europe.

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9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

9 Reasons the U.S. Ended Up So Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Understanding mistakes of the past can help guide U.S. transportation policy in the future.


In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation.  The statistics don't reveal the sources of this disparity, but there are nine main reasons American metro areas have ended up so much more car-dependent than cities in Western Europe.

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Tracy Galvin's curator insight, April 26, 3:49 PM

Since the US is at least four times larger than Europe it is difficult to compare the need for a vehicle between the two. Most of middle America is very spread out. We are fortunate that each person has more land available to them but that also means things are far apart. Creating more condensed "towns" that are essentially mini communities will help eliminate the need for cars in the US.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 2, 5:52 PM

The U.S. depends on cars to get everywhere. There is no arguing that the U.S. is more car dependents than dozens of other countries. Europe however, is in closer quarters to their working centers than the U.S. is. This is why and how Europe can depends on other methods of transportation such as bicycles to get them to work.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 1:46 PM

This is an interesting analyzation of how the U.S. and Europe became so different in terms of transportation methods.  In my personal experience, the U.S. is now so dependent on cars that there is a stigma in riding public transportation and bikers are seen as a nuisance.  In this article, the "Technological Focus" and its points  is relevant to many things outside of transportation and the U.S. strictly; the world needs to start thinking about behavior in order to make things better instead of developing new or better tools.

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A 250-mile show of support for Catalonia independence

A 250-mile show of support for Catalonia independence | Geography Education | Scoop.it
More than 1 million flag-draped and face-painted Catalans held hands and formed a 250-mile human chain across the northeastern Spanish region Wednesday in a demonstration of their desires for independence.
Seth Dixon's insight:

September 11th means different things is different places.  While many Americans were remembering the terrorist attacks of 2001, it was Catalonian National Day.  In addition to the festivities, they organized a massive public demonstration to support independence and to garner international attention.  They created a 'human border' that sretched across the region to apply pressure on the Spanish government to allow a vote that would let Catalonia break away and form their own country.  While this energy and enthusiasm swept Barcelona, the Spanish government stopped the protest from spreading into neighboring Valencia (many Valencians speak Catalan).

  

Questions to Ponder: How do events such as this in public places impact the political process?  Is it significant that the link about the Spanish government stopping Valencia comes from a Scottish newspaper?  Why?  How can social media and technology (such as the hastags #CatalanWay #ViaCatalana) impact social movements?  


Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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MIquel Ribas's comment, September 16, 2013 8:59 AM
Some people argue that these desires for independence (we are talking about a region covering 30.000 Km2) are obsolete in a global world that tends to eliminate borders. There are some questions to ponder about it: 1) Does this criticism come from countries with recognized state structures and no fear about the maintenance of their culture?, or instead of this, come from places never recognized as countries, such as Catalonia? 2) May the independence feeling be a search of regeneration of the political life, in order to achieve greater people’s participation in the collective decisions (we mustn’t forget here the internal problems of Spanish democracy, crippled by corruption, crisis and scandals)? Could be this increasing independence feeling another way to question lacks of the system, in a similar way that many other types of protest have arisen out around the world? Then, the point would be more than simple nationalism....
Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 1:15 AM

Catalonia struggles for it's independence from Spain. The wealthy region of Spain angers for becoming it's own country, with sentiments of not getting what they deserve from Spain, such as government services. Spain urges Catalonia to not make such a fuss and head Spain into another civil war. But Catalonia wants to be autonomous at least. Their independence parade is to show Spain they won't back down.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 4, 1:36 PM

These peaceful collections of people working toward a single goal is nice to see. Catalans have an immense amount of national pride even though they are not technically separate from Spain.

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Geography in the News: Eurasia’s Boundaries

Geography in the News: Eurasia’s Boundaries | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Europe and Asia, while often considered two separate continents, both lie on the same landmass or tectonic plate, the Eurasian supercontinent. The historic and geographic story of the Eurasian boundary is intriguing."


Via Neal G. Lineback
Seth Dixon's insight:

While most continental borders follow some physical geographic definition, the border between Europe and Asia is purely cultural and a remant of classical regional differentiation.  Some argue that Europe isn't a separate continent from Asia, and while they are not wrong, the concept of Europe is deep and pervasive in how many of us think about the world.   You can find more Geography in the News articles on Maps101.com.

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shawn Giblin's curator insight, July 15, 2013 9:42 AM

very interesting to think that Turkey is a transcontinental country, as well to find out that asia and europe are actually connected.

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 3:14 AM

Here we can see that the continental boundary between Russia and the rest of Europe has historically been solely based on national borders. However, a large majority of Russia's population and major cities are in the western part of the country, which is closer to Europe than most Asian countries.  Because of this, Europe and Asia gained an imaginary cultural border. It only makes sense that part of Russia began to be considered a European region even though it physically is a part of Asia.  It is better to talk about the entire land mass of Eurasia rather than two split continents when talking about Russia's borders.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 11:06 AM

I find this discussion very interesting.  How we define the boarders of the continents may not seem important but they do hold much in the way of historical and cultural meanings.  Is Europe separate from Asia or is it one super-continent?  The answer to that has many implications politically and culturally as well as historically.

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Rising Anti-Immigration Sentiment in the EU

Stratfor Europe Analyst Adriano Bosoni discusses the political implications of the increasing number of migrants from the European Union's periphery to its c...
Seth Dixon's insight:

The economic crisis has contributed to rising anti-immigration sentiment and policies in Europe.  Immigrants from Eastern Europe continue to enter the core, but now more from the struggling southern periphery of Europe are also on the move.   


One of the free response questions in the 2012 AP Human Geography test focused on increasing Muslim population in many European countries.  This video some background context for that particular Free Response Question (as would this article from Al Jazeera titled Europe's failure to integrate Muslims). 

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 9, 2013 12:26 PM

This looks just like the arguments in the US about the immigration issue here.  These seem to be be more of legal immigration, as well as illegal to some extent,  as to illegal immigration in the US.  The governments of some of the EU nations need this population in order to fill the workers shortage that has been fuled by low birth rates.  In the US its a little deffernt form of immigration.  Here many illegal immigrants are taking the much lower wage jobs and working in cash with no taxes, ie mirgrant farmers.  Well we want cheap food, that is the way the farm owners are doing it.  In Europe it seems that they are taking some jobs, but I assune since it is legal immigration they are paying some sort of tax on their wages.  These immigrants are from other EU countries for the most part.  Under the EU treaty it is legal for them to live and work in any member nation.  This shows the problem with supranational organizations, a country will lose some of its autonomy in these types of organizations.  For example, can the UK limit the number of people allowed into its country, or even limit access to their health care system under EU law?  If they do, what can the EU do to the UK?  Looks like a fight is about to start!

Ashley Raposo's curator insight, December 19, 2013 12:53 AM

Like America, Western Europe is facing the troubles of immigration for jobs. COuntries in Europe, such as Eastern countries of Bulgaria and the P.I.G.S. are moving to core countries in search of work that the cannot find in their own land. The problem becomes a matter of the core country citizens not having jobs for themselves as their economy joins other in slowing down. Racial tensions are rising because of this. Ironically, the video generalizes the anti-immigration as just anti-immigrants but as images in the video would suggest, much of the sentiments are towards Muslim immigrants.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 11:12 AM

This video describes the increase in immigration into EU countries from other EU countries.  The EU agreements on free movement are being challenged in countries that feel rightly or wrongly that the immigrants coming in are a drain on their economies during this difficult economic time.  It is interesting to see how Europe deals with this immigration issue compared to how America deals with its immigration issues.

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Time to scrap “Eastern Europe”

Time to scrap “Eastern Europe” | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Europe’s divisions are indeed grave. But counting the ex-communist countries as a single category is outdated and damaging 
Seth Dixon's insight:

What places belong in a region together?  What are the boundaries of that region?  How has this region changed over time?  Regional classification is inherently an exercise that relies on our geographic knowledge and requires some spatial thinking.  Each semester I have students divide the United States into the regions that explain how they conceptualize the different parts of the country.  This 2 minute video is a great example that argues that the regional category of Eastern Europe is less meaningful today mainly because of the changing political and economic geography that is blurring the regional borders of Europe.   


Tags:  Europe, regions.

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Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 6:23 PM

This video was insightful because it can be really challenging to classify a region in certain parts of the world. Having a simple eastern and western Europe made a tiny amount of sense at the time of WWII but it hasn't made any sense since then.  The boundaries in the southeastern part of Europe have changed on more than one occasion over the past 70 years and there are still border disputes between religious and ethnic groups that could result in new countries any day.  I found the narrator's ideas funny but still better than the traditional region that already exist.  

I personally group regions by the types of people that live in them and share very similar characteristics. Grouping parts of Europe is very hard because of the major cultural differences all over and because I am not highly educated on all of them.  I find it hard to consider Greece a part of Europe at times but it is also hard to consider it a part of anywhere else.  The countries that border Russia all seem similar to me because I don't have extensive knowledge of their cultures, although it is unfair that they are assumed to be completely impoverished countries. 

With the constantly shifting boundaries and movement of people, Europe is very hard to group into regions and that is okay because regions do not have huge effects on the way the world is run, they only make it easier to break down into pieces.

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 11:46 AM

This video makes a good point about where we arbitrarily draw lines on a map.  He uses different groupings to show how silly this can be.  His point is that Eastern Europe no longer really exists and we should no longer use the term.  He then suggests a few different terms to use to group countries in Europe.  My favorite was the grouping called Scared of Russia.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 7:17 AM

This video shows how difficult it is to categorize and group regions together. We tend categorize Eastern Europe as a group due to former political affiliations with the Soviet Union, but this is unfair as these nations are varied ethnically, economically, and politically. Plus, most, if not all, of these nations resented Soviet rule and grouping them due to it is somewhat insulting. Other groupings are not as neat on a map. For example, grouping Europe economically shows a couple Eastern European countries in the upper half and a number of Western European countries like Italy, Spain, and Greece in the lower half.

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Changing Ethnic patterns in London

Changing Ethnic patterns in London | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Of all the changes announced by the 2011 census, one of the most startling is the rapid change in the ethnic composition of London's population.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The fact the immigrants moving to the UK have flocked to London is not surprising (View a map of the census data).  Immigration isn't the only component to this situation.  White Britons are also leaving London in large number, prompting some to refer to this as "White Flight."  Today, white Britons are no longer the majority population within London (but still the largest ethnic group).  Some feel that this story has gone underreported and deserves more analysis.  What elements of human geography should an observer of this situation use in their analysis?  


Tags: ethnicity, London, migration, census, urban.

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Conor McCloskey's comment, April 30, 2013 10:25 AM
The British-white percentage of the population in London is dropping. While this says a lot about the demographics of London it also says a lot about global migratory patterns. London is a international city, culturally and ethnically, it has many pull factors for many different kinds of people from all over the globe, with all different cultural backgrounds. These pull factors have translated into one big push factor for British-whites, however, as they move out of the city.
There are many different things that could explain these patterns. Racism, economic shifts or better opportunities else where, however one thing is for sure, the world is become more multi-cultural. With the movements of cultures comes displacement and resistance, tension doesn’t run short in these types of situations. As so many people move away from their homelands through out the world it will be interesting to see what begins to happen with geopolitical boundaries, will situations like Hungary be more common as people move away?
Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 28, 2013 3:39 PM

The most surprising piece of information in this article is that white Britons are leaving London because of the minorities that are moving in. As of 2013 only 59.9% of London was white, meaning that the miniorities are taking over Ethnic part of London much faster then first anticipated.   

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 29, 5:43 PM

Since immigrants have flocked into London, it appears some of the White population has left the city because of it. The ethnic change is happening very quickly in London and White British population is no longer the majority. As large numbers of immigrants enter London, large numbers of White people leave the city. London is becoming a melting pot rather quickly. 

 
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Belgians divided by language barrier

Failure by Belgium's political parties to form a government since elections in June have prompted fears of a split in the tiny European country. Al Jazeera's...
Seth Dixon's insight:

This 2007 video is dated, but many of the same issues are still seen today.  This video briefly lays out the cultural context for the political divisions between the French-speaking Walloons and the Dutch-speaking Flemish populations of Belgium.  For a longer video on the topic, see this half hour video.


Tags: language, culture, Belgium, unit 4 political, Europe, devolution, unit 3 culture.  

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BTC's comment, February 12, 2013 10:46 AM
Interesting, but the reality is much more complex....
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Britain's New Slogan: Don't Come to the U.K.!

Britain's New Slogan: Don't Come to the U.K.! | Geography Education | Scoop.it
An advertising campaign designed to illustrate the drawbacks of living in the U.K. is being planned to deter an expected surge of immigrants, according to reports
Seth Dixon's insight:

Immigration is a sensitive topic so I'll tread lightly.  There appears to be some support for a campaign that would target would-be migrants specifically from Romania and Bulgaria that life in the U.K. isn't as as grand as it may seem (ironic coming of the heels of the Olympics).  This obviously isn't something that is universally supported by the British, but it does highlight the fact that more and more European countries are seeking ways to deter migrants from crossing their borders as economic struggles continue. 


Tags: migration, UK, immigration, Europe, unit 2 population

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 28, 2013 5:19 PM

With the quota limiting the number of immigrants from bulgria and romania due to expire next year it will give 29 million people the right to not only enter but live and work in Britain. One plan is to force those arriving from Romiania and Bulgiaria to prove that they can support themselves for six months. They are also putting out an advertisment to try to show drawbacks to living in Britian to try and detur people from immigrating in.  

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 6:07 PM

I find this idea very interesting that due to the economic struggles, a country would try to turn away prospective immigrants.  In a way, we see this with some people in America who try to play the card "the immigrants  take our jobs" but I have never seen it outside our lovely racist country. 

It is similar though, to something that Brazilian citizens have posted on websites saying "Don't come to Brazil" to draw attention to the fact that country is in shambles and if people come to the World Cup and Olympics, it will cause more internal problems for the struggling country. 

I understand the phrase and the reasoning behind it but I do not believe it is a solution to the economic problems.  There should be limits on immigration if a country truly cannot support the amount of people already living in it but people should not be deterred from immigrating to a place if there are still better opportunities there than where they came from.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 29, 5:22 PM

It appears the U.K. is designing this campaign due to the fact they are struggling financially and they cannot afford to give benefits to some of the immigrants coming into the U.K., as immigrants are entering at a high rate.

When the Olympics games were hosted in London, the weather was beautiful and the sun was shining almost everyday, (which is rare in the U.K.) That made the U.K. even more attractive to foreigners and potential immigrants. This advertising campaign is displaying the drawbacks of living in the U.K., such as the rainy weather and constant grey skies.  

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Iconic Landscapes

Iconic Landscapes | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Time lapse video compilation Civilization: Part I - Europe by professional photographer Dominic Boudreault. Shot in England, France, Spain and Italy.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a gorgeous video that was very intelligently constructed.  The title 'civilization' coupled with the images of iconic architecture, makes me think differently and question how we conceptualize the ideas of civilization and society. 


Tags: landscape, historical, Europe, time lapse.

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 5:11 PM

Europe is such a beautiful place where its landscapes, architecture, and waterways have shaped its future. This video shows the beauty of the towns and how everything in is has remembrances of the past. This video is a definite must see!

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 11:33 AM

I found this very stirring.  To see the old and new buildings side by side makes one think about what came before and how the past influences the future.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 29, 6:03 PM

This video of iconic landscapes displays beautiful and historic architecture throughout Europe. This video allows the viewer to see these great areas of Europe. I have a great deal of respect for those who built things such as the Colosseum in Rome years ago, as it is amazing that some of these historic buildings are still standing today. 

Suggested by C. Kevin Turner
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Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs'

Northern Ireland flag riots 'threatening jobs' | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The riots linked to flag protests in Northern Ireland are causing "significant damage" to the economy, the secretary of state warns.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Flags are tangible symbols of communal identity and political power.  If the meaning behind these identities are unresolved, the symbols of these identities in public spaces becomes all the more there is contentious.  Currently, the Union Jack is a lightning rod for controversy in Northern Ireland and the riots stemming from this are harming the local economy. 


Tags: Ireland, political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, economic, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 11:39 AM

This article shows that no matter how small the world is becoming nationalism is still present and will cause issues between different factions and supporters of different national identities.  The issue over what flag will be flown in a country can spark outrage and anger not by people against the flag but the people for it as they feel it should be flown all the time as opposed to a limited amount of days in the year.