"Scotland is about to vote on whether to secede from the UK. There are solid arguments on both sides."
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"Scotland is about to vote on whether to secede from the UK. There are solid arguments on both sides."
Admittedly, this video is filled with stereotypes, bad words and a strong political bias all delivered in John Oliver's trademark style--it's also filled with incorrect statements which I hope most people can recognize as humor, but it captures college students' attention. If, however, you are looking for a more insightful piece, I recommend Jeffrey Sach's article titled "The Price of Scottish Independence," or this summary of the 9 issues that would confront an independent Scotland. Independence in Europe today doesn't mean what it used to, and this vote will be fascinating regardless of the outcome.
From Catalonia to Kurdistan, nationalist and separatist movements in Europe and beyond are watching the Scottish independence referendum closely.
This issue reverberates on many different scales. As the video embedded in this article demonstrates, Scotland's choice on September 18th would obviously impact the local region as some seek to use Scottish history as a rationale to reshape the current political and cultural identity of the region. Some of the votes are already in and Scottish independence would not only have the potential to reshape the UK and EU, but it could also add some fervor to the various other separatist movements around the world, such as Catalonia.
"Nothing unites different nations quite like mutual enemies. But the 'Auld Alliance' between Scotland and France - both historic rivals of England - doesn't mean that the French government favours Scottish independence. Far from it."
Historically, France has supported greater autonomy or independence as a way to limit English political power and influence. However in the era of the E.U. and greater regional integration, modern geopolitics makes this old alliance untenable as some in Scotland are seeking independence from the United Kingdom.
"When the agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada went into effect in 1994, it removed nearly all trade barriers between the countries. Among the industries affected was agriculture, forcing small Mexican farmers into direct competition with big American agribusiness. Cheap American corn – heavily subsidized, mechanized and genetically modified – soon flooded the Mexican market to the detriment of local farmers. As U.S. farmers exported their subsidized corn to Mexico, local producer prices plummeted and small farmers could no longer earn enough to live on."
International trade agreements are usually discussed at the national level. "NAFTA benefits Mexico" is a commonly heard saying because trade with the United States and Canada strengthens the manufacturing sector in Mexico. Even if there is an overall benefit to a country, there are always winners and losers for different regions, economic sectors and many other demographic groups. Farmers in southern Mexico were certainly a sector that struggled mightily under NAFTA.
The Great Green Wall initiative uses an integrated approach to restore a diversity of ecosystems to the North African landscape.
The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world. This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara. The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification. These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this "Green Wall" was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (as an aside, the Green Wall spatially corresponds nicely with the apocryphal Mountains of Kong).
"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."
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.
"This map illustrates the country's deep division – and why the protests might not be what you think. Ukraine has been wracked by protests for two-plus weeks over President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to reject a deal for closer integration with the European Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin had been pressuring Yanukovych to quit the EU deal and join with a Moscow-led trade union of former Soviet states instead. Will Ukraine's future be with Russia or with Europe?"
The country of Ukraine is both ethnically and linguistically divided and since the fall of the Soviet Union, the partisan politics have mirrored these divisions. The northwestern portion of the country is primarily ethnic Ukrainian and with the majority speaking Ukrainian. This section of the country that is hoping to strengthen economic and political ties with the EU and face Europe; those that aren't as bullish on the EU here at least want to explore other options so they aren't overpowered by Moscow's shadow. The southeastern portion of Ukraine primarily speaks Russian with sizeable ethnic Russian populations (although many ethnic Ukrainians speak Russian here); not surprisingly, this is the part of the country that would rather join in an economic union with Russia and other former Soviet Republics, or at least not turn their backs on Moscow.
Questions to Ponder: Why are language and ethnicity often tied to political orientation? Why might trading with all economic partners not be as viable an option?
Stratfor Europe Analyst Adriano Bosoni discusses the political implications of the increasing number of migrants from the European Union's periphery to its c...
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).
|Suggested by Deanna Metz|
"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."
A Greek exit from the euro has become a bomb fizzling at the heart of the eurozone. What could happen if it explodes?
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.
The 17-nation bloc had a jobless rate of 11.6 per cent in September, while inflation eased slightly in the last month.
Although some countries in the Eurozone have lower unemployment rates like Austria (4.4%) and Germany (5.4%), more are in the worst collective tailspin since the creation of the common currency. Spain has the worst unemplyment rate at 25.8% of the adult population out of work. It has taken a nasty cultural and political turn as resentments and frustrations are boiling over in the Eurozone. Some are derisively referring to the struggling southern European countries as P.I.G.S. (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain).
What is more likely to happen first: Greece will leave the eurozone, or Scotland will leave the UK?
Although there is currently only about 30% of Scotland that would support independence, this is something that will be gaining importance. The United Kingdom is a complex political entity, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland connected with England. The "divorce referendum" will be help on October 2014 to see if Scotland wishes to dissolve this union and many of the political and economic events throughout Europe will be seen through this prism, especially the Euro Zone crisis in southern European countries (e.g.-Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal). The possibility that this might happen are small, but as the article stated, "not zero."
An interactive series of maps show possible new additions to the world’s list of independent nations.
This is great way to show examples of devolution and political instability. Included are 11 potential scenarios where further fragmentation/disintegration might occur or even greater regional integration that would redraw the map. These case studies include: Somalia, Korea, Azerbaijan, Belgium and the Arabian Gulf Union.
The European Union will never manage to compete with China and other rising powers unless it unites politically, scales up and becomes a genuine giant.
This author argues that the main driving forces that led towards European unification in the decades after WWII are now gone or are diminished in importance. As many of the economies of Europe, especially southern Europe are struggling, it is time for the European Union to rediscover and restructure it's raison d'être--it's reason for being--if it wants to continue to compete on a global level.
This is the site for the United Nations at a Glance. Here you will find information and links on history, members, visitis, employement and other details.
While some critize the ineffectiveness of the organization, the United Nations remains a key organization to get understanding modern geopolitics. Through their UN voting patterns, we can assess the geopolitical motivations, interests and alliances of member states. Also, initiatives (whether successful or not) and highlight the important issues of the day that globally aware students should understand.
"It's a myth that the U.S. doesn't make anything anymore." The U.S. economy still produces more through manufacturing tangible goods ($1.5 trillion) than it does in providing services ($600 billion) for the international market. The maps and graphs in this article are great teaching materials. The impact of NAFTA is shown powerfully in the regionalization of U.S. trade partners, making this salient material for a discussion on supranationalism as well.
The plan to save Europe's economies calls for troubled countries to rein in government spending. But economists say austerity by itself won't be enough; there must also be a plan for growth.
Fiscal austerity has now become part of the crisis rather than a solution to it. -Simon Tilford
After years of seeing their bid to join the EU stalled, Turks are trying not to show too much pleasure at the doom-laden economic news emanating from Europe. However, economists warn, Europe's debt crisis could easily spill in Turkey's direction.
In an ironic twist, Turkey might just be in the better financial situation by NOT being a part of the EU. Cultural and political tensions between Greece and Turkey run deep and the latest economic crisis is revealing. Listen or read the transcript by clicking on the title.
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.
If supranational governance can't work in Europe, how can it possibly work for the world as a whole?
Supranationalism, with the Euro crisis has taken a hit. Will other organizations show that there is "strength in numbers" or that countries should adopt an "every man for himself" perspective?
Thousands of Greeks walked off the job on Wednesday to protest a relentless austerity drive by a government that is struggling to avert a default.
To say the Greek economy is struggling is an understatement. Despite being the most educated modern Greek generation, the under 35 age bracket at 40% unemployment. Many feel that they are paying for the older generations mismanage and are bristling at austerity measures.
Russian PM Vladimir Putin calls for the formation of a "Eurasian Union" of former Soviet republics, but says it will not be like the defunct USSR.
Russia's cultural influence over former Soviet Republics is strong, but the desire to strengthen these old ties is deeply embedded into the cultural ethos of Russia. It is also a key part of Russia's geopolitical strategy for greater international influence and economic strength.