Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Indonesia on Fire

"In Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province, the peat areas are burning and emitting a toxic smoke causing untold damage to the environment, wildlife and human health. Most of the fires in Central Kalimantan are blazing in former peatland forests, which have been drained, cleared and burned for oil palm and agriculture, large and small. The dried-out peat ignites easily, burns underground and creeps under the surface. Experts from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) travel to the heart of the fires to see the situation with their own eyes and measure the extent of the impact."
More information please visit: http://blog.cifor.org/fire

Seth Dixon's insight:
Extreme forest and peat burning in Indonesia has released over three times the annual fossil fuel emissions of the United Kingdom.
 
 
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Lawn Order

Lawn Order | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"In communities across America, lawns that are brown or overgrown are considered especially heinous. Elite squads of dedicated individuals have been deputized by their local governments or homeowners’ associations to take action against those whose lawns fail to meet community standards."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a great podcast from 99 Percent Invisible that shows not only the environmental aspects of America’s obsession with well-manicured lawns, it also nicely explored the cultural norms that police our behavior to create the stereotypical suburban landscape.  This is my favorite quote from the podcast: “There’s a paradox to the lawn. On the one hand, it is the pedestal on which sits the greatest symbol of the American Dream: the home, which people can ostensibly govern however they wish. And yet—homeowners often have almost no control over how they should maintain their lawn. Grass may be a plant, but a lawn is a designed object.”


Tags: housingneighborhood, cultural norms, consumption, water, environmenturban ecology, culture.


"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." ~Benjamin Franklin

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Why the Saudis Are Going Solar

Why the Saudis Are Going Solar | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia produces much of its electricity by burning oil, a practice that most countries abandoned long ago, reasoning that they could use coal and natural gas instead and save oil for transportation, an application for which there is no mainstream alternative. Most of Saudi Arabia’s power plants are colossally inefficient, as are its air conditioners, which consumed 70 percent of the kingdom’s electricity in 2013. Although the kingdom has just 30 million people, it is the world’s sixth-largest consumer of oil.Now, Saudi rulers say, things must change. Their motivation isn’t concern about global warming; the last thing they want is an end to the fossil-fuel era. Quite the contrary: they see investing in solar energy as a way to remain a global oil power. The Saudis burn about a quarter of the oil they produce—and their domestic consumption has been rising at an alarming 7 percent a year, nearly three times the rate of population growth.


TagsSaudi Arabiaenergy, resourcesconsumption, Middle East, sustainability.

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Dustin Fowler's curator insight, July 14, 2015 12:13 PM

A great article discussing energy reform in Saudi Arabia.  Another good source of information about some of the reforms being implemented in the kingdom can be found at this link:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVgWtOeWNgg

 

Interesting to see how this change in energy consumption will effect Saudi politics and the economy. 

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, July 23, 2015 11:15 AM

Good for Saudi Arabia

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 2:29 PM

The irony here is palpable- if the Saudis overtake the US in terms of solar power, I think I'd lose hope for our future. The most infamous oil-state on the planet has recognized that its costly domestic consumption of its vast oil supplies is hurting its profits, and it would rather seek an alternative energy supply to fuel its own nation so that it can sell more oil to foreign investors. The logic here is actually very sound- Saudi Arabia knows that there is money to be made by cutting down their own oil consumption, and even if the world sees how successful they are in their own adoption of solar power as their main source of electricity, most of the West won't be willing to make the same transition when there's so much Saudi oil to buy. Everyone wins- except American consumers, of course. Oh, and the planet- the burning of fossil fuels is a serious problem our generation must tackle if we are to minimize the damages created by man-made global warming. In the short-term, nothing is set in stone, as we have no idea how successful the Saudis will be in their attempt to harvest solar power on such a large scale. However, the implications of this move is huge- I can only imagine what an influx of Saudi oil on the market would do for US gas prices. 

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Palm Oil Plantations Are Blamed For Many Evils. But Change Is Coming

Palm Oil Plantations Are Blamed For Many Evils. But Change Is Coming | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In Indonesia, efforts are underway to grow palms in a sustainable way. But that's putting a squeeze on small farmers.


Palm oil is in everything, from pizza dough and chocolate to laundry detergent and lipstick. Nongovernmental organizations blame it for contributing to assorted evils, from global warming to human rights abuses. But in the past year, this complex global industry has changed, as consumers put pressure on producers to show that they're not destroying forests, killing rare animals, grabbing land or exploiting workers.


Tags: Indonesia, conservation, environmentconsumption, SouthEastAsia, podcast.

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LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, May 3, 2015 9:00 AM

Will they also stop using Glyphosate to kill the old trees in order to plant new ones? Or use Glyphosate to keep the grass from growing in their fields? Sometimes the changes are more on the marketing side, than the actual day-to-day practices.

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 9, 2015 3:06 PM

Look at many household goods, and you can be sure to find palm oil in the list of its ingredients. It is one of the most commonly traded commodities in the world, but it has come under increasing scrutiny from both governmental and civilian groups concerned with the environmental and human impacts of the trade. Indonesia, one of the largest exporters of the good in the world, has made moves to make sure the continued exportation of the crop is sustainable, as they do not want to lose the revenue and job creation generated by the continued existence of the trade. Proponents of the crop argue that it takes less space to cultivate than any other competing vegetable oil, making it the easiest crop to sustain at current rates of demand. Environmentally, government and civilian groups have rallied against deforestation and have made strides to reverse the practice in regions both within Indonesia and in other areas as well.

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California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth

California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A punishing drought is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has for so long been the state’s engine has run against the limits of nature.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Major urban areas in California have limited local water resources so they draw water from large area to bring in sufficient water for these burgeoning metropolitan regions.  With this current drought getting worse, California has ordered emergency water restrictions on residents while companies and large farms have been granted exemptions even though they account for 82% of the state's annual water consumption (residential accounts for 12%). Almond farms alone consume 10% of the state's water, and many agricultural crops are incredibly water intensive land uses.  A better way to think of it isn't just about raw water usage though.  A better question to ask would be this--how does one gallon of water translate into calories that most efficiently feed people?


Questions to Ponder: How does the concept of carrying capacity relate to California urban growth/drought issues?  California passed its carrying capacity?  How are demographics, economics, politics and the environment intertwined in California?  What are the environmental limits on urban growth and development? 


Tags: physical, weather and climate, consumptionCalifornia, water, environment, resources, environment dependurban ecology.

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LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, April 9, 2015 8:49 AM

The mathematics of endless growth due to economic monetary rules has a clear outcome.

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McDonald's International

McDonald's International | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

Think the McDonald's Menu is the same everywhere?  Think again.  A fantastic geography teacher compiled these images and descriptions of the McDonald's menu from around the world and put them into an ESRI storymap.  This interactive feature shows how a successful global brand like McDonald's should be keenly aware of local tastes and customs.  Some call that "glocalization." 


TagsESRI, foodculturediffusion, globalization, consumption, APHG.

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 17, 2014 10:45 PM

We talk about McDonalds as a way of Americanizing the rest of the world. These foods show that it may still be the case but local culture is still infused and desired where McDonalds expands to.

Payton Sidney Dinwiddie 's curator insight, January 21, 2015 9:40 PM

This shows that mmcdonals is a global industy . there are many mcdonalds everywhere they put a spin oncertain diishes to match their heritage like in japan instead of hamburger meat like we americans use the use crabs.It just really shows how far mcdonalds was changed from just starting in america to being featured all over the globe

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, January 22, 2015 7:06 PM

I've lived and traveled to a few places especially Asia.  I've had the Ramen at McD's in Hawaii along with the Portugeuse sausage that comes with the big breakfast.  I've also experienced Japanese McD's.  It was nice to be able to find some of the regular food like a burger and fry at any McD's in the world, but I never ordered anything else. 

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Cultural Patterns and Food

"Berlin Bureau Chief Michael Slackman looks into the obsession with currywurst, a popular street dish that combines sausage, ketchup and curry powder, and brings different Berliners together."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This short video has been added to the the interactive map, Place-Based Geography VideosThis depiction of street foods in German cities is a rich, tangible example to show cultural patterns and processes.  Currywurst is a unifying force across socioeconomic classes in Germany, but it is also a product of globalization and cultural interactions across regions.  Culture is not static and this New York Times video can be used to teach the various concepts of culture; per the updated APHG outline, the initial concepts of culture are:  

  • Culture traits
  • Diffusion patterns
  • Acculturation, assimilation and multiculturalism
  • Culture region, vernacular region, cultural hearth
  • Globalization and the effects of technology on culture.


Question to Ponder: How are these 5 major elements of culture seen in this video?


Tags: food, migration, culturediffusion, globalization, consumption, APHG.

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Adriene Mannas's curator insight, September 25, 2014 8:00 PM

Unit 3 Cultural Patterns and Processes

 

This video shows how many different cultures can be combined in one thing. It talks about the currywurst, one of the most popular German street foods, which is a combination of ideas and ingredients from all around the world including German sausage, American ketchup, and curry spices from India. 

 

This relates to the culture unit by showing how different cultures can come together and create something that is loved by a lot of people. With this people from a country can get a lot of different cultures together in this one meal and understand other cultures later that help.  

 

 

 

 

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, October 1, 2014 11:08 PM

Unit 3

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 16, 2015 2:43 PM

As of late, all I seem to hear about from Germany is their anti-Islam protests and their lack of desire to host more immigrants in their country. This video, though three years old, is a welcomed change to that news. 

Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmermen puts it best when he says that food is the best way to learn about a people and that there is no better way to perform a sort of "diplomacy" with a people than by sharing food. A dish that combines elements from Germany, America, and India is just one of those melting pot foods that shows that globalization can combine elements of food to make one dish that becomes quintessentially German. The idea that this is a democratizing dish is also interesting. With some foods being considered exclusively for the rich and likewise some for the poor, currywurst shows that people no matter social class can agree on one thing, which is good food.

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'The Great Fish Swap': How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply

'The Great Fish Swap': How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"One-third of the seafood Americans catch is sold abroad, but most of the seafood we eat here is imported and often of lower quality. Why? Author Paul Greenberg says it has to do with American tastes."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The United States exports the best-quality seafood that Americans catch, but import primarily low-grade aquacultural products.  This is just one of the counter-intuitive issues withe U.S. fish consumption and production.  This bizarre dynamic has cultural and economic explanations and this NPR podcast nicely explains these spatial patterns that are bound to frustrate those that advocate for locally sourced food productions. 


Tagsfood production, industry, food, agriculture, agribusinessconsumptioneconomic, sustainability.

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HazelAnne Prescott's curator insight, July 31, 2014 10:56 AM

Seems like a messed up system.  We do not have "taste"

Abigail Mack's curator insight, July 31, 2014 11:27 AM

What would make Americans opt for the lower quality, imported fish?

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California's Drought

California's Drought | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"California has had three consecutive years of below average rainfall and most reservoirs are far below their designed capacity; for a state with a growing population with limited water resources this is alarming news that has many politicians, officials and residents worried. This winter was especially mild; nice for bragging to friend back East about how gorgeous the weather is during a polar vortex spell, but horrible for the snow pack and accumulation."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Most of California’s water originates for the snow pack in Western mountains ranges so this drought is expected to get worse this summer. The major urban areas have limited local water resources so they draw water from large area to bring in sufficient water for these burgeoning metropolitan regions.


Questions to Consider: What are some reasons (both from human and physical geography) for this severe drought? What can be done in the short-term to lessen the problem? What can be done to make California’s water situation better for the next 50 years?


Tags: physical, weather and climate, consumptionCaliforniaLos Angeles, water, environment, resources, environment dependurban ecology.

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Currywurst on the Street

Currywurst on the Street | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Michael Slackman, The Times's Berlin Bureau Chief, looks into the city's obsession with a popular street dish that combines sausage, ketchup and curry powder.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This short video on the street foods of German cities is a rich, tangible example to show cultural patterns and processes.  Culture is not static and this New York Times video can be used to teach the various concepts of culture; per the updated APHG outline, the initial concepts of culture are:  

  • Culture traits
  • Diffusion patterns
  • Acculturation, assimilation and multiculturalism
  • Culture region, vernacular region, cultural hearth
  • Globalization and the effects of technology on culture.


Question to Ponder: How are these 5 major elements of culture seen in this video?


Tags: food, migration, culturediffusion, globalization, consumption.

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Jacqueline Landry's curator insight, December 15, 2013 10:44 AM

This is a stride of different cultures,  a little ancient and modern culture. When the Turkish immigrant came over to Germany because they needed workers (Germans stopped having so many kids) it help form the curry wurst. They also use American ketchup because Americans were over there for the war and they ate this too. The curry powder came way of United Kingdom. Basically the population learned from all these cultures and  created one huge hit. 

Sarah Ann Glesenkamp's curator insight, October 26, 2014 11:23 AM

Unit 3

How are these 5 major elements of culture seen in this video?

1. Culture traits

2. Diffusion patters

3.Acculturation, assimilation, and multiculturalism

4. Culture region, vernacular region, cultural hearth

5. Globalization and the effects of technology on culture.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 5, 2014 8:26 PM

unit 3

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MOOC on Water

"Water is an essential theme in social studies, science, and geography. Whether teaching about natural or human systems, water is part of the story. This course, framed around California's Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI), focuses on ocean and freshwater topics and strategies for teaching environmental topics in Grades 4-8. Resources and support are provided for how to use EEI to implement Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This new MOOC on water resources in California is project supported by National Geographic Education and Annenberg Learner.  This is a course is designed to span the disciplines and create an awareness in students about environmental issues that impact them. 


Tags: consumptionCalifornia, water, environment, resources, environment depend.

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Top Free Classes's curator insight, September 10, 2013 12:45 AM

Starts in October.

Ana Cristina Gil's curator insight, October 12, 2013 6:53 PM

I find this video very informative because I didn’t know, that they have this type of course. I feel this course should be teach in every classroom around the United States, because is not only the adult that needs to learn how to protect the environment. We also need to educate our children because they are the future of America.  I think that by taking this class people will learn which places have the more environmental problem, and by becoming more aware of the issue , we all together will find the solution.

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Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s | Geography Education | Scoop.it
What America can learn from one of the most sustainable food nations on Earth.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Many feel that corporate expansion within the food industries is inevitable because that's what we are currently experiencing in highly globalized countries such as the United States.  Bolivia proves an example of a country that that has rejected corporate hegemony in the marketplace because they support traditional food choices and local vendors.  Keep in mind that we shouldn't overly romanticize Bolivia, but they are a compelling example showing that consumers can impact food options.


Tags: foodglobalization, South America, folk cultures, indigenous, culture, Bolivia.

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Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 28, 2015 5:50 PM

This is a fine example of people looking out for one another.  It might be easier to industrialize their food market but it's more admirable to preserve tradition, help small indigenous business, and try your best at making the country more healthy.  I applaud them for doing this.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:33 PM

I think I might want to move to Bolivia one day! Reciprocity is often a term used for corporate culture; you but from me and I'll buy from you type of relationship. This is still true in Bolivia only they do it on a much more personal level. Farmers share equipment, they share crops, seeds and develop a rapport not easily undone by corporations such as McDonald's. Bolivia's multiple micro-climates allow it to grow a wide variety of foods for their citizens, thus making it easier to trade within their circle of neighborhood farmers. "I'll trade you ten pounds of potatoes for five pounds of Quinoa."

The article goes on to state that Bolivians do indeed love their hamburgers, a handful of Subway's and Burger King's still do business there, but the heritage of picking a burger from a street vendor has been passed down by generations. These cholitas, as they are called, sell their fare in the streets of Bolivia and this type of transaction is not easily duplicated by large corporations. I have added Bolivia to my bucket list...

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, October 30, 2015 10:28 PM

" Whats Bolivia doing so right that McDonalds couldn't make it there?"

Food is not a commericial space here.

Morales, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in February, slammed U.S. fast-food chains, calling them a “great harm to humanity” and accusing them of trying to control food production globally.

“They impose their customs and their foods,” he said. “They seek profit and to merely standardize food, produced on a massive scale, according to the same formula and with ingredients which cause cancers and other diseases.”

Even still, with one of the lightest carbon footprints in the world, cherished food practices and progressive food sovereignty laws on the books, Bolivia could still be a model to the rest of the world—the United States especially—for a healthier, more community-based food system.

 

What an insightful read. I never thought of considering our food a s a "commercial space" but that is essentially exactly what it is. Our food has been extremely commercialized. Products our pushed through advertisement continuously. Most of the foods in America are not even real food but food products, factory made. This is absolutely a role model country for how food should be consumed.

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Breakfasts Around the World

Seth Dixon's insight:

Previously I shared a gallery portraying 20 families from around world together with a full week of groceries (from the book Hungry Planet or in this abbreviated online version).  Today it's the breakfast table which shows differences in agricultural, development and cultural patterns around the world. 


Tags: food, agriculture, worldwide, culture, development.

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Shelby Porter's curator insight, November 4, 2013 11:03 AM

These pictures are very interesting and makes you think about the kinds of breakfast you saw when growing up. These pictures allow us to see the kinds of food cultivated in these areas of the world and how they interprete the use of each one. The pictures also show us how each place is related. For example, some of the dishes looked alike in that most of the plate was breads. It makes you wonder where that tradition came from. These pictures also let the viewer in on the development or wealth of the country. Some countries only have a piece of bread and a coffee for breakfast, where other places have huge platefuls of all different kinds of food. Does the amount of food you eat for breakfast have to do with how developed your country is? Food seems so simple, but it can lead to many different interpretations for people. 

Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 21, 2013 9:17 AM

Typically when I think about different cultural foods I think about lunch or dinner rather than breakfast. When I think about Italy I think about meatballs, pasta, pizza, and gelato. When I think about Germany I think about a lot of meats. However what never really comes to mind is breakfast. Breakfast is one of my absolute favorite meals on the day. I love going out to breakfast and getting some eggs, homefries, sausage, and maybe even a grilled blueberry muffin. This summer I traveled to Italy and that was the first time I realized that breakfast is just as different in their Culture as their lunch and dinner. It was interesting how different things were. They had toast and yogurt, but the yogurt didn't taste the same as it does in America.  It is amazing how different each countries breakfast is in comparison to what we are used to. Some things we consider lunch might be served in another countries breakfast meal. For example Deli meats. It is interesting to see how different each culture really is. 

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 12, 2013 12:10 AM

Countries each have their own foods that are unique and freshly made by families everyday. They use foods that are frequently grown and found in the area to make their meals. For example china eats a lot of fish because it is part of their culture. Also people of spanish and mexican cultures are known for cooking spicy delcious foods. Food is apart of what creates cultures.

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The Ogallala Aquifer

The Ogallala Aquifer | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Hidden beneath the 245,000 square miles that make up the Great Plains, resides a lake that’s one of our greatest water assets: The Ogallala Aquifer. Haven’t heard of it? Farming the plains would be unprofitable at best without it, as shown by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. At the time, the aquifer’s existence was known, but the technology to tap into it wasn’t.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Portions of the High Plains Aquifer are rapidly being depleted by farmers who are pumping too much water to irrigate their crops, particularly in the southern half in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.  This podcast explores the environmental and economic impacts of this unsustainable situation.


Tags: wateragriculture, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend, podcast.

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Food Waste

Producers, sellers, and consumers waste tons of food. John Oliver discusses the shocking amount of food we don’t eat.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Food waste is a tragedy that we all know happens, but the economic system does not work efficiently to maximize the global food production (Disclaimer: it is HBO's John Oliver, so there is some language and references that might not be appropriate for all audiences). 


Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, video, unit 5 agriculture.

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Jose Soto's curator insight, August 5, 2015 9:21 PM

Food waste is a tragedy that we all know happens, but the economic system does not work efficiently to maximize the global food production (Disclaimer: it is HBO's John Oliver, so there is some language and references that might not be appropriate for all audiences). 

 

Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, video, unit 5 agriculture.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, August 6, 2015 4:20 AM

Food waste is a tragedy that we all know happens, but the economic system does not work efficiently to maximize the global food production (Disclaimer: it is HBO's John Oliver, so there is some language and references that might not be appropriate for all audiences). 


Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, video, unit 5 agriculture.

Sue Byrnes's curator insight, August 6, 2015 6:06 PM

Food waste is a tragedy that we all know happens, but the economic system does not work efficiently to maximize the global food production (Disclaimer: it is HBO's John Oliver, so there is some language and references that might not be appropriate for all audiences). 

 

Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, video, unit 5 agriculture.

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40 Ways The World Makes Awesome Hot Dogs

40 Ways The World Makes Awesome Hot Dogs | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"It’s not just a sausage in a bun; it’s a beautiful blank canvas. It’s a hot dog, which is a foodstuff eaten worldwide. Here are 40 distinctive varieties from around the globe — from iconic NYC 'dirty water dogs' to fully loaded South American street-cart dogs to Japanese octo-dogs. There is a tubesteak out there for every craving that ever was."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The 4th of July is the day of Coney Island's Hot Dog eating contest and the quintessential day to have a barbeque in the United States.  Some see the hot dog as a mere symbol of the uniformity of globalized culture in the 21st century that diffused out from the United States.  There is much more to be seen in the globalization of food.  Yes, the global goes to the whole world, but distinct places make this global cultural trait intensely local.  For example the hot dogs in Cincinnati are famous for being topped with chili and an obscene quantity of cheese, but in Costa Rica, I learned to love eating hot dogs deep fried, topped with cabbage, mayo and ketchup, just like the Ticos.  Food is but one example of this phenomena known as glocalization, where diffusion and divergence keep the world both global and local. 


Tagsfoodculturediffusion, globalization, consumption.

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Geography's curator insight, July 6, 2015 2:21 PM

While we often think of the Chicago Dog in the midwest, there's quite a variety out there!  Which would you try and which is your favorite?

Christopher L. Story's curator insight, July 26, 2015 10:24 PM

Seriously......Upton Sinclair eat your heart out. 

Jose Soto's curator insight, August 5, 2015 9:50 PM

The 4th of July is the day of Coney Island's Hot Dog eating contest and the quintessential day to have a barbeque in the United States.  Some see the hot dog as a mere symbol of the uniformity of globalized culture in the 21st century that diffused out from the United States.  There is much more to be seen in the globalization of food.  Yes, the global goes to the whole world, but distinct places make this global cultural trait intensely local.  For example the hot dogs in Cincinnati are famous for being topped with chili and an obscene quantity of cheese, but in Costa Rica, I learned to love eating hot dogs deep fried, topped with cabbage, mayo and ketchup, just like the Ticos.  Food is but one example of this phenomena known as glocalization, where diffusion and divergence keep the world both global and local. 

 

Tags: food, culture, diffusion, globalization, consumption.

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How to fix California's drought problem

How to fix California's drought problem | Geography Education | Scoop.it
California has enough water—that's not the problem, says Terry Tamminen. So here's how you solve the drought crisis.
Seth Dixon's insight:

There is no easy fix to a complex problem such as the water shortage in California.  Some coastal cities are considering desalinization projects while others want to reduce environmental regulations that protect wetland ecosystems to harness all of the freshwater available.  One of the issues is that most of California's precipitation occurs during a very short time frame.  Before the water crisis, these potential flood waters were diverted into concrete management canals but this article advocates to build more underground cisterns to capture excess rainfall before it flows to the ocean.   


Tags: consumptionCalifornia, water, environment, resources, environment dependurban ecology.


"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." ~Benjamin Franklin

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Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 5:50 PM

The sunny state of California does in fact get enough rain fall each year but because storm sewers were built after continuous flooding, all of this rainfall is pushed into the Pacific Ocean rather than where it it needed now.

A solution to the insane drought taking California by storm is to use simple rain barrels to collect water at a typical home and a graded lawn to capture and retain water, allowing it to seep into the ground rather than run off into the streets and eventually into the ocean. 

Lydia Tsao's curator insight, May 25, 2015 2:20 AM

The article relates to irrigation and the conservation efforts discussed in Unit 5. Irrigation has a lot to do with the drought in California because massive amounts of water are being used for agriculture in California, which consists of water-needy fruits and vegetables. There are efforts to try to conserve water by installing rainwater collectors to reuse water instead of just draining usable rainwater to the ocean and rivers. There have also been installations of grey water pipes to reuse for irrigation. Grey water is any water that is flushed down the drain that isn't sewage, such as water from showers or water from washing machines. This way water wouldn't have to be wasted and can be reused.

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Here's what 9,000 years of breeding has done to corn, peaches, and other crops

Here's what 9,000 years of breeding has done to corn, peaches, and other crops | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Corn, watermelon, and peaches were unrecognizable 8,000 years ago.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I think the term 'artificial' in the image might be misleading and it depends on your definition of the word.  Humans have been selectively breed plants and animals for as long as we've been able to domestic them; that is a 'natural' part of our cultural ecology and has lead to great varieties of crops that are much more suitable for human consumption than what was naturally available.  Long before climate change, humans have been actively shaping their environment and the ecological inputs in the systems with the technology that their disposal.  This is a good resource to teach about the 1st agricultural revolution.     


Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, unit 5 agriculture.

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Emerald Pina's curator insight, March 22, 2015 9:39 PM

This article shows how crops were entirely different 8,000 years ago. It shows how much we have breeded and affected the natural crops. With the example of peaches, watermelons, and corn, the article shows how the natural crop didn't taste as good and was a lot smaller. The natural peach had 64% edible food; whereas the 2014 peach had 90% edible food. The pictures comparing the natural and artificial crops also illustrated how the many varieties of that specific crop had grown and where the crop is found has grown. Lastly, the diagrams compares the water and sugar percentages. This article paints a good picture as to how much mankind has affected our land and agriculture. Also, how much our crops have changed due to selective breeding.

 

The article gives a good illustration of topics in Unit 5: Agriculture, Food Production, and Rural Land Use. The article shows how selective breeding has affected many crops. It gives a good view as to how selective breeding and agriculture has been affected and changed in the Neolithic Agriculture Revolution. The article explains what what life was like and how it changed in the Neolithic times. This article is really interesting in showing how crops were changed.

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Waging War Against Global Food Waste

Waging War Against Global Food Waste | Geography Education | Scoop.it
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tristram Stuart wants the world to stop throwing away so much good food.
Seth Dixon's insight:

No one should be surprised that more developed societies are more wasteful societies.  It is not just personal wasting of food at the house and restaurants that are the problem.  Perfectly edible food is thrown out due to size (smaller than standards but perfectly normal), cosmetics (Bananas that are shaped 'funny') and costumer preference (discarded bread crust).  This is an intriguing perceptive on our consumptive culture, but it also is helpful in framing issues such as sustainability and human and environmental interactions in a technologically advanced societies that are often removed form the land where the food they eat originates.   You can hear more about Tristram's work in this TED talk


Tags: food, agriculture, consumption, sustainability, unit 5 agriculture.

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Deborah Jones's curator insight, October 25, 2014 9:58 AM

PSA

Rebecca McClure's curator insight, November 15, 2014 11:13 PM

Year 9: Food Security

Alex Lewis's curator insight, November 21, 2014 12:18 PM

I think this is a great idea, and the more we reduce our food waste, the better. We can use this food to feed the starving, which would solve two problems at once. Also, the idea of feeding the excess food to the pigs is a good idea. Not as good as conserving the food to give to the needy though. 

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Mapping the Spread of Drought Across the U.S.

Mapping the Spread of Drought Across the U.S. | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Maps and charts updated weekly show the latest extent of the drought in the United States.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've shared numerous links here about the drought situation in California over the past few months, but the situation extends far beyond California as these animated maps and charts demonstrate. Some of the best public data on drought can be found at the National Drought Mitigation Center


Tags: wateragriculture, environmentresources, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, consumptionCalifornia.

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Nancy Watson's curator insight, August 24, 2014 8:00 PM

Whether global warming or just one of the heat and cooling cycles, this drought is extensive and making an impact on food prices.

Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks
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America’s recent drought history, animated

America’s recent drought history, animated | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"California's drought just hit a new milestone: As of this week, 32.98 percent of the state is experiencing "exceptional" drought, making it the worst drought in the 14 years that the Department of Agriculture's Drought Monitor has tracked data."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The recent drought in California has only deepened and this Washington Post article shows an animated map that highlights the temporal and spatial patterns in the drought data (hint--it's not pretty).  In a related note, May 2014 was the hottest May in recorded history.     


Questions to Consider: What are some reasons (both from human and physical geography) for this severe drought? What can be done in the short-term to lessen the problem? What can be done to make California’s water situation better for the next 50 years?


Tags: physical, weather and climate, consumptionCalifornia, water, environment, resources, environment dependurban ecology.

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Leslie Kelsey's curator insight, June 25, 2014 12:24 PM

As California's rain shortage continues, this may be a useful site for teachers and students to explore the drought over time. 

Character Minutes's curator insight, June 25, 2014 12:56 PM

Use to emphasize the need to apply character traits of resourceful and thrifty.

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The End of the ‘Developing World’

The End of the ‘Developing World’ | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The old labels no longer apply. Rich countries need to learn from poor ones.


BILL GATES, in his foundation’s annual letter, declared that “the terms ‘developing countries’ and ‘developed countries’ have outlived their usefulness.” He’s right. If we want to understand the modern global economy, we need a better vocabulary.

Mr. Gates was making a point about improvements in income and gross domestic product; unfortunately, these formal measures generate categories that tend to obscure obvious distinctions. Only when employing a crude “development” binary could anyone lump Mozambique and Mexico together.

It’s tough to pick a satisfying replacement. Talk of first, second and third worlds is passé, and it’s hard to bear the Dickensian awkwardness of “industrialized nations.” Forget, too, the more recent jargon about the “global south” and “global north.” It makes little sense to counterpose poor countries with “the West” when many of the biggest economic success stories in the past few decades have come from the East.

All of these antiquated terms imply that any given country is “developing” toward something, and that there is only one way to get there.

It’s time that we start describing the world as “fat” or “lean.”

Seth Dixon's insight:

UPDATE: this article (from the Atlantic) on the exact same concept would supplement the NY Times article nicely.  

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Steven McGreevy's curator insight, March 7, 2014 4:49 AM

Fat and Lean nations...  let's see if it sticks...

Joanne Wegener's curator insight, March 7, 2014 5:03 AM

Fat or Lean - what sort of world do we live in

An interesting discussion on the way we perceive and label the world.

Ma. Caridad Benitez's curator insight, March 11, 2014 10:15 AM

Hoy en día poca claridad de dónde exactamente queda y quiénes son? 

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Follow the Things

"Who makes the things that we buy?  Few of us know. They seem untouched by human hands. Occasionally there's a news story, a documentary film, or an artwork showing the hidden ingredients in our coffee, t-shirts, or iPads. They often 'expose' unpleasant working conditions to encourage more 'ethical' consumer or corporate behaviour. followthethings.com is this work's 'online store'. Here you can find out who has followed what, why and how; the techniques used to 'grab' its audiences; the discussions and impacts that this has provoked; and how to follow things yourself."
Seth Dixon's insight:

Where did your T-Shirt come from?   Where did the food your parents bought at the grocery store come from?  What's the origin of the components in your cell phone?  These questions all allude to what geographers call a commodity chain analysis.  Analyzing where the consumer goods that we use every day came from can make global issues hit a little closer to home and reinforce concepts such as globalization. The website Follow the Things is a great resource for teaching students about commodity chains and mapping out your own personal geographies.


Tags: industry, economic, globalization, consumption.

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Fran Martin's curator insight, September 10, 2013 3:37 AM

Great website by colleague Ian Cook at Exeter University

Ann-Laure Liéval's curator insight, September 10, 2013 3:56 AM

About Globalisation, flows and production today. 

Mr Ortloff's curator insight, October 8, 2013 12:32 PM

Where did your T-Shirt come from?   Where did the food your parents bought at the grocery store come from?  What's the origin of the components in your cell phone?  These questions all allude to what geographers call a commodity chain analysis.  Analyzing where the consumer goods that we use every day came from can make global issues hit a little closer to home and reinforce concepts such as globalization. The website Follow the Things is a great resource for learning  about commodity chains and mapping out your own personal geographies.

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Geography in the News: World Fisheries

Geography in the News: World Fisheries | Geography Education | Scoop.it
By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM DECLINE IN OCEAN FISHERIES The world may be running out of places to catch wild fish.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I recently posted a New York Times video about the rapid rise in industrial fishing and the production of Talapia.  Even with the rise of aquaculture as a major source of seafood, the world's oceans are still depleted.  As the world's population rises, many folk cultures with their roots in small fishing villages have transformed into primarily urban societies, but these urban societies still have a strong cultural preference for seafood and consume at levels that are not sustainable.    


Tags: environment modifyfolk culturesconsumption, water, physical.

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Sally Egan's curator insight, August 5, 2013 6:42 PM

Useful for consideration of Fish as a resource in the topic Natural Resource Use in Global Challenges. 

Josue Maroquin's comment, August 12, 2013 9:11 PM
its scary to see how much fishing grew over the pat years due to the growing population
Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 12, 2013 1:39 PM

Overtime as the population has increased you can see on the map that areas have been over fished. This has caused people to move near the water to fish and it has created some jobs for them. This could be bad becuase as the population increases the fish will decrease due to the over fishing. 

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An Underground Pool Drying Up

An Underground Pool Drying Up | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Portions of the High Plains Aquifer are rapidly being depleted by farmers who are pumping too much water to irrigate their crops, particularly in the southern half in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Levels have declined up to 242 feet in some areas, from predevelopment — before substantial groundwater irrigation began — to 2011.


Seth Dixon's insight:

The article connected to this map from the New York Times can be found here.  "Two years of extreme drought, during which farmers relied almost completely on groundwater, have brought the seriousness of the problem home. In 2011 and 2012, the Kansas Geological Survey reports, the average water level in the state’s portion of the aquifer dropped 4.25 feet — nearly a third of the total decline since 1996."


Tags: wateragriculture, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend.

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Michael Miller's curator insight, May 20, 2013 1:41 PM

The recent PBS special on the Dust Bowl also addressed this current problem and how some American farmers are not learning from past mistakes.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, September 2, 2013 5:58 PM

Really helpful information. Thank you. I had been wondering about this.Students should have an awareness of the water problems we have , and of various groundwater problems. Thank you.