"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Maragret Mead
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Maragret Mead
I share this video as a part of my final lecture in world regional geography as I attempt to tie up loose ends and help my students see the global linkages and connections. Occasionally in the course of a semester where we examine global problems, it is easy to become pessimistic about the world. In spite of all our problems, the world is becoming a better place, and I share this video to emphasize that individuals still have the power to act, and are not simply things to be acted upon by larger forces. I can't change everything everywhere, but I can do something, somewhere...so do something.
Ethiopia is due to launch a light rail transit system later this year, the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Social Progress Imperative creates a shared language and common goals to align different organizations and achieve greater social impact.
I think we all know that we shouldn't judge a country just by it's GDP. Economic development might be correlated with development and social progress, but the outliers are so telling. In this TED talk, we learn about a new metric designed to measure how well a society provides opportunities for communal and individual success. Having lived in Costa Rica for two years, I'm not surprised to find that Costa Rica does much better on this index than it would if we were to use GDP or HDI as a way to measure social progress and quality of life. For a more detailed look at the United States, see Geographies of Opportunity: Ranking well-being by Congressional Districts.
Questions to Ponder: How is the Social Progress Index similar to and different from the Human Development Index? What assumptions are built into the system?
China's President Xi Jinping has signed a deal with Pakistan promising $46bn (£30.7bn) of investment.
China plans to inject some $46bn - almost three times the entire foreign direct investment Pakistan has received since 2008. Many say Mr Sharif's penchant for "thinking big" and China's increasing need to control maritime trade routes may well combine to pull off an economic miracle in Pakistan.
But there are questions over Pakistan's ability to absorb this investment given its chronic problems with militancy, separatism, political volatility and official corruption.
China is worried about violence from ethnic Uighurs in its mostly Muslim north-western Xinjiang region and fears hard-line separatists could team up with Uighur militants fighting alongside members of Pakistan's Taliban.
There are many videos online showing the Maeklong Railway Market, but I'll share just a few. Clearly the 8 times a day runs like clockwork for the vendors, but as this other video shows, the 8 times a day that the trains go through the market an it becomes a tourist attraction. Locally it's called "Ta-Lad-Rom-Hoob," which means The Furled Umbrella Market. My students are usually quite shocked to see how this city market in Thailand operates and this video is a usefully 'hook' for lesson on population growth, urbanization, economic development, sustainability, megacities and city planning.
Questions to Ponder: Why does this system work in Thailand, but is inconceivable for the United States? How many spaces are single use spaces that remain empty most of the day? How does the both the train line and the market need to accommodate the other?
Three African leaders sign an initial deal to end a long-running dispute over the sharing of Nile waters and the building of Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam.
85% of the Nile's water comes from the Blue Nile that originates in the Ethiopian highlands--it is the Blue Nile that Ethiopia has been working on damming since 2011. The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be located near the border with Sudan (see in Google Maps). Prior to this trilateral agreement, Egypt and Sudan received the majority of the Nile's waters because of outdated colonial-era treaties that ignored upstream riparian states. This explains why in the past, Egypt was so adamantly opposed to Ethiopia's plan fearing that their water supply with be threatened. Today though, the Egyptian President said, "We have chosen cooperation, and to trust one another for the sake of development."
Do you know how the internet gets across the ocean? This amazing map shows every cable that makes it possible.
India is a land filled will problems and potential, due its geographic context. This regions is great for a regional geography course, that also includes a good overview of the entire South Asian region before discussing India's political situation in global affairs.
Creating and Analyzing a Binary Map: This online activity demonstrates how easy it is to master key functions in GeoFRED.
Valentines Day is this one day when one product — a red rose — is worth two or three times more than it is at any other time of the year. If a florist catches that window, he's golden. But the process of getting the roses to is fraught with risk, middlemen, crazy expense and bad weather.
India and Nigeria, not California.
Vaccinations and public health are in the news lately, mostly with a focus on the United States. But it's worth taking a look at this map Benjamin Hennig made of where children go unvaccinated on a global basis to help put things in perspective: You can see here that India (the enormous yellow blob) and Nigeria (the large light-orange blog that dominates western Africa) are the two countries that combine very large populations with low immunization rates. The Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Congo, and Ethiopia also seem like major problem spots. Clearly in most of these places the problem is a lack of financial and institutional resources rather than explicit anti-vaccine sentiment. Insofar as politics are relevant it's in terms of setting priorities.
"MyLifeElsewhere allows you to compare your home country with different countries around the world. Ever wonder what your life would be like if you were born somewhere else?"
Did you know that with 1/30th the territory of the United States, Norway still has over 25% more coastline? I didn't either until I compared Norway to the United States using My Life Elsewhere. This site is designed allow United States students to imagine how their lives might be different if they were born in a different part of the world. Students would probably die 21 years earlier if they were born in Liberia and 11 times more likely to have died in infancy. Students would be 43.8% less likely to grow up and be unemployed and have 36.3% less babies if they were born in Taiwan. This side-by-side format is a great way to help students help make these statistics real and meaningful. One major drawback: this site only allows users to compare a country to the United States. If you prefer to have students compare, say Cuba to the United Arab Emirates, I would recommend that you try If It Where My Home.
"Data is great, but working with numbers can be intimidating. We have more data than ever before that is available to us, and graphs, charts, and spreadsheets are ways that data can be shared. If that data has a spatial element to it, the best way to visualize a large dataset might just be a map."
"This map shows Human Development Index (HDI) for 169 countries in the World. The HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, and standard of living for countries worldwide. The HDI sets a minimum and a maximum for each dimension, called goalposts, and then shows where each country stands in relation to these goalposts, expressed as a value between 0 and 1, where greater is better. The Human Development Index (HDI) measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: health, knowledge and standard of living."
"In this Feed the Future video, narrator Matt Damon discusses the importance of increasing food production around the world and notes the importance of equipping women with the right tools, training, and technology to see as much as a 30 percent increase in food production. To feed our growing population we need to increase food production by 70 percent before 2050. Women make up the majority of the agricultural workforce in many areas of the world."
A colleague mine thought that the ideas in this video were so obvious and non-controversial, he said, "Why does this even need to be stated? Why would we exclude women from agriculture?" The simple answer is that it wouldn't need to be stated if women around the world did have equal access to resources. For many of the world's poor, this is where the rubber meets the road.
"In 2001 the world began talking about the Bric countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - as potential powerhouses of the world economy. The term was coined by economist Jim O'Neill, who has now identified the 'MINT' countries - Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey - as emerging economic giants. Here he explains why."
Which statement is true?
A. 60% of all households without toilets in the world are in India.
B. India’s Muslims are less affected by the sanitation problem than Hindus.
C. India’s lack of toilets is worse than China’s.
D. Lack of toilets in India puts women at especially high risk.
This is the ultimate trick question because unfortunately, ALL of these statements are true. India is a country of tremendous economic growth, but also filled with squalor; there are more cellphones than toilets in India. The lack of adequate sanitation and toilets is serious enough that that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made building toilets a national priority. Comics are using their platform to bring this issue of uneven development to light.
Almost 10 years ago, a young Pakistani woman was held down by her mother-in-law while her husband and father-in-law threw acid on her. Some 150 operations later, Bushra Shafi is working as a beautician in a hair salon in Lahore, started by a hairdresser who was moved to help victims of acid attacks when one of them came into her salon and asked simply: "Can you make me beautiful again?"
"People who love to complain about how horrible everything is also love to point out that the world is always changing — and change is of course always horrible, because it destroys the way things used to be. It's easy to get depressed by all the 'everything is horrible' talk. So it's nice to sometimes remind ourselves that some things — many things, in fact — are getting better all the time."
While it might be easy to concentrate on the negative aspects of globalization, the positives are worth remembering. Even hunger problems in the developing world is getting better (but hardly eradicated).
The Democratic Republic of Congo is potentially one of the richest countries on earth, but colonialism, slavery and corruption have turned it into one of the poorest
One thing that baffles many students is how a resource-rich region can be an area of underdevelopment and poverty. Understanding the historical geography is key for students being able to see that natural wealth does not correlate to enriching the local population. Kinshasa, the capital that seemed so promising as the site of the famous "Rumble in the Jungle between Ali and Frazier, is now a city of chaos.
"What was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution? Hans Rosling makes the case for the washing machine. With newly designed graphics from Gapminder, Rosling shows us the magic that pops up when economic growth and electricity turn a boring wash day into an intellectual day of reading."
What one invention has made the greatest difference in the lives of people all around the world? The case can be made for the washing machine; it has been a major tool in transforming the lives of women and restructuring gender roles in industrialized societies.
Which countries consume the most electricity per person? You might guess the United States would top the World Bank’s list, but the Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden are actually at or near the top. Icelanders consume an average of 52,374 kilowatt hours per person per year, Norwegians 23,174 kilowatt hours, Finns 15,738 kilowatt hours, and Swedes 14,030 kilowatt hours. Americans are not far behind, with an average consumption of 13,246 kilowatt hours per person. The Japanese consume 7,848 kilowatt hours.
This image is part of a global composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite in 2012. The nighttime view of Earth was made possible by the “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite. VIIRS detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, wildfires, and gas flares. The city lights of several major Nordic cities are visible in the imagery, including Stockholm, Sweden (population 905,184); Oslo, Norway (634,463); Helsinki, Finland (614,074), and Reykjavik, Iceland (121,490).
"In this exclusive, unedited interview, 'I Am Malala' author Malala Yousafzai remembers the Taliban's rise to power in her Pakistani hometown and discusses her efforts to campaign for equal access to education for girls. Malala Yousafzai also offers suggestions for people looking to help out overseas and stresses the importance of education."
For younger audiences, hearing someone their own age discuss educational opportunities (or the lack thereof) based on gender can leave a profound impression. Today, Malala is a Nobel Peace Prize winner (deservedly so), as she's become an icon in her own right as she champions developmental opportunities for girls in cultures that historically have not had equal offerings for young women. Watch this documentary to see who she was before she was thrust into the international spotlight, and hear her father's perspective. Some, however, only see this as Western hypocrisy.
The story behind the failure of the world's health organizations to stop the Ebola disaster.
We have witnessed the terrifying dispersal of the Ebola virus in West Africa. Cultural practices have facilitated the spread of Ebola in West Africa, and a distinct set of cultural practices is one reason why many experts do not expect it to spread in the United States. The videos in this TIME article answer some basic questions about how the disease is spread while this data interactive has a useful timeline, map and charts to show the data behind the outbreak.