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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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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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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 20, 9:54 AM

This article is about a Bolivian culture which values its traditional food production methods. The Bolivians have even created some legislation to preserve their food sovereignty. Interestingly they do consume foreign foods, like hamburgers, but prefer them to be made by local street vendors. They have even managed to stave off most fast food restaurants, but they do have a dependence upon wheat imported from the United States.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 20, 3:27 PM

McDonalds is a social and economical chain restaurant that has not made its way to Bolivia. Sure, they like hamburgers but they prefer to get them from the women hawking them on the streets. Who can blame them? When is the last time you bought something that was made in America? Probably a couple weeks or months even. Cultural traditions are fading out fast and moves like this are what will keep Bolivians culturally enabled.

Paige Therien's curator insight, March 1, 1:21 PM

There is much valuable information to learn from other countries and cultures, especially when it comes to food because subsistence greatly shapes a culture.  Of course, the United States is very different than Bolivia in terms of culture and geography, but there is a lot to take away from the structural rejection of McDonalds in Bolivia.  Bolivia has taken advantage of the altitudinal zonation that is characteristic of their mountainous country; they have formed a system of reciprocity which fosters strong community and leaves no room for giant food corporations such as McDonald.  If people in the United States want a change in their food systems, the first step is rejecting the systems that should not play a role, but currently do.  Institutions like McDonalds have allowed people to be so far removed from their food sources, and ultimately, an important characteristic unique to humanity (food producers).

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Why Vikings Abandoned Colony in Greenland

Why Vikings Abandoned Colony in Greenland | Geography Education | Scoop.it
For years, researchers have puzzled over why Viking descendents abandoned Greenland in the late 15th century.
Seth Dixon's insight:

As the climate began to cool the diet of the Greenland settlers changed dramatically.  Originally their diets consisted of about 20-30% seafood, but as farming became nearly impossible on this increasingly marginal land, it jumped up to about 80%.  The economic livelihood of the settlements was in danger and the solution lay in a cultural transition, but one that they didn't want to make.  "They saw themselves as farmers and ranchers rather than fishermen and hunters...[and were] worried about the increasing loss of their Scandinavian identity."  In essence they abandoned Greenland in part because they chose not abandon their Viking heritage to embrace a culture that would have be more like that of the Inuits.  Cultural factors may have mattered more than economic limitations.

 

Tags: Greenland, folk culture, historical.

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James Good's comment, April 19, 2013 3:33 PM
It would make sense that the Vikings abandoned Greenland because they felt isolated from their mother country. There must have been a strong Scandanavian folk culture that the people of Greenland valued enough to make such a drastic movement. It is very likely that the people of Greenland cherished their home land and its culture. This culture was probably more exciting to them then the dismal life in the far north.

Once the demand for walrus tusks and seal skins decreased, there was really no need for the Vikings to stay in Greenland anyways. If they did not want to become farmers and take advantage of the potential farming land that Greenland had to offer, then there would be no benefit to staying there anyway.
Conor McCloskey's comment, April 30, 2013 7:25 AM
Humans have been exploring our planet for thousands of years. Settlements are established, and deemed successful or unsuccessful. The successful ones are still around today, however the unsuccessful one’s usually fall to the wayside and are forgotten. Many things can make a colony of human exploration unsuccessful, much like Viking colonies in Greenland. These colonies were abandoned and archeologists have search for the reasons why. Questions of the fertility of the land and available animals to hunt have been reasons that archeologists use to explain the colonial abandonment.
The push and pull factors of ancient Viking life are apparent through their migratory patterns. There are many possible reasons for the Vikings to have left this colony though archeologists are struggling to find just one. Food source seems to be a major reason why other colonies were abandoned, though seal meat does not seem to be at a shortage in this area. Ancient reason of migrating is similar to modern ones, however they are also very different. Globalization has changed the way humans live, the interconnectedness of the world has made living in places that could support life in ancient times possible.
Zakary Pereira's comment, April 30, 2013 2:11 PM
Of course they left, who would want to be basically stranded on Greenland away from any other civilization? Not me for sure. Plus, the lack of supplied they were receiving and tools it would have been near impossible to live and thrive in Greenland. They were also losing their identity; they were thinking of themselves more as farmers and ranchers rather than fishermen and hunters, their original identity as Scandinavians. Nonetheless it was imperative that they leave and head home because the colony in Greenland surely would have run dry and died out. If not for the overkilling of seals for food or the bone-chilling winters, I might theorize that they might stay in Greenland however that is not how history unfolded and it doesn’t surprise me that they left. Like James said, once their trade had virtually ceased, the outpost in Greenland was useless because they could be just living back home where you weren’t in extreme weather conditions and living off of seal meat.
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Aborigines threaten to shut Uluru

Aborigines threaten to shut Uluru | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Aboriginal leaders threaten to ban tourists from a top Australian landmark in protest at "racist" government policies.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an old article, but a fascinating topic that cuts across many geographic issues.  Uluru, the landform that that European explorers named Ayers Rock, was the key place that is at the center of a struggle between indigenous people and the government.  Many feel that the government's course of action in the mid 2000's was paternalistic and racist.  They banned alcohol and pornography in over 70 indigenous communities in an attempt to lower the rates of child sex abuse.  Sex Abuse is high (and often hidden)  in aboriginal communities where a child is 7 times more likely to be abused than in the rest of the Australian population.


Questions to Ponder: Would the government impose such measures on other populations within Australia?  When crimes have a racial component, does a government have the right to limit a particular groups' actions?  Why or why not?

 

Tags: Australia, indigenous, ethnicity, race, Oceania.

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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 23, 2013 9:50 AM

This is a very strange article. After police and troops were sent into more than 70 indigenous communities after a report of wide spread child abuse tribal leaders threatened to ban tourists from being allowed to climb Uluru. TO me this sounds like they are trying to hid what is really going on in their communities. 

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, December 10, 2013 12:24 PM

This is an interesting BBC news source and even though it is from 2008, it is still important to the topic of initiating government policies, especially those that may have a racial component.  Aborigines threatened to shut  down access to the Australian landmark, Uluru (previously named Ayer's Rock by European explorers).  Australian government leaders imposed laws banning alcohol and pornography from Aborigines in hopes to lower the incidents of child abuse.  While child abuse is a more prevalent issue among indigenous groups rather than those who are not Aborigines, I do not think it is fair to impose particular bans against certain groups.  Child abuse is most likely an issue among Australians other than Aborigines, but just because it might be more prevalent among Aborigines, it is not a reason to punish one group of people and not all.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, Today, 2:35 PM

 Australia is one of my most racially discriminated places in the world because of this there are alot of factors that play into these problems. "The so-called "intervention" in the Northern Territory was introduced by former Prime Minster John Howard's conservative government.Chronic disadvantage had led to Aboriginal life expectancy being 17 years below that of other Australians."

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Top 10 “Nat Geo Talks” of 2012

Top 10 “Nat Geo Talks” of 2012 | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Live presentations have been a part of National Geographic since the 1800s, and today more than 140 are viewable online. See this year's best.
Seth Dixon's insight:

These talks are always quality presentations and this set of 10 videos is a part of the Explorers Journal sponsored by the National Geographic Society. 

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Matt Evan Dobbie's curator insight, December 27, 2012 5:22 PM

Videos on various geography topics

 

Eliana Oliveira Burian's curator insight, December 28, 2012 3:27 AM

Top 10 National Geographic Talks!!!!

asnal abbas's comment, December 31, 2012 5:05 AM
http://www.fecebook.com
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Mixing Past And Present In Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, once home to cannibals, still has an exotic aura. The local tourist economy caters to those notions, and visitors may see a hybrid of the traditional and the modern.


This story is an intriguing blend--we see traditional cultures engaging in the global economy. They have created two villages: a traditional one designed for tourism filled with emblems of their folk cultures, and another one where people work, live eat and play with various markers of outside cultural and technological influence.


"Tourists are taking pictures. They don't want to take pictures of those who are in Western clothes.  People who are in Western clothes are not allowed to get close to people who are dressed up in the local dressings."


Questions to Ponder: Which village do you see as the more "authentic" one? How can culture also be a commodity?


Tags: folk culture, tourism, indigenous, culture, economic, rural, historical, unit 3 culture, Oceania.

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Ana Cristina Gil's curator insight, November 6, 2013 4:47 PM

The more authentic village is the one with the folk culture the rural one, because they haven’t lost their traditions and their identity. Culture can be a also a commodity for example you have Papua New Guinea. People are intrigue on their way of living so they will pay to go see them. Places like Papua New Guinea attract a lot of tourist. A country with tourist is a country that is receiving money.

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, December 5, 2013 7:59 AM

This NPR audio source reveals two totally different lives in Papua New Guinea.  There is one side that caters to tourism by showing the "old" Papua New Guinea.  This village promotes tourism and it has tours that show old, sort of primitive traditions in Papua New Guinea.  It is still important to the natives because it does preserve their past culture.  The villagers feel that the world is becoming so westernized that they cannot go back to the old ways of traditions such as cannibalism, wearing little clothing, etc., but when tourists travel to this village, those are the things they want to see.  The man in the audio source then traveled to another village where he witnessed how people of Papua New Guinea actually live, which is westernized.  I think that both villages are authentic.  One village represents their past culture and traditions and origins which is still important, and the other village represents globalization and the changes that the people of Papua New Guinea adapt to.  Culture can be a commodity because people such as westerners buy into what they think a country's particular culture is, even though that culture existed centuries ago and the culture has drastically changed since.

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The Endangered Languages Project

The Endangered Languages Project is a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about the over 3,000 endangered ...

 

This short video is a great primer for understanding the importance of linguistic diversity.  Why the loss of linguistic diversity (a global phenomenon) related to other themes  on geography, such as political and economic autonomy for minority groups?  Why are so many languages vanishing today?  What forces are creating these emerging cultural patterns?  For more on the project, see: http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/

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Matt Nardone's comment, September 2, 2012 12:52 PM
I learned a lot from this video/article. I can not believe out of 7000 languages today only about half will survive by the new century. I never thought of language loss as a result of injustice and oppression of a culture. I think that it is very interesting that to save a language means to restore a cultures ideals, ideology, and norms. I think that it is pretty cool Google is trying to help perserve some of the languages that may be fading. It is neat to think that one of the largest social media/communication companies has a great interest not in a universal language BUT a great interest in maintaining differences and uniquenesses about languages.
Adrian Francisco's comment, September 3, 2012 8:04 AM
I like this project and how it preserves languages that are about to die. It's not good when a language dies because there might be some information written in the language and in the future when we look at books we would not know what it is saying.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 8:59 AM

This is a great website in which everyone should look at because it shows how everyone can come together and help preserve all these languages we all hear today. Day by day languages are becoming extinct because they are speaking English one of the most spoken languages in the world and everyone speaks it or speaks little of it that people can understand. More languages are becoming extinct day by day.

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The lost tribe

The lost tribe | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Isolation or inclusion - can India protect an ancient Andaman tribe on the verge of extinction?

 

"An ancient indigenous tribe is on the verge of extinction in India's Andaman Islands. Habitat loss, disease and exploitation could wipe out the 400-strong Jarawa tribe, who still hunt using bows and arrows.

 

Lapses in policing and continued activity by tour operators, who encourage 'human safaris' where Jarawa women and children have in the past performed for tourists, are partly to blame for jeopardising the tribe's existence.  Many activists want to close the main road into the tribal reserve to protect the tribe from further interaction with the outside world, but it is a lifeline providing food and work for the island's 600,000 inhabitants.

 

To include or isolate?"

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GPS technology maps land rights for Africa's 'forest people'

GPS technology maps land rights for Africa's 'forest people' | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In the lush rainforests of Africa's Congo Basin, hundreds of thousands of indigenous people live as hunter gatherers, depending on the forest's natural resources for their survival.

 

The "Mapping for Rights" program trains people in the Congo to map the land they live on using GPS and other geospatial technologies.  This can assist the to produce documents to politically protect their land from encroachment and preserve their access to the forest.  Globalization can blur many of the modern/traditional narratives as the world becomes interconnected in complex ways.     

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The mystery of the Basques

The ancient Basque culture has survived against the odds.

 

The Basques are an intriguing cultural group to study in part because of their linguistic distinctness is Europe (Basque is a non-Indo-European language) but also because they strive for greater political autonomy within Spain.  This video could be used when teach about folk cultures, language, devolution, heritage as well as within a regional context. 

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Kmcordeiro670's comment, February 2, 2012 2:15 PM
The CNT remains one of the organized labor organizations in Spain which adheres to the autonomy of Basque as declared in the Second Spanish Republic and the Revolutionary Republic. Thank for posting this and helping revive this wonderful culture. If globalization has contracted space parallel to time, can we through our actions and struggle revive what time may have lost through our new form of connectedness?
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Wade Davis on Endangered Cultures

TED Talks With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the world's indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.

 

This is a fantastic look at indigneous cultures around the world.

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Jesse Gauthier's comment, December 8, 2012 2:21 PM
The first thing that struck my attention in this video was when the speaker said that other cultures teach us about alternative ways to orient ourselves, as humans, on Earth. I never thought about cultures in that sense. When I would look at another culture that is much different from my own culture I just couldn’t comprehend their way of life. But, each culture is just using the Earth’s resources in many various ways, making us not so different in the end. It also makes it much easier to comprehend stranger cultures than our own.
Don Brown Jr's comment, December 10, 2012 7:27 PM
This video brings to light a real dilemma concerning the “plight” of indigenous cultures in the modern world. The forces of globalization has been accelerated by improvements in communication and transportation technologies which have made interaction seem almost instantaneous compared to previous centuries. Yet, this globalized world is changing our notions of significance and attachment to place due to this relative ease of mobility. I have to acknowledge that this is something the indigenous cultures haven’t lost. As Davis clearly explains, the relative isolation that these societies adapted to is becoming increasingly difficulty to maintain, as the forces of global economic integration is binding the world closer to gather (whether people like it or not).
Also another issue that concerns me revolves around the unintended consequences of trying to preserve these cultures. It is possible that we may be accelerating their extinction as external pressure from us may cause these indigenous cultures to become specialized areas which eventually become subject to “exotic” tourism and research, inevitably changing the culture of what was intended to be preserved.
John Caswell's curator insight, February 6, 6:59 AM

Important watch.

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Humour in the steppes of Mongolia

Humour in the steppes of Mongolia | Geography Education | Scoop.it
I can´t stop smiling from a photo I stumbled upon on the facebook page of Nomaden (a Norwegian travel store) – I just love it! I tried to find the source of the photo, but no luck. I found it sprea...
Seth Dixon's insight:

I think this is my new litmus test for potential friends.  If this picture from Mongolia doesn't bring a smile to your face, I just don't think that we can be friends.  If anyone can find the original source (or a hi-res version), I'd love to hear about it.  

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chris tobin's comment, February 21, 2013 10:33 AM
Great happy photo. This is a possible National Geographgic photo
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A Review of Jared Diamond's "The World Until Yesterday"

A Review of Jared Diamond's "The World Until Yesterday" | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Should we look to traditional societies to help us tweak our lives? Wade Davis takes issue with the whole idea
Seth Dixon's insight:

Jared Diamond is famous for his work in writing Guns, Germs and Steel as well as Collapse.  His latest work, The World Until Yesterday, he encourages modern readers to examine the traditional societies for insights on how to improve the human condition.  In this book review by Wade Davis, he critiques this approach and suggests that we should see indigenous societies as reminders that our modern lifestyle is not the only way.


Tags: book reviews, folk cultures, indigenous.

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Mongolia's Nomads

Mongolia's Nomads | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Through his Vanishing Cultures Project photographer Taylor Weidman documents threatened ways of life.  About his work in Mongolia, he states: "Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world's largest remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands. But today, their traditional way of life is at risk on multiple fronts. Alongside a rapidly changing economic landscape, climate change and desertification are also threatening nomadic life, killing both herds and grazing land."

Seth Dixon's insight:

In times of ecological hardships and global economic restructuring, many children of nomadic herders are seeking employment out of the rural areas and in the urban environment.  The cultural change that this represents is for Mongolia enormous and is captured wonderfully in this photo gallery.  Pictured above are the ger (yurt) camps that ring the capital city Ulaanbaatar.  Ulaanbaatar houses a permanent population of displaced nomads. During the winter, Ulaanbaatar is the second most air-polluted capital in the world due largely to coal burning.


Tags: Mongolia, images, indigenous, culture, globalization.  

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Adrian Bahan (MNPS)'s curator insight, March 12, 2013 3:44 PM

What factors are threatening pastoral herders way of life? Why?

Cam E's curator insight, April 8, 8:45 AM

Time for more pictures, my favorite part of scooping. Mongolia is almost entirely forgotten in US education, to the point where many of the people I know aren't even sure if there's a government at all. My favorite part of these pictures comes from the fusion of technology and tradition though. We see traditional housing and boys carrying water to their homes, and then a flat screen television in the makeshift house. Motorcycles are used to herd animals, and solar polar is used to power cell phones for the nomads. What I think is important here among other things is the idea that humanity has potentially reached a point where we cannot go backwards tech-wise. The dark ages in Europe saw knowledge being lost, and there are claims that humanity will wipe out its own tech in a great war, but now that we have the knowledge and ability to use solar panels and automobiles, I don't believe we'll ever lose them as a species.

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GITN: Pilgrims' Progress

This classic Geography in the News by Neal Lineback has been re-released on his Lineback World View site.  This is an excellent lesson for K-12 educators to prepare their students to understand the historic and geographic context of Thanksgiving.

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The Living Bridge

In North East India just north of Bangladesh is the province of Meghalaya. 


This is an astounding video that shows a (literally) natural way that local people have adapted to an incredibly flood-prone environment.  The organic building materials prevent erosion and keep people in contact during times of flood.  The living bridges are truly a sight to behold. 


Tags: environment, environment adapt, SouthAsia, water, weather climate, indigenous.

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megan b clement's curator insight, December 16, 2013 9:38 AM

This video is so cool. It shows the indigenous people using the enviroment to the fullest. THese resourceful people do not even kill the tree when they use it to build the living bridges to cross over the rough waters. They actually have a community of living bridges that help the people to get from point a to point b safely. They keep the bridges alives by intertwinning them with one another to hold them up across the water. THe video itself is too cool, especially that people even thought of this!

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 7:16 PM

This is so, so awesome.  These people have suffered at the hands of nature for generations and now they have figured out how to use nature to solve the problem.  They have constructed bridges with trees that takes hundreds of years to fully form so they pass it through their family generations to make life easier.  India endures a harrowing monsoon season with many floods and landslides every year and these bridges will help the people to carry on with their lives above the river's reach. These people indigeous to the region deserve so much credit for the innovative ways they have discovered to deal with nature in it's angriest forms.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 11, 8:01 PM

This video shows how innovative people can be due to physical geography. In Northeast India, monsoon season creates raging rivers and floods which destroy the banks and wash away any normal bridges. The people of the Meghalaya province have devised a creative solution which solves both problems. By planting strangling fig plants, the roots reinforce the river banks and are then coaxed across the river creating a living bridge which can last for centuries.

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Tribal GIS Details Native American Use of Geospatial Technology

Tribal GIS Details Native American Use of Geospatial Technology | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Esri Press book provides insight for GIS implementation from indigenous sovereign nations.

 

"The book offers insight into how tribal governments and supporting organizations are employing GIS, from day-to-day operations to special projects for tribal leadership. Tribal GIS also highlights how GIS is being used to embrace a new movement in tribal governance toward improving citizen services, decision support for community leadership, sustained economic development, and the protection of tribal assets."

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Kim Vignale's comment, July 10, 2012 6:53 PM
GIS is a great program that integrates physical and social geography. Native Americans are becoming technologically advanced by using this modern program. This program is very helpful in mapping out land that is owned by the tribe and the sustainability of resources. For example, land that is strictly used for agriculture can be mapped out and boundaries can be created with land that is being used commercially. GIS is a great program that can help many officials create plans locally, regionally, and internationally.
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UNPO: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

UNPO: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is not affiliated with the United Nations (UN). The UNPO seeks to represent nations (as opposed to states) that are not fully autonomous are without a vote in the UN. This group supports all ethnic groups in their pursuit for political self-determination, economic empowerment and environmental resource control.  This is an excellent source for case studies in devolution, ethnic conflicts, indigenous peoples and many issues from both cultural and political geography.

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Undiscovered Possibilities - Google Earth

"While Germans tend to talk about privacy and how the internet takes away our freedom, chief Almir of the Surui tribe in Brazil came up with an idea when he first came in contact with Google Earth. He saw it as a great tool to visualize the devastation of the rainforest. With the help of Google providing the knowledge and equipment he started the project and provided an unfiltered perspective never seen before. This is a growing project on a growing problem that should matter to all of us. It’s never a service or product itself that matters; it’s what you do with it. Check the video and see for yourself."

Globalization inherently brings serendipitous juxtapositions. In this clip we see the merger of geospatial technologies to protect indigenous cultures and their cultural ecology.

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, January 23, 4:35 PM

Globalization

 

This video shows a positive side of globalization.  The use of first world technology in the third world to stop illegal foresting is a great example of the positive effects of globalization.  When people talk about globalization it is usually in negative terms, the damage it does to the environment and cultures.  Globalization can be a force for good but it has just as often been a force of destruction and dislocation.  Globalization in itself is a neutral force it is the way it is used that created a positive or negative impact.  Globalization has been occurring since the 1500 when European traders began trading with the Arab and the Asian regions.  The swapping of languages and cultural ideas has been going on for as long.  Today the speed of globalization is what many people are worried about.  In the past it was slower and more controlled, today with instant communications the changes are rapid and chaotic.  This can be scary and disturbing.  The way people in developing countries deal with these changes are not that much different form how the developed world dealt with the same or similar changes 100 years ago.  The world today is watching and so the developing countries are more visible in their industrialization and labor problems then the developed countries were when they went through the same processes.  The end result of Globalization is anyone’s guess but there is no denying that it has changed the world we live in.

Amy Marques's curator insight, January 29, 8:03 PM

This is a great example that shows the positive and negative effects of globalization. The negative effects is that the chief Almir and the Surui tribe have changed from their original roots through contact with the outside world. Their language and clothing has been altered because we see the cheif speaking brazilian portugese and the tribe wearing western clothing. The positive aspect is that they are trying to protect their ancient rain forests by using the benefits of globalization. I think its great that Google is helping this tribe, of course Google is getting tons of recognition for this, but they are doing wonders for this group of people. With the technology provided the tribe will be able to be put on the map and educate its group.

chris tobin's curator insight, February 6, 8:12 AM

this will help protect the forest and decrease deforestation hopefully, also protecting global climate and environment.   How does this affect the large companies in paper mills, timber and especially the specialty tree plantations.........roads cutting through the rainforest ......wildlife........

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Food, Technology and Biodiversity

Food, Technology and Biodiversity | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A Historian’s Take on Food and Food Politics...

 

This brief article highlights that as much as technology has changed food production, there this is much more that has remained the same.  Of the thousands of plants on Earth, 11 account for most of what we eat (corn, rice, wheat, cassava, potatoes, sorghum, millet, beans, barley rye and oats) .  Not surprisingly, those 11 plants are the same that have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years--makes you think that early humans, while not technologically advanced, were constantly conducting agricultural experiments and found many of the best animal and plant resources for human consumption.  This is one reason losing local indigenous knowledge about cultural ecology and the species' genetic diversity would be a great loss for humanity.  

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elsa hunziker's comment, January 30, 2012 11:27 AM
Eye opening!
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NYTimes Video: City of Endangered Languages

NYTimes Video: City of Endangered Languages | Geography Education | Scoop.it
New York has long been a city of immigrants, but linguists now consider it a laboratory for studying and preserving languages in rapid decline elsewhere in the world.

 

This is an excellent video for showing the diffusion of languages in the era of migration to major urban centers.  It also shows the factors that lead to the decline of indigenous languages that are on the fringe of the global economy and the importance of language to cultural traditions.   Here is the article related to the video available. 

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, January 29, 7:25 AM

This article and video were very interesting.  They point out how a city full of immigrants can help preserver a dying language.  The work being done to learn about and preserve these obscure languages is great.  The fact that in New York you will hear language spoken more there than in their home country is astounding to me and very interesting.  This fact is key to preserving these language as they are from areas of the world were the technology level is much lower and less likely to be preserved.  It is also interesting as it shows where people are coming from to live in NY.  The city draws immigrants like a sponge draws in water and this adds to the cultural mosaic that is NY city.