Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Pharmaceutical companies would need to compensate indigenous people for using their knowhow in creating new medicines
I'd never hear the term biopiracy before this month, but this idea is this: companies from wealthy countries commercially develop the genetic resources of developing countries with local assistance but don't fairly compensate the local population. I never had the vocabulary to describe such a thing, but that is biopiracy in a nutshell and the EU is working to end that. It doesn't only impact the pharmaceutical companies but heavily impact the agricultural industries as well. Anyone in the developed world eating quinoa and kale 20 years ago? Being marketed as 'superfoods' has changed the global production systems but also impacted local indigenous food supplies (some are referring to this as food gentrification).
What America can learn from one of the most sustainable food nations on Earth.
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.
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...
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.
For years, researchers have puzzled over why Viking descendents abandoned Greenland in the late 15th century.
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.
Should we look to traditional societies to help us tweak our lives? Wade Davis takes issue with the whole idea
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.
Aboriginal leaders threaten to ban tourists from a top Australian landmark in protest at "racist" government policies.
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?
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."
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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/
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."
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?"
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.