National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tristram Stuart wants the world to stop throwing away so much good food.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tristram Stuart wants the world to stop throwing away so much good food.
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.
"By 2050, the world's population will likely increase 35 percent. But is growing more food the only option—or even the best? National Geographic investigates the challenges and solutions to feeding everyone on our planet, based on an eight-month series in National Geographic magazine. Visit http://natgeofood.com for ongoing coverage of food issues as we investigate the Future of Food today on World Food Day."
"Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. See other videos on this organization here."
There has been a revitalization in urban gardening as many city dwellers feel disconnected from their food systems; urban gardening is a way for people to actively control what they are ingesting into their systems many fear some of the modern agricultural methods. Based in Milwaukee, WI, Growing Power has created an interesting combination of vegetable gardening and aquaponics for the urban environment.
The last section of dam is being blasted from the Elwha River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula on Tuesday.
For almost half a century, the two dams were widely applauded for powering the growth of the peninsula and its primary industry. But the dams blocked salmon migration up the Elwha, devastating its fish and shellfish—and the livelihood of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe. As the tribe slowly gained political power—it won federal recognition in 1968—it and other tribes began to protest the loss of the fishing rights promised to them by federal treaty in the mid-1800s. In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Washington tribes, including the Elwha Klallam, were entitled to half the salmon catch in the state.
"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."
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.
"With seven billion people now living on Earth, the ever growing demand is putting unprecedented pressure on global resources—especially forests, water, and food. How can Earth’s resources be managed best to support so many people? One key is tracking the sum of what is available, and perhaps nothing is better suited to that task than satellites."
Agricultural production is one of the ways in which people modify the environment more than any other. Global population is expected to top out at around 9 billion around 2050, so will we be able to sustainably feed all of the entire human population? Satellite imagery can help answer these questions.
Without a question, we are living in an urban era. More people now live in cities than anywhere else on the planet and I’ve repeatedly argued that cities are our most important economic engine. As a result of these shifts, we’re seeing megacities at a scale the world has never seen before.
As our cities have massively expanded in the last 70 years, so has the ecological footprint of these metropolitan areas. This article discusses some of the challenges confronting megacities and their functions within the global urban network.
"Today, innovation is taking place where people can come together, not in isolated spaces. Innovation districts are this century's productive geography, they are both competitive places and 'cool spaces' and they will transform your city and metropolis."
As described by the Brookings Institution in their exploration regarding innovation districts, they are geographic areas where leading-edge companies, research institutions, start-ups, and business incubators are located in dense proximity. These districts are created to facilitate new connections and ideas, speed up the commercialization of those ideas, and support urban economies by growing jobs in ways that leverage their distinct economic position.
I'm sure a few of you have already seen this viral video and it should be intriguing to geographers for a variety of reasons (and not just because we love hexagons). Solar Roadways is a project in its infancy, but they have broad ambitions that would be revolutionary. Roads that would produce energy? The idea would have staggering results, but there are some practical reasons why this hasn't already been implemented. A geographic perspective is critical as we plan for the future.
Questions to Ponder: How would the full implementation of this idea restructure the cultural landscape, urban environments and our cultural ecology? What would some advantages be? This video is a promotional video that emphasizes the positive; what drawbacks, limitations and obstacles are there to solar roadways in the future?
"In the above poster the cities are arranged (roughly, in order to maximize space) by population. Clearly, size and population are not directly correlated. Some cities take up a lot more space for a smaller population. The relationship between the two, of course, is known as density (population density, urban density)."
I shared this a while back, but the creator has since revised the data and updated the layout for the main infographic. The entire set of infographics are tremendous visual tools to compare urbanization patterns around the world.
When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.
Agricultural production is one of the ways in which people modify the environment more than any other. Global population is expected to top out at around 9 billion around 2050, so will we be able to sustainably feed all of the entire human population? This one question brings up many more spatial, environmental, political and social questions--this interactive feature nicely addresses many of the pertinent issues in a very accessible manner.
|Suggested by Renata Hill|
"Tracking changes in the shape of American cities over 10 years reveals which cities pack the most into a small space, but don't worry, sprawlers: Los Angeles shows you can change your fate."
Today’s nearly 314 million U.S. residents will expand to 401 million in less than 40 years. Wherever you fall on the cultural spectrum between country and city mouse, the fact remains that we simply won’t be able to use up resources the way we do now in sprawling suburbs shaped by car culture. See also this infographic depicting those with the worst sprawl. and CNN Money's list of the worst sprawl and a discussion of it's impacts.
|Suggested by Michael Miller|
Over the years, ISS astronauts have had a rare opportunity to witness climate change on Earth from space.
This video from National Geographic goes nicely with some of my recent posts about the dramatic changes that can be seen as some cities have exploded on the international scene. The changes in metropolitan areas are dramatically presenting using satellite imagery in this great teaching video.
The growth of these cities will create a host of environmental and health problems.
By 2210, the global population is expected to grow from just more than 7 billion to 11.3 billion — with 87 percent of the population living in urban areas, according to a new working paper by researchers from NYU’s Marron Institute.
Most of these individuals will be in what’s now the developing world — creating a host of environmental and health problems.
If projections are correct, these new urban dwellers will require the world’s existing cities to expand six-fold to accommodate triple the residents, Richard Florida wrote in The Atlantic. Plus, the world will need 500 new “megacities” of 10 million or more, he wrote.
The Maldives is a small country in the Indian Ocean composed of 1,200 islands. Virtually every spot in this country is under 8 feet in elevation. Pictured above is the capital of Malé, which has the largest population (explore these islands on a variety of scales).
Questions to Ponder: What physical forces and processes account for the presence of these islands in the Ocean? In a geological time scale, what does the future hold for these islands. What would be the main economic assets of the Maldives? What would be the main economic and environmental concerns of this country?
In Minnesota, ‘industrial’ operation shows effort to balance economic, environmental sustainability.
In the long run, a successful farmer needs to find a balance between economic and environmental sustainability. Some big farms are working towards that so the 'big-equals-bad' narrative about agriculture may be easy, but it doesn't tell the whole story about modern agriculture.
"This is a series of infographics (or geo-infographics) created by Matthew Hartzell, a friend of mine that I met when we were both geography graduate students at Penn State in few years back..."
Picture this: Tourists visiting one of your city's most prominent attractions are unable to see it because of smog, haze and a bevy of other airborne pollutants. What's the solution?
Pollution is becoming ubiquitous in our urban environments. If your primary concern is the environment, it is clear that this situation in Hong Kong must be changed. But what if the environment is not the concern of policy makers? What economic and planning arguments could you make in favor of a more sustainable course?
The world is in the palm of your hand; what will you do? This is a question that each generation collectively needs to ask itself. We can consider ourselves stewards of this planet with its vast natural resources and abundant potential. If we make choices that are sustainable for the future we will keep many of these amazing possibilities open to future generations. (For Hi-res image click here). Just one more reason to read Geography Education.
"This case study examines the challenges of human well-being and urbanization, especially in the megacity of Jakarta."
Megacities are growing, especially in the developing world. This rapid population growth leads to serious strains on many resources and the infrastructural capacities which leads to some dismal living conditions among the urban poor. World Vision Australia works to assist and empower many of those without access to these important amenities. Download the lesson as a PDF here.
|Suggested by Brett Sinica|
From the food we eat to the energy, transportation, and water we all need, a warmer world will bring big changes for everyone.
B Sinica: This article touches every aspect of geography from culture to climate [considering] how the growing population plays the biggest role in determining the future of life on Earth. People need to recognize the problems and potential future issues with global warming and the rapidly changing environment. Though not many issues can be prevented or even solved, the least we can do is try to lessen the severity of devastation and prolong the current conditions as much as possible before the world becomes too extreme to manage.
|Suggested by Thomas Schmeling|
What if you put all 7 billion humans into one city, a city as dense as New York, with its towers and skyscrapers? How big would that 7 billion-sized city be? As big as New Jersey? Texas? Bigger? Are cities protecting wild spaces on the planet?
Guinea pigs are popular pets in the U.S., but in parts of South America, they're a delicacy. Some environmental and humanitarian groups are making a real push to encourage guinea pig farming as an eco-friendly alternative to beef.
First off, my apologies if you find the image distressing (I have two guinea pigs in my house and I will not be showing this picture to my children). However, the fact that many readers might find this image disturbing but wouldn't think twice about the sight of chicken grilling on the barbeque highlights the cultural taboos surrounding what we consider appropriate food sources. The tradition has diffused to the United States as more South American immigrants have come to the United States. While the meat is more environmentally sustainable (less resources are required to raise one pound of guinea pig meat than one pound of beef), many potential costumers are leery to eat something that they consider a pet.
Urbanization has led to what are known as mega-cities, cities with a population of over 10 million people. These mega-cities have become so large that they often lead to terrible pollution, traffic, and extreme poverty.
Over half the global population lives in cities, and the problems confronting these megacities will loom large for future sustainability issues--both at local and global scales. This list ranks the cities by city limits and governance jurisdiction (not by the expanded metropolitan area).