Human Geography is Everything!
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The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing

The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it
Most of the 1,000 or so Marshall Islands, spread out over 29 narrow coral atolls in the South Pacific, are less than six feet above sea level — and few are more than a mile wide. For the Marshallese, the destructive power of the rising seas is already an inescapable part of daily life. Changing global trade winds have raised sea levels in the South Pacific about a foot over the past 30 years, faster than elsewhere. Scientists are studying whether those changing trade winds have anything to do with climate change.

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John Puchein's curator insight, December 4, 2015 6:47 AM

Although there is controversy with climate change, many are feeling the affects. From the Marshall Islands, to Venice, Italy, to as close as Miami, many places are feeling the impact of rising seas.  

Corine Ramos's curator insight, December 8, 2015 8:17 PM

The impacts of climate change might feel far off or something that will affect other places...not so for those in the Marshall Islands. 


Tags: Oceania, environment, resources, water, coastal, environment depend, climate change, political ecology.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, December 12, 2015 6:21 AM

Climate change is a controversial issue in the United States. The debate over climate change in our current political environment is stuck in a denial or belief stage.  It is foolish to deny that our climate is changing. The overwhelming majority of scientists have provided the world with data, that proves that man is altering the climate. Those who deny climate change, probably do not really believe that it is not occurring.  They are denying climate change, because they do not favor altering our economic system in an attempt to stop the phenomenon. To really effect climate change, major changes are going to have to be made in the way we consume our energy. Our current political environment cannot and will not implement these changes. As with most problems, nothing will be accomplished until a large swath of Florida is underwater.

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The ‘Quiet Chernobyl’: The Aral Sea

The ‘Quiet Chernobyl’: The Aral Sea | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it

"Prior to the 1960’s, the Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake and approximately the size of Ireland. Fed by both the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers carrying snowmelt from the mountains to the southeast, the Aral Sea moderated the climate and provided a robust fishing industry that straddled the present-day border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. For the map savvy, that Aral Sea would be almost unrecognizable—it has long appeared as two basins known as the North and the South Aral Sea since the rivers were diverted for crops, leading to the Aral Sea’s alarming shrinkage. Recent NASA satellite imagery shows the decline that the Aral Sea has undergone since 2000, leaving the South Aral Sea completely dried up in 2014. "

 

Tags: podcast, Maps 101, historical, environment, Central Asia, environment modify, Aral Sea.


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Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:49 AM

Both this podcast and its title are very interesting. Describing the Aral Sea crisis as a "Quiet Chernobyl" highlights the seriousness of what has happened to the Aral Sea over the previous decades. Though the Aral Sea was not the site of a catastrophic nuclear meltdown, what has happened there is just as harmful to the environment and the population in the surrounding area. The difference between what happened with the Aral Sea and what happened at Chernobyl, however, is that the Aral Sea crisis was avoidable. Chernobyl was an accident, the Aral Sea was not. The warnings of what was to come were clearly present at the Aral Sea, but they were ignored. 

 

This shows how the balance between man and nature is a precarious one that must be monitored closely and heeded constantly. As an oasis in one of the world's driest deserts, the Aral Sea had vast amounts of potential to help facilitate farming and generally help to make life in the area possible. People saw this potential and made use of it. This was not wrong in and of itself. What was wrong was that this potential was overused, with no regards for the long-term effects that it would have on the ecosystem, the climate, and the way of life in the region. The natural geography of a place is very important and can be used by human beings to achieve great things, but as soon as we stop caring about sustainability and future generations, those tools fail and disappear, causing long-term problems that can never be fixed. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 12:48 PM

The Aral Sea is just one example of an alarming trend happening worldwide, as ill-advised irrigation efforts continue to distort natural geographical formations, climate, and ecosystems. The loss of the Aral is damaging on so many fronts; the loss of an entire ecosystem within its waters, the damages done to the surrounding ecosystems as a result of climate changes and reduction in the food chain directly related to the Sea's disappearance, and the economic repercussions for the people who live in the region. Once a bustling maritime community of trade, the region now lies dormant, the economic realities for the people who once relied on the Sea's waters as dire as the land is dry. Ship hulls line the ground like animal carcasses, the remains of centuries of human life- a stark reminder that man often takes his power too far, too fast. With other large bodies of water facing the same fate in other regions, it is best hoped that the Aral and its ghost crews that now dominate the landscape serve as a reminder to human civilization that, for all our advances, we cannot play "God" and face no consequences. 

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Artful, Aerial Views of Humanity's Impact

Artful, Aerial Views of Humanity's Impact | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it
Using aerial photographs that render imperiled landscapes almost abstract, Edward Burtynsky explores the consequences of human activity bearing down on the earth’s resources.

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Diane Johnson's curator insight, August 11, 2014 8:12 AM

These images may be very useful for teaching the DCI's under the Human Impact topic.

Alexandra Piggott's curator insight, August 11, 2014 6:48 PM

Is this evidence of homgeniziation of landscapes?

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, August 11, 2014 8:11 PM

People change landscapes. This is a great resource available as an iPad App also Called Burtynsky Water. 

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The world's megacities that are sinking 10 times faster than water levels are rising

The world's megacities that are sinking 10 times faster than water levels are rising | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it
Scientists have issued a new warning to the world’s coastal megacities that the threat from subsiding land is a more immediate problem than rising sea levels caused by global warming.

 

A new paper from the Deltares Research Institute in the Netherlands published in April identified regions of the globe where the ground level is falling 10 times faster than water levels are rising - with human activity often to blame.

In Jakarta, Indonesia’s largest city, the population has grown from around half a million in the 1930s to just under 10 million today, with heavily populated areas dropping by as much as six and a half feet as groundwater is pumped up from the Earth to drink.

The same practice led to Tokyo’s ground level falling by two meters before new restrictions were introduced, and in Venice, this sort of extraction has only compounded the effects of natural subsidence caused by long-term geological processes.

 

Tags: coastal, climate change, urban, megacities, water, environment, urban ecology.


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Adilson Camacho's curator insight, August 2, 2014 12:32 AM

Perception!

Matt Evan Dobbie's curator insight, August 2, 2014 6:55 PM

Huge problem when combined with sea level rise

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 6:53 PM

APHG-U7

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San Diego

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been mesmerized by extraordinary beauty of my hometown, San Diego. The city has many hidden treasures that have always captivated…

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 16, 2014 2:22 PM

While there are wildfires raging in northern San Diego county (see interactive map), my heart goes out to family and friends there.  The recent drought in California makes the condition perfect for wildfires to spread.  This video is a nice glimpse of San Diego during better times.  

   

Tagsweather and climate, Californiawater, environment, urban ecology.

Arslan Chaudhary's curator insight, May 17, 2014 1:19 PM

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"Lost" New England Revealed

"Lost" New England Revealed | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it

"New England's woody hills and dales hide a secret—they weren't always forested. Instead, many were once covered with colonial roads and farmsteads."


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Alison D. Gilbert's curator insight, January 8, 2014 10:55 AM

Through the most recent technology, man has been able to discover that wooded areas of New England where once vibrant communities, homesteads and settled communities.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, January 26, 2014 10:44 PM

Thanks to dedicated archeologists and the LiDAR, we can see the creations of a once small, abandoned community in New England. Even through the thick forest, the LiDAR can detect rocks walls and small dirt roads. Hopefully, we can find more of these ancient communities in other areas around the world.  

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, January 28, 2014 12:48 PM

History is revealed with the use of high tech scanners known as  LiDAR's. With the use of these scanners, scholars learn that many areas of New England, including forested areas in Connecticut and Rhode Island, once were farming grounds. These "lost" pieces of history now lead scholars in new directions in dicovering the past, and details to its future.

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In Norway, TV Program on Firewood Elicits Passions

In Norway, TV Program on Firewood Elicits Passions | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it
A TV program about firewood, mostly showing a fireplace in use, has aroused passions in Norway.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 21, 2013 12:31 PM

In so many countries this would be one of the worst rated TV shows of all time, and yet in Norway, where a rustic, outdoorsman connection to the forest is ingrained in the culture, it's a hit and one that sparks debates and discussion.  Isn't it good, Norwegian Wood?  

chris tobin's comment, February 28, 2013 1:46 PM
So many cultures depend upon using wood and their connection with nature for every day life
Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 13, 2014 1:11 PM

Every country has some form of cultural differentiation between different people. The population of Norway is split in half in regards to whether or not wood should be stacked face up, or face down. Norwegians are obsessed with firewood and fireplaces. Because of the cold climate, almost all Norwegians have at least one fireplace in their house. This interest turned into an eight hour program where people chopped and stacked wood, and then the camera focused on a live fire for hours on end. The people were entranced, and it became an immediate hit. Fire and firewood is very symbolic for Norwegians, and many believe that it not only brings warmth, but community and shared happiness and togetherness. Relationships between harsh environments and modes of survival are often turned into a form of national identity. 

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Boundary conditions

Boundary conditions | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it
PULL a spring, let it go, and it will snap back into shape. Pull it further and yet further and it will go on springing back until, quite suddenly, it won't....

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Joel Barker's curator insight, February 10, 2013 11:56 AM

A useful discussion on limits of the planet

Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 11, 2013 8:23 AM

This is an interesting article discussing the limits that the Earth's physical systems have and the importance not exceeding any tipping point that could destabilize the planet if we "overstrech the springs."

Angus Henderson's curator insight, February 11, 2013 11:49 AM

An interesting counter-balance to the work of the Planetary Boundaries group. 

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Full Extent of Africa’s Groundwater Resources Visualized for the First Time

Full Extent of Africa’s Groundwater Resources Visualized for the First Time | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it

Until now, there has been a lack of solid, comprehensive spatial data about African groundwater resources.  Researchers have now done so.  For a more academic article on the subject, here are their findings in Environmental Research Letters. 

 

Tags: water, Africa, resources, physical, environment, environment depend.    


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Over population, over consumption - in pictures

Over population, over consumption - in pictures | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it

"How do you raise awareness about population explosion? One group thought that the simplest way would be to show people in pictures the impact of population, pollution and consumption."


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Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 7:56 PM

Unit 6

These eye opening photos paint a perfect picture of what the world will be like in years to come if we keep living the way we do. There are pictures of trash waves, extreme deforestation, hill-side slums, thousands of fields of oil wells, and overwhelming crowds of people.  

Corine Ramos's curator insight, December 8, 2015 8:18 PM

This gallery is filled with excellent "teaching images" on human and environmental interactions and all aspects of geography--the one picture above shows how Mexico City has enveloped even the rolling hills as a part of its urban expansion.  


Tags: environment, landscape, images, environment depend, environment adapt, environment modify, pollution, resources, sustainability.

Angela Muster's curator insight, February 21, 12:02 PM

It is important to see pictures like this one to help visualize just how much population, pollution, and consumption are effecting our world. Awareness is vital for change.

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Where China and Kazakhstan Meet

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it

"While people often say that borders aren’t visible from space, the line between Kazakhstan and China could not be more clear in this satellite image. Acquired by the Landsat 8 satellite on September 9, 2013, the image shows northwestern China around the city of Qoqek and far eastern Kazakhstan near Lake Balqash.

The border between the two countries is defined by land-use policies. In China, land use is intense. Only 11.62 percent of China’s land is arable. Pressed by a need to produce food for 1.3 billion people, China farms just about any land that can be sustained for agriculture. Fields are dark green in contrast to the surrounding arid landscape, a sign that the agriculture is irrigated. As of 2006, about 65 percent of China’s fresh water was used for agriculture, irrigating 629,000 square kilometers (243,000 square miles) of farmland, an area slightly smaller than the state of Texas.

The story is quite different in Kazakhstan. Here, large industrial-sized farms dominate, an artifact of Soviet-era agriculture. While agriculture is an important sector in the Kazakh economy, eastern Kazakhstan is a minor growing area. Only 0.03 percent of Kazakhstan’s land is devoted to permanent agriculture, with 20,660 square kilometers being irrigated. The land along the Chinese border is minimally used, though rectangular shapes show that farming does occur in the region. Much of the agriculture in this region is rain-fed, so the fields are tan much like the surrounding natural landscape."

 

Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, environment modify, food, agriculture, agricultural land change.


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Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 15, 2015 10:24 AM

It is amazing what irrigation can produce.  The border between China and Kazakhstan is a perfect picture of land with irrigation and one without supplied water.  Eastern Kasakhstan has farmland but it is only subsidized by natural rainfall whereas on the greener Chinese side of the border it is supplemented with water by the farmers.  Great picture!

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 12:00 PM

Seeing such a striking difference between two countries that are so close together is strange and thought-provoking. Knowing a little bit about the two countries can make a world of difference, though. In this case, we have China and Kazakhstan, two countries located in East/Central Asia. Kazakhstan borders China to the west, along the northern part of its western border. Much of China's inland land use is devoted to agriculture, as the majority of its industry is located near its coast. This is evident by the amount of green space seen in the satellite image above. With well over a billion people to feed, China needs to make use of as much of its arable land as possible. Kazakhstan, on the other hand is a much smaller country with much less land devoted to agriculture. Its farmland is mostly large and industrial, as a result of Soviet-era farming and is rain-fed rather than irrigated, like China's.

 

Knowing the history as well as the economic strengths of a country can therefore be useful in interpreting satellite images such as the one in this article. A lack of knowledge about China and Kazakhstan's economy and history may lead to an assumption that the Chinese are just better farmers than the Kazakhs. This is of course not necessarily true, but what is true is that China has a much larger and more immediate need for agriculture than does Kazakhstan and so devotes more of its land, time, and energy to farming. Likewise, it shouldn't be assumed that Kazakhstan has no need for agriculture at all. Instead, its history has largely influenced its economic strengths and needs, and the result is a country that looks very different from China. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 12:41 PM

It's crazy to see how much human influences can reshape the landscape, or how things we tend to think of in more abstract terms- like national boundaries- can be very physical in nature. I liked reading about the differing agricultural approaches the two nations take, and being able to see the physical manifestations of those two different approaches so obviously. It's impressive to think that China is able to support such a massive population- one in every 5 people alive on the planet is Chinese- with so little land, and the consequences are plain to see in the image above. Increased irrigation efforts leads to the unnaturally bright green patches in the middle of a relatively dry area, serving as a symbol of man's attempts to bind mother nature to his will. Although not always successful, such attempts appear to be working well here. In contrast, Kazakhstan's population demands vary wildly from that of China's, and its solution for feeding its people can therefore take a more natural, backroads approach, with food production concentrated in a few areas. I wonder what other international borders can be seen so neatly with the naked eye.

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Donut Holes in Law of the Sea

Donut Holes in Law of the Sea | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it

"Sovereignty over land defines nation states since 1648. In contrast, sovereign right over the sea was formalised only in 1982. While land borders are well-known, sea borders escape the limelight."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, July 8, 2014 9:28 PM

These maritime borders mark the economic area is defined by its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile-wide (370 km) strip of sea along the country’s national coast line.  This regulation, which was installed by the ‘UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’ in 1982, grants a state special rights to exploit natural (such as oil) and marine (for instance fish) resources, including scientific research and energy production (wind-parks, for example).  This interactive map of the EEZs also shows the 'donut holes,' or the seas that are no state can claim that no state can claim.  Given the number of conflicts that are occurring--especially in East Asia--this map becomes a very valuable online resource for teaching political geography. 


Questions to ponder: how does this series of buffer zones around the Earth's land masses impact politics, the environment and local economies?  Where might the EEZs be more important to the success of a country/territory than other regions? 


Tagseconomic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, states, conflict, unit 4 political.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, July 29, 2014 5:48 PM

Option topic Marine  Environments and management

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 6:52 PM

APHG-U4

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This 19th Century Map Could Have Transformed the West

This 19th Century Map Could Have Transformed the West | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it
Today's drought-riven west would look very different if Congress had listened to John Wesley Powell

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, June 11, 2014 4:33 PM

Author of Mapping the Nation, Susan Schulten explains how western expansion failed to recognize the basic physical geographic reality of the United States--that the west is much drier than the east.  Given that much of the west, especially California, is in the midst of a severe drought, this article serves as a reminder to recognize that localized understandings of human and environmental actions are necessary.  Do you know what watershed you live in?  How does and should that impact us?   


Tags: physical, historical, California, water, environment.

Sylvain Rotillon's curator insight, July 1, 2014 8:11 AM

We are very proud in France thinking we created the watershed approach with the 1964' water law, present basis for EU's water framework directive. Now, I would say that John W Powell is the true creator of watershed management. It's a blow to French pride...

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Drying of the Aral Sea

Explore a global timelapse of our planet, constructed from Landsat satellite imagery. With water diverted to irrigation, the inland Aral Sea has shrunk drama...

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Kaitlin Young's curator insight, October 7, 2014 11:27 AM

The Aral Sea’s receding waters could prove fatal to the surrounding agriculture. Both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan diverted the rivers that flowed into the Sea in the 1960s to feed their growing cotton and rice farms. Over the last five decades, the lack of a water source flowing into the Aral Sea combined with harsher droughts due to climate change have caused the water to evaporate at an alarming rate. As the water evaporates, large deposits of minerals remain on the bare lake bed. Winds pick up the mineral deposits and often spread them onto farms, where the increased salinity destroys rice paddies and other crops. The destruction of crops causes less food production, so less money is made by the farmers and more money has to be spent to bring in food to avoid famine. Cotton crops are also destroyed, so the region loses yet another source of income.

The increased evaporation of the Aral Sea has also caused an incredible increase to salinity levels in the lake itself. The extremely salty water cannot be used without heavy removing the salt, which is incredibly unaffordable in an already stressed region. Small subsidence farmers and local farmers cannot use the resource at hand. The fishing industry has completely collapsed, thus removing another important resource from the area.

If a wounded economy and unreliable food was not enough, the air born minerals blown away from the lake are causing numerous health problems. Respiratory issues, such as asthma, are becoming more and more common in the communities surrounding the Aral Sea due to the minerals and industrial debris in the air. The disappearance of the Sea has created the perfect conditions for the collapse of a region. The struggle that the people have to endure often escalates into increased social and political unrest, and disputes often occur. The Aral Sea exemplifies how one small environmental change can set off a chain of devastating events that lead to irreversible effects.

               

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 19, 2014 8:19 PM

The drying of the Aral Sea opens our eyes to how fragile our environment is and the scarcity of resources.  We need to become more aware of our resources, because as they saying goes, the "well will run dry."

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 1:14 PM

The massive changes to the Aral Sea can clearly be seen through the course of a decade. It's so unbelievable that from 2000 on ward it shrunk significantly and the video also showed the development of agricultural land that surrounds the rivers feeding into the Sea. The more water being irrigated and are not putting into the Sea the more it dries up because the water is evaporated with little to no rain going back to it. This is definitely one of the worst man-made disaster that have happened to this region.

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Island Biogeography

Part I, island biogeography in a World Regional context...click here to watch part II, why island biogeography matters in places that aren't on islands.  All links archived at: http://geographyeducation.org/2013/12/06/island-biogeography/


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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 4, 2015 12:35 PM

There are times where I wish certain species don't spread.  Other times I understand the migration and think it's great.  If humans died out then I believe all species would flourish just as Sir Ken Robinson says.  

Corine Ramos's curator insight, December 8, 2015 8:19 PM

Island biogeography operates on different principles than we see on the continents.  Soem extraordinary creatures such as the komodo dragon and thylacine can be found in isolated places removed interactions with more generalist species.  Alfred Russel Wallace made some extraordinary discoveries combining biology and spatial thinking. 

 

Island biogeography is pertinent today since habitat fragmentation (from urbanization and argicultural land uses) has rendered 'islands' out of the wilderness that isn't being used by humanity.  Some animals such as the cougar are locally extinct from their historic ranges (extirpation).


Tags: biogeography, environment, ecology, Australia, Oceania.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:06 PM
Island Biogeography is the theoretical explanations as to why species occurs, it also studies the species composition and species richness on an island.. it is not specific to land masses around water. Isolation gives species a strong place in their environment. The fact that new species and things show up are amazing, but sometimes new species are not properly adapted because there is no other general force against them and they do not ever learn to defend themselves.
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Fresh Water Resources

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/where-we-get-our-fresh-water-christiana-z-peppard Fresh water accounts for only 2.5% of Earth's...

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 12, 2013 2:45 PM

How much of the Earth's water is fresh water?  How much of that is used for industrial, agricultural or domestic uses?  Why is groundwater becoming increasingly utilized?  Enjoy this TED-ED video for the answers. 


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

Agron S. Dida's comment, December 17, 2013 5:33 AM
Ben, there is a good link about the lack of water: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131216154330.htm#.UrAC_n3F2FA.twitter
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Exclusive Economic Zones

Exclusive Economic Zones | Human Geography is Everything! | Scoop.it

Today, a country’s marine economic area is defined by its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile-wide (370 km) strip of sea along the country’s national coast line (hi-res image). This regulation, which was installed by the ‘UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’ in 1982, grants a state special rights to exploit natural (such as oil) and marine (for instance fish) resources, including scientific research and energy production (wind-parks, for example).

 

Questions to ponder: how does this series of buffer zones around the Earth's land masses impact politics, the environment and local economies?  Where might the EEZs be more important to the success of a country/territory than other regions? 

 

Tags:  economic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, states, conflict, unit 4 political.  


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