Take a tour through America's immigrant heritage — at its most and least welcoming
American politicians, and Americans themselves, love to call themselves "a nation of immigrants": a place where everyone's family has, at some point, chosen to come to seek freedom or a better life. America has managed to maintain that self-image through the forced migration of millions of African slaves, restrictive immigration laws based on fears of "inferior" races, and nativist movements that encouraged immigrants to assimilate or simply leave.
But while the reality of America's immigrant heritage is more complicated than the myth, it's still a fundamental truth of the country's history. It's impossible to understand the country today without knowing who's been kept out, who's been let in, and how they've been treated once they arrive.
"Windows on Earth is an educational project that features photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station. Astronauts take hundreds of photos each day, for science research, education and public outreach. The photos are often dramatic, and help us all appreciate home planet Earth. These images help astronauts share their experience, and help you see Earth from a global perspective."
"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. "
"For months, publishing giant HarperCollins has been selling an atlas it says was developed specifically for schools in the Middle East. It trumpets the work as providing students an 'in-depth coverage of the region and its issues. Its stated goals include helping kids understand the 'relationship between the social and physical environment, the region’s challenges [and] its socio-economic development.' Nice goals. But there’s one problem: Israel is missing."
Many urban neighborhoods are places of concentrated poverty, and it's killing opportunity in the US.
American cities are growing, and as they grow, they're adding lots of high-poverty neighborhoods. Nearly three times as many "high-poverty" census tracts existed in 2010 as in 1970. That's unsettling on its face but even more so when you see the havoc a poor neighborhood can wreak on a resident's chances at a good life. Forget gentrification — this is a bigger problem.
The chart above tallies up the people living in these neighborhoods in 1970 and 2010. What it shows is that the number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has roughly doubled since 1970. That's because these neighborhoods of concentrated poverty have a tendency to stay that way, even while new ones sprout up.
What if the Black Plague had killed off almost all Europeans? Then the Reconquista never happens. Spain and Portugal don't kickstart Europe's colonization of other continents. And this is what Africa might have looked like.
"Louise Fresco argues that a smart approach to large-scale, industrial farming and food production will feed our planet's incoming population of nine billion. Only foods like (the scorned) supermarket white bread, she says, will nourish on a global scale."
"In this exclusive, unedited interview, 'I Am Malala' author Malala Yousafzai remembers the Taliban's rise to power in her Pakistani hometown and discusses her efforts to campaign for equal access to education for girls. Malala Yousafzai also offers suggestions for people looking to help out overseas and stresses the importance of education."
A new analysis of sea levels and flood risk around the world offers more evidence that the brunt of climate change will not be borne equally.
More than a quarter of Vietnam’s residents live in areas likely to be subject to regular floods by the end of the century. Globally, eight of the 10 large countries most at risk are in Asia. These figures are the result of a new analysis of sea levels and flood risk around the world, conducted by Climate Central and based on more detailed sea-level data than has previously been available. The analysis offers more evidence that the countries emitting the most carbon aren’t necessarily the ones that will bear the brunt of climate change.
"Have you heard of Alexander von Humboldt? Not likely. The geologist turned geographer and South American explorer was a bit of an 18th century super scientist, traveling over 24,000 miles to understand the relationship between nature and habitat. George Mehler details Humboldt’s major accomplishments and why we should care about them today. See this TED ED lesson plan that accompanies the video."
"China is in the midst of a crackdown on what it describes as 'terrorism driven by religious extremism'. The campaign is focused on the western province of Xinjiang, home to China's Uighur ethnic minority who are predominantly Muslim."
Elwood was a senior geographer working on the ground-floor of the very global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) he will throw up for discussion in his TEDx talk.
His question: Are we surrendering our innate mental map making abilities to technology and relying on and trusting it too much? And for TEDx audiences only, he’ll toss out ideas on ways to prevent that from happening.
The Industrial Revolution gets credit for kicking off the world's human population explosion, but new research suggests we should look further back.
“If you dig further in the past," Stutz told Emory University, "the data suggest that a critical threshold of political and economic organization set the stage around the start of the Common Era. The resulting political-economic balance was the tipping point for economies of scale: It created a range of opportunities enabling more people to get resources, form successful families, and generate enough capital to transfer to the next generation.”
"Americans' understanding of who counts as 'white' has changed dramatically throughout the country's history and even over the last century alone. This map — which covers a decade of immigration to the US, from 1892 to 1903 — is a dramatic illustration of what it looked like when 'white' wasn't the same thing as European. Mouse over any part of the map to magnify it."
"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."
Tags: sustainability, agriculture, food production, unit 5 agriculture.