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Central Asia And Afghanistan: A Tumultuous History

Central Asia And Afghanistan: A Tumultuous History | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Editor's Note: This is the first installment of a two-part series on the relationship between Central Asia and Afghanistan and the expected effects of the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan on Central Asian security. Click here to read Part 2.
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Contrary to belief Central Asia is not about to explode into violence once the US draw out of Afghanistan in 2014, but they do have links with Afghanishantans internal issues. Central Asia has many important links to Afghanistan, they are linked geographically and demographically.    

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Marissa Roy's curator insight, November 25, 2013 1:32 PM

In 2014, the US is set to pull out of Afghanistan and people all around the world that an explosion of violence will occur. Unfortunately,  Central Asia is very close to  Afghanistangeographically and they are also linked demographically. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the coming year.

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Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union'

Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union' | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Russian PM Vladimir Putin calls for the formation of a "Eurasian Union" of former Soviet republics, but says it will not be like the defunct USSR.

 

Russia's cultural influence over former Soviet Republics is strong, but the desire to strengthen these old ties is deeply embedded into the cultural ethos of Russia.  It is also a key part of Russia's geopolitical strategy for greater international influence and economic strength.

 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Putin is calling for a Eurasian Union. He said it would change the political and economical configuration of the continent and have positve global effects. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have already formed an ecomonical allicance and it removes customs barriers. Putin has however denied that he is propsing for the recreation of the Soviet Union.  

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Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:20 AM
Russia's will to start a Eurasian Union seems to be a ploy to recreate a neo-Soviet administration obviously dominated by Russia. Millions of Russians live in these satellite nations so it will be more than easy for Russia to spread its influence and dominate this union. It would also be a bad decision for some of these nations to join in a union with Russia. Some nations, such as Azerbaijan, are rich in oil reserves, and a union with Russia could be detrimental to their development.
Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 13, 2013 10:16 AM

So is this just to compete with NAFTA and the EU on an economic level?  Or is this to compete with the EU on economic, political and military level, much like the EU's EuroCorps?  Putin states thie is not a return to the USSR, but Russia has always been weary with the growing of NATO and the EU on its borders.  How about if Turkey gets int the EU right on the Russian border?  This action might move thie bloc creation even more forward and Putin might become more forceful to its creation.  No that former KGB member Putin is foreful.

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, October 17, 2013 8:26 PM

It is more than understandable that former Soviet satelite states are weary of any kind of union with Russia. However, some sort of treaty could benefit the block, particularly an arangement like the one already held between Russia, Belarus, and Kahzakstan. An agreement that would ease travel between the two countries appears to have little downside.

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Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants to Be Famous.

Azerbaijan Is Rich. Now It Wants to Be Famous. | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Oil-rich, velvet-rope-poor Azerbaijan, a country about the size of South Carolina on the Caspian Sea, would very much like to be the world’s next party capital.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Azerbaijan is tiny about the size of South Carolina, home to 9.2 million people, it produces nothing the world wants and has no major unviversities. So why is it such a big deal? It has Oil. Back in 2006 they began pumping oil from the caspian sea and with the help of BP they now pump one million barrels of oil daily. If the proposed pipeline running from turkey to Austria is built it could bring in billions of dollars a year. Azerbijan is overwhelmingly Muslim and buys advanced weapons systems from Israel in exchange for oil, they are a new member of the UN and sided with the US against Russia on the issue of Syria. Azerbaijan is making a rise in the world all thanks to their oil goldmine  

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Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 9, 6:47 PM

It looks like Azerbaijan wants to become the next Dubai.  Although there is not a lot to offer culturally, money can make/create a new culture, one that can attract tons of people.  With the money that they have from oil, they can easily make themselves and market themselves into almost anything that they want to be.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, March 12, 4:50 PM

Azerbaijan is a country about the size of South Carolina. Previously without much to offer except one key natural resource, petroleum. Ibrahim Ibrahimov got rich off the petroleum in Azerbaijan, and now wants to make the country famous. He plans to create his own city, Khazar islands. Consisting of 55 artificial islands in the Caspian Sea with thousands of apartments, a racetrack, an airport ,also including the world’s tallest building. With housing for 800,000, and 8 hotels holding rooms for another 200,000 the entire population of Baku, Azerbaijan could move there. It will cost 100 billion dollars to complete this project and 3 billion alone for the soon to be world’s tallest building, Azerbaijan Tower.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 1:06 PM

Oil is a prime element in making a country very rich, almost like gold was back in the Age of Exploration.  The fact that a country that not many have heard of (including myself) one day hopes to be the new Dubai is completely believable.  Dubai itself, at one time, was another country that no one had heard of before and yet today it is the playground of the mega-rich.  Ibrahimov certainly has a dream for the city of Baku which he wants to build as the "Dubai of Central Asia".  I think that when it is all finished, the city should be impressive.  Yet, Ibrahimov always tried to avoid political questions, however this is very wise of him, because in this part of the world politics can be a very dangerous affair.  Ibrahimov himself, is very very wealthy.  I am not surprised that he said people with political pull believe in what he is doing.  The only thing that worries me about these oil rich countries is once the oil eventually runs out, then what will they do?  Also, it is interesting to see how Russia will react as the country of Azerbaijan increases its international presence in the coming years and becomes (in its hope) a rich nation.  I believe that will be very interesting to see, especially if the nation attempts to send oil directly to Europe, thus weakening an advantage Russia holds over the Western Europeans.

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Russia moves to push forward conference on WMDs in Middle East

Russia moves to push forward conference on WMDs in Middle East | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
US fears such a conference might become attack on Israel.
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Russia wants to move along the meeting to rid Syria of their weapons of mass destruction but this plan could but them at odds with Washington. The US fears that Russias push against Syria will bring on an attack agaist Israel.

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Feuding Over Food

Feuding Over Food | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
In the Caucasus, culinary nationalism is an extension of the region's long-simmering disputes.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

A nations food is often used to celebrate their national identity but it can also be used to highlight national rivalries. For example the Czechs reffer to their Slovak cousins as Halusky after one of their traditonal dishes. Culinary flashpoints can also arise when nations claim the same dishes as their own.  

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Amanda McDonald Crowley's curator insight, January 28, 2013 10:19 AM
Seth Dixon, Ph.D.'s insight:

" "There is perhaps nothing more closely bound up with one's national identity than food. Specific local dishes are often seen as the embodiment of various cultures and many nations promote their food as a celebration of national identity. Sometimes, however, a country's cuisine can also be used to highlight national rivalries." 

 

This opening paragraph nicely shows how cultural traditions from a similar cultural hearth may have much in common.  However, since these groups are neighbors, the geopolitical relationship may be strained despite the cultural commonalities. "

 

Jamie Strickland's curator insight, January 29, 2013 2:36 PM

This is a great addition to include for my World Food Problems course this semester.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 2014 3:30 PM

Azerbaijanis, Turks, and Armenian share a lot of the same foods. Instead of enjoying the similarities and cultural nationalism, they are disputing. Eat, drink and be  merry?

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Russians are leaving the country in droves

Russians are leaving the country in droves | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Over a bottle of vodka and a traditional Russian salad of pickles, sausage and potatoes tossed in mayonnaise, a group of friends raised their glasses and wished Igor Irtenyev and his family a happy journey to Israel.

 

My regional class has been learning about Russia this week and when I first started teaching a few years ago, I would teach that Russia had a population of 145 million.  Today it is 141 million and part of that is due to migrants leaving a country that they see as lacking in economic opportunities and political freedoms (another part of the story is that birth rates plummeted after the collapse of the Soviet Union in what demographers have called the "Russian Cross").  In the last few years the population appears to have stabilized, but there are still many who do not see a vibrant future from themselves within Russia.  

 

Tags: Russia, migration, Demographics, immigration, unit 2 population.


Via Nathan Parrish, Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In the last 10 years about 1.25 million russians have emigrated out of Russia, but the way they do it is interesting. When they leave they dont sell their houses, or aparments, or cars they simply lock their doors and quietly slip away to the airports at night. The reasons for leaving are different thought, some are leaving because the prime minister is expected to return while some are leaving because of the awful econonmy. Either way the massive amounts of emigration is leading to a higher death rate then birth rate overall. 

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Nathan Parrish's comment, October 11, 2012 12:51 AM
Seth, I was shocked as well, but the credit goes to my students who have seemed to use some 3rd party website that automatically "views" another site from what they told me this morning. I emailed my class to start visiting my scoop.it site, which I have just created a few weeks ago and they felt the need to help boost my view count. I teach 1 class of APHG (some years up to 5) in the East Bay of Northern California and have been a lifelong geographer. The content I scoop is all me, through my various searches online. I came to scoop.it to begin to collaborate with other APHG teachers and share the content with my students. I feel a bit embarrassed that my site was discovered this way and hopefully the scoops I provide can make up for my student's bad sense of humor.
Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 1, 2014 1:23 AM

This article from a couple years ago is about Russian emigration. A large number of Russians were leaving the country for better economic opportunity. Some cite the overbearing rule of Putin, but the pay in other countries is just better than what Russia can offer. This was particularly the case for the more educated, another instance of "brain drain" hurting a nation which is already in trouble.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 2014 12:00 PM

Migration occurs for many reasons. People move from country to country every day. Leaving Russia was this families choice and moving to Israel can have an impact on them greater than if they were to stay in Russia.

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Scottish independence: ‘Finance industry would leave’

Scottish independence: ‘Finance industry would leave’ | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
ThE financial services industry north of the Border would relocate to England if Scotland votes for independence next year, a senior Conservative has warned at the party conference.

Via Al Picozzi
Meagan Harpin's insight:

This could be a masive blow to Scotlands economy. A buisness minister has warned that the uncertanity of independance could cause companies like the royal bank of scotland to leave the third biggest center for financial services. 

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 6, 2013 11:26 PM

Thie vote could be a major blow to the economy of Scotland.  If the finance industry does leave to England this could leave a new nation very vunerable economically.  Will they be admitted to the EU if there is no finacne industry in the country?  Will other countried recognize Scotland as an independant nation?  What of defense?  Most of the military belongs to Great Britian, will they all leave?  will they stay?  Will Scotland even be allowed to leave, vote of no vote?  Devolution forces are in Scotland, especially historical.  The people might vote for independence, but in this day and age, it is something that must not be taken lightly.

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What if Greece quits the euro?

What if Greece quits the euro? | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
A Greek exit from the euro has become a bomb fizzling at the heart of the eurozone. What could happen if it explodes?

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

So what if Greece leaves the euro? Heres some of what could happen. It could cause political backlash from Germany that could cause them to not provide the bailout needed by Italy and Spain. If Greece were to leave the Euro, Greek buisness would move to the new currency while all foreign buisness would remian in Euros ulitmately leading them into bankruptcuies. This change would also lead to a massive recession felt all throught Greece. 

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 27, 2014 5:05 PM

Money controls everything. Because parliament has to make some budget cuts, money must be spent elsewhere. Because of this, Greece leaving the euro could lead to a downward spiral including a sovereign debt crisis, a recession and political backlash. Should Greece keep the euro?

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 2014 8:02 AM

This article explains eight possible outcomes of Greece leaving the Euro Zone. None of them favorable for Europe, except maybe the UK which could possibly borrow more cheaply. For the rest of Europe, the results are either increased burdens for the more economically strong EZ nations like Germany, or a domino effect which accelerates the decline of the struggling economies of countries like Italy and Spain.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 2, 2014 8:09 PM

If Greek were to quit/ be forced out of the Euro, according to this article, would not bode well for the country. As the graph suggests, Greece would experience multiple consequences if their vote fail then Greece will possibly suffer a government shutdown due to the debt they find themselves in.

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Changing Ethnic patterns in London

Changing Ethnic patterns in London | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Of all the changes announced by the 2011 census, one of the most startling is the rapid change in the ethnic composition of London's population.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The most surprising piece of information in this article is that white Britons are leaving London because of the minorities that are moving in. As of 2013 only 59.9% of London was white, meaning that the miniorities are taking over Ethnic part of London much faster then first anticipated.   

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Conor McCloskey's comment, April 30, 2013 10:25 AM
The British-white percentage of the population in London is dropping. While this says a lot about the demographics of London it also says a lot about global migratory patterns. London is a international city, culturally and ethnically, it has many pull factors for many different kinds of people from all over the globe, with all different cultural backgrounds. These pull factors have translated into one big push factor for British-whites, however, as they move out of the city.
There are many different things that could explain these patterns. Racism, economic shifts or better opportunities else where, however one thing is for sure, the world is become more multi-cultural. With the movements of cultures comes displacement and resistance, tension doesn’t run short in these types of situations. As so many people move away from their homelands through out the world it will be interesting to see what begins to happen with geopolitical boundaries, will situations like Hungary be more common as people move away?
Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 29, 2014 5:43 PM

Since immigrants have flocked into London, it appears some of the White population has left the city because of it. The ethnic change is happening very quickly in London and White British population is no longer the majority. As large numbers of immigrants enter London, large numbers of White people leave the city. London is becoming a melting pot rather quickly. 

 
Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 18, 2014 2:40 PM

If white flight is happening in Europe, where are all of its native migrating to? I know for years, there has been a large migrant population from the continent of Africa migrating to Europe, more specifically London, but where in the world could Britain's native be migrating to? Its common to hear of people migrating from rural areas to better neighborhoods, but with the influx of people looking for a better livelihood resemble that of the people living in countries such as India, China and Japan?

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Mexican army searches for bodies in flood and landslide-hit La Pintada

Mexican army searches for bodies in flood and landslide-hit La Pintada | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Sixty-eight people missing in village devastated by storms Manuel and Ingrid as government says 200 could be dead

Via Al Picozzi
Meagan Harpin's insight:

La Pintada was the area of the greatest tragedy in the wake of the two storms Maunel and Ingrid. There rainfall was very similar to that of the of the areas hit hardest in Colorado. We often forget that the US is not the only place that can experience weather and devestation like this. 

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, September 23, 2013 10:09 AM

Seems that the US is not the only place at this time to have disasters from large amounts of rainfall.  The people of this area describe a rainfall that was very similar to the description of the people of the Denver/Bolder area in Colorado.  What makes it worse in this area is the remote area of some of the villages.  Whereas the damage in Colorado was in the cities and the main road, more outliying areas in Mexico were hit hard.  The Mexican Army is trying its best to reach these areas.  On the similar side Acapulco was also hit hard and suffered major flooding from Hurricane Irene and another storm that hit soon after.  Much like Bolder and other Colorado cities it suffered major fllod damages and much like Route 34 in Colorado the highway connecting Acapulco to the rest of Mexico was wiped out.  To underscore this the people are upset with the response of the Mexican government.  With accusations ranging from corruption to downright neglect the people believe the government is at part to blame.  The article states they are going to move the town pictured over to a safer location...I wonder what that move is going to look like....

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In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup

In Venezuela Housing Crisis, Squatters Find 45-Story Walkup | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

This 45- story sky scraper was once supposed to be an office building, a way to show wealth. It was never finished an now is home to many of the squatters of Venezuela during their housing crisis. Because it was never finished the stairways are un light, the smell of sewage is every where and many people have walled off their terraces to prevent children from falling off.  

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, February 17, 2014 10:46 AM

The problems in Venezuela with housing and the lack of response to the problem by the government has led people to become squatters.  The using of the abandoned buildings was a good idea by the original squatters.  The vacant buildings can house many of the countries it is a shame that the government did not think of this solution to the housing problem and vacant building first, if they had, they could have made sure they were safer for the residence.  The idea of a vertical city springing up in this building is also an interesting one.  Not only are squatters living in these buildings but creating businesses and other services for the residence.

Jess Deady's curator insight, February 18, 2014 1:02 PM

In life, I constantly find myself comparing situations with what I read and what I know. Imagine this skyscraper is the Prudential in Boston. How could something meant to be so great fall to its death (and to peoples literal deaths)? One day there is a massive financial building occupied with bankers and lavishness. The next day there is a skyscraper in the form of a house. Housing shortages are happening everywhere and Venezuela is being hit hard in this situation. Imagine visiting this country and asking where someone lives? "Oh, I live in the Tower of David, which used to mean a whole lot more."

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 7, 2014 9:58 PM

This is an amazing story of renewal. I think that is beautiful people who might otherwise be on the street have found refuge in this tower. A building can have so many uses and it is inspirational to see people coming together and the determination of the human spirit. It is hard not to think about what a positive impact this building must have had on it's occupants.

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Cuban Missile Crisis - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Cuban Missile Crisis - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

Via Al Picozzi
Meagan Harpin's insight:

A look back at a scary time during October 1962 when the US and USSR where close to a nuclear missle war. It was filled with days of nuclear safety drills and fear of the unknown while Kennedy worked hard to get the situation under control.

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Al Picozzi's curator insight, September 24, 2013 10:39 PM

Just a look back of what the relations were in the 1960s and how close the US and the USSR came to full blown nuclear war.  I asked both my parents what it was like in 1962 during this time.  Both of them said it was a scary time.  Nuclear attack drills daily when this was going on in October 1962.  This area so close to the US geographically made a huge difference even though the Soviets had missles that could reach the US from Russia and elswhere in Europe.  It was the fact that there would be so little warning of a launch and that it was right in our "back yard"...remember the Monroe Doctrine.  Kennedy invoked its use in order to stop the missiles.  But now times have changed..see my next scoop...

Paige McClatchy's curator insight, September 25, 2013 11:22 AM

The Cuban Missle Crisis was a very scary moment for the world and is a very blatant example of how the US managed/used coersion in their relationships with Latin American countries during the Cold War. Geographically, the fall of Cuba to communism was a huge blow to the United States because it represented a severe military threat. The US sought to control all of South America and democratize it in the Cold War because of its geographically strategic position to the US.

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The Changing Geography of Quinoa

The Changing Geography of Quinoa | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The beautiful Quinoa plants grow and thrive in harsh conditions where nothing else can grow. Quinoa is one of the planets most nutritious food source that was once just a sacred crop for the Andean culture. It is now a health food for the middle class in the US and Europe, but the increased demand means less for the people of Bolivia and Peru and tripled prices. Many are concerned this could cause malnutrition because it is their main food source and it is now being taken from them at a rapid pace. Battles have even begun to be fought over prime Quinoa growing land. I love Quinoa, and its a big part of my diet but I never realized how important it was to the people of Bolivia and Peru or how much they relied on it.       

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Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 1, 2014 8:48 PM

Bolivia and Peru once enjoyed Quinoa as a locally grown grain that was used in a nutritious diet. However, because  other parts of the world are becoming increasingly accustomed to Quinoa it is driving the price of the grain in both countries, which is putting the locals in a tough pot because it is practically tripling in price. The poorer citizens are struggling to get Quinoa, something that they once got relatively easy.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:12 PM

This is an example of the harmful effect of globalization, those who grew quinoa for food are now forced to ship away their food source leading to starvation and a slew of other issues. Those in the west with their obsession with "Super Foods" have without realizing it driven up the price of this grain to the extend that those who relied upon it as their staple crop can no longer afford to eat it themselves.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 3, 12:54 PM

I remember walking into Panera Bread one morning a few months back. In the doorway, they had a sign that read, "Now serving Quinoa Oatmeal." I thought to myself, "What the hell is a Key-noah?" Now, it seems I can't go anywhere without hearing about this grain.

 

Touted as the super grain, Quinoa has been used for centuries as a source of sustenance for the dwellers of the Andes. But what happens when a traditional food source, only able to grow in a small region is suddenly desired by large parts of America and Europe? Supply and demand has kicked in and if it's more profitable to eat something else and sell your crop, then I'd imagine most folks would do just that like they are in the Andes. The problem with selling your main source of nutrition is that when you aren't eating it, you're not getting the nutrients you normally got. Is stripping a people of their ancestral food source and malnutrition worth it for a bowl of oatmeal at Panera? 

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A Life Revealed

A Life Revealed | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Seventeen years after she stared out from the cover of National Geographic, a former Afghan refugee comes face-to-face with the world once more.

 

The original cover is one of the more famous National Geographic photos of all time, and yet the woman in the photograph has not lived a life as though millions of people could recognize her eyes.  This is her story. 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

For 17 years she was known as nothing more than the Afgan girl today we now her name, Sharbat Gula. Sharbat is part of one of the most Afghan warlike tribes known as Pashtun. It is said that the Pashtun are only at peace when they are at war. She was just a child when the fighting began, and six when her parents were killed by a bombing. Her brother said they left Afghanistan because of the fighting and with their grandmother they walked for a week to Pakistan. Today she is married and takes care of her three daughters her brother says she has never known a happy day in her life. The girl known for 17 years as the Afghan girl has lied a lived of hard ship and tragedy.     

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Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 22, 2014 1:17 PM

This is an iconic image that we have all seen.In 1984 a picture of a young Afghan refugee was taken and in June 1985 it was placed on the cover of National Geographic Magazine. 17 years later in 2002 the young woman was tracked down.During this visit a recent image was captured (the first and last time she was photographer was that day in 1984). Her name is Sharbat Gula and she never knew the impact her photo had made. So cutoff from the modern world void of most of her identity she did not even know how old she was.When the photo was taken she was in a refugee camp ,along with the remnants of her family that had survived the Afghan war.In 2002 when a search was assembled to find the woman with the piercing green eyes , the National Geographic organization did not know if she was still alive.After passing around her photo they were able to locate Sharbat .Reluctant to be caught talking to foreigners and uneasy about taking another photo National Geographic explained to the woman how she had inspired people to help her country. Having considered that she was  helping her people Sharbat agreed. National Geographic also helped to provide her family with much needed healthcare.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 3, 2014 1:58 PM

You can see in this woman's face that the years have been hard for her living as refugee. Although this seems like National Geographic giving themselves a pat on the back it is important to remember that this women became a national symbol for refugees and yet her life did not improve and furthermore she had no idea that her picture was so well known.

David Lizotte's curator insight, February 27, 6:36 PM

I never would have imagined the "Afghan girl" being alive. It's amazing how National Geographic was able to catch up and speak with her and photograph her. This demonstrates the pure professionalism and global outreach national geographic has. 

One of the things I am most thankful about is that I do not live in a war torn society. Being separated from my family, forced to flee and become a refugee is a horrid way of life that I know I would struggle to endure. Some Afghanistan people have been doing this for over twenty years. 

One time I was having a discussion with my friend. We talking about America and the westernized part of the world. He and I agreed how lucky we were to be born in America. We were born white males in the United States of America. We could have been born a woman living in Iran or Iraq, or even as a little rural Afghan boy whom would eventually be taken and abused by theTaliban. We kept going on with different scenarios and different countries. 

Want I want for people to realize is how advanced the United States of America is. Yes, we have our problems... but non comparable to other nations. Look at nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. These are first world nations which have war torn regions occupied by terrorists of all sorts. They also have little to no functioning government, although Afghanistan is improving. Even second world nations, although developing at a steady pace are plagued with an exponential amount of violent crimes and corruption. South Africa would be a prime example. 

Its amazing to read about the "Afghan girl"(s) or better yet Sharbat Gula. After all she has gone through she still has hope for her younger children. After enduring such a life of foul experiences she is still able to place all her faith into Allah and hope for the best for her children. It is also neat to see her place such a high level of importance on education. Education is the foundation for all development. 

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Not all Olympic champions stand on the podium

Not all Olympic champions stand on the podium | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Tahmina Kohistani’s Olympics lasted exactly 14 and 42/100ths of a second.

 

This is a great article that highlights the Olympic successes that are underreported.  Due to geographic circumstances, simply competing is a remarkable accomplishment.  The women participants from Afghanistan and Iran are highlighted in this article. 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The olympic games have become only about the podium winners in the media, if you dont win you dont matter. Tahmina Kohistani was the only female athlete from Afghanistan to compete in the games back in 2012. It is an amazing feat in itself that a female from Afghanistan even managed to get to the games never mind partacipate. She didnt win, she finished last, but it was her personal best time and the fastest she had ever run the 100 meter. But because she was not up on that podium none of that matter and many people did not even know she had run the race.  

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lelapin's comment, August 11, 2012 1:27 PM
great article indeed. Thanks for turning the spotlight away from the podium, for a change.
Kendra King's curator insight, February 28, 11:12 AM

The coverage of the Olympics after opening ceremonies is heavily centered on the medal count and I don’t actually see a problem with that. Reason being is that the story, that supposedly never got coverage, was something I remember commentators speaking about when the Afghanistan team walked out on stage during the opening ceremonies thereby showing how “politics and social culture” are intertwined. Her journey qualified her as a “champion” right away and people saw that. Secondly, when there is a ridiculous amount of events and people to cover, one needs to pick and choose. Since the point of the Olympics is to win, it isn’t surprising that the most coverage is given on the metal winners. There are stories outside of Kohistani’s in which someone who didn’t make it to podium was covered (i.e. winter Olympics regarding Ryan Bradly or Jonny Wier). Typically when that happens though, the person is from our own country. What I think is wrong with the coverage is the huge focus on just our country. While the Olympics is a time where patriotism surges as we root for our own team, it is a symptom of a large problem. Americans are too America-centric in general. Just looking at the normal daily news cover in the states is a clear indication of the issue and I think that is why some of the more analytic pieces that show “politics and social culture” are generally under reported

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Russia 'hands Syria plans to US'

Russia 'hands Syria plans to US' | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Russia has handed over to the US its plans to make safe Syria's chemical weapons, sources say, after President Obama put military strikes on hold.

Via Jonathan Lemay
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Russia annouced its plan to place Syrias chemial weapons stockpile under international control and Syria said it welcolmed the initiative. This plan lead president Obama to put a hold on his plan to put military action into Syria for the sake of diplomacy. 

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Jonathan Lemay's curator insight, September 11, 2013 2:35 PM

Diplomacey is definately the way to handle this situation. I am in favor of this current step.

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The Geography of Chechnya

The Geography of Chechnya | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
The Caucasus region, dominated by the imposing Great Caucasus mountain range and stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, has long been known as one of the world’s ethnically and linguistically most diverse areas.

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

After the Boston bombing most poeple tend to think that Chechnya is home to terriosts but it is more than that. Chechnya is home to over 100 languages but four main langauge families. The ethnic situation is just as complex and and correlates closely with languages. The southern part of the region consits of languages such as Georgian, Svan and Mingrelian. Along with these languages most people are of the christian religion but some are muslim as well. In the north they speak Turkish, Iranian and Chechens. 

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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 3, 2014 9:27 AM

It is amazing to consider such a small area (the size of New England) could hold such a vast area of languages.  The mountainous region certainly helps in creating such diversity as it isolated villages from each other in the ages before modern communication and travel.

Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 15, 2014 9:01 PM

This is an area of the world that I can honestly say I do not know much about. It is apparent why this would be considered "one of the world's ethnically and linguistically most diverse areas". With the amount of countries in such close proximity to each other I can see why there would be major conflicts. I do agree that we need to become more knowledgeable about this and all areas of our globe. Not just learning about a place when something bad has happened there.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 15, 2014 6:46 PM

This map does a fantastic job of highlighting the cultural diversity within Russia and the former Soviet states. Understanding how these cultural regions overlap one another is paramount in understanding the region's tensions and the repercussions that result including Chechen terrorism in Russia and even in America (Boston bombings).

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Stray Dogs Master Moscow Subway

Stray Dogs Master Moscow Subway | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

"Every so often, if you ride Moscow's crowded subways, you may notice that the commuters around you include a dog - a stray dog, on its own, just using the handy underground Metro to beat the traffic and get from A to B.  Yes, some of Moscow's stray dogs have figured out how to use the city's immense and complex subway system, getting on and off at their regular stops."


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

There are about 35,ooo stray dogs living in Russias capital all looking for food. A small percent of them have learned how to ride the subway system to get exactly where they want to go in the city. Most of these strays especially the ones on the trays are very friendly, its the rest of the people you have to convince of that too. 

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 2014 8:46 PM

Dogs are creatures of habit. They get on at one stop and off at another every day or every so often. This is because there is an abundance of stray dogs and since no one is taking them in, Moscow will continue to have interesting subway surfers among them.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 11:06 AM

Humans commonly think of themselves as separate from nature.  However, we very much are a part of it and animals, like these stray dogs, know it.  When dealing with something more powerful than yourself, you have to learn how to navigate the system in order to survive.  That is exactly what these dogs have done, literally and figuratively, by learning the complex subway systems in Moscow.  It is an example of how animals can adapt to their man-made surroundings and how persistent (the rest of) nature can be.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:51 PM

Every so often, if you ride Moscow's crowded subways, you notice that the commuters around you include a stray dog. Some of Moscow's stray dogs have figured out how to use the city's complicated subway system, getting on and off at their regular stops. The human commuters around them are so accustomed to it that they rarely seem to notice. As many as 35,000 stray dogs live in Russia's capital city. They can be found everywhere, from markets to construction sites to underground passageways, scrounging for food and trying to survive. Using the subway is just one of many strategies that they use to survive. Living in the streets in tough and these dogs know this better than some humans. What is most impressive about their dogs is their ability to deal with the Metro's loud noises and packed crowds, distractions that domesticated dogs often cannot handle.

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Ireland could become magnet for ‘climate refugees’

Ireland could become  magnet for ‘climate refugees’ | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Public being duped by ‘mischievous misinformation’, says Prof John Sweeney
Meagan Harpin's insight:

If the climate change rates dont change Ireland could become home to climate refugess. Because of Irelands temperate climate it is often seen as a safe haven and that is why it will draw in so many climate refugees. What they dont realize is that Ireland will experience sever climate change as well much like they did in 2010 and 2011 and that will effect there agriculture and economy and make supporting the refugess even harder.   

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A Barrier to Peace

A Barrier to Peace | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it

"Why would they want to pull down these walls?” asks William Boyd mildly as he offers me a cup of tea in his home at Cluan Place, a predominantly Loyalist area of east Belfast.

 

These walls, orginally installed in the late 60s to protect Belfast residents during "the Troubles."  Today, some argue that these walls are now barriers to the peace process as they continue defacto segregation.  Walls, as barriers to diffusion, stifle communication, cooperation and interaction.  Still, these walls are symbols of communal identity and icons in the cultural landscape.  For more academic work on this, see Peter Shirlow's Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City.

 

Questions to Consider: How would a wall through an already culturally and politically divided city impact both sides of the wall?  Today, are the walls beneficial to peace in Northern Ireland?       

 

Tags: Ireland, states, borders, political. 


Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The walls in Belfast Ireland were put in the 60's to protect the residents and today many people argue they need to come down. My grandmother just returned from a trip to Ireland and Belfast was one of the areas they went. She said it was very sad, Christians had to walk on one side of the street and Protestans on the other in one area and the tour bus driver was being voice monitered by the police the whole time. There is so much seperation in Befast because of that wall and more people dont want it taken down then want it down for anything to be done. 

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Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 30, 2013 12:14 PM

The barrier in Belfast, Ireland is an impressive one. It has been there since the 1960s and having it there has become a security for the residence on both sides. Neither side wants it taken down, however, they have extremely different political/religious views. It seems strange to me that these people would prefer living in prison-like conditions just because that is the way it has been for so long. So long as the physical walls stay up, so will the cultural walls between these people.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 17, 2014 8:13 AM

This article is about large walls which were constructed fifty years ago to separate a part Belfast, Northern Ireland to protect citizens from conflicts between loyalists and separatists. Q wall separating people could temporarily protect people from violent conflict, but it would undoubtedly ensure continued conflict and intensify the feeling of "Us vs. Them." Though the people interviewed from both sides of the wall in the article like the wall since it gives them a feeling of security, the wall is likely damaging to a peace process in Northern Ireland.

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Britain's New Slogan: Don't Come to the U.K.!

Britain's New Slogan: Don't Come to the U.K.! | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
An advertising campaign designed to illustrate the drawbacks of living in the U.K. is being planned to deter an expected surge of immigrants, according to reports

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

With the quota limiting the number of immigrants from bulgria and romania due to expire next year it will give 29 million people the right to not only enter but live and work in Britain. One plan is to force those arriving from Romiania and Bulgiaria to prove that they can support themselves for six months. They are also putting out an advertisment to try to show drawbacks to living in Britian to try and detur people from immigrating in.  

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Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, March 29, 2014 5:22 PM

It appears the U.K. is designing this campaign due to the fact they are struggling financially and they cannot afford to give benefits to some of the immigrants coming into the U.K., as immigrants are entering at a high rate.

When the Olympics games were hosted in London, the weather was beautiful and the sun was shining almost everyday, (which is rare in the U.K.) That made the U.K. even more attractive to foreigners and potential immigrants. This advertising campaign is displaying the drawbacks of living in the U.K., such as the rainy weather and constant grey skies.  

Flaviu Fesnic's curator insight, September 17, 2014 6:02 AM

UKIP launched an aggressive campaign against Romanians and Bulgarians by the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 which completely turned out to be a trick to gain some more votes.Not only this chauvinistic campaign showed a misleading message but it stirred an unjustified feeling of hatred toward Romanians&Bulgarians.Latest figures showed an influx of mostly high qualified persons , in fact !
Unlike the immmigration to Spain and Italy (1mill. to both of these countries) Romanians usually only work there and come back after a while,they don't settle there... It's probably, the Latin blood ! :)

Flaviu Fesnic's comment, September 17, 2014 6:14 AM
so, there was no influx but misleading UKIP politics... visit Cultural Geography on Facebook !
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Conflict Kitchen

Conflict Kitchen | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Conflict Kitchen is a restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict.

Via Paige McClatchy
Meagan Harpin's insight:

I think this is very interesting. I can see where it could cause conflict and debate between the people of the US, but I think its a great way to get people to stop and think about what is going on about side of our little bubble.

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Paige McClatchy's curator insight, September 15, 2013 9:24 PM

People around the world have criticized Americans for only learning geography by going to war. The Conflict Kitchen is an amazingly interesting manifestation of that criticism but takes it a step further by encouraging the public to engage with the country of conflict in a way that serves to make them less other. Eating Cuban, Iranian, and North Korean food does not necessarily mean that you can point out those places on a map, but being exposed to the culutral side of those countries does help make them seem less "over there." Eating and food preparation are very much a part of the ethnic or national identity of a people, and by eating the food of a country we only know about because we are fighting them makes its people seem more, well, like people. 

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BOGOTA, Colombia: Caribbean, Latin American leaders likely to discuss spying, development at U.N. meeting - Americas - MiamiHerald.com

U.S. spying, development in the Caribbean and peace in Colombia are some of the issues that the region’s leaders are expected to address at the annual U.N. opening.
Meagan Harpin's insight:

The president of Braliz cancelled a visit with the US senate stating that the National Security Agency was listeing in on her phone conversations and spying on oil companys. Many expect her to demand for stricter rules to the US from peeping on their goings on.

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Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s

Bolivia: A Country With No McDonald’s | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

Bolivia has become the first Latin American country to be McDonalds free since they closed their doors back in 2002. But what made them fall? It has been shown that Bolivians prefer their native food or to buy non traditional food from their own people selling them on the streets over the fast food. Its the reciprocity, they want to give back to each other as they can.  

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Lena Minassian's curator insight, February 13, 11:29 AM

I absolutely love this! Here is a country that takes a lot of pride in eating fresh foods. They do not have any fast food chains because Bolivians prefer their traditional foods just the way they are. They still eat hamburgers but prefer to buy them from women who make them instead of a McDonald's. Bolivians value that interaction and relationship with the people surrounding them and that genuinely makes food more enjoyable. Their food relationships do not involve money but the effects of what these fresh foods can do for them. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, February 28, 5:50 PM

This is a fine example of people looking out for one another.  It might be easier to industrialize their food market but it's more admirable to preserve tradition, help small indigenous business, and try your best at making the country more healthy.  I applaud them for doing this.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 22, 3:33 PM

I think I might want to move to Bolivia one day! Reciprocity is often a term used for corporate culture; you but from me and I'll buy from you type of relationship. This is still true in Bolivia only they do it on a much more personal level. Farmers share equipment, they share crops, seeds and develop a rapport not easily undone by corporations such as McDonald's. Bolivia's multiple micro-climates allow it to grow a wide variety of foods for their citizens, thus making it easier to trade within their circle of neighborhood farmers. "I'll trade you ten pounds of potatoes for five pounds of Quinoa."

The article goes on to state that Bolivians do indeed love their hamburgers, a handful of Subway's and Burger King's still do business there, but the heritage of picking a burger from a street vendor has been passed down by generations. These cholitas, as they are called, sell their fare in the streets of Bolivia and this type of transaction is not easily duplicated by large corporations. I have added Bolivia to my bucket list...

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Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade

Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade | Meagan's Geoography 400 | Scoop.it
Bolivian and Peruvian farmers sell entire crop to meet rising western demand, sparking fears of malnutrition

Via Seth Dixon
Meagan Harpin's insight:

In Argentina there is a proposed plan to build a tunnel that would be the longest tunnel in the Americas through the mountains. It would make billions of dollars worth of Chinese electronics, Chilean wine, Argentine food and Brazilian Cars cheaper and more competitive. It would save millions on shipping and safe time on shipping as well. The only pass through the Andes at the moment is in the south and gets buried in snow in the winter stranding shipments. If this is put into place many people believe that it cut travel time by a third.     

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Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, February 14, 7:49 PM

The transportation and global industry is growing economically fast and that is one of the most important part of the global business. Latin America along with eastern Asia who are big in the global trade route do businesses and find trade routes enough to provide sufficient production will obviously boom the trading business and create a new spatial opportunity for global industries.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, February 19, 1:06 PM

Rail proves to be a very effective way of transporting a large amount of goods cheaply overland as my freight conductor friend likes to remind me as I ask him why hasn't trucking phased out your job yet. Except he reminds me in more colourful language. Building a tunnel that drops shipping costs from $210 to $177 is a huge boost in savings. What always interests me is the private interest taken in South America and this tunnel is no exception. It's proposed with no help from the government or funding. Fees to use the tunnel would pay for it. Too much privatization or too much government ownership always a red flag for most people. If cheaper prices for imports from Asia and Chile outweigh the concerns for the Argentine, then this project just may be worth the initial 3.9 billion dollar price tag for that long hole in the Andes.

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, May 7, 12:54 PM

This is a great idea for a region that has the need to travel so much through such a tough area. Even if it will cost a lot of money to accomplish, in the long run it will save more than it costs to build.  This could change so much, and really boost their economies. Not only would it speed up shipping time and lower shipping costs, but it would allow more shipping to be done which means more business throughout the entire year as opposed to the situation now with snow getting in the way. Not only would it effect that aspect of the economy but it would also produce jobs for the time of the work being done, which is never a bad thing.