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World-Wide geography information for GEO 400
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Rescooped by Michelle Carvajal from Regional Geography!

NYTimes Video: "A Man's World"

NYTimes Video: "A Man's World" | MLC Geo400 class portfolio |
After three decades of war, Afghanistan is one of the world's widow capitals. They are ridiculed as prostitutes when they go shopping, and many are unable to rent their own homes.


Women are highly criticized in this country for being widowed and walking the streets alone. We know well enough by now that they are always accompanied by men and to be alone is almost like you are a prostitute or of little worth. What then, when your husband dies and you have no where to go, with no money, and no one to take care of you from harm? These women are left alone, sometimes with children that they have to feed yet they are deprived of jobs and houses. Widows in afghanistan equal up to two million. What happens with all of them? As seen in this video, many end up in shelters while they seem to get back on track. For many it is embarassing to admit that they live in a shelter. The fact that women end up in this predicament in the first place is sad. To not be able to mourn because you are too busy trying to survive is something that no one should have to do. Marriage continues to be the way out of poverty and isolation for these women. The wars have brough heartache and pain to these widows and it seems like the solution is not near at all.

Via Seth Dixon
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Rescooped by Michelle Carvajal from Geography Education!

Human/Environmental Interactions

To give you further understanding of what has happened in the past 30 or so years. This mismanagement of land use by the Soviet, and then by farmers has truly made a once natural resource, beauty to a barren land. A desert which once was covered by water is all that remains of the Aral Sea. As seen in this video, there are those hwo have never even seen water in this area because it is now very minimal. To know that there is no other reason to blame but people is extremely sad. People will do what they need to do to survive, but at what cost? Will we as a people continue to harm our planet and destroy our enviroment? The answer for many will be yes because we need to survive but we must also be strategic about what we are doing and how in the long run it will affect us. It has and will continue to create health issues for many. Many will die from malnutrition and as I mentioned in a previous article its due to the fact that many can not relocate. However, once there is no water or resource to create good crops I guarantee that people will find a way to move and find what they need. If all this can be prevented why not do it ahead of time? We need to start giving some importance to our natural resources. -- M. Carvajal

Via Seth Dixon
Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 20, 2013 1:11 PM

This has to be one of the most telling video of an environmental disaster I have even seen.  A whole sea, 26,000 square miles, bigger than the state of West Virginia, is bascially gone due to Soviet mismanagement.  This is an environmental disaster now that the Russians do not have to deal with as it is now located in the independant country of Kazakhstan.  It effects them as well as the new countries that have come to be withthe collapse of the USSR.  Seems Russian dodged this just like Chernobyl.  This is something we need to lean from, on how not to use a natural resource until it literally has dried up.

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 12:24 PM

The Aral Sea, located in Central Asia is a very important water source for the entire region.  Unfortunately, the Soviet Union designated this water sources as one which would provide water to rice and cotton crops, which are both very water-intensive crops.  This has resulted in desertification of the area due to the cyclical shrinking volume of the lake.  Sands and chemicals are now free to blow around, affecting people's health.  This is one of the best examples on earth of environmental exploitation due to a lack of environmental planning.  When the lake dries up, the inhabitants of the surrounding countries will be in huge trouble.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, October 6, 2014 10:38 PM

The Aral Sea was a source of food for the residents, as it was home to thousands of fish and water was used to irrigate crops.Also acted as a climate regulator. Therefore, its virtual disappearance has caused winters and summers are extreme.Today the drought is considered one of the greatest ecological disasters caused by man. scientists estimated that the Aral sea will disappear before 2020. A plan to expand the cultivation of cotton throughout Central Asia and thus a system of canals for irrigation that significantly decreased the amount of water reaching the Aral Sea. It angers me to see that the human has being causing many natural disasters.

Rescooped by Michelle Carvajal from Geography Education!

How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan

How tiny Estonia stepped out of USSR's shadow to become an internet titan | MLC Geo400 class portfolio |
The European country where Skype was born made a conscious decision to embrace the web after shaking off Soviet shackles Eesti keel | Estonian language version...


This article is very intersting for the mere fact that it is solely based on the benefit of the citizen. It is amazing that Estonia has made the use of the interent accessible to everyone but more importantly it is accessible anywhere. Yes, Skype was created in Estonia and ever since then the intenet has been available for people of all ages to use. It is extraordinary that you can walk 100 miles (if you can) but it is mind baffling to be able to walk 100 miles with no loss of internet connection. We know that it is annoying to lose connection however, Estonia has made it possible for you to never lose it because they have free wifi no matter where you are. Key word? FREE. How many wouldn't love to get rid of a bill like that? It is truly beneficial to Estonian citizens because they know that's money they can use for their families. A person can be proud of being an Estonian for the simple fact that they know their government is working for them. The idea of a chip ID that you can insert in any computer and access any personal information is amazing. The chip itself has no information but it is more or less a key. I wonder however, if you lose the key, do you get a replacement for free or do you have to pay? Either way it would be minimal compared to having to pay a monthly fee for internet.  -- M. Carvajal

Via Seth Dixon
Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 11, 2012 11:03 PM

I actually like the idea of the computerized ID card.  Yes, undoubtedly from the outside looking in this does appear to have some big brother qualities but I think it's brilliant.  The card allows people to transfer money and vote.  It's also nice to see a country that doesn't just treat their internet use like a toy.  They use it to benefit their society, making it accessible to everyone in the country and not just those who can afford it. 

Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 13, 2013 10:43 AM

Just an amazing fact to see a county that was once under the controll of the USSR for so long as come so far.  Now a part of NATO and the EU Estonia has stepped out of the control of Russia to become a virbrant place to live.  Once independant and then under the contol of the USSR at the start of WW II it has once again become a nation itself.  Also notice a very different view in the article, the people there feel this electronic system lets them keep and eye on the government and not a big brother view many people in the US have over electronic ID systems.  Is it because they have always been use to being looked at by the government, ie the USSR over the last 50 years and because we are so use to freedoms that we have had for hundreds of years?

Cam E's curator insight, February 27, 2014 11:04 AM

I actually had no idea that Estonia birthed Skype. It was an amazing foresight that Estonia immediately jumped into the computer and internet age, and even more surprising that you can get Wi-fi across most of the country, no matter how remote. That's something that hasn't been accomplished in even the US. They had Internet in most schools by 1997 and can even vote online!

Rescooped by Michelle Carvajal from Regional Geography!

Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union'

Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union' | MLC Geo400 class portfolio |
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.


--Simply put it is in a way a good idea for al these former Soviet nations to come together in order to break the barrier. It is intelligent for Putin to say that there is no possible way to recreate something that is in the past, and if it were, why do that when you can make it better by taking only the concept? Politcally and economically, the aim to have a Eurasion Union could indeed serve as a positive effect and make this continent more appealing. Being able to link all these nations together and work hand in hand with them can possibly create more jobs within this continent that will create more products to be exported and likewise strengthen their economy. The fact that other nations such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are considering in joining shows that there is enough in this plan to have more than one country consider. There are other nations however, who seek double meaning to the intentions of a Eurasian Union and also may not want to join their government and economy into one. There is always room for doubt but if it is for the good then this could have great potential.--M. Carvajal

Via Seth Dixon
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.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 5:11 PM

it can hardly be considered surprising that Putin wants another version of the USSR. every other major nation has some form of organization that it is a part of, and with Russia left alone it must now desperately scrabble for some alliance or union with any other nation.

Rescooped by Michelle Carvajal from Geography Education!

Will There Be a Central Asian Spring?

Will There Be a Central Asian Spring? | MLC Geo400 class portfolio |

Kazakhstan may not be ripe for revolution, but the West is making the same mistakes it made in the Arab world


All there really is to say about this issue is that in times where it is benificial for other countries to turn their head, they will. It is a shame that there was no intervention. Not for the benefit of the government or foreign countries, but for the benfit of the people who would be affected from the results of this election. As said within this article referring to the day that Nursultan Nazarbayev basically stole the election..  "On that day democracy was killed, just as in Zhanaozen our peaceful citizens were killed with machine guns!" - OSDP deputy leader Amirzhan Kosanov. People are losing their rights and freedom and all due to the fact that rich people in certain nations can get away with things based on their economic standing and who they know politically. Not only this, but if you do interfere or say something, you can disappear and no one would question it. If someone is in good favor with anyone in the west, they get away with more than those who are not on that friendly of a term. People can shape countries however they want, rule their people however they want, but it should still be up to the people to elect their ruler in a fair election. No matter who is friends with who, justice should be served equally. -- M.Carvajal

Via Amarji, Seth Dixon
Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:36 AM
It is sad to see Western nations ignoring Kazakhstan's drift into dictatorship as it ignores all democratic ways of governance. Since the current leader in charge is friendly with the west, powers like NATO do little to intervene. The hypocrisy behind it is that we did and said much more in Syria and Egypt where similar events took place.
Brian Nicoll's curator insight, December 11, 2012 11:44 PM

It bothers me that this is being over looked by our government.  If they are going to stand up and back the resurgance in Syria and Egypt then why are we not doing it here to?  All it would take would take is a backing from our government, but due to the ties that the have with the West, we are not stepping in.  This shows complete hypocrisy on our part. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 10:36 AM

I couldn't view this article for some reason. It wanted me to subscribe to something.

Rescooped by Michelle Carvajal from Geography Education!

Remote Sensing and Land Cover Change

Remote Sensing and Land Cover Change | MLC Geo400 class portfolio |

By moving the slider, the user can compare 1990 false-color Landsat views (left) with recent true-color imagery (right). Humans are increasingly transforming Earth’s surface—through direct activities such as farming, mining, and building, and indirectly by altering its climate.


It's sad to see how the enviroment is being affected based on how people are using it in order to survive. There is really no win win situation here unless people chose to leave and start their life elsewhere. We also have to take consideration the fact that many of the people around the Aral Sea do not have the means to relocate. The Aral Sea has progressively lost its size based on crops that have been farmed around its area. As more and more crops are grown, more and more water is being taken from the sea. Pretty soon there will be no more than just a dry land that once was a water source for life. Again, many of the people in this area rely on their crops to survive, but what will happen once the water has run dry? There is always a way to prevent things from happening but it takes a great effort and times are not giving people that option. -- M. Carvajal

Via Seth Dixon
Jake Red Dorman's curator insight, November 13, 2014 2:25 PM

Clearly the water level has decreased in Kazakhstan from 1990 until now. Farming, mining, and building are all indirectly changing the geography of some places. The use of rivers for cotton irrigation has shrunk by 3 quarters in the last 50 years and it is extremely affecting the Aral Sea. 

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 13, 2014 3:10 PM

Is sad to see how humans are changing the environment forcing the wild creatures to abandon the places they've been living for hundred or years or die of starvation. I wonder what will happen in 300 years when there is no more big lakes and the oceans will be completed polluted .

Tanya Townsend's curator insight, November 20, 2015 2:57 PM

Great tool to show students how human use of natural resources can change landscapes and have permanent impacts on geographical landmarks such as the aerial sea. How do we stop it? Can we undo the damage done? How do we prevent these tragedies from happening in the future?

Rescooped by Michelle Carvajal from Geography Education!

Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too?

Latvia votes: Is Russian our language, too? | MLC Geo400 class portfolio |

It is understandable to see where Latvians are coming from. For many, its the only thing that they can hold on to: Culture. Latvians feel as though they should be able to hold on to their own language and shouldn't have to learn another if they are in an area where they all speak the same. It almost relates to how cultural identity is perceived here in the US. Many feel as though they do not need to learn spanish for this was an english speaking country. & there are others who believe that languages are forced on them. The issue will always remain however, in a place where majority of the people speak Russian it would be wise for everyone to atleast make it a language you can learn about it in school at your own discretion. Imposing it as a national language is indeed hindering those who do not speak it and who are possibly older in age to learn it. That takes away from people having the right to chose what they want to learn and identify with. --M. Carvajal


For more on the vote, see:    

Via Seth Dixon
Derek Ethier's comment, October 18, 2012 1:14 AM
It is definitely important for Latvians to hold on tightly to their culture. However, the Soviet Union caused Russian culture and language to spread throughout the USSR and countries are feeling the effects today. There are millions of Russians in former satellite nations who hold on to their Russian culture. At the same time, these nations wish to regain their national pride especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is a difficult conundrum, but I do agree with the Latvians' decision.
Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 5, 2015 4:54 PM

About 35 percent of Latvia's population (5,000,000) contains Russian ancestors. Russia does not want to give Latvia credit for practicing Russian languages and the Russian heritage because Russian feels like since they take up about 11% of the world, they don't need to share their heritage with any other country. It's kind of like copyright laws that Russia seems to have.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 1:37 PM

this article is great. the latvians are doing the right thing. in the place you live and where you are from, the people should speak your language and follow your rules. you should be worried about what the native people want and not what others want. be proud of your culture and preserve it.

Rescooped by Michelle Carvajal from Geography 400 at ric!

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal

Troubles on Russia's Lake Baikal | MLC Geo400 class portfolio |
Workers at an ailing paper mill in Siberia are clinging to their jobs in the face of financial pressure and criticism from environmentalists.


The environment, industry and politics play key roles in this story of an old style Soviet mono-town on Lake Baikal.  Monotowns had planned economies that revolved around one industry and today many of these are struggling in the post-Soviet era.  While the particulars of the political situation are a bit dated, the overall issue is still quite relevant to understanding Russia today.   


--We need to consider many things when we see this video. First and foremost, the mill was a main source for labor and economic growth in this small town. Many generations have worked in this location post- Soviet issues. The fact that in those times it was not considered a source of harm for the wildlife and human life that surrounded it, means a great deal. You have to consider that people were focused on production and exporting what they had in order to maintain a stable place in the trade field. People were not focusing on the long term effects but rather being able to provide food and shelter for their families. Many people to this day put their lives at risk working in less than safe locations around the world. We have to see the need for these people to continue putting themselves at risk. Now, enviromentalists are saying that the waste and the pollution associated with the mill is harmful and can cause devastation to the wildlife and lake. Yes, it is true. However, to what extent can they continue to push this mill to close down and to what extent will their conscience give in and realize that by closing this location down they are contributing to the deaths of many because there will be no way for them to earn money and survive. Of course no one wants to destory a beautiful lake or the wildlife in it, but have enviromentalists considered ways of making the mill more enviromental friendly? -- M. Carvajal


Tags: Russia, industry, labor, environment, economic, water, pollution, environment modify, unit 6 industry.

Via Seth Dixon, Elizabeth Allen
Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:31 PM

This mill on Lake Biakal was created in the soviet era. This was created and made a increasing well place to work with the promise of a bright future for its workers. Instead when it comes to the post soviet era its a failing community. Not because of the workers but because of the era that they live in. The age of environmentalists. because of this the mill and its workers are suffering. Many of the people that had moved there to work in the mill in the 60's with a promise of a bright future. However today the people who originally moved there and the descendents are paying the price for the soviet promise. If the mill were to forever close then the people of the area would basically have no life and future. They wouldnt even have enough money to move out of look for jobs.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 1:28 PM

Seeing this video and the lack of human development in this small town is astounding. They are destroying a lake and the environment about them, they do not care though. Unfortunately, they have to not care about the environment, they are so desperate for work to make money to live and support themselves and family, that they are willing to do what it takes to keep their jobs at the mill. The workers and citizens of the area know about the consequences of the pollution, they know it needs to be taken care of, but with the depravity they have, they have to. They are faced with a situation no one want to be in... work and destroy the environment so they have money to live, or be without life necessities. 

Louis Helyes's curator insight, October 10, 2016 2:12 PM

This video talks about a paper mill in Russia. It is saying that environmentalists are pressuring the mill to close down due to the environmental impact that the paper mill is doing to the surrounding area, such as killing the crops, trees and plants. It also talks about them losing their jobs because they may be unable to find other jobs in their area.