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Mrs. Watson's Class
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Catalan leader to step up independence push as 80% vote to split from Spain

Catalan leader to step up independence push as 80% vote to split from Spain | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
Artur Mas says symbolic poll is a ‘lesson in democracy’ and calls for a binding referendum on independence
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More revolutionary action or actual separation?
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Scotland votes "no" on independence, will remain in the UK

Scotland votes "no" on independence, will remain in the UK | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
The results of the Scottish independence referendum are in, and the answer is a resounding "no."
The referendum asked only a single question: Should Scotland become an independent country?...
Nancy Watson's insight:

Political Unit. A no vote still results in devolutionary rights offered by the UK.

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Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State

Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"Islamic State's capture of the Mosul dam gives it control over the water and electricity supply in northern Iraq."


Via Seth Dixon
Nancy Watson's insight:

Geography plays an important part in the success or failure of a state. This gives the insurgents an advantage.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 13, 2014 11:20 AM

There is a geography to insurgency.   This dam controls both the energy and water resources in the region, which gives the insurgents/rebels/terrorists greater local power.  On a related noted, this op-ed entitled, "How America Lost the Middle East" has plenty of foreign policy and geopolitical material worth discussing.  


Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 30, 2014 10:00 PM

This is interesting, ISIS is not only using brute force as a scare tactic, but are also taking hold of natural resources as well.  In taking over the dam ISIS has control of not only a majority of Iraq's water supply but their power supply as well.  They are also threatening employees with loss of pay to do what they want.  Closing off some parts of the dam is preventing water to get to people who are in need.  If the dam was to get backed up too much it could have immediate failure creating a devastating flood wiping out areas of agriculture having the potential for mass civilian casualties.  ISIS is not just taking over everything that they can, but have a method to what they are doing.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 27, 8:14 PM

As the director of the Brookings Institution's Doha Centre in Qatar said, "There's a method in their madness. By gaining control of the area ISIS can flood and destroy homes within the region. Furthermore, they can disrupt the flow of electricity and how the land is irrigated. All of this could cause a great deal of damage to the society. In this light the dam is a pretty important part of Iraq. The fact that ISIS Manipulated he land to their benefit it highly intelligent.  


However, if the dam was in the hand of the United States, the area still isn't completely safe. people would perceive it to be because ISIS would no longer be threatening to use it as an immediate weapon. However, the author noticed that the dam needs constant maintenance and is built on unstable soil. Both of which can cause flooding. In fact, the "worst case scenario" would cause far more damage than ISIS has with the dam. 


Clearly, purposefully using the resources of an area to damage a population is more chilling the a poorly made structure because malice involved. However even in the hands of the United States, the dam shows just how dangerous manipulating nature can be on a local population. 

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This one map helps explain Ukraine’s protests

This one map helps explain Ukraine’s protests | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
This map illustrates the country's deep division – and why the protests might not be what you think.
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Belgians divided by language barrier

Failure by Belgium's political parties to form a government since elections in June have prompted fears of a split in the tiny European country. Al Jazeera's...

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 12, 2013 10:35 AM

This 2007 video is dated, but many of the same issues are still seen today.  This video briefly lays out the cultural context for the political divisions between the French-speaking Walloons and the Dutch-speaking Flemish populations of Belgium.  For a longer video on the topic, see this half hour video.


Tags: language, culture, Belgium, unit 4 political, Europe, devolution, unit 3 culture.  

BTC's comment, February 12, 2013 10:46 AM
Interesting, but the reality is much more complex....
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The mystery of the Basques

The ancient Basque culture has survived against the odds.

 

The Basques are an intriguing cultural group to study in part because of their linguistic distinctness is Europe (Basque is a non-Indo-European language) but also because they strive for greater political autonomy within Spain.  This video could be used when teach about folk cultures, language, devolution, heritage as well as within a regional context. 


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Kmcordeiro670's comment, February 2, 2012 5:15 PM
The CNT remains one of the organized labor organizations in Spain which adheres to the autonomy of Basque as declared in the Second Spanish Republic and the Revolutionary Republic. Thank for posting this and helping revive this wonderful culture. If globalization has contracted space parallel to time, can we through our actions and struggle revive what time may have lost through our new form of connectedness?
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These 8 places in Europe could be the next to try for independence

These 8 places in Europe could be the next to try for independence | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
And that's just scratching the surface.
Nancy Watson's insight:

More devolutionary forces may result from these efforts to gain independence. Scotland voted NO, but who will be the first to vote YES?

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Scotland's Decision

Scotland's Decision | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
From Catalonia to Kurdistan, nationalist and separatist movements in Europe and beyond are watching the Scottish independence referendum closely.

Via Seth Dixon
Nancy Watson's insight:

Scotland, the site of nationalist and separatist movements, is one to watch as they vote. What the ramifications would be are yet to be seen

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 11, 2014 2:50 PM

This issue reverberates on many different scales.  As the video embedded in this article demonstrates,  Scotland's choice on September 18th would obviously impact the local region as some seek to use Scottish history as a rationale to reshape the current political and cultural identity of the region.  Some of the votes are already in and Scottish independence would not only have the potential to reshape the UK and EU, but it could also add some fervor to the various other separatist movements around the world, such as Catalonia.  


Tags: devolutionhistorical, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political.

Barbara Goebel's curator insight, September 13, 2014 12:00 PM

Compare and contrast Scotland's bid for independence with events leading to American independence. How does a culture decide to change its political geography?

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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.

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Nancy Watson's insight:

Both History and Geography explained in these maps

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Javier Antonio Bellina's curator insight, February 9, 9:26 AM

Seth Dixon - the teacher that sent this article at the first place - assess a very sound comment about the use of maps as tools of comprehenssion of the real world. I love maps, but can t avoid to be worried about what he is saying, so I recommend a thougthful reading of his statements.

(Seth Dixon - el profesor que envió este artículo en primer lugar - hace un profundo comentario acerca del empleo de mapas como herramietas de comprensión del mundo real. Yo amo los mapas, pero no puedo evitar preocuparme por lo que (Dixon) señala, así que recomiendo una reflexiva lectura de sus planteamientos.)  

David Lizotte's curator insight, March 11, 4:44 PM

This was an excellent portrayal of the middle east. The using of maps accompanied by side paragraphs explains the long history which is necessary to know if one is to understand its current status. When learning about different realms and regions (that existed throughout history) I always find it on a map. In order to truly understand a certain empire, one must know its geographical setting and its significance. It helps me better understand the region. These maps, specifically the ones that are changing through the domains reign, are extremely helpful in better comprehending the misunderstood middle eastern region. This website also creates more thought. If a particular map captivates the reader they can do more research on the topic. However, the "slides" do stand alone portraying much knowledge to a wide variety of specific elements that are still ongoing. The grouping of the slides by region/conflict/country was also an excellent strategy. It shows organization which in turn develops an easier learning process. 

The initial map educates many people of how what is modern day Iraq used to be an Oasis. However, over time, due to over farming and soil erosion the landscape changed to dry/desert territory. 

The maps displaying the rise of Islam and its transitioning into the Ottoman Empire give a great perspective as to the amount of land it covered. The Islamic world thrived and was very advanced in there culture in regards to medicine and arithmetic. The shear size of the empires should increase ones respect of the Islamic theatre. What many people are not aware of is how the Ottoman Empire was knocking on the door of the Holy Roman Empire during the sixteenth century. This was quite an advancement of territory crossing through much of eastern Europe ending as far west as Vienna. A lot of what is Eastern Europe today was part of the Ottoman Empire, including Greece. 

Another excellent map that contributes to the better understanding of western involvement can be seen in the carving up of the Ottoman Empire post WWI. Colonialism was very much present throughout less developed regions so the carving up of the middle east was not an exotic concept to the victorious west. Territories/countries were created and ethnic groups dominated one another. Its certainly true a western presence has contributed to prior and existing issues throughout the middle East.

 

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 15, 8:47 PM

It is interesting to see the same trends over and over again.  These maps are a great tool to show the history of the area, as well as the history of religion and political views.  I appreciate the information provided since the Middle East has undergone the most transitions (going all the way back to Mesopotamia) and its history can be confusing. 

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Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement

Take This State And Shove It: The New Secession Movement | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
Residents of rural areas feel shut out of their states' politics, so why not create their own?

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Heather Ramsey's curator insight, November 18, 2013 2:25 PM

On election day this year, several Colorado counties voted on whether to secede from Colorado and create a new state. Many of the counties voted in favor of the idea. (See the link below for more info on the Colorado secession movement.) This is not the first time groups of Americans have considered (and voted on) breaking away from their state. When political issues come up and decisions are made by the government and/or the people, some get their way and others do not. The article explains one way that some people have decided to take action when they do not feel their interests are being served.

 

BONUS for my students:

1) What steps do you think should be taken before people consider seceding from their state?  

2) What are some possible pros and cons of breaking away from a state to create a new one?  

3) Hypothetically speaking, what would it take for you to want to create a new state?

 

Here is the link to the article about Colorado's secession movement:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/colorado-rural-voters-approve-secession-idea-20850962

Victoria McNamara's curator insight, December 11, 2013 11:43 PM

Some states urban and rural areas have had differences and beliefs when it comes to politics. For example Virginia and West Virginia have had their differences and this is what has caused them to seperate. If every state did this there would be too much craziness because im sure each state would have a different belief and nobody would agree on anything. 

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, February 1, 2014 7:57 PM

This article is about segments of California, Colorado, and Oregon wanting to separate and become their own states so their voices can be heard in Congress.

 

If, hypothetically, new states were formed out of existing ones this kind of gerrymandering would likely only lead to even more new states. It might even lead to a secession arms race to gain more Democrat and Republican seats in the Senate. With so many new states, it could lead to increased division, with no Democrat or Republican wanting to set foot in an opposition’s state. In the long run though, political affiliations do eventually change and we would have a precedent analogous to attempting to take the ball home when the other kids don't want to play the same game as you, which is not how a democratic republic works.

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More than a club: FC Barcelona and Catalonia's road to independence

As Catalonia goes to the polls, Sid Lowe looks at one of the region's great cultural sporting icons and its role in Catalan identity...

 

Sports and cultural identity of a region are often intertwined. As Catalonia is poised to break from Spain, this video shows how the local teams (especially FC Barcelona) are at the center of political identity and part of the very fabric of the political movement that is pushing for independence.  For more, see this recent GITN.

 

Tags: sport, Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 12, 2013 12:54 PM

Sports and cultural identity of a region are often intertwined. As Catalonia is poised to break from Spain, this video shows how the local teams (especially FC Barcelona) are at the center of political identity and part of the very fabric of the political movement that is pushing for independence.  For more, see this recent Geography in the News article.


Tags: sport, Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, October 30, 2014 9:10 PM

As a soccer fan and a fan of FC Barcelona, Whenever I watch FC Barcelona play against Real Madrid, the commentators always describe both clubs as a symbol of independence and the symbol of political identity. Both teams are embodiments of the struggle that Spain and Catalonia are going through.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 19, 3:01 PM

As a soccer fan (although of CR7 in La Liga), I know that Barca has the saying "Mes que un club" which means more than a club in the Catalan language.  FCB's colors, in fact, represent the colors of Barcelona, which is the major force in the region of Catalonia.  The club allows the ethnic people to express pride in their heritage, and allowed them in the Franco era, a freedom of expression that was not otherwise granted to them.  However, as the video discusses, FCB cannot be the main force for the region's independence, that will have to come from the people pressing the people to the Spanish Government.  However, FCB represents for the Catalans a pride in having their own unique culture, and being a unique people different than ethnic Spaniards.  Barca being more than a club is far different from the BPL team of Manchester United or the La Liga club of Real Madrid.  While these clubs may represent regions within the countries, they do not represent regions who are different than the status quo.  Followers of Man U are not very different than the Southern English (they are not their own people).  I think it is highly interesting how sports teams can mean so much to certain regions.