Sinica Geography 400
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Haiti: Legacy of Disaster

Haiti: Legacy of Disaster | Sinica Geography 400 | Scoop.it

"Even before the earthquake Haiti's environment teetered on the brink of disaster. Brent and Craig Renaud report on the country's deforestation problems."

 

What about a disaster is 'natural' and what about the disaster is attributable to how people live on the land?  This video highlights the poverty, architectural and environmental factors that exacerbated the problems in the Haitian Earthquake of 2010.  This is a merging of both the physical geography and human geography.  


Via Seth Dixon, Al Picozzi
Brett Sinica's insight:

Before the earthquake, much of Haiti was behind in modern infrastructure and technology.  Now three years later they are still worse than ever.  The deforestation that has plagued the land reduces the strength of the infrastructure.  It was almost as though a disaster like this was just waiting to happen in such a vulnerable area.  Aside from the trees and brush is how the people live in the cities there.  Many of the homes are poorly built because of a lack of money and resources.  The people aren't able to build strong buildings and the slightest of disasters can pose such damaging results.

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James Hobson's curator insight, September 25, 2014 10:26 AM

(Central America topic 2)

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case:

Which came first, the deforestation or the disparity?

I believe the answer can be both.

At first such a country's inhabitants might not know what devastating impacts manmade environmental changes such as deforestation can have - or, they might just have no other choice. Here disparity comes first. But unfortunately such effects can be far reaching. Deforestation can 'come back around' and be the cause (not only the result) of disparity: erosion, flooding, landslides, lack of natural resources. These all contribute to further disasters and crises, which continue the repeating trend.

Dr. Bonin has held classes pertaining to this same issue of deforestation, among the other issues which Haitians face. IN addition, the company I work for has been sponsoring a campaign to help humanitarian efforts in the country, and I have worked with people who have lived there.

Lastly, I can't help but notice an uncanny similarity between the deforestation of Haiti and that of Easter Island. I hope Easter Is. will be used as a warning message.

 

Alex Vielman's curator insight, September 29, 2015 3:13 PM

Conditions in Haiti were bad in Haiti even before the disaster of the 2010 Haitian Earthquake occurred. The video shows images of the clear deforestation Haiti is suffering as a country. A lot of the mountain tops and hills are seen white without those bright green colors. It is said that the country is already 97% deforested. The reason so is because charcoal is basically the only way Haitians can cook and even make money off of if possible. Sometimes people do not like to accept that the countries own people, are affecting their living environment. Haitians live in a country where nights are spent in the dark in rural areas. The charcoal is the light Haitians depend on as well.

Haiti is a country of extreme poverty that don't offer an alternative to charcoal, which is the reason for its deforestation. A lot of Haitians blame the governed for the lack of infrastructure in the country but its all the mudslides fault. It is something that physically humans can not contain unless alternative methods are used to prevent deforestation. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 8:05 PM

Conditions in Haiti are just terrible. This place is 90% deforested and people use charcoal and such to cook. Haiti was hit by an earthquake in 2010, but even before the earthquake, deforestation was a major problem. Most of the people that live here live in darkness with no electricity. To get light, people use charcoal, charcoal has very many great uses in Haiti. Individual survival means cutting down as many trees as possible to get charcoal so you can provide for family. Problems with this country is that technologically and natural disaster survivalness is poor. Floods and mudslides will continue to happen and people will die, also the infrastructure will not improve. A lot of problem would come from the government too, lack of help from a government creates a failing nation. 

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Giant outdoor escalator built in Colombian shantytown

What impact will this escalator have on this poor neighborhood?  Was this a wise use of funds?  If you had $7 million to invest in a shantytown with the goal of revitalizing the neighborhood and benefiting the lives of the residents, how would you spend these funds? 


Via Seth Dixon
Brett Sinica's insight:

This is a different approach to trying to revitalize a community.  Usually a park or other community center is put in place, yet I feel this escalator will produce less blatant results.  Imagine you work in the valley during the day, but your home is all the way up the hill...  Having to walk up and down each day, in between alleys and around various homes would certainly be a big reason for emotional and physical stress.  These escalators would reduce all of that time and effort by great amounts.  Putting them in place leaves extra time for people to get up and down the hills, all while reducing stress levels.  When people are stressed, they do crazy things.  If a little part of someone's day goes from being completely uncomfortable to being content, that much of a change can go a long way and even help get the community in the right direction.

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Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 20, 2014 11:20 AM

This escalator seems like a waste of money. I understand that it will make life easier for the locals and possible cut down crime. But I feel with $7 million the government is choosing to attack the symptoms of living in the shantytown rather than treating the cause of inequalities. Perhaps they could have opened up local markets, started some sort of commercially viable industry, or help educate citizens that could provide the community members with a way to get out of poverty rather than.just making it easier to live in these shantytowns.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 7:09 PM

This is an interesting idea simply because of the discussion that can arise from it. Would the construction of this escalator actually benefit the people living within the slum to any foreseeable degree? On one hand some claim that yes it will have a positive impact as it could cut back on the number at attacks and muggings of those stopping to catch their breath as well as simply allowing them to conserve energy. While those on the other side of the issue say that the benefit the escalator my bring doesn't out weigh the cost of building it. Simply throwing money at a situation like this wont actually bring any relief. 

Kendra King's curator insight, February 8, 2015 4:40 PM

I sincerely believe that was a waste of money. Sure people can now get out of the area in “6 minutes” instead of “30 minutes” which, as was mentioned in class, can get people out of the area so as to get to jobs quicker. However what good does that really do in the grand scheme of things? Do the citizens still have poor jobs? Are their homes unsafe? Are there still sanitation issues? I am pretty sure the answer is yes, to all of the above. Clearly, these issues are more pressing than an escalator. So even if investing in an area can benefit a population, I think the improvement could have been greater because there are other more pressing needs of the area where the money could have been invested. 

 

I am actually surprised people were happy with the new addition. Given that it was a short clip, not all sides were seen. However, I feel that once people get over the novelty of the new toy and back to the reality of their everyday situation tensions could raise. Especially if the outdoor elevator breaks down, which is bound to happen given its exposure to mother nature, as the escalator just adds more of  a maintenance cost in a place that doesn't seem to have money. It wouldn't surprise me if people were later angered by the addition. In fact, I am actually surprised their wasn't protests that stopped the escalator from being built in the first place.  

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Common Cassava: An industrial crop to alleviate poverty

Common Cassava: An industrial crop to alleviate poverty | Sinica Geography 400 | Scoop.it

Cassava, “manihot esculenta” is one of the most “disgraced” crops in Africa, of which Ghana is no exception.  Cassava is a woody shrub grown in tropical and subtropical regions. The shrub produces a starchy, edible root that is a major source of carbohydrates for humans in many parts of the world.  This crop plays a major role in the economic fortunes and nutritional health of millions in the developing world.   


Via W. Robert de Jongh, Seth Dixon
Brett Sinica's insight:

When I was younger I would sometimes go grocery shopping with my mother and she would always buy these strange looking "pieces of wood".  I always wondered why she would ever waste money on something that looked so inedible!  Come to find out it was cassava, or as she called it "yuca".  It is a popular part of her cuisine since she, along with the rest of her side of the family is from Puerto Rico.  Though this food is not so appealing on the outside, it tastes delicious and is a very versatile ingredient in cuisines around the world.  To be labeled a "poor man's food" is strange considering when this is brought to the dinner table, everyone dives in to make sure they get a piece or two.  Poor man's food, rich man's food, either way cassava is a staple in the economy and can play a key role in diets around the region and world.

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Miles Gibson's curator insight, March 17, 2015 12:06 AM

Unit 5 agriculture 

This article explains how the cassava bean has been super mass produced to provide for the starving in west and central Africa. This crop has been neglected for some time now and has been recently and a discovered carbohydrate producer for the people of Ghana and is a supporting factor of the alleviation of hunger.

This article relates to unit 5 because it shows how the world of the industrialized world has evolved food into mass production to be made to alleviate all forms of hunger within the world. This is an effect of the second agricultural revolution and is now in effect and dominates the monoagricultural society of ghana.

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Bridging the Digital Divide

This is an inspiring project that seeks to elevate poor slum-dwelling Indians by providing educational resources to children.  As free computer terminals are made available, their literacy skills soar and possibilities are widened.  Visit the projects homepage at: http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/ ;


Via Seth Dixon
Brett Sinica's insight:

As a child, most of us probably didn't particularly learn through technology or computers but through other hands on methods.  In these slums, getting school supplies which we are fortunate to have may not be so easy.  There are just so many people and living conditions make it harder for each child to be benefit equally.  That being said, these computers just might benefit the youth in the long run.  It might not be traditional, or even equal at times yet it is a type of improvisation that can probably be helpful.  In the video you could see the kids waiting in line, wanting to use the touchscreen, wanting to learn.  It is an abstract approach to education, but with the growth and diversity, it just might work effectively.

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Lisa Fonseca's comment, November 27, 2011 9:51 PM
I think the hole in the wall program is a positive outcome for the children. They are learning to work cooperatively with others. They are also learning to play and work with programs that are used frequently in other areas of the world. These children may not have resources to teach them vocabulary, or phonics, or the alphabet but with these computers that are able to learn. As they learn they can then teach others, it is has a great educational value to help later in their lives. These children also get to see other parts of the world. They don't just see their world of poverty but it will also get them to think and view life with more light and better views.
Seth Dixon's comment, November 29, 2011 5:50 PM
This is a fantastic program that I'm excited to hear about...education for the disenfranchised is one of the best vehicles for positive social change.
Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 16, 2014 8:15 AM

In the United States we take for granted the resources that are so easily accessed like computers. In this poor neighborhood in India, a computer was put in a wall and the children taught themselves how to use the computer. These slum kids don't have the tools needed to get out of poverty. Given them these computers may seem like a drop of water in the bucket but it is an important step.