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The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees

The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Learn about one of the world's most iconic tree species, the baobab tree, and discover why these endangered trees might be on their way to extinction—or might outlive us all."

Seth Dixon's insight:

So are the endangered baobab trees victims of the effects of climate change?  The baobab, which has made so many wax poetic, is undergoing a steep decline.  Although scientists are unsure of the reasons and possible solutions, this is a nice piece exploring the cultural and ecological significance of one of the more magnificent trees on our planet.      

 

GeoEd Tags: biogeography, environment, ecology, Africa,political ecology, Botswana.

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Borders and the Arctic Ocean

The ice in the Arctic is disappearing. Melting Arctic ice means new economic opportunities: trade routes in the Arctic ocean, and access to natural resources. Because of this, the Arctic nations are now moving to expand their border claims. Russia has shown that it’s the most ambitious, using a potent combination of soft power and military buildup to advance its agenda. They’ve said the Arctic is rightfully theirs.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video is the second video in "Vox borders" series that is shaping up to be an excellent resources for geography educators.  This focus is on Svalbard and Russia's designs within the Arctic, but this TestTube episode is a shorter version that emphasizes how receding summer ice is being seen as an economic opportunity for all maritime claims in the Arctic.  Canada, the U.S., Russia, and Denmark (Greenland) all are subtly expanding their maritime claims.

 

Questions to Ponder: How do borders impact the develop/preservation of the Arctic?  How should uninhabited lands and waters be administered politically?

 

 

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Matt Manish's curator insight, February 17, 2018 3:31 AM
Since the 1980's a significant amount of ice in Antarctic ocean has melted away. This is a big deal because this is causing the changing of borders in this part of the world. With all the ice melting in Antarctica, this opens up new shipping lanes with much faster routes. This also makes it much easier for to drill for natural resources such as gas and oil, that were once difficult to get to because they were covered in ice. This is causing countries like Russia, Canada, Finland, and others to desire for new borders to be drawn up, hopefully in favor of their nation. Russia has even started developing military bases on some of the coast line that is opening up in Antarctica. It will be interesting to see how the borders in the Arctic circle are going to change and how it will also effect world trade in that part of the world.
Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, February 27, 2018 11:36 AM

Preliminary - Political Geography 

Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 8:09 PM
In this video, Vox Borders looks into who owns the Arctic. Because of the significant melting ice, the water ways of the Arctic may be opening up… this video looks into the efforts that Russia has made to declare the region. For example, off the coast of Russia, near the north pole lies a mining town, that was established to make sure Russia has a spot that they can declare as their own in the Arctic.
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WORKSHEETS: Climate Migrants

WORKSHEETS: Climate Migrants | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The ESRI storymap on climate refugees does a phenomenal job sampling locations in the world that experience migration effects as a result of climate change. Attached is a guided worksheet that accompanies the ESRI Climate Migrant Storymap."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This StoryMap shows some key regions where migrants are fleeing some of the negative impacts of climate change and one APHG teacher has created a fabulous worksheet to guide students through this great resource.   

 

TagsAPHG, climate changemigrationrefugees, environment, coastalmappingESRIStoryMap, political ecology.

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Ivan Ius's curator insight, January 26, 2017 7:51 PM
Geographic Concepts: Spatial Significance, Patterns and Trends, Interrelationships, Geographic Perspective
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This is where your smartphone battery begins

This is where your smartphone battery begins | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Workers, including children, labor in harsh and dangerous conditions to meet the world’s soaring demand for cobalt, a mineral essential to powering electric vehicles, laptops, and smartphones, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a land rich with minerals and resources vital for high end consumer goods (laptops, cellphones, electric cars, etc.).  This in-depth investigation from the Washington Post of the cobalt mining districts in the DRC (60% of global cobalt production) is incredible.  It has great videos, maps, and an detailed article that cuts across the geographic themes (exploited local labor, global commodity chains, political governance, polluted water supply, medical geography, etc.).  

 

Just two days ago, the United States pulled the families of all governmental officials out of the DRC amid political turmoil and violence in the streets of Kinshasa, highlighting the fact that the weakness of political institutions in the DRC are a major reason for this situation.  

 

Tags: Congolaborwatermedical, environmentpollution, political, conflict, resourcespolitical ecology, Africa.

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David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 29, 2018 8:36 PM
We take the luxuries that we have for granite and forget where it comes from, or who pays the physical price for us to have them. One example is electronics and the Congo. The Congo is a country filled with Colbolt which is critical to lithium batteries which powers majority of products that are rechargeable. The price they pay is unsafe mining conditions, indecent wages, and environmental hazards to local communities. 60 percent of the cobalt used today comes from the Congo, and while some companies track it to make sure its "clean" some companies do not check its origins. In 2010 there was a push to add cobalt to a list of resources that come from the Congo to be from a militia free mine. Individual companies have started to be stricter about where they get their Cobalt it's still not mandatory under international law. However with the demand for cobalt is increasing due to more electric power styling for vehicles and other products. In order to meet these demands the cobalt will continue to come from abused people until companies or international law limits and outlines how to deal with the cobalt question.
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Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 7:10 PM
Given the absurd amount of minerals present in the country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be basking in immeasurable wealth. However, as shown by this inetractive and enormously in-depth piece by the Washington Post, the country constantly struggles with child labor, water pollution, and widespread dangerous working condition because of the global demand for minerals like cobalt and copper. 
David Stiger's curator insight, November 10, 2018 9:05 PM
The Congo, like Venezuela, is another example of a post-colonial country rich in valuable natural resources whose people, ironically, live in abject poverty. The Congo is a victim of its own geographical blessings as the industrialized world's bottomless need for Congo's cobalt, copper, and other minerals has put this former colony of Belgium on the map. The Congo reportedly supplies half of the world's cobalt. With few other options for mineral sources, lithium-ion battery manufacturers turn a blind eye as Congolese "diggers" endure inhumane, dangerous, and unfair conditions to produce cheap cobalt. Companies have not reacted to this injustice because of a desire to maximize their profits. With Western consumers acting as indirect accomplices, China leads the pack of this neo-colonial process of exploiting the Congo for its valuable underground minerals. The Chinese companies offer so little money for the cobalt that workers are forced to put up with hazardous conditions and unbelievably low pay for their labor. 

The problem lacks an easy solution because it is highly complicated by the forces of globalization and geographical factors. Congolese diggers obtain the raw materials, who sell it to Asian middlemen, who then sell it to big Chinese manufacturers. These manufactures produce rechargeable batteries to sell to Western companies like Apple and Samsung. These products are then sold all over the world. The long supply chain makes it difficult for consumers to feel and see how their actions are impacting the lives of other people. The companies who should be held accountable justify their business decisions because there are not sources of cobalt to turn to. If there were other sources, companies like Huayou Cobalt could turn to other sources that treat their workers better, forcing Congolese suppliers to raise their labor standards. 

A short-term remedy, it seems, would be to classify Congolese-based cobalt as a conflict mineral. Western countries should fine and punish companies that are linked to the unjust cobalt trade, forcing these companies to raise their standards. 
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Surging Seas Interactive Map

Surging Seas Interactive Map | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Global warming has raised global sea level about 8" since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This interactive map from Climate Central dramatically shows what locations are most vulnerable to sea level rise.  You can adjust the map to display anywhere from 1 to 10 feet of sea level rise to compare the impact to coastal communities.  This dynamic map lets to view other layers to contextualize potential sea level rise by toggling on layers that include, population density, ethnicity, income, property and social vulnerability.   

 

Tags: physical, weather and climate, climate change, environment, resources, watercoastalmapping, visualization, environment depend, political ecology.

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What are Lavakas?

What are Lavakas? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The word lavaka means 'hole' or 'gully' in Malagasy, and it has become the accepted international term for the spectacular erosional features that characterize the highlands of Madagscar. Lavakas are gullies formed by groundwater flow, with steep or vertical sides and flat floors."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Lavakas are often seen as an ecological catastrophe since rapid deforestion leads to young, active lavakas that can silt up rice fields.  While obviously not desirable, these scars on a deforested landscape do offer a glimmer of hope as well. Some National Geographic explorers are finding that older, stabilized lavakas can become great agricultural pockets for rebuilding in these denuded communities.

 

Tags: Madagascar, erosion, environment adapt,  environmentecology, political ecology, Africa, National Geographic.

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Kiribati and Climate Change

You might not be feeling the effects of climate change, but Kiribati, a small country in the Pacific, is actually drowning because of rising sea levels. Check out how the government there is trying to run a country that might not exist in a few years.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The impacts of climate change might feel far off or something that will affect other places...not so for the citizens of Kiribati.  This video is the 1 minute version of the political/environmental situation, and this is the 15 minute version.    


Tags: Kiribati, Oceania, environment, resources, watercoastal, environment depend, climate change, political ecology.

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Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 5:15 PM

this is an example of a small, innocent nation being hit harder by something caused by large nations which are having no negative impact on them. these large nations will not take responsibility until they must face the same results as Kiribati.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 15, 2015 3:07 AM

The video explains how the volcanic island will eventually disappear. The reason that the island will disappear is because of erosion and the sea is eating away at it. What makes them so easy to erode is the fact that the volcanoes are no longer active. Soon, coral reefs that are created will be the only thing holding the island together. Most of the island will be destroyed eventually and what is left behind will be in the shape of a caldera. 

Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, April 26, 2018 1:51 AM
(Oceania) This short video explores Kiribati, a small group of islands between Australia and Hawaii. At the highest point, the land is 10 feet above the water, posing a major problem with raising sea levels. Due to climate change, half the population was already forced to migrate. Many islands face the same problem, and in the next few decades much more land will probably be underwater.
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California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth

California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A punishing drought is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has for so long been the state’s engine has run against the limits of nature.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Major urban areas in California have limited local water resources so they draw water from large area to bring in sufficient water for these burgeoning metropolitan regions.  With this current drought getting worse, California has ordered emergency water restrictions on residents while companies and large farms have been granted exemptions even though they account for 82% of the state's annual water consumption (residential accounts for 12%). Almond farms alone consume 10% of the state's water, and many agricultural crops are incredibly water intensive land uses.  A better way to think of it isn't just about raw water usage though.  A better question to ask would be this--how does one gallon of water translate into calories that most efficiently feed people?


Questions to Ponder: How does the concept of carrying capacity relate to California urban growth/drought issues?  California passed its carrying capacity?  How are demographics, economics, politics and the environment intertwined in California?  What are the environmental limits on urban growth and development? 


Tags: physical, weather and climate, consumptionCalifornia, water, environment, resources, environment dependurban ecology.

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LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, April 9, 2015 1:49 PM

The mathematics of endless growth due to economic monetary rules has a clear outcome.

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Who Owns The North Pole?

"Though uninhabited and full of melting ice caps, the Arctic is surprisingly an appealing piece of real estate. Many countries have already claimed parts of the region. So who technically owns the North Pole? And why do these nations want it so bad?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Denmark is now being more assertive in their claimsWhy is this happening now?  As climate change threatens polar ice caps, some see the receding ice as an economic and political opportunity.  Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland) and the U.S. are all seeking to expand their maritime claims in the Arctic.  When trapped under ice, extracting resources is cost prohibitive, but the melting sea ice will make the Arctic's resources all the more valuable (including the expanded shipping lanes).  Even a global disaster like climate change can make countries behave like jackals, ready to feast on a dead carcass.  For more, read this National Geographic blogpost.  


TagsArctic, economic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, unit 4 politicalclimate change, political ecology.

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Rich Schultz's curator insight, January 2, 2015 10:52 PM

Great question!  I think we all know the answer...Santa Claus!! ;)

Sammy Shershevsky's curator insight, January 17, 2015 9:57 PM

The video discusses a big topic in discussion today - Who really owns the North Pole? Although the North Pole is uninhabited, many countries have claimed to take ownership of the vast majority of land (or, ice). Canada has already claimed that the North Pole is part of its nation. Russia has put up Russian flags on the North Pole (such as underwater) but does that really make North Pole a Russian territory? The media plays a role in this by offering different opinions on who should and who deserves the right to own the North Pole. You might read a Canadian article that lists all the outright reasons why the North Pole is or deserves to be a Canadian territory. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, March 7, 2015 12:26 AM

In my opinion, I don't understand how the United nations can be seen as an entity that, essentially, controls who would have rights to a place like the North Pole(technically, not owned by anyone).  I, naively, understand the basics of the U.N.  In short, it is an organization that was formed, post-WW I or II, as a governing board for world-issues.

 

 With that being said, how can they believe that their "law" is the all-powerful one?  If I'm a leader of a country who is not a member of the U.N., do I really care what they say?   I just find it odd that this narrator speaks about the issue while holding the U.N. as a supreme authority.  I know that this video is just a quick fun type of video but it leaves me with wanting to hear the perspective of a non-U.N. member.  But a very interesting topic, none the less.

 

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A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger

A hard look at corn economics — and world hunger | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Corn is not what you think. For starters: Most of the time, it's not human food.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Land use practices that determine what is grown in a particular place are partly determined by the health needs of a local population, but they are more directly shaped by economic markets.  Over 75% of the corn produced in the United States is destined for animal feed or fuel; since global population projections are now supposed to be 11 billion by 2100, these are some important issues for us to consider before we are forced to reassess our societal choices.    


Tagspodcast, political ecologyagriculture, food production, land use.

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Nolan Walters's curator insight, October 25, 2014 4:29 PM

Most of the corn is not even going to us. Most of it goes to the animals, who eat it (which is cheaper than grass), which fatten them up for slaughter for humans.  Corn also gets turned into Corn Syrup, which fattens us.  The Corn industry is mostly to fatten up animals for meat for us humans in MDCs. 

Alex Lewis's curator insight, October 30, 2014 4:46 PM

The fact that we could use this land to grow surplus edible food instead of corn that isn't edible and goes to feed obese and unhealthy cows is sickening. There are millions of people dying in Africa and other LDC's from starvation, but we use our farmland to grow inedible corn and overfeed cows to the point of death. The corn is used to feed animals, and the animals are then slaughtered months, weeks or even days before they would've died of overfeeding. 

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 2016 7:42 PM

Land use practices that determine what is grown in a particular place are partly determined by the health needs of a local population, but they are more directly shaped by economic markets.  Over 75% of the corn produced in the United States is destined for animal feed or fuel; since global population projections are now supposed to be 11 billion by 2100, these are some important issues for us to consider before we are forced to reassess our societal choices.    

 

Tagspodcast, political ecology, agriculture, food production, land use.

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Brazil's ethanol revolution

"United Nations, June 2008 - The bio-fuel, ethanol, is generating a revolution in renewable energy that could help reduce the world's thirst for oil. In Brazil, the production of ethanol from sugarcane is booming, but what is not clear is the impact it is having on the industry's sugarcane cutters."  Transcript of video available here.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Although ethanol is working well for Brazil, there is a growing literature supporting the idea that wide-scale ethanol production is not sustainable or environmentally beneficial.  This is a great example to demonstrate that economic and environmental policies are locally dependent on geographic factors and are not universally transferable.  Click here for a simple explanation of the differences in the economic and environmental differences in the production of sugar and corn-based ethanol.  


Tagsenergy, resourcespolitical ecologyagriculture, food production, land use, Brazil, South America.

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Patty B's curator insight, November 10, 2015 10:19 PM

S. AMERICA SCOOP:

The 'ethanol revolution' occurring in Brazil is a critical topic to examine in terms of global geography. With it's ethanol export rising 70% as of 2007-08, and with an abundance of sugarcane, Brazil is now beginning to offer an alternative to tradition fuels (especially for cars). Brazil is exporting a great deal of ethanol which is stimulating its economy, but there is a negative side to this energy boom. It's causing a great deal of unemployment in Brazil due to the mechanization of the process of sugarcane cultivation. The effects of a country or region's main commodity always goes under this mechanization process, it just depends on when the need for that commodity arises (this kind of relates to "Guns, Germs, and Steel" and the idea of determinism).

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 7, 2015 6:01 PM
This sounds like something that people need to learn from, making fuel from sugar and alcohol. It is said that because of this Brazil is a world leader in in this sector. Doing so reduces emissions making a cleaner environment. This is future. .Doing things such as this and making machine mechanized cutters is good too, because now humans do not have to do it. When humans by hand get the sugar they have to burn plants, and burning plants pollutes the air because of the fire and the fire can cause severe destruction if it gets out of hand. With hand picking going out, it will be better overall. Delivering ethanol to the rest of the world is believed to lift the developing world out of poverty. .
BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 2016 7:43 PM

Although ethanol is working well for Brazil, there is a growing literature supporting the idea that wide-scale ethanol production is not sustainable or environmentally beneficial.  This is a great example to demonstrate that economic and environmental policies are locally dependent on geographic factors and are not universally transferable.  Click here for a simple explanation of the differences in the economic and environmental differences in the production of sugar and corn-based ethanol.  

 

Tagsenergy, resources, political ecology, agriculture, food production, land use, Brazil, South America.

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Donut Holes in Law of the Sea

Donut Holes in Law of the Sea | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Sovereignty over land defines nation states since 1648. In contrast, sovereign right over the sea was formalised only in 1982. While land borders are well-known, sea borders escape the limelight."

Seth Dixon's insight:

These maritime borders mark the economic area is defined by its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile-wide (370 km) strip of sea along the country’s national coast line.  This regulation, which was installed by the ‘UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’ in 1982, grants a state special rights to exploit natural (such as oil) and marine (for instance fish) resources, including scientific research and energy production (wind-parks, for example).  This interactive map of the EEZs also shows the 'donut holes,' or the seas that are no state can claim that no state can claim.  Given the number of conflicts that are occurring--especially in East Asia--this map becomes a very valuable online resource for teaching political geography. 


Questions to ponder: how does this series of buffer zones around the Earth's land masses impact politics, the environment and local economies?  Where might the EEZs be more important to the success of a country/territory than other regions? 


Tagseconomic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, states, conflict, unit 4 political.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, July 29, 2014 10:48 PM

Option topic Marine  Environments and management

MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 11:52 PM

APHG-U4

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The Great Green Wall

The Great Green Wall | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Great Green Wall initiative uses an integrated approach to restore a diversity of ecosystems to the North African landscape.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world.  This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara.  The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification.  These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this "Green Wall" was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (as an aside, the Green Wall spatially corresponds nicely with the apocryphal Mountains of Kong). 


Tags: Africa, development, environment, waterbiogeography, ecology, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, supranationalism, political ecology.

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Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 10:53 PM

The great green wall initiative project, is a project which wants to plant tens of thousands of trees, roughly fifty thousand trees alone in Senegal. The point of this is to restore a failing  environment. Around five hundred million people are living in a desertification area. Both human and nature is at fault for this creation of a transition zone getting bigger and bigger, Humans are not necessarily taking care of the land like it should be taken care of and as for factors of nature such as climate change, drought and not enough rain. There are social impacts that may affect the area too, experts think that improvements in land and economy may help curb terrorism in Mali. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 15, 2015 4:59 AM

The great green wall is a way of separating the desert from the rain forest in Africa The Sahel is the area that separates the deforestation and the desert and would be a way to keep the desert in a different climatic region of the country.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 7:40 PM

this a great i think, the only way that countries in an area with such harsh environments can survive is by helping eachother and using their own beneficial land to help other and recieve help for their own deficiencies. 

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OPEC's Worst Nightmare: Permian Is About to Pump a Lot More

OPEC's Worst Nightmare: Permian Is About to Pump a Lot More | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"An infestation of dots, thousands of them, represent oil wells in the Permian basin of West Texas and a slice of New Mexico. In less than a decade, U.S. companies have drilled 114,000. Many of them would turn a profit even with crude prices as low as $30 a barrel. OPEC’s bad dream only deepens next year, when Permian producers expect to iron out distribution snags that will add three pipelines and as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Overall global commodity prices are impacted by countless local production costs. A large shift in how business is done in one place (in this example, Texas' Permian Basin) can have reverberating impacts on the local productions of other places that focus on that same global commodity (OPEC).  

GeoEd Tags: energy, resources, economic, political ecology.

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Senegal's Great Green Wall combats desertification

"A 7,000 km barrier is being built along the footsteps of the Sahara to stop the desert expanding. The Great Green Wall project started in 2007 in Senegal, along with 10 countries in Africa to combat the effects of climate change. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Widou, deep in the Sahel."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world.  This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara.  The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification.  These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this "Green Wall" was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (the shorter, social media friendly version of this video is available here).

 

Tags: Africa, Senegal, development, environment, waterbiogeography, ecology, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, supranationalism, political ecology.

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Katie Kershaw's curator insight, April 1, 2018 2:34 AM
This “Green Wall” was originally supposed to span the southern border of the Sahara from the east to west coast of Africa. It was made up of trees and elements of forests in order to prevent the desert from expanding and reducing the amount of land available for food production. This seems like it would be a great idea that would work well, but the plan has some flaws. In the early stages of building up the barrier, nomadic herders are supposed to be prohibited from using the land, as their cattle would destroy it. However, the system in place in Somolia sees only one soldier guarding hundreds of kilometers by himself. The nomadic people are often desperate for food, so they often try to break in and sometimes resort to violence. This is problematic because it defeats the purpose of the barrier in increasing the farm land. Many of the countries in along the “Green Wall” do not maintain it as well as they should and Nigeria actually abandoned the project all together. For this reason many ecologists believe the effort is a waste and the climate change can not be stopped. But the efforts of the Somalians has paid off. Crops such as grapefruit and watermelon have been grown in areas that would have been unsuitable for such crops a few years ago. Migratory European birds also settle in the area during the winter. Another benefit that comes from the Wall is that nomads are not forced to join terrorist organizations as their only sources for food, because farming is made easier in the Sahel. 
tyrone perry's curator insight, April 5, 2018 8:12 PM
The great green wall is a man made ecological wall from the Atlantic ocean thru 10 countries to the red sea.  This is to prevent the desert from expanding, but also it is protected from nomadic herders, and loss of food.  This project still has a long way to go but ha not been completely abandoned yet. 
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 3:12 PM
Although Senegal is one of the few countries in the Sahel to actually follow through on its promise of building its green wall, it may be fruitless in the long run. The expansion of desert regions seems relentless. However, what is most surprising is how rapidly the ecosystems have changed and the crops that can be grown there. Watermelon, grapefruit, and European migratory songbirds have all taken hold, drastically altering the agriculture and environment of the region. 
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Climate Migrants

Climate Migrants | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Climate change has already displaced tens of thousands of people. If it continues unabated, it could lead to one of the largest mass human migrations in history.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This StoryMap shows some key regions where migrants are fleeing some of the negative impacts of climate change, a trend that appears very likely to increase in the future.  It is also an excellent example of the ESRI's new Cascade template for creating a web app. 

 

Tags: physical, weather and climate, climate change, environment, resources, watercoastalmappingESRIStoryMap, visualization, environment depend, political ecology.

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Africa’s Charcoal Economy Is Cooking. The Trees Are Paying.

Africa’s Charcoal Economy Is Cooking. The Trees Are Paying. | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In Madagascar, the booming charcoal business is contributing to deforestation and may exacerbate the effects of global warming.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Deforestation does not happen in a vacuum--it occurs in an economic, political, and historical context.  Rural Africans have less access to high value commodities and converting forests into charcoal is one of the few options (similar to the issue in Haiti).  The short-term economic gain for a few individuals leads to long-term environmental problems such as soil erosion, flooding, and habitat destruction for many species.  

 

Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, poverty, development, economic, labor, Madagascar, erosionAfrica, resourcespolitical ecology.

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Launceston College Geography's curator insight, June 14, 2017 2:51 AM

Deforestation drivers

Alex Smiga's curator insight, August 9, 2017 2:41 PM
If we know that furthering education and economic opportunities will help alleviate the problems present here, why aren't we as a planet seeing that they are implemented? 
brielle blais's curator insight, May 2, 2018 3:23 AM
Charcoal has become the unlikely hero of the informal economy of Africa. This is a positive for the economy. However, this is not a positive for the environment. Deforestation has become a large issue since the boom of more people using charcoal. This will speed up the issue of climate change. This post shows the negative and positives a product can have involving geography.
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Making Ethanol from Sugarcane

This segment highlights how sugarcane is processed into ethanol for fuel and other uses.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Sugarcane ethanol has proven to be one of the most environmentally safe alternative fuel sources. In addition to its green energy properties, sugarcane ethanol has fueled the Brazilian economy for over a decade. The Brazilian automotive industry have developed a complex, “Flex Fuel” engine that allows vehicles to run off of both gasoline and ethanol. Also, sugarcane ethanol has been one of their leading exports in the global economy. Due to recently discovered fuel deposits in Brazil and around the globe, there has been a decline in the need for sugarcane ethanol. This has negatively impacted the economy in addition to the Brazilian job market. But thanks to the engineering of cellulosic ethanol, Brazil is striving to become the green energy superpower yet again.

 

Questions to Ponder: Since cellulosic ethanol production is so expensive, do you think that will deter production and customers from purchasing it? Do you think that Brazil will ever become independent of fossil fuels as a result of their successful sugarcane ethanol production?

 

Tagsenergy, resourcespolitical ecologyagriculture, food production, land use, Brazil, South America.

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Katie Kershaw's curator insight, February 15, 2018 7:50 PM
While the process of making ethanol takes a long time and is expensive, I think it is worth investing in and pursuing as an alternative to fossil fuels.  Like most products, once the process of making the ethanol is perfected and made more efficient, it will be cheaper and easier to make.  Brazil has not invested as much time in the product after they found reserves of oil, because the oil was more profitable.  The demand in the world in extremely high and therefore it was more economically wise for Brazil to put focus on fossil fuel extraction.  However, they already have created technology that is able to run on ethanol and they’ve realized that the product is more environmentally friendly.  This means that the potential to stop relying on fossil fuels is realistic. Since sugar is a renewable resource, it makes more long term economic sense to invest into sugarcane and ethanol production because fossil fuels will eventually run out.
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The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing

The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Most of the 1,000 or so Marshall Islands, spread out over 29 narrow coral atolls in the South Pacific, are less than six feet above sea level — and few are more than a mile wide. For the Marshallese, the destructive power of the rising seas is already an inescapable part of daily life. Changing global trade winds have raised sea levels in the South Pacific about a foot over the past 30 years, faster than elsewhere. Scientists are studying whether those changing trade winds have anything to do with climate change.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The impacts of climate change might feel far off or something that will affect other places...not so for those in the Marshall Islands. 


Tags: Oceania, environment, resources, watercoastal, environment depend, climate change, political ecology.

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brielle blais's curator insight, April 26, 2018 4:45 PM
This post shows how climate change is currently impacting small island nations such as the Marshall Islands. Pacific Sea waters are rising and driving families out of their homes. It is changing the entire physical geography of the land. It is also changing the political climate between different nations as the battle over climate control continues and countries react in different ways to ideas and suggestions, or even laws stating nations like the United States would have to pay money to help those other countries being flooded. 
David Stiger's curator insight, December 7, 2018 4:00 PM
Catastrophic property destruction from sea level rising is (at this point in time) inevitable. A number of Islands that serve as homes for hundreds of thousands of people will be devastated and most likely destroyed. These spots will become uninhabitable and dangerous. The Marshall Islands is just one area that will suffer this fate. Trying to save the islands is a moot point. What is now needed is a discussion about ethics and fiscal responsibility. Industrialized and developed nations led the way in destroying parts of the planet and should be held accountable. To become wealthy, these affluent nations collectively sacrificed the world's fragile environment. With this understanding, people of the Marshall Islands should be given a new home and compensation for their losses. Fortunately, the United States has a deal with the Marshall Islands to allow people to immigrate to the U.S. While this is a good start, these people will require job training, education, homes, transportation, and funds to rebuild their lives. Instead of spending massive amounts of tax dollars on military and defense budgets, Congress needs to reassess its values and priorities. By committing to ethical and noble leadership, the U.S. will have more international prestige and leverage to build defense coalitions and negotiate through diplomatic means. An immense single-nation military-industrial complex will be less relevant. By reducing military spending, this country can address problems like the sinking Marshall Islands and our nation's energy needs. How would it look if the U.S. became a true champion of justice and a despotic nation like China attacked the U.S.? The world would be outraged. The U.N. would condemn the aggressor. Alliances could step forward, allowing America to step back as the world police officer which no one ever asked us to be.  
Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, December 10, 2018 4:03 AM
Islands are already at a disadvantage of losing land for a few reasons. First the fact that the older the island gets the more corroding that takes place under the sea. Another reason is they are in the middle of no where so relocation is not easy, costly and not many countries these days are willing to take people in. The Marshall islands like I am sure many other islands are facing in recent years is global warming causing sea levels to rise. So know they have another reason to worry about losing lands. The global warming that takes place on earth never effects the contributors, it almost always effects the little guys who cannot doing anything to fight back. They just get to watch there homes be destroyed because of big time nations. More attention needs to be brought to the subject of global warming and everything and one who is negatively effected by it. What if we were in there shoes, we surely would change our ways then.
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Nicaragua's Controversial Canal

The proposed Nicaragua Canal could be one of the largest engineering projects in history and promises to bring thousands of jobs to the impoverished country. But the government’s secretive deal with a Chinese-led firm has some Nicaraguans raising the alarm about displacement and environmental destruction in the canal’s path.
Seth Dixon's insight:

I'm fascinated by massive geo-engineering projects.  Usually, the proponents of the project will support it claiming that by reconfiguring the geographic settings it will lead to the economic growth of the country and strengthen their political situation.  Opponents cite that traditional land use patterns will get disrupted, the poor will be displaced, and the environment will be degraded. This canal is not so very different from many other geo-engineering projects in that respect.

 

Tags: transportation, Nicaragua, globalization, industry, economic, environment, political, resourcespolitical ecology.

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Blake Joseph's curator insight, April 24, 2015 9:38 PM

The Chinese government is seriously considering plans to build a new canal through Nicaragua that will rival the United States' Panama canal. The size of the planned canal will be much larger than the Panama canal, allowing much bigger freighters and cargo vessels to be able to pass through it to and from the Chinese mainland. While many Nicaraguans are enthusiastic about the potential jobs and money involved in the project, others can see through this and sense great problems for the country if completed. The canal would destroy many environments within Nicaragua such as Lake Nicaragua and the forest that are located nearby, displacing many people who live and depend on the area for food and work. China is fast becoming a world superpower, and is alarmingly similar to the old Soviet Union as far as a lack of environmental protection and the welfare of citizens. I fear the future environmental impact this will have on Nicaragua could be devastatingly similar to the fatal impacts of other old Soviet failures like the Aral Sea or Chernobyl (without the radioactive isotopes, of course). I think many Nicaraguans do as well.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, June 1, 2015 7:13 AM


Chapter 5

Humans value, change and protect landscapes

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 5, 2016 1:12 PM

I'm fascinated by massive geo-engineering projects.  Usually, the proponents of the project will support it claiming that by reconfiguring the geographic settings it will lead to the economic growth of the country and strengthen their political situation.  Opponents cite that traditional land use patterns will get disrupted, the poor will be displaced, and the environment will be degraded. This canal is not so very different from many other geo-engineering projects in that respect.

 

Tags: transportation, Nicaragua, globalization, industry, economic, environment, political, resources, political ecology.

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Simulation of the Oso Landslide

Simulation of the Oso Landslide | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"The large landslide that occurred in March near Oso, Washington was unusually mobile and destructive."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There are several reasons for landslides--some are purely a result of physical geography and others are related to land use patterns.  The landslide in Washington state last year was a combination of the two (see on map) and it is a good teaching moment to discuss the environmental impacts of land use patterns and resource extraction projects.  As seen in this interactive, the river was cutting at the base of the hill, while loggers were clear-cutting at the top of the mountain.  Trees help prevent erosion as the roots hold the soil in place--a critical piece to the puzzle in a very rainy climate.  With $1 million worth of timber on the slope, logging companies persisted despite objections from the Department of Natural Resources and some restrictions (but in hindsight, those restrictions clearly were not enough).  Watch a simulation of the landslide here.  

View the impact in ArcGIS online: Before and After Swipe, LiDAR I and II, and Imagery.


Questions to Consider: Other than economic worth, what other ways are there to value and evaluate the environment?  How could this landscape have been protected and managed better or was this landslide inevitable?   


Tagspolitical ecology, resources, environment, environment modify, industry, physical, geomorphology, erosion, landforms.

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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, January 27, 2015 9:50 PM

This seems like a useful tool to a degree.  But if we could actually simulate every destructive event then we would be miracle workers.  This was a sad event.  We have left such an imprint on the earth that it's starting to fight back.  We need to be more aware and careful with the one planet we have.  Climate changes are in the news more and more.  We can't ignore climate changes anymore.  

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Too rich for its own good

Too rich for its own good | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Democratic Republic of Congo is potentially one of the richest countries on earth, but colonialism, slavery and corruption have turned it into one of the poorest
Seth Dixon's insight:

One thing that baffles many students is how a resource-rich region can be an area of underdevelopment and poverty.  Understanding the historical geography is key for students being able to see that natural wealth does not correlate to enriching the local population.  Kinshasa, the capital that seemed so promising as the site of the famous "Rumble in the Jungle between Ali and Frazier, is now a city of chaos.  


Tags: Congo, political, conflict, resourcespolitical ecology, Africa.

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Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, March 31, 2018 9:47 PM
(Africa) This article chronicles why the Democratic Republic of the Congo is among the lowest ranked countries on the Human Development Index despite its plethora of resources. The inciting action leading to DRC's modern problems is slavery. The Portuguese promoted internal warfare to topple the advanced Kingdom of Kongo in the late 1400s to allow better access to slaves. Later, the Congo's vast natural resources would actually be their bane; Europeans would be attracted to the land's fertile river soil, gold, diamonds, oil, and other minerals. The British and Belgian conquered the region ruthlessly first for rubber, then copper for WWI, then uranium for WWII, all the while keeping the Congolese subjugated without rights.

When the DRC gained independence in 1960, there was no framework or educated citizens who could provide stability and civil war predictably ensued, leading to a dictator unchallenged by the modernized world because of his sale of resources. Several African countries invaded, leading to hundreds of domestic and foreign militants fighting in chaos. Now, there is almost no infrastructure. The country's problems go back hundreds of years to a series of inhumane foreign interventions powered by the DRC's wealth potential.
Matt Danielson's curator insight, November 19, 2018 6:45 PM
It is mind blowing sometimes to look at a country at face value having that much wealth yet  being poor. There has been a struggle in the Congo for hundreds of years ranging from colonialism, to civil war, to today with rebel groups fighting for mineral control. The issues of needing minerals from the Congo, with its unstable corrupt government, will always lead to rebel groups (or the government itself) creating conflict to attain resources for wealth.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, December 14, 2018 6:30 PM
Why are so many resource-rich countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo so poor and unstable? More modern reasons like the corruption, the dictators, and wars come to mind sure, but what put countries like the DRC is these positions? Naturally, it all goes back to colonialism and slavery. The second that Europeans learned of the immense resources they carve up the territory, they have a skirmish to see who gets a bigger slice, and oppress the people so there is no chance of rebellion. In the DRC after Belgium finally left the Congolese had none of their own who were trained or had the experience to run a nation. I am sure there are people fighting for the best of the country, but when you have been kicked down for so long by so many peoples it is tough to get back up.
 
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Peak Oil: The End of the Oil Age

Peak Oil: The End of the Oil Age | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"It has taken between 50-300 million years to form, and yet we have managed to burn roughly half of all global oil reserves in merely 125 years or so."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Many who research natural resources and their production believe in peak oil.  Peak oil is defined as the maximum rate of the production of oil in any area under consideration, recognizing that it is a finite natural resource, subject to depletion.  In essence, oil will run out some day because it is a non-renewable resources; so oil production will peak, and then permanently decline.  Some are skeptical of these claims and feel that the oil industry is in a much stronger position than peak oil proponents suggest.


Tagsenergy, resources, environment, environment modifyclimate change, political ecology.

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Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, October 14, 2014 9:28 AM

Peak Oil: The End of the Oil Age

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, October 27, 2014 3:40 PM

Resources shape the behavior of people living in a given geographical region. On Earth, the abundance and efficiency of oil has caused our societies to be built and operated with the use of oil. Human's needed fuel and found oil to be a natural resource that could fit their needs. But all good things must come to an end. Even though oil and gas are cheap and efficient ways of fueling our society, there are disastrous consequences like environmental degregation and over dependence on foreign oil that leads countries to be entangled in conflict that cost lives everyday. Now that we have the analytically tools to project when oil will run out it allows people to reevaluate their use of oil and gas and weigh the cost of using a resources that will eventually run out and leave the earth in ecological distress. The global oil reserves have been cut in half in just 125 years, although this use of oil led to many technological and medical advances that propelled society into an age of advancement unprecedented it is time to pull back the reigns and calibrate our expectations on how much oil and gas we should keep using.

Molly McComb's curator insight, May 27, 2015 4:11 PM

Talking how the global oil and gas output has decreased and how it will decrease in the future with the creation and use of other forms of energy. 

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Canada on mission to map Arctic, lay claim to broader boundaries

Canada on mission to map Arctic, lay claim to broader boundaries | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Canada has dispatched two icebreakers to map the Arctic seabed beneath the North Pole to support a bid to extend the country's maritime territory deeper into the waterways at the top of the world.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Canada, Russia and Denmark (Greenland) are all seeking to expand their maritime claims in the Arctic.  Globally speaking, the retreat of Arctic sea ice can be seen as a unmitigated disaster, but disasters for the many can open up new economic opportunities for the few.  When trapped under ice, extracting resources is cost prohibitive, but the melting sea ice will make the Arctic's resources all the more valuable (including the expanded shipping lanes).  This fits in with the APHG new course outline which includes political ecology (the study of the political and economic principles controlling the relations of human beings to one another and to the environment).
 

Tagseconomic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, unit 4 political, Arctic, climate change, political ecology.

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Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, August 19, 2014 12:19 AM

Option - marine environments and management

Kevin Barker's curator insight, August 19, 2014 1:53 PM

Canada and Russia have at least one way they will benefit from a warming climate and both are eager to see that they take advantage of it.  Using remote sensing is a way to identify and formalize where is their legitimate claim to territory and resources.  What problems might arise with the retreat of the arctic ice?

MsPerry's curator insight, August 25, 2014 8:30 PM

APHG-Unit 4

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The Last Drop: America's Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis

The Last Drop: America's Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Editor's note: This story is one in a series on a crisis in America's Breadbasket –the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer and its effects on a region that hel...
Seth Dixon's insight:

This isn't new, but it is a new development that the media is covering the issue that has been going on for decades.  The Ogallala aquifer is the primary water source in an agricultural region  from Texas to Nebraska in dry, but agriculturally productive states.  The reason behind their agricultural success in the dry high plains is that more water is being extracted from the aquifer than is naturally being replenished.  This is the obvious result of a human-environmental interaction where the individual actors are incentivized to deplete a communal resource.      


Tags: agriculture, agribusinesswater, environment, resources

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Linda Denty's curator insight, July 24, 2014 11:46 PM

Could this happen in Australia also?

Jamie Strickland's curator insight, July 25, 2014 3:46 PM

Thanks to my good friend, Seth Dixon for the original scoop.  There had been quite a bit of news reporting on the drought in central California this year, but this midwestern region has been experiencing water stress for years with little national attention.  I plan to use this article in both an upcoming presentation as well as an example when I teach "Tragedy of the Commons" in my Environmental Dilemma class.

Kate Buckland's curator insight, July 27, 2014 3:32 AM

Good to compare to how we use water resources in Australia