Geography Education
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Why no-one speaks Indonesia's language

Why no-one speaks Indonesia's language | Geography Education |
Bahasa Indonesia was adopted to make communication easier across the vast Indonesian archipelago, but its simplicity has only created new barriers.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Linguistic diffusion faces many barriers, and an island state like Indonesia faces cultural centrifugal forces.  Adopting a national language might be good political policy, but culturally, that doesn't ensure it's viability.  This is a great case study for human geography classes that touches on many curricular topics. Tags: languageculture, diffusion, Indonesia.

WordPress TAGS: language, culture, diffusion, Indonesia, SouthEast Asia.

dustin colprit's curator insight, September 25, 2018 10:18 PM
It's interesting how certain places try and solve communication barriers in communities. While I was in Afghanistan we often ran into this problem among many local villages. Often we would have to make use of multiple interpreters. 
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 7:28 PM
It is interesting to see a country try an adapt an universal language. Since most regions of the country speak a different dialect, it will be nice to see how this works out and whether or not other places will try this too. 
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The Arctic Suicides: It's Not The Dark That Kills You

The Arctic Suicides: It's Not The Dark That Kills You | Geography Education |
Greenland has the world's highest suicide rate. And teen boys are at the highest risk.


Like native people all around the Arctic — and all over the world — Greenlanders were seeing the deadly effects of rapid modernization and unprecedented cultural interference. American Indians and Alaska Natives (many of whom share Inuit roots with Greenlanders) had already seen many of their communities buckle under the same pressures.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an incredibly tragic story; if I could add one word to the sub-title, it would read, "It's not JUST the dark the kills you."  I'm not an environmental determinist, but we can't pretend that the climate/darkness don't play some role in Greenland having 6x the suicide rates of the United States.  See also this article/photo gallery about a similar suicide problem in the indigenous far north of Canada.    


Tags: Greenland, Arctic, genderpodcast, indigenous.

Alex Smiga's curator insight, August 10, 2017 7:03 AM
Seth Dixon's insight: This is an incredibly tragic story; if I could add one word to the sub-title, it would read, "It's not JUST the dark the kills you." I'm not an environmental determinist, but we can't pretend that the climate/darkness don't play some role in Greenland having 6x the suicide rates of the United States. See also this article/photo gallery about a similar suicide problem in the indigenous far north of Canada.
Mr Mac's curator insight, August 10, 2017 8:58 PM
Unit 1 - Human-Environment Interaction; Unit 3 - Culture 
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Palm Oil Plantations Are Blamed For Many Evils. But Change Is Coming

Palm Oil Plantations Are Blamed For Many Evils. But Change Is Coming | Geography Education |
In Indonesia, efforts are underway to grow palms in a sustainable way. But that's putting a squeeze on small farmers.

Palm oil is in everything, from pizza dough and chocolate to laundry detergent and lipstick. Nongovernmental organizations blame it for contributing to assorted evils, from global warming to human rights abuses. But in the past year, this complex global industry has changed, as consumers put pressure on producers to show that they're not destroying forests, killing rare animals, grabbing land or exploiting workers.

Tags: Indonesia, conservation, environmentconsumption, SouthEastAsia, podcast.

LEONARDO WILD's curator insight, May 3, 2015 9:00 AM

Will they also stop using Glyphosate to kill the old trees in order to plant new ones? Or use Glyphosate to keep the grass from growing in their fields? Sometimes the changes are more on the marketing side, than the actual day-to-day practices.

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 9, 2015 3:06 PM

Look at many household goods, and you can be sure to find palm oil in the list of its ingredients. It is one of the most commonly traded commodities in the world, but it has come under increasing scrutiny from both governmental and civilian groups concerned with the environmental and human impacts of the trade. Indonesia, one of the largest exporters of the good in the world, has made moves to make sure the continued exportation of the crop is sustainable, as they do not want to lose the revenue and job creation generated by the continued existence of the trade. Proponents of the crop argue that it takes less space to cultivate than any other competing vegetable oil, making it the easiest crop to sustain at current rates of demand. Environmentally, government and civilian groups have rallied against deforestation and have made strides to reverse the practice in regions both within Indonesia and in other areas as well.

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Pyroclastic Flow followed by series of Tornados, Sinabung Volcano

The pyroclastic flow deposits red-hot material on the slope of the volcano. After a few minutes, air heated by the deposit establishes a convective regime and due to the speed of the rising air a series of small tornados are formed.
During daylight it is difficult to imaging how hot the deposit is. Click here to see a pyroclastic flow deposit glowing at night from this same location.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Mount Sinabung recently erupted, killing at least 15 people and destroying tons on property on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.  This footage is both awe-inspiring and terrifying.    

Tags: disastersIndonesia, physical, SouthEastAsia.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 11, 2014 1:44 PM

After watchign this video it is apparent that the Volcano caused a considerable amount of damage.  To the untrained eye after the explosion had happened it almost looks like there is a twister that had occured because of the aftemath of the smoke swirling together in sepresate places. The pyroclastic is an important factor to take under considerateion becuase the type of volcano will depict the amount of impact it has on a specific terrain.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, March 26, 2015 12:59 PM


Located in South East Asia, the Indonesian island Sumatra, holds the volcano Mount Sinaburg. This volcano Sinaburg erupted recently killing at least 15 people, and burning the terrain. The pyroclastic flow did not just cause fire. The hot air steaming off the lava, mixed with fast rising air currents created tornados. In this video it shows the formation of various tornados, which can go on to do possibly even more than the volcano could do. This fearsome act of Mother Nature can damage lots of homes and people. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 7, 2015 11:20 AM

This video of Indonesia's Sinbaug volcano is magnificent and scary at the same time.  Nature and the environment is an amazing piece of science to watch.  The super-heated gases from the volcano heated up the atmosphere so much that it created several mini-tornadoes.  

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Urbanization and Megacities: Jakarta

"This case study examines the challenges of human well-being and urbanization, especially in the megacity of Jakarta."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Megacities are growing, especially in the developing world.  This rapid population growth leads to serious strains on many resources and the infrastructural capacities which leads to some dismal living conditions among the urban poor.  World Vision Australia works to assist and empower many of those without access to these important amenities.  Download the lesson as a PDF here

Tags: Indonesia, urban, megacities, sustainability, development.

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 1, 2014 2:25 PM

It is nice to see an organization that is not just blindly giving resources to people in need but actually empowering them and training them to be able to get the things they need through work. The women in this story describe how they have learned to make and sell things in order to take care of their families and they describe how empowering that feels.

L.Long's curator insight, August 28, 2015 6:11 AM

mega cities Jakarta

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, November 28, 2015 6:53 AM

Megacities are beginning to populate the entire globe. In the developing world, more and more megacities are beginning to form. Jakarta Indonesia is an example of a rising megacity. This rapid urbanization has placed a special burden on the resources and local economies of many developing nations. This areas are not prepared to deal with the rapid population growth associated with the development of a megacity. This strain placed on the local areas, will often lead to terrible living conditions for the lower classes of society. Sanitation will often become a major issue in many of these megacities. Large portions of the population will often lack a proper sanitation system. The lack of proper sanitation will lead to the onset of deadly diseases. The effects of rapid urbanization can be deadly, for those living in the pooper regions of society.

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Environment, Energy and Resilience

Indonesia has the largest share of the world's mangroves — coastal forests that have adapted to saltwater environments. They play important environmental and ecological roles.


Mangroves play a key role of acting as an ecological buffer in coastal region that provide the area with resilience against tsunamis, hurricanes and other forms of coastal flooding.  Their role in carbon sequestration is also vital as energy emissions globally continue to rise.  So let's jump scales: how are global issues locally important?  How is the local deeply global?  How can stakeholders at either scale find common ground with the other?  

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 12:22 PM

Agricultural development in Indonesia threatens local mangrove ecosystems as well as global systems. Indonesia's growing palm oil industry is providing an increased income for the country, but at what cost? Mangrove swamps are one of the most beneficial ecosystems to have, and the list of positive impacts includes decreased erosion. decreased water turbidity, better air quality, larger fish populations, just to name a few. But, global interests in palm oil are swaying Indonesia to convert these environments into agricultural lands. Combined with Indonesia's high rate of deforestation, this is causing major erosion issues as well as affecting the coral reefs. Fish populations are being affected since habitats are destroyed, affecting fishermen. Though these issues are prevalent, the trade off of one environment for money is causing Indonesia's integrated environments to collapse, which in time will be an incredibly expensive issue.


This brings into debate the issues involved when wealthier countries take interest in the resources of other countries. While the less developed country may need the economic resources provided by the developed country, often times the environmental impacts are not considered. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 2:33 PM

These mangroves are key areas for palm oil development and are the source of income for many people who live in the areas with they grow. But the cost of using these Mangroves is devastating to the environment. They protect the coast from flooding as well as help with carbon sequestration. What needs to be done is the locals need to be educated on the long term damage being done by destroying the mangroves. Also there has to be an economic alternative, if the locals have no other way to make a living why would they stop? 

John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, December 17, 2014 5:29 PM

Measures need to taken to manage, regenerate and conserve mangrove areas. Geo-literacy/education is also important in creating awareness for those who continue to cut down mangrove forests. 

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Studying "Green"

Studying "Green" | Geography Education |

"Green is an unusual film. It is both a hard hitting portrayal of the causes and consequences of deforestation in Indonesia, and a film which captures the tranquillity and calm of wild nature. It contains no narrative or dialogue and yet helps us understand complex commodity chains. Green needs to be taken seriously.  In these pages we present a series of short essays in response to the film." 

'Green' is a female orangutan in Indonesia, beset with deforestation and resource exploitation of her habitat.  This is a non-profit film follows her; watch at the film’s website or view the trailer:

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'It's Our Right': Christian Congregation In Indonesia Fights To Worship In Its Church

'It's Our Right': Christian Congregation In Indonesia Fights To Worship In Its Church | Geography Education |
A Christian congregation outside Jakarta built a new church legally, but Muslims in the area object to it. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled to allow worship at the church, but it remains sealed.


Vocal Muslim citizens opposed construction of the church and pressured the local government to cancel the permits. The local government acquiesced to the demands. But the church group went to court, and won. On an appeal, they won again. Finally, the case went all the way to Indonesia's Supreme Court — where the church group won a third time, in 2010. But to this day, the congregation can't worship there.

Indonesia, with its mix of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian citizens, has long had a reputation as a country that embraces religious diversity. Andreas Harsono, the Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, sees things differently.


Tags: Indonesiaculture, religion.

David Stiger's curator insight, November 27, 2018 8:17 PM
The rule of law fails when the rulings of courts, especially the highest courts of the land, are blatantly ignored. So is the case for Indonesia's Christian communities. Tragically, a Muslim majority has attacked, protested, and hindered their fellow Christian citizens causing the shutdown of nearly 1,000 churches. Even though Indonesia is home to the world's largest Muslim population, their numbers do not grant them the power to trample over the rights of the minority. Indonesia's constitution specifically grants freedom of religion, but the constitution is only valuable if the rule of law is enforced and adhered to through human actions. Instead of honoring their constitutional values, a pervasive attitude of intolerance has manifested itself within Indonesia's Muslim majority. This intolerance is becoming extreme and hindering the rights of fellow citizens. What is most disturbing, however, is the lack of government action. Why aren't the authorities investigating and taking action? For this reason, it is important that a body like the United Nations exist so that the General Assembly can openly discuss Indonesia's religious repression, examine the evidence, and consider possible solutions. 
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 7:38 PM
In a Muslim populated country you get a backlash from those people because they do not support the building of a Christian Church. Since they do not have as much freedom for speech as they do in the US, the building is always being rejected or halted which sucks. The Christians just want a peaceful place to worship. 
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Indonesia on Fire

"In Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan province, the peat areas are burning and emitting a toxic smoke causing untold damage to the environment, wildlife and human health. Most of the fires in Central Kalimantan are blazing in former peatland forests, which have been drained, cleared and burned for oil palm and agriculture, large and small. The dried-out peat ignites easily, burns underground and creeps under the surface. Experts from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) travel to the heart of the fires to see the situation with their own eyes and measure the extent of the impact."
More information please visit:

Seth Dixon's insight:
Extreme forest and peat burning in Indonesia has released over three times the annual fossil fuel emissions of the United Kingdom.
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 20, 2018 1:05 PM
These fires are continuously devastating the Kalimantan province by releasing enormous quantities of greenhouse gasses every year into the atmosphere. There are some efforts underway to combat the damage of the fire by re-moistening the soil and trying to get wildlife and vegetation to take hold once again. However, that is an ongoing struggle and satellite technology continues to display the growing areas affected by these fires. 
brielle blais's curator insight, May 3, 2018 3:36 PM
Burning things that emit a toxic smoke causes damages to not just one country, but many around them as well. This not only affects the environment and physical geography of a nation, but disturbs the political geography as other nations become enraged that the emitted smoke is a mystery and ruining health.
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Why are the MINT countries special?

Why are the MINT countries special? | Geography Education |

"In 2001 the world began talking about the Bric countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - as potential powerhouses of the world economy. The term was coined by economist Jim O'Neill, who has now identified the 'MINT' countries - Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey - as emerging economic giants. Here he explains why."

Tags: Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey, economic, development.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, February 5, 2015 2:05 PM

Mexico, along with the other countries in the MINT category, are developing countries that could one day become economic powerhouses.  Mexico, as noted in the article, is in a strong position to become an economic powerhouse, due to the fact that it is in between the United States and the developing countries to its south.  Mexico does face a battle however, as the country has been dominated by corruption for decades, yet the new president, who is young and energetic, is attempting to reform the system and put an end to the wide spread problem.  If Mexico can become a major economic powerhouse, it along with Canada and the United States, could from a strong North American Trio, originally envisioned when the NAFTA was signed into law, back in the 1990s. 

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, March 1, 2015 10:00 PM

The MINT countries aren't that surprising.  After China purchased some of the US debt, it really opened my eyes to who the new powerhouse is.  Mexico could certainly be another powerful country if they could get their act together.  It will be interesting to see the shifts taking place in the next 20 years.  

David Stiger's curator insight, December 2, 2018 3:57 PM
The West should note that other parts of the world are catching up in terms of economic development. The focus on these non-Western countries is shifting away from the classic BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). The MINT countries - Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey - are on the rise. Two interesting geographic aspects give these countries an advantage. First is that they have young populations who are entering the workforce. Unlike the Western nations and China, the young people outnumber the older people who are contributing to the economy less and less. The second advantage is their relative geographic location. Mexico is situated between the United States and Latin America. Both offer access to an abundance of trade opportunities. Indonesia also has superior access to trade by being located in the middle of the South East Asia along with an important link to China. By being near the middle of Africa, and with access to the western coastline, Nigeria is also in an excellent position for trade. This will be a future benefit until Africa's internal wars settle and stable trade relations can ensue. 

The major struggles that the MINT countries share are twofold: The first is corruption. Fortunately, corruption is a human problem with a human solution and can be remedied. Secondly is a lack of infrastructure. If the corruption issues can be cleaned up, more resources can be diverted to reform and big projects that develop a country's transportation systems, communication, networks, and energy grids. These three factors will enable trade and provide immediate economic relief in the form of local jobs. With more capital available and higher incomes, education can become a priority like it is within many Western societies. Higher education increases job opportunities and innovation furthering even more economic growth. 

Western nations need not fret in the face of rising competition. The plus side is that with more globalized economies becoming interconnected, the greater cooperation can develop to solve environmental problems while negating the desire to go to war.  

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A. R. Wallace: The Other Guy to Discover Natural Selection

This paper-puppet animation celebrates the life of Alfred Russel Wallace, who is co-credited with Charles Darwin for the theory of natural selection.  Read the story here:

Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the greatest discoveries in biology began as spatial discoveries.  Alfred Russel Wallace made some amazing advances in biogeography and discovered the appropriately named Wallace Line

Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, historical.

Kelsey McCartney's curator insight, December 10, 2013 9:40 PM

A sweet animation of the wonderful Alfred Russel Wallace, the oft unaknowledged simualtaneous discoverer of evolutionary mechanisms.

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:13 PM

Wallace is one person you rarely hear about in the classroom, especially as a person who made a dent in science as a co-founder of natural selection. As someone who did his research in Brazil, Darwin, founder of the Natural Selection theory believed that Wallace may have come across one of his published manuscripts in order to make his claims be known. But one thing Darwin may have missed is how Wallace was reaffirming is scientific claims. 

Maddison Louise Pomeroy's curator insight, May 16, 2018 8:20 AM
This would be a great introduction to natural selection and evolution. The visuals and the story layout help students understand the basics of Wallace and Darwin's ideas and topics such as competition, speciation, evolutionary mechanisms. etc can be used as points of expansion. 
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Water and Development

Australia's engagement with Asia: Water - a case study on Flores
Seth Dixon's insight:

For a the full lesson on how access to clean drinking water and human well-being are connected on the Indonesian island of Flores, visit World Vision Australia.  On a related note, this article from the Guardian discusses the trouble of securing clean drinking water in Bangladesh.   

Tags: Indonesiawater, development.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 18, 2014 8:38 PM

The children of this village were once sick and could not regularly wash their hands due to the fact water was hard to find, and if it was found the quality was poor. World Vision helped by building a pipeline, which brings clean drinking water to this village. They can now bathe regularly and drink clean water.

Having this clean water also benefits the community from an economic standpoint. The abundance of clean water now attracts educators to their village and it also helps with creation of bricks. These bricks can be sold and can be used for their home improvement projects. 

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, April 24, 2014 2:29 PM

This video shows a positive side to globalization.  The Australian organization that worked with the people in these rural villages to get them access to clean water.  The quality of life when up hugely when the people could access water in their homes.  The hours needed to trek to the wells was eliminated and the water have created jobs and better quality of life for the villages.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 9:48 PM

This is a pretty sad short documentary, it tells of the diseases and the amount of people that go without water. Just to get water women will have to go to a well and walk a couple hours through a forest. Sometimes the well can be dry. The women and children are affected greatly. The women have neck and knee pain from the weight of the water they are carrying and the children are always sick from the poor drinking water so they are constantly missing school.  With permission, the people of the villages were able to engineer a freshwater system that ran through the different villages, a total of 27 kilometers. This made life significantly better than what it used to be. The one thing that really surprised me is that the villagers opted out to pay $120 a year to neighboring villages to keep the water clean and allow them use. 

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Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic

Unusual ways to avoid Jakarta's traffic | Geography Education |
Jakarta's traffic is legendary and locals have now become experts at finding ways to get around the jams, with some even making money out of them.


The population of Indonesia is heavily concentrated on the island of Java, and the capital city of Jakarta faces a tremendous strain on it's transportation network.  This video show that resourceful people will find inventive ways to make an unworkable situation manageable. 

Kendra King's curator insight, April 13, 2015 9:01 PM

Humans instinctively look to profit when the situation arises, this is one of those situations. The government implemented regulations that barely seem to manage the traffic jams, i.e. having 3 people per car. Since people do have to work and may not always be able to meet the requirements, others have started making a living as a “jockey,” an individual who offers to ride in a car so the 3 people limit is met. Doing this is considered illegal. Yet, there aren’t good enough jobs for people to work (otherwise they won’t be a jockey) and those who do work can’t seem to always follow the rule without it harming there work life.  Plus, more police now turn their attention towards these people thereby deterring them away from their other duties. I realize that the state probably never intended these consequences to happen, but now that it is I really wonder just how useful this law really is. One thing is certain though, without better planning or economic innovation by the government, the jams will continue to happen.


I find it odd that the people keep staying despite the major traffic problem. As one interviewee mentioned. I guess as long as you can find ways to stay productive and still receive enough compensation, the time spend in traffic isn't enough of a hassle for them. As someone who has enough economic opportunity with far less wait time in traffic though, I would find this situation unbearable. Clearly, this isn't that case though. So, I am not sure of the immediate solution. As we learned in class, the government tried transmigration. This just lead to more problems. It was then suggested that the type of opportunity. If that is the case though, what should the government do now? Waiting for a more natural economic opportunity to get the people out of Jakarta won't happen quick enough to curb the increasing population growth. Therefore the strain on the infrastructure will continue because the population's carrying capacity is exceeded. Whatever the answers, I think this would be a great case study for urban planning and the impact raising car dependency has on a society as this driving nightmare shows just how important planning is with more cars. 

Matt Chapman's curator insight, April 26, 2018 12:42 PM
Traffic is a show of heavy urbanization.  This shows just how urbanized Jakarta is and how many people are working and moving around the city.
Taylor Doonan's curator insight, May 3, 2018 12:42 PM
Jakarta makes rush hour in America look like a walk in the park, it is almost constantly busy and there are strict rules about who can be on the roads, such as there must be a certain number of passengers in a car and taxis are monitored. These rules cause residents to go to extreme measures, people often stand and get paid to be passengers in peoples cars so they meet the passenger requirement and that is how some of the residents of Jakarta afford to live. There are also many unregistered taxis that take the risk because registering them is difficult to do.