Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Colombia rejects FARC deal: What's next?

Colombia rejects FARC deal: What's next? | Geography Education |

"A narrow win for Colombia's opponents to a government peace deal with FARC rebels has thrown the country into disarray, leading one journalist to starkly declare, 'Nobody really knows what will happen tomorrow.'  Likened to the fallout from the United Kingdom's 'Brexit' referendum, the vote's unexpected failure has left the Colombian political classes reeling and unsure how to respond in order to save four years of hard negotiation with the Marxist militia."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The Colombian peace negotiations with FARC (the insurgent rebels in drug producing regions) were hailed as the key for Colombia to move past it's violent, drug-cartel past and move into the future.  As the Colombian population rejected the deal by the slimmest of margins (50.22% against), it leaves the government "without a Plan B." There are more questions than answers at this point about what might happen (if you are asking what's FARC?, then this primer will walk you through it). 


TagsSouth America, Colombiapoliticalnarcotics, conflict.

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, February 14, 2018 7:43 PM
This article highlights the amount of division that is occurring within Colombia.  The country is divided in two ways.  Those who are supporters and members of FARC who believe communism is how Colombia should be governed are in conflict with the rest of the population who want to maintain their democratic ways.  Even among the majority of Colombians who are not associated with FARC, making peace with them is a point of division.  A nationwide vote very narrowly rejected a deal that would make peace with FARC.  Those who voted no do not want to forgive FARC for the crimes they have committed and feel the only way to make peace is to lock up those in FARC.  The rest of the country, including the Colombian president simply wanted to establish peace in Colombia.  The country was unsure what would happen going forward when this article was written.  This example of Colombian conflict shows the effects of globalization.  FARC was inspired by the vision of communism that Lenin had back in the early 1900s and is still effecting a country far from Russia one hundred years later.  As the world became more connected, so too were ideas able to spread and take hold in regions far from their origins.  Another big source of conflict involving FARC is the drug trade, which was only made possible by the consumption and demand of Americans.  Many of the problems facing the world today are often very complex and involve exterior forces, much like the dilemma in Colombia.
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Mexico's Drug War

"Despite Mexico's strengthening democracy and booming economy, the country's security crisis rages on. Fifty thousand people have been killed in the past five years due to drug and organized crime-related violence."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Drug trafficking between Mexico and the Unites States has been burdening both countries for decades. Violence, drug abuse, kidnappings, murders, and government corruption are just a few of the issues that have resulted from it. The Mexican cartela are the culprits behind all of these issues. This gang is funded by drug money. They even exchange drugs for weapons over the U.S border. Recently, many Mexican marijuana farmers have stopped production due to the legalization of pot in many U.S states. Because pot is being produced in smaller quantities in Mexico, the amount of trafficking over the border will decrease, additionally resulting in lower crime rates and violence at the border. The only sure way to help end the drug war is to end the use of illegal drugs in both Mexico and the United States, but that is easier said than done.


TagsMexico, conflictnarcotics.

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What happened when Portugal decriminalized drugs?

"For 20 years The Economist has led calls for a rethink on drug prohibition. This film looks at new approaches to drugs policy, from Portugal to Colorado. 'Drugs: War or Store?' kicks off our new 'Global Compass' series, examining novel approaches to policy problems."

Tags: PortugalEurope, politicalpopular culture, narcotics.

Seth Dixon's insight:

The distribution of narcotics impacts virtually every country in the world; there are incredibly divergent strategies on how to mitigate these problems that are a result of sophisticated distribution networks.  What is the best way to stop the flow of dangerous drugs and the illegal activities that accompany the drug trade?  If you were in charge, what strategies would you recommend? Are some solutions a better fit for the political and cultural climates of diverse places?

Lon Woodbury's curator insight, September 9, 2015 9:15 PM

The other side of the war on drugs. -Lon

Penrith Farms's curator insight, September 11, 2015 1:21 PM

Very important insight

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, March 9, 2017 12:06 PM
unit 4 unit 5
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Will American Pot Farmers Put the Cartels out of Business?

Will American Pot Farmers Put the Cartels out of Business? | Geography Education |
They've driven prices so low that Mexican growers are giving up.

For the first time ever, many of the farmers who supply Mexican drug cartels have stopped planting marijuana, reports the Washington Post. "It's not worth it anymore," said Rodrigo Silla, a lifelong cannabis farmer from central Mexico. "I wish the Americans would stop with this legalization."  Facing stiff competition from pot grown legally and illegally north of the border, the price for a kilogram of Mexican schwag has plummeted by 75 percent, from $100 to $25.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Events that we think of as local (Washington and Colorado legalizing marijuana use) have national and global implications, especially in a globalized economy.  This article is but one example of why geographers try to approach every issue at a variety of scales to more fully comprehend the ramifications and ripple effects of any given phenomenon. 

Tags: Mexiconarcoticsscale

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 2, 2015 9:37 AM

there is also a negative side affect on this and that is now that planting marijuana is not making any money for the growers it is time to move to bigger and more dangerous stuff. The united states though the government  will not admit to, has a major drug usage problem and so it would be time to bring in another form of drug to make a profit. every so often there is something new that pops up on the streets and Americans want to experience them.

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, March 16, 2016 3:51 PM

Events that we think of as local (Washington and Colorado legalizing marijuana use) have national and global implications, especially in a globalized economy.  This article is but one example of why geographers try to approach every issue at a variety of scales to more fully comprehend the ramifications and ripple effects of any given phenomenon. 


Tags: Mexiconarcoticsscale

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, March 9, 2017 12:06 PM
unit 4 unit 5
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Crack Shack or Mansion?

Crack Shack or Mansion? | Geography Education |
Can you tell a Vancouver mansion from a crack shack?
Seth Dixon's insight:

Which homes were once being used to sell illegal drugs and which homes could be sold for over $1 million?  It is not as easy to distinguish between the two as you might think.  What constitutes affordable housing can change dramatically from neighborhood to neighborhood.  Want more?  Try Crack Shack or Mansion II.

Tags: housing, narcotics, urban, economic, place, socioeconomic, neighborhood.

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 20, 2013 4:31 PM

In this world any house can be held as a drug location. in the neighbor I live there was a house that broken into by the cops in which they found hundreds of pounds of drugs and none of the neighbors knew. We thought it was an abandoned home. a crack shack or mansion it is difficult to determine if it is or not.

Ryan G Soares's curator insight, December 3, 2013 10:58 AM

This I found to be very interesting. To me it was very sterotypical and much harder than I thought it would be. I figured it would be easy to depict a Mansion from a Crack Shack, but I guess I was wrong. Different areas different lifestyles.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, January 25, 2014 9:55 AM

A fairly funny game that makes fun of the astronomical real estate prices in Vancouver, BC. I actually wasn't incredibly surprised as I've watched some HGTV. Since many of the shows are Canadian imports the extremely high priced homes in Vancouver and Toronto are often featured.


I guessed 10/16. The game should branch out to Toronto, we might've caught a glimpse of Rob Ford.


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A quieter drug war in Mexico, but no less deadly

A quieter drug war in Mexico, but no less deadly | Geography Education |
Months have gone by since the last of the grisly mass killings that have marked the conflict’s darkest moments.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Cartels are still fighting each other, but they are no longer taunting the military and the police by doing it in such a blatantly public manner.  Drug-related homicides are stable (and alarmingly high) at 12,000 per year but less in the border cities and more in the northern interior.  The cartels are trying to avoid engaging the military, seeing that "spectacular acts of violence only bring more pressure to bear on them."  

Tags: Mexiconarcotics, conflict.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, February 6, 2015 3:35 PM

Prior to a few months ago the drug cartels in Mexico were running rampant. It was no longer an under the ropes operation like pre-2000. The Cartels were massacring, beheading people and performing great acts of violence such as the slaughter of 72 migrants near the border, or the dumping of 50 human torsos on the highway. The military responded by parading captured cartel members through the streets and calling in more and more back-up troops. Mexico is extremely dangerous when this activity goes on. That has recently all come to a public halt. The perceived danger/violence rate in Mexico has been dropping but at the same time the number of drug related deaths has not. It seems that the cartels have smartened up and understand now that the great acts of violence only brings more pressure onto them. Now the cartel tries to avoid the military as much as possible as the added backup and highway patrol’s give the drug smugglers issues.

Brian Wilk's curator insight, March 28, 2015 2:45 PM

Looks like President Enrique Nieto has shifted tactics in Mexico's fight against the drug trade. When he won election from Felipe Calderon he changed the way he portrayed his country. No more would he parade alleged drug dealers and overlords before they went to trial. This would only infuriate the drug lords and they sought revenge by seeking out police to either kill, or bribe, further deteriorating the uneasy truce between the government and the drug trade. By keeping this off the news and promoting Mexico's other needs such as trade, education reform, and reduction of poverty.

The mass killings have been kept mostly out of the spotlight and the body count is still the same, but Nieto can now fight this fight largely out of the public's eye. The drug related killings have moved to the northern territories away from cameras and the public. This should afford him opportunity to focus on this problem and keep the public from thinking Armageddon is around the corner.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, October 7, 2015 1:34 PM

It is interesting to know that the drug cartel violent s has slowly been decreasing from public views. Violence from the war on drugs on the Mexico border with the United States has been a huge issue for a while post 9/11. They are finally trying to avoid conflicts with the government, specifically the military and police  because it will only bring more pressure to them. It is a smart thing to keep violence of the streets but out in places where there the cartels can draw less attention, murders and trafficking still exist. It is important to understand that a huge problem like this does not just vanished completely, but changes overtime and shift to other quiet places.  

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Outside the Amtrak Window, a Picture of the U.S. Economy

Outside the Amtrak Window, a Picture of the U.S. Economy | Geography Education |
The death and life of the industrial corridor linking New York and Washington.

This article is a great example of analyzing the landscape to observe changes in any given place.  This corridor is home to 8 of the 10 wealthiest counties; at the same time this transportation corridor is also home a half a dozen of the country's most broken cities.  Exploring this area is way to analyze the changing economic geographies of the United States.  For a visual representation of these same themes, see this 5 minute video that corresponds to this NY Times magazine article. 

Tags: industryeconomy, unit 6 industy, transportation, neighborhood, landscape.

Don Brown Jr's comment, November 20, 2012 12:06 PM
I can’t help but think of Rhode Island, specifically communities in Providence and how the decline of the textile industry and rise of the automobile has affected the contrast in standards of living and opportunities between the residents of the East Side and South Providence.
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Mexico's Drug Wars - Photo Essays

Mexico's Drug Wars - Photo Essays | Geography Education |
Photographer Anthony Suau documents the surging influence of the drug cartels in Northern Mexico and the efforts by police to maintain law and order...


The issus connected to drug trafficking are intense in Mexico for a variety of geogaphic factors.  This is not something we typically see as a part of the the new global economy, but it certainly has been connected to the processes of globalization.  Visit this topic on for more sources on the Mexican Drug Trade.

Via Roland Trudeau Jr.
Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 4, 2014 12:37 PM

Anthony Suau photographs images that tell a thousand words of the drug wars and its influences. Drug trafficking is a major issue in Mexico and due to this, govenment has increased its actions, prostitution has increased as well as the death rate. It is one thing to read about these incidents, but it is another to see them. Military search through bags and pull people thrown into canals out.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 4, 2014 12:39 PM

This picture depicts the drug trade and how well it is or isnt regulated. Many officials are nervous about the drug trafficing and do not feel confident in enforcing the laws against drug cartel and drug trafficing. This photography depicts the efforts ofd the police to maintain order.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 28, 2014 5:40 PM

This photo essay shows how much of an issue drug trafficking is in Mexico.  Not only is it more work and stress for their police and military but for average families as well. So many deaths are results of drug trafficking that it is an ordinary everyday occurrence. The food for guns program shows that no matter how poor or desperate they are they still have weapons.

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Mapping Mexico's gang violence

Mapping Mexico's gang violence | Geography Education |
Voters are counting on the next president to find a solution to the country's alarming rise in organised crime.


This interactive features shows temporal and spatial data on drug-related deaths in Mexico since 2007.  Also connected are profiles of the presidential candidates of the three major political parties (PRI, PAN and PRD) and with their platform on drugs and ways to curtail the accompanying violence.  Mexico's presidents can only hold office for one term, but it is a six-year term...2012 isn't just about Obama and Romney. 

James Hobson's curator insight, September 23, 2014 12:46 PM

(Mexico topic 7)

A picture (specifically a map, in this case) is absolutely worth a thousand words, and can invoke many more. Over 10,000 deaths in Chihuahua but less than 20 in Baja California Sur, for example - though Chihuahua's population is greater, the percentages based upon population are still way out of proportions. For some perspective, If Rhode Island were in Chihuahua's situation, that would mean over 3000 cartel-related deaths every year in the state (~0.3% of the total population).

Jason Schneider's curator insight, February 3, 2015 3:35 PM

I just finished reading a scoop about violence in Mexico getting worse and I discovered that violence in Mexico comes from its poor economy, drugs and dead-end lives. Chihuahua, the largest state in Mexico has the most number of violent deaths in Mexico with over 10,000 deaths. The smallest state in Mexico, Tlaxcala has only 13 deaths due to gang violence. YOu would think that the size matters in the number of deaths due to gang violence but that is not the case. Sinaloa is smaller than Sonora and Sinaloa's death rate due to gang violence is four times higher than Sonora's. Also, Baja California Sur is slightly smaller than Baja California Norte is Baja California Norte's death rate due to gang violence is 105 times higher than Baja California Sur's death rate.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 5:56 PM

After reading this article and playing along with the interactive map, which I think is a very well used resource, I can see that gang violence is a major issue in the country of Mexico, especially as stated in the article, areas near US borders and places with ports. For example, a place near a US border is Chihuahua with 10,134 deaths! In Chihuahua located at Ciudad Juarez, near El Paso is where the conflict between two cartels is focused. It is also scary to know that there is that much violence going on right next to our own territory. 

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The Geography of Drug Trafficking

The Geography of Drug Trafficking | Geography Education |
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Web Site... 


Afghanistan and Burma (a.k.a.-Myanmar) are the world's leading producers of the illicit narcotic of heroin.  What environmental, political, developmental and cultural factors play a role in these distribution networks?  What geographic factors contribution to the production of these drugs to be located in these particular places?  Follow the link for a map of global cocaine distribution patterns.   

Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 23, 2012 10:54 AM
The second half of this article shows just how crucial of a part Mexico plays in the drug trade. Most of the cocaine that comes from the Andean region is pushed up through Mexico and the Carribean only 17 tons are sold in Mexico while 165 tons are distributed into the United States. The US makes up 40% of global cocaine consumption, leaving a huge opportunity open to Mexico.
Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, March 9, 2017 12:06 PM
unit 5
Mr Mac's curator insight, June 7, 2017 4:51 PM
Unit 5 - Narcotics Agriculture 
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Mexican Cartels not just a Border Problem

Police in Mexico arrested a man they say is one of the country's largest methamphetamine producers. The arrest comes as Mexican drug gangs are moving aggressively to try to dominate methamphetamine markets not just in the U.S.


The drug issue is often described as a border problem and though that one little line was the only space necessary for understanding the problems.  This podcast highlights how many places are a part of the networks at play in this complex economic geography that causes political, demographic and cultural strife on both sides of the border.  

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 4, 2014 12:54 PM

Mexican Drug cartels used to be just a border problem that needed to be addressed and now it;s not the only problem that the United States has to worry about. Mexican cartels have transfered into the economic demography and contributed into the border problem as a whole and have changed the US control.  

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Shifting sands: Changing Geography of the Mexican Drug War

Shifting sands: Changing Geography of the Mexican Drug War | Geography Education |

FIVE years ago next week, Felipe Calderón took office as Mexico’s president and launched a crackdown against organised crime.


While the rates of murders are plateauing at 12,000 per year, internally where are these murders taking place?  Which places are becoming more critical to control?  Murders are shifting east (From Sinaloa and Chihuahua to Nuevo Leon and Veracruz).  Why is this shift occurring?  What does this shift indicate politically and economically for Mexico?

Brett Sinica's curator insight, September 29, 2013 1:27 PM

These numbers are astonishing especially when based simply on drugs, money, and power.  Compared to the article where it described Tijuana as still being one of the major cities for murder, the numbers and color scheme seem to show the region as one of the areas with less murders.  Heading south into the country, is Mexico City.  The city which is surrounded by such a large metropolitan area with a vast gap between poor and rich tends to have low murder rates.  This is very interesting considering popular belief tends to focus on such violence being conducted in large cities where there is better chance of cartels using the neighborhoods and people within them to strengthen their empire.  This makes me wonder if the authorities are too strong for cartels to infiltrate and become powerful, or on a limb, do the cartels have a mutual agreement not to do business in the country's economical and cultural hub?

Julia & Eva's curator insight, November 29, 2013 5:34 PM

This artilce falls under the category of political. It shows that Mexico's continuing drug war has effected the people that live there with lots of violence. By getting a new president, their murder rates have gone down, which has had a significant benefit on their country.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 3, 2014 1:20 PM

In Mexico there is a long standing tradition of the cartels working with officials to make sure their drug operation remain intact. With opportunities at a minimum in these rural areas where drug lords exist, the drug business provides youths with an opportunity they would otherwise not have. In Mexico the informal economy keeps many of these states in business. This shift is only evidence of where police are cracking down and where disputed territories exist. Cartels that have a stronghold over a territory with police cooperation don't need to increase their causality rate to maintain order.

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FARC-Colombia peace deal finalized

FARC-Colombia peace deal finalized | Geography Education |
Negotiators seeking to end the insurgency in Colombia, one of the world's longest-running conflicts, said they had reached a final peace deal.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Farclandia has long been an insurgent state where the Colombian government had no real power to enforce the rule of law and their sovereignty over this area that all the political maps say are Colombia.   This shadowy place became a place where drug cartels could operate freely and many of the concessions that Colombia is making for this deal to happen involve amnesty for past crimes. 


TagsSouth America, Colombiapoliticalnarcotics. conflict.

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Do The Math - Why The Illegal Business Is Thriving

Do The Math - Why The Illegal Business Is Thriving | Geography Education |

"Globalization hit organized crime over the last decade and now is integral to its most profitable business -- the international narcotics traffic. Once a regional problem involving a customer base of a few million, and barely a billion dollars in sales, the illegal drug industry is now a worldwide enterprise with tens of millions of hard core consumers spending hundreds of billions on opiates, cocaine and amphetamines and marijuana, as well as other drugs."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) calls drug trafficking “a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws.”  While some individuals are profiting off these drugs, the overall impact of the society and the places involved with the illegal trade is detrimental. 


Tags: globalization, conflictnarcotics.

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Why the Violence in Mexico is Getting Worse

"Mass killings have become increasingly common across Mexico due to the country's ongoing war on drugs. Cartels and gangs, often working with help from local police, are murdering innocent victims by the dozens and leaving them in unmarked graves. So just how bad is the violence in Mexico, and what is the Mexican President doing to stop it?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

Read the transcript of the video here, that link is also a nice resource for to do some additional research on the topic.

Tags: Mexico, narcotics.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, October 28, 2015 12:23 PM

This video was very informative on the mass killing related to drug cartels. It clearly shows that the war on drugs comes at a high price of human lives. There is not real viable solution to stopping these drugs cartels because as seen in this video, many law enforcement agency cracked down on the head of the cartels but it backfired instead. Many factions or "little snakes" exists now because the head of it is gone. In my opinion we cannot stop drugs violence if there is no reason to make drugs in the first place (the consumers). 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 9:50 PM

It is hard for the Mexican authorities to do anything about it, they know who the drug dealers are but think about it a police chief who is honest has a life expectancy of 18 months on the force.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 5:34 PM

After watching a video like this, I have nothing to feel except sadness, all the missing people and all the dead because of drugs... What really through me for a loop was when the narrator said the police handed people over to a cartel. Who does that? Clearly it is an issue if it makes the top five for most widely reported mass killings, plus who knows however many more going unreported. It appears as something good was being done by capturing and or killing drug cartel leaders, but apparently doing good, made things worse, because without leaders, new factions were made and apparently  those new factions were much worse, being more violent and creating more incidents. Having corruption within is also probably making things much worse.

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In Pictures: Crackdown in Brazil's favelas

In Pictures: Crackdown in Brazil's favelas | Geography Education |
The Brazilian government's 'pacification' initiative has led to drug busts and shootouts in Rio's favelas.

Just a few months before Rio de Janeiro welcomes visitors for the World Cup, and two years before it hosts the Olympics, security within the city remains a major issue.  The government currently promotes the policy of "pacification", where security forces engage in raids, drug busts, and even gunfights with suspected gang members. This pacification policy is supposed to pave the way for the development of long-neglected favelas in Rio, Brazil's second-biggest city and home to 11 million people.  However, many of the favelas remain in the hands of an army of drug dealers and criminals who are not willing to step down or be pacified.

Seth Dixon's insight:

Tags: Brazil, urban, squatter, narcotics, socioeconomic, neighborhood.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, April 28, 2014 10:41 AM

unit 7

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 2015 6:29 AM

I believe that absolutely no one is surprised that right before an international event, the hosting city is cracking down on its problem areas. I am skeptical of the Brazilin governments  promise to develop the long neglected Favelas. After Rio finishes hosting the 2016 Summer games, the government will once again neglect the Favelas. There will no longer be an incentive for the government to care about the favelas. The eyes of the world will be off the  city and things can return to normal. The only losers in this equation are the actual residents of these slums. Once again the promise of better days will ripped  from them. An added injury is that there informal economy will have been destroyed. While life in an informal economy is hard by any measure, it is still a way of making a living. The increased police presence will destroy that way of life and replace it with empty promises.  

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A map of the U.S. depicting overall drug test positive rates

A map of the U.S. depicting overall drug test positive rates | Geography Education |
Drug Testing Index; A map of the U.S. depicting overall drug test positive rates
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Legalized Marijuana in the USA

Legalized Marijuana in the USA | Geography Education |
Washington state has become the first in America to allow the recreational use of cannabis, setting up a potential showdown with the US federal government.

The states that have legalized recreational marijuana use reflect regional differences in cultural and communal values within the United States.  This is quite a quandry with fascinating ramifications as popular cultural values clash with political tradition. 


Questions to Ponder: What will the Federal government do considering that a state law is contradicting a federal law?  Will other states follow?  Would a California employee fail a drug test is the drugs were legally consumed in a different state?  Will Washington and Colorado receive more weekend tourism?   

No comment yet.
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Interactive Education Comic/App

A graphic novel to entertain, excite, and educate…and with an experimental interactive comic app as well! Plaid power to the people!

Looking to teach geography and world affairs with a flair?  The Plaid Avenger has a new interactive comic book to teach about the geography of Mexico and the geopolitical impacts of the the drug wars in that country.  If you've received some value from his work in the past, please consider supporting this endeavor which is pushing the boundaries of educational technologies and platforms.  

Tags: Mexico, geography education, edtech, narcotics.

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Pena Nieto claims victory in Mexico election

Pena Nieto claims victory in Mexico election | Geography Education |
Presidential candidate says Mexicans have voted for change of direction after exit polls project win for his PRI party.


For the first time in 12 years, Mexico's president will be from the PRI party (which dominated and led power from the 1920's to 2000).  Enrique Peña Prieto won the election, in large part due to Mexico's dissatisfacation with the PAN's handling of the escalating drug violence.  A few decades back, the PRI kept the violence out of the streets with some tacit agreements with the drug cartels to stay within particular territories.

Seth Dixon's comment, July 2, 2012 11:00 AM
I'm afraid that stability and corruption is what Mexico is choosing over instability and freedom. Unfortunately, stability and liberty weren't both on the table. Maybe the PRI in the last 12 years out of power has cleaned up it's act but I am nervous since they were are "party monopoly" when in power that would violate human rights and rig elections.
Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 7, 2012 11:26 AM
This picture speaks of how the Mexican people feel towards this election;
Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 4, 2014 12:43 PM

This article is about the victory over the election and the vixctor coming in first was congradulated by President Obama and said that he is excited to be working together in the efforts of creating a better cause. Pena Priento is now the system ruler

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Uruguay’s government, new pot dealer on the block

Uruguay’s government, new pot dealer on the block | Geography Education |
Amsterdam, eat your heart out. This South American country has big plans for marijuana fans.


The distribution of narcotics impacts virtually every country in the world; there are incredibly divergent strategies on how to mitigate these problems that are a result of sophisticated distribution networks.  What is the best way to stop the flow of dangerous drugs and the illegal activities that accompany the drug trade?  If you were in charge, what strategies would you recommend? 

David Lizotte's curator insight, February 9, 2015 4:48 PM

This was an interesting article, a bit outdated, yet still informative. I personally know nothing about the legalization of drugs, specifically Marijuana, in any foreign country.

It certainly comes off as is the Uruguayan government is trying to monopolize the growing and sale of Marijuana. From a government perspective they would be able to handle the sales of pot and use the profit for state needs... I am assuming state needs. The article stated the revenue would be roughly $75 million, thats a good amount of money to throw around in regards to infrastructure and other further investments. In time the government would allow for private organizations to grow Cannabis but would have to sell it over to the government to be legally distributed. Not only would the government be setting the price for the buying of bulk from the producers but they would also be reaping all the benefits from sales. Also, the growers of Marijuana would be taxed... The government is winning either way. 

An issue with this plan is the fact that the government is a direct beneficiary of the profits obtained from the drug. It is clear that the government wins. Who else wins? Stoners? I suppose it is good that they wont be busted for smoking anymore... I hope there is a good amount of money from this revenue going back into the state. I'm sure jobs will be created to keep up with the Marijuana sales. What will happen to the people already selling Marijuana? They can't sell it anymore if the government is only allowed to. Perhaps this could create an issue? 

I understand the purpose of this project/plan. I believe it needs more structure and perhaps a more descriptive outcome, not just the government reaping the profits and not saying where they will spend the money. 

Louis Mazza's curator insight, February 12, 2015 7:15 PM

Uruguay was one of the safest nations in the Latin America until an outbreak of hard drugs, with violence following it. in order to combat this outbreak Uruguay wants to legalize the "soft core" drug of marijuana. the government thinks this should reduce the consumption of Crak-cocaine and other forms of the coco leaf. this is following he current trend in the America's. this would not legalize the growing or selling of marijuana, it would make it state mandated and taxed while the possession of small amounts is legal.

i think that this will be great, with easy access to the drug it will take the exhilaration out of doing drugs. i do think this will ease people off of harder drugs to the accessible drug of marijuana. although people who use crak will not be changed immediately and satisfied with pot, it will help the whole economy from trying crak- cocaine.

Taylor Doonan's curator insight, February 9, 2018 7:09 PM
As harder drugs become more popular the stigma attached to marijuana is less severe. Uruguay is looking to sell marijuana to legal adults, the dealer would be the state, their goal in doing this is to cut down on the harder drugs. The article talks about how marijuana is becoming  more socially acceptable all over the world, but specifically in America and how the decriminalization in America is influencing Uruguay. The article also talks about how harder drugs are causing more and more deaths, especially in the "journey" to America, if Uruguay legalizes marijuana it hopes that it causes a reduction in use of hard drugs. The government plans to use the tax money from the sales to rehabilitate drug addicts.   
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A Fateful Harvest: Afghanistan under siege

Afghanistan supplies virtually all of the world's illegal opium. For Afghans themselves, however, feelings about poppy are conflicted: It's harmful to their ...


Part 1 of an 8 part series on youtube documenting the opium-growing process and how the Taliban manages it.  Agricultural production and rural land use can absolutely play a huge role in geopolitics and cultural patterns and processes, as evidenced by this example.  For more resources on the Afghanistan drug issue, see:

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 1, 2015 7:10 PM

Most people would agree that Opium is a devastating addiction.  But what most of us don't see is the other side of the drug trade. This video shows the vulnerability of the drug-dealers and poppy-farmers.  The Afghanistan government finds and destroys a poppy farm and the interview with a boy of the farming family is riveting.  You can't help but feel bad for these people, especially the children who are directly effected by it.

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, May 8, 2015 12:49 PM

Drug trafficking is a problem all over the world, but this is really something else.  Realistically, these people are just growing flowers, but it's their intent that is the problem.  I was always aware that Afghanistan was a major producer of drugs, but I had no idea the extent. I agree that if someone has illegal drugs, that they should be punished.  But these poppies are these people's life line.  That's not to say that what they are doing is acceptable, but you can't help but feel bad.  They live in a poor region where they are doing what they need to just to feed their families. It's kind of heartbreaking, but there are laws against these drugs for a reason, and they should be penalized.  Then there is the question of how do they choose one family to punish, when this is clearly a huge problem that is not easily hidden; these people are growing these plants in plain sight.  The government has every right to punish them, and as upset as they are to have their crop destroyed, I would think it's got to be better than getting thrown into an Afghani prison.

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, March 9, 2017 12:07 PM
unit 5
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Zetas Mexico's 'biggest cartel'

Zetas Mexico's 'biggest cartel' | Geography Education |
The Zetas are now the largest cartel in Mexico, overtaking their bitter rival, the Sinaloa cartel, a report by US security firm Stratfor suggests. 


When the Sinaloa cartel was the 'big dog,' they had a tacit understanding with the government and the government would target other drug syndicates and basically leave the important members of 'La Federacion' alone.  The Sinaloans operate primarily through bribery and corruption while the Zetas specialize in horrific brutality.  Now that the Zetas have muscled their way into more turf and more influential networks, how will that reshape the geopolitical paradigm?  What with the effect be for Mexican citizens and for those on both sides of the border?   This is not a good turn of events.

James Hobson's curator insight, September 23, 2014 12:21 PM

(Mexico topic 5)

It seems to me that as Mexico's economy evolves, so do its drug cartels. Just as businesses expand and take monopoly over smaller ones, it looks like the same process is occurring with cartels. My educated guess would be that this is not just a coincidence, but rather the two are strongly correlated and interconnected. Though I  am not an expect on the topic and there is surely much to be researched, I believe that advances in infrastructure such as the Internet, telecom, and freeways (to name just a few) benefit both the legal economy and illegal cartels by being utilized and exploited in the same manner.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, March 1, 2015 7:16 PM

I've often wondered why the government can't get things under control in Mexico.  These cartels are awful!  Mexico will never get better till the Zetas are put out of operation.  Its also come down to supply and demand.  Until we stop demanding drugs then I guess they will keep supplying them to the US.  Legalizing pot has to put some sort of crimp into the supply/demand of it in the US.  I wonder what the dollar amount is?  The news out of Mexico about the brutality of the cartels scares me into not visiting Mexico.  It has to have some impact on tourism.  

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 6, 2015 6:14 PM

After reading the article and learning that just one cartel alone runs in more than half of Mexico is astounding. For one cartel to place it's mark like that must mean something bad in this case. They also seem to be much more brutal because the article says that violence gives them advantage over a rival gang Sinaloa who uses bribery. That is probably how they gained so much advantage over others. They probably get their violence because they are mostly ex- spec ops soldiers. With expansion into South America, middlemen are eliminated, which in turn makes more profit for the two prominent cartels. Also, because of our stepping up on border enforcement, the cartels have expanded to overseas where the market is more open. 

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Wikinarco: mapping narcoviolence

Wikinarco: mapping narcoviolence | Geography Education |
RT @WomanVote: Wikinarco: mapping narcoviolence – Boing Boing #Mexico #NarcoWar #violence...


The drug violence in Mexico has been a huge problem recently, but technology is allowing citizens new ways to combat the problem in the absence of effective governance. 


Via Richard Petry
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