Geography Education
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Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
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Identifying Illegal Overfishing

Identifying Illegal Overfishing | Geography Education |

"The vast majority of fishing vessels follow the rules governing fishing – but many are not, and these bad actors can cause a lot of damage. Vessels may take too many fish ­– overfishing – which is causing our fisheries to collapse. Then there is the problem of illegal fishing, which can occur in protected areas, in another country’s waters or on the high seas. This threatens jobs and food security for millions of people, all around the world.

The trouble is, so much of this illegal activity is hidden – it happens out to sea, making it difficult to scrutinize what individual vessels are getting up to. Fortunately, we are now beginning to see what happens after commercial fishing vessels leave port.

The interactive map we created allows anyone in the world with an internet connection to see the activities of the commercial fishing fleet globally." Tags: water, conservation, biogeography, environmentpollution, resourcesmappingfood production, agriculture.

WordPress TAGS: water, biogeography, environment, pollution, resources, mapping, food production, agriculture.

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The 10 Worst River Basins Contributing to Ocean Plastics

The 10 Worst River Basins Contributing to Ocean Plastics | Geography Education |

"[A new paper], published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, calculates that rivers contribute between 410,000 and 4 million tonnes a year to oceanic plastic debris, with 88 to 95% [of that total] coming from only 10. Those rivers are the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai He, Pearl, Amur and Mekong in east Asia, the Indus and Ganges Delta in south Asia, and the Niger and Nile in Africa."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Of river-based plastic pollution, these 10 rivers are responsible for 88%-95% of all the plastic gyrating in the world's oceans.  Improvement in these key places could make a world of difference in improving marine ecosystems (NOTE: the map came from this alternative article on the same subject).


Tags: pollution, water, environmentsustainability, consumption, fluvial.

Matt Richardson's curator insight, January 3, 2018 1:22 PM
Baltimore harbor has an odd contraption that is scooping plastic out of Jones Falls before it reaches the outer harbor. If only this machine could operate in these 10 river systems, which are contributing waste to our embattled/trashed/overfished/warming oceans. .
Matt Manish's curator insight, April 4, 2018 12:44 PM
It struck me as odd to learn that the majority of plastic that winds up in the ocean isn't actually from ocean activities. Also, that these ten rivers contribute up to 88 to 95% of plastics in the ocean. This is a huge margin of these materials coming from these ten major river systems, most of them being in Asia. This makes me wonder why are mostly Asia's rivers carrying so much trash to ocean. It could be the major cities sitting along the banks that are dumping trash into the river and letting float down steam. Also, I wonder if there possibly isn't an efficient enough sanitation system set up in Asia which could lead to more people just throwing their trash into these rivers. To summarize, something from the data in this article tells me that their is a common denominator as to why most of the rivers that carry the largest amount of plastic materials to the ocean every year are located in Asia.
Olivia Campanella's curator insight, December 14, 2018 1:48 PM
In East Asia the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai He, Pearl Amur, Mekong. South Asia, Indus, Ganges Delta and in Africa the Niger and Nile River are responsible for dumping 4 million tonnes of plastic into the sea each year. Previous research has found 1/4 of plastic and trash comes from marine activity such as ships, fishing boats or drilling platforms. The 4/5 left comes from land totals 4.8 to 12 million tonnes. 
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Paris mayor unveils plan ​to restrict traffic and pedestrianize city center

Paris mayor unveils plan ​to restrict traffic and pedestrianize city center | Geography Education |
Anne Hidalgo says she wants to cut the number of cars in French capital by half as part of campaign to tackle pollution
Seth Dixon's insight:

The world's biggest cities are struggling to maintain access to congested downtown areas and still ensure that the downtown maintains it's historic sense of place that generate so much tourism and concentration of cultural amenities.  Pollution is driving cities to change as the private automobile as the default mode of transportation becomes less feasible and unsustainable as cities expand to be far larger than they ever have been before.  


Tags: urban, environmentpollution, urban ecology, France, place, tourism, Paris, megacities, transportation.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, February 6, 2018 10:02 AM
Traffic, nobody likes to hear that word, but we are always unable to avoid it. In any major city traffic is a way of life, but how can we control it. The Mayor or Paris Anne Hidalgo has been looking for a way to limit the amount of the cars in the city or find a way to diverge traffic to some areas. Some of the reasons behind it are to address pollution issues in a city that has seen incredible increase in population and a rise in cars, which obviously gives way pollution. However, it will take time to improve public transportation and they can divert traffic as much as possible, however people still need to be able to get to work and from place to place. Also for foreigners  on vacation in Paris, obviously a popular place to go, how do you deal with population problems and vacationers?  Tourism is very important for Paris and there is a few concerns with cars, first off if the city becomes overtaken by smog that is never a good thing. Second, if you divert traffic to areas it may confuse travelers, and thirdly if you make major changes to roads or buildings do you change the beautiful landscape of Paris? These issues will be challenges for many Mayors or government officials all over the world, sadly there is not an easy answer. 
Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 2:05 PM
In an effort to clear some of the traffic in Paris, the mayor has created plans that will prevent some of the traffic in the country’s capital city. She is making these plans because of the pollution that covers the city. By getting rid of half of the traffic, having an electric tram, and introducing more bike lanes, mayor Anne Hidalgo is planning to make the city “green”.
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This is where your smartphone battery begins

This is where your smartphone battery begins | Geography Education |
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.

David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 29, 2018 3:36 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.
Douglas Vance's curator insight, April 21, 2018 2:10 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 4:05 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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Vultures, Environment, and Mapping Trash

"For generations we vultures, armed with our senses, have fought in silence. We’ve waged a battle against garbage, but now we’re losing that battle. We want to help humans, so we’ve launched a movement to help you detect piles of garbage so that you can take action to eliminate them. Join us in this fight. Vultures Warn, you take action!"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video is an introduction to a fascinating (Spanish language) website and project that uses GPS-tagged vultures to map out the urban trash hot-spots in Lima, Peru.  We look at vultures as the dregs of the food chain and ascribe moral filthiness to the species (just think of any number of movie, literary, and cultural references), but they are simply filling an ecological niche.  This mapping project is a way to use vultures nature in a way that allows for humanity to fix our trash production/disposal problems.    


Tagspollution, PerudevelopmentmappingGPSbiogeography, environment, environment modify, South America, land use, megacities, urban ecology, consumption.


Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 29, 2018 11:00 PM
An ingenious idea to clean up the environment. This group is based out of Lima, Peru uses the vultures in the city to find the piles of garbage and refuse left by people and set up events to clean up the area. It is an amazing way to utilize nature to help us solve the problems we caused ourselves. They utilize the vultures by putting GPS devices and GoPro cameras on them and wait until they locate large trash piles. The video itself is so well-made and interesting that it almost forces you to learn more by checking out their website and their social media pages. The phrase they use is "Gallinazo Avisa, Tu Actuas" translates to vultures warn, you act. 
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Bad Earth: the human cost of pollution in China – in pictures

Bad Earth: the human cost of pollution in China – in pictures | Geography Education |
This series of images shows the extent of China’s pollution problems and the human toll of exponential growth on local communities in China’s vast and severely damaged northern region


Ghazlan Mandukai, 52, left, looks out over the vast, toxic tailings lake beyond the industrial city of Baotou, Inner Mongolia. He farmed in this area for 40 years until the influx of steel and rare earth metal factories rendered local lands infertile. Poisonous waste that results from refining rare earths is continually dumped into the Weikuang Dam, as seen here.


Tags: pollutionChina, East Asia, industry, sustainability, images, art, landscape.


Keone Sinnott-Suardana's curator insight, June 22, 2016 10:21 PM
Nicole Canova's curator insight, May 1, 2018 10:30 PM
China has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world: but at what cost? They make themselves competitive in global markets by delivering goods and services at low prices, which they achieve through under-paying workers, not using resources to ensure workers' safety, and polluting the environment by ignoring protocols for safely disposing of waste products, which costs time and money.  The result is air that is unsafe to breathe, millions of people and animals with poisoned water supplies, and land that cannot be farmed.
Matt Danielson's curator insight, December 12, 2018 3:39 PM
CHina's pollution issues are pretty bad, possibly the worst polluter in the world. The air quality can be so terrible it reminds me of Industrial revolution London, except Chinese cities are even worse. Not just air pollution from smoke stacks but land pollution from dirty mining and water pollution in rivers from factories all play key roles in China's pollution problem. Some estimates put the number as high as a million Chinese deaths per a year attributed to pollution. This article does a good job of breaking down the pollution issue into simple terms.   
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China pollution: First ever red alert in effect in Beijing

China pollution: First ever red alert in effect in Beijing | Geography Education |

"Schools in Beijing are closed and outdoor construction halted as the Chinese capital's first ever pollution "red alert" comes into effect over smog levels."

Seth Dixon's insight:

A large part of China's rapid economic growth has been dependent on cutting corners in labor and environmental standards.  This is one reason why I don't think that the Chinese economy can continue this growth indefinitely.


Tags: pollutionChina, development, economic, megacities, East Asia, industry, sustainability, urban ecology.

Sarah Cannon's curator insight, December 16, 2015 6:39 PM

It's horrible to see China come to this. Soon, air pollution will be just as bad everywhere else if it is not stopped. We, everyone, has to do something to stop air pollution. This world is polluted enough. Stop air pollution so future generations can have a chance to have a good life and not have to worry about PM levels are in the air on a daily basis.

Nicole Canova's curator insight, May 1, 2018 11:35 PM
Another example of the impacts of China's disregard for environmentally sustainable practices. The city's industry and thousands of cars produce massive amounts of pollutants, making the air difficult to breathe on most days.
brielle blais's curator insight, May 2, 2018 10:00 AM
This article shows the harm one country can cause when prioritizing their economic growth over protecting the environment and maintaining public safety. The geography of China is that it is surrounded in the South and East by industrialized cities. This has increased air pollution such as smog and forces the people to wear masks and even drive cars on an alternating schedule. This calls for a new global deal on climate change to fix the air quality and way of life for people in China and around the world. 
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The Periodic Table of Elements Scaled to Show The Elements’ Actual Abundance on Earth

The Periodic Table of Elements Scaled to Show The Elements’ Actual Abundance on Earth | Geography Education |
When you learned about The Periodic Table of Elements in high school, it probably didn’t look like this. Above, we have a different way of visualizing the elements. Created by Professor William F. Sheehan at Santa Clara University in 1970, this chart takes the elements (usually shown like this) and scales them relative to their abundance on the Earth’s surface.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Periodic Table of Elements shows each element as a box, but that doesn’t help us understand which elements are the most scarce and abundant.  The “rare earths” are crucial ingredients in cell phones, laptops and magnets that create clean energy; China controls 95% of the rare earths production and are no longer exporting these materials to other countries (some consider the availability of rare earths a risk to U.S. national security).   This image is not a mathematically accurate representation of the true proportions, but an artist's rendition with the given limitations.  For an article on WHY the image above isn't (and can't be) mathematically accurate, read this article.    


Tagspollution, industry, economic, energy, resources, environment, environment modify, sustainability.

Luis Cesar Nunes's curator insight, November 19, 2015 7:57 AM

elements abundance

16s3d's curator insight, November 23, 2015 7:16 AM

Morphisme du tableau périodique des éléments en fonction de leur abondance

Lilydale High School's curator insight, May 17, 2016 5:57 AM
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The Geography of E-Waste

The Geography of E-Waste | Geography Education |
The world is increasingly going hi-tech. Many people in our high consumption society want the latest and the greatest; last year’s much anticipated laptops and cell phones are miles behind the newest models that are coming out. So what happens with the old models? Even thrift stores are politely not accepting them as donations. Even some workable machines that were highly valuable 10 years ago are now functionally trash in our society. We can’t put it to the curb to end up in the landfill because of the lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials that can leak into the environment. This type of trash is what we call e-waste. The geography of e-waste is an ‘out of sight out of mind’ problem that we rarely think about but need to due to the ecological impacts of our collective consumption.

Tags: pollutionsustainability, environment, resources, Ghana, Africa.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, November 6, 2015 5:22 PM

Areas of proaction and consumption / glean connections between places

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 7, 2015 9:56 AM

summer work

Kim Ruark's curator insight, February 5, 2017 5:33 PM
The other side of connectivity
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What it would look like if the Hiroshima bomb hit your city

What it would look like if the Hiroshima bomb hit your city | Geography Education |

"Maps bring the horror of Hiroshima home -- literally.  

Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology, created a NukeMap that allows you to visualize what the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions would look like in your hometown. Kuang Keng Kuek Ser at Public Radio International has also developed a version, using slightly different estimates.

Here is what Little Boy, the Hiroshima bomb, would look like on Wellerstein's map if detonated in New York City."

Kristen McDaniel's curator insight, August 7, 2015 11:12 AM

The NukeMap allows you to set different determinations such as bomb size, etc, as well.  

Adilson Camacho's curator insight, August 8, 2015 11:53 AM

Human Nature!

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 25, 2015 11:48 AM

I highly suggest tinkering around with "NukeMap," as I have spent the last 30 minutes seeing how different bombs would destroy my neighborhood and the surrounding areas- it will even adjust for varying casualty rates in areas with higher or lower populations, even just by moving the detonation site a couple of streets away. It's pretty cool at the surface, but to examine the destructive capabilities of some of these weapons is downright terrifying. You view the blast radius encompassing your home, your entire existence, on a computer screen, and its easy to forget the devastation of it all disappearing. For those who survived the atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was no simulation to tinker with, but instead a reality more terrible than anything I've ever had to endure in my own personal life. Thousands of lives lost, thousands more left irreversibly shattered, never to be the same again. All because men in government buildings on opposite sides of the ocean couldn't get along. No one wins in war.

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Five Things The Gulf Oil Spill Has Taught Us About the Ocean

Five Things The Gulf Oil Spill Has Taught Us About the Ocean | Geography Education |

"The Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 is the largest accidental marine spill in U.S. history: these are the pivotal discoveries scientists and environmentalists have learned from researching it.  While researching the spill, scientists tracked deep-sea sharks, found new mud dragons, and discovered a new type of ocean current."

Tags: water, conservation, physical, biogeography, environmentpollution, resources.

Beatrice J. P. Vasconcelos's curator insight, April 21, 2015 9:43 AM

Olha o tamanho da bobagem...

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'Dirty Old London': Geographies of Human Waste

'Dirty Old London': Geographies of Human Waste | Geography Education |

In the 19th century, London was the capital of the largest empire the world had ever known — and it was infamously filthy. It had choking, sooty fogs; the Thames River was thick with human sewage; and the streets were covered with mud.  But according to Lee Jackson, author of Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth, mud was actually a euphemism. 'It was essentially composed of horse dung,' he tells Fresh Air's Sam Briger. 'There were tens of thousands of working horses in London [with] inevitable consequences for the streets. And the Victorians never really found an effective way of removing that, unfortunately.'"

Seth Dixon's insight:

History gets sanitized, and the we forget some of the more unpleasant parts of past geographies.  Victorian London was filthy, but this isn't just a problem of the past as it remains an urban and developmental issue.  The NY Times just reported on how the sewage system is clogged with wet wipes say aren't as 'flushable' as advertized.  These are the negative externalities of urbanization.  This map of San Francisco shows the spatial and social inequalities of public restrooms and other public amenities for the homeless.  India is the country with the most people without adequate access to sanitary waste disposal and that is a massive impediment to their progress.  Public urination is also health/gender issue and the city of  Hamburg is fighting back with a technological deterrent to public urination (actually quite entertaining).  And if you want the "news of the weird" version of this story on the geography of human waste...well, here you go (you were warned). 

TagsLondonUK, historical, pollution, urban ecologypodcast.

Samuel Meyer's curator insight, March 23, 2015 12:03 PM

London has come a far way from the industrial town it was in the 19th century, and is now cleaner than ever. But pollution led to many issues in London at the time. This is also evident in the developing world today, such as in China, Africa, and South America.

EuroHistoireGeoAmiens's curator insight, April 11, 2015 10:16 AM

Pas mal en première pour une étude détaillée du Londres de Dickens

Emily Bian's curator insight, May 23, 2015 11:41 AM

This article is about London, UK during the time of Industrial Revolution. The city of London expanded so rapidly, that there wasn't enough time for urban planning. Factories and houses were going up everywhere, and thousands of people migrated to London for jobs. This led to an influx of filth. The air was polluted and there wasn't adequate irrigation systems or waste systems. Everything dirty could be found on the streets like horse dung, and the water would get polluted and unsanitary. 

I liked this article, because it really created an image in my head how terrible and filthy the Industrial Revolution was at the start. 

7)Development and character of cities

Development and character of cities

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Endangered Wildlife Trust

Endangered Wildlife Trust | Geography Education |

"If you don't pick it up they will."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I found this ad from the Endangered Wildlife Trust to be very powerful.  It is a good introduction to systems and systems thinking.  


Tags: pollutionsustainability, environment, resources, water, coastal.

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The Real Threat to Hinduism: The Slow Death of India's Rivers

The Real Threat to Hinduism: The Slow Death of India's Rivers | Geography Education |

Hinduism shares an intricate, intimate relationship with the climate, geography, and biodiversity of South Asia; its festivals, deities, mythology, scriptures, calendar, rituals, and even superstitions are rooted in nature. There is a strong bond between Hinduism and South Asia’s forests, wildlife, rivers, seasons, mountains, soils, climate, and richly varied geography, which is manifest in the traditional layout of a typical Hindu household’s annual schedule. Hinduism’s existence is tied to all of these natural entities, and more prominently, to South Asia’s rivers.


Hinduism as a religion celebrates nature’s bounty, and what could be more representative of nature’s bounty than a river valley? South Asian rivers have sustained and nourished Hindu civilizations for centuries. They are responsible for our prosperous agriculture, timely monsoons, diverse aquatic ecosystems, riverine trade and commerce, and cultural richness.  Heavily dammed, drying in patches, infested by sand mafia and land grabbers, poisoned by untreated sewage and industrial waste, and hit by climate change — our rivers, the cradle of Hinduism, are in a sorry state.


If there is ever a threat to Hinduism, this is it. Destroy South Asia’s rivers and with it, Hinduism’s history and mythology will be destroyed. Rituals will turn into mockery, festivals, a farce, and Hinduism itself, a glaring example of man’s hypocritical relationship with nature. The fact that we worship our rivers as mothers and then choke them to death with all sorts of filth is already eminent.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This might be a controversial op-ed because it has a strong perspective on the religious and environmental dimensions of modern Indian politics...that said, I think it is well worth the read.  The Ganges is both a holy river, and a polluted river; that juxtaposition leads to many issues confronting India today. 


Tagsculturereligion, India, South Asia, Hinduism, pollution, industry,   environment, sustainability, consumption, fluvial

Nicole Canova's curator insight, May 1, 2018 1:21 AM
Religion is shaped by the geography of the region in which it develops.  For example, Hinduism is heavily influenced by the rivers of India, and these rivers are considered holy places sites and places of cleansing and purification.  However, the cleansing power of the rivers is diminished by pollution that makes it unsafe to take part in ritual bathing.  Pollution, climate change, and deforestation are also having an impact on other aspects of Hinduism, which is about celebrating nature in it's entirety, including monsoons, forests, and agriculture.  As nature continues to be negatively impacted by human activity, many aspects of Hinduism will also be negatively impacted.
David Stiger's curator insight, November 12, 2018 3:19 PM
Sometimes both sides can be wrong in an argument, as illustrated in this article. The secular left in India has mistaken their conservative Hindu counterparts as a people stuck in tradition, unable to address the environmental calamities facing modern society. The more right-leaning Hindus believe the secular environmentalism of their countrymen to be antagonistic to the practice of Hinduism - such as the environmental restrictions on firecrackers. Hindus celebrating Diwali feel that fireworks are a central part of the festivities and do not want environmentalists restricting them. The author notes that both sides have missed the point. Hinduism is closely tied to nature and expresses notions of environmental stewardship as a holy endeavor. Liberal Indians do not need to see Hinduism as opposed to environmental sustainability and should stop criticizing Hinduism as a whole. Traditionally religious Hindus should be aware that their own faith would have them be environmentalists - not because of secularism - but because of divine inspirations to coexist with nature. While both sides bicker, failing to understand how Hinduism is pro-nature, the rivers are being ruined by pollution. This pollution will destroy nature, and nature is the foundation and driving force of the Hindu religion. This is because Hinduism was founded around a  river valley civilization - the river and arable land being central to the culture's vitality. 

In some ways, this situation reminds me of Christianity in America. Liberals are very concerned about the environment and climate change in particular. Conservative Christians, buying into a theology of "Dominionism" of Genesis, believe God gave the earth to humans to use however they please. Paired with a suspicion of science, conservative evangelicals have largely shunned environmental sustainability and conservation. A closer reading of the Bible would show that God values nature and wants creation to grow and thrive. Humans should be stewards of the environment - its destined caretakers. Instead, liberals think Christianity preaches stupidity while conservative Christians believe the science behind environmentalism is anti-God, aligned with communism, and probably a hoax to manipulate the faithful. 

Matt Danielson's curator insight, December 12, 2018 3:08 PM
The river plays a key role in India. Whether its culture, religion, histor,y in agriculture, in transportation, and in many other aspects. These once bountiful rivers that sustained Indian civilizations are now threatened by pollution, climate change, damns, and other man made reasons. At best if this is problem is not solved it will lead to drastic changes in Indian society, at worse it could lead to the collapse of Indian society, Starting with the end of Hindu rituals. 
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A Remote Paradise Island Is Now a Plastic Junkyard

A Remote Paradise Island Is Now a Plastic Junkyard | Geography Education |
Henderson Island is isolated and uninhabited—but its beaches are still covered in garbage.  


Henderson Island (article or podcast) is about the most remote place you can visit without leaving the planet. It sits squarely in the middle of the South Pacific, 3,500 miles from New Zealand in one direction and another 3,500 miles from South America in the other.  Henderson should be pristine. It is uninhabited. Tourists don’t go there. There’s no one around to drop any litter. The whole place was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1988. The nearest settlement is 71 miles away, and has just 40 people on it. And yet, seafaring plastic has turned it into yet another of humanity’s scrapheaps.


Tags: pollutionOceaniawater, environmentsustainability, consumption.

Katie Kershaw's curator insight, April 26, 2018 1:49 PM
If I had looked at this picture without the context, I would think it was somewhere where people had stayed for a while and then left the place trashed with their own garbage.  In reality,  this is an island that is 3500 miles away from the nearest major settlement and doesn’t have any human inhabitants.  This really exemplifies that even though plastic waste may not be in one’s backyard, it never truly goes away.  Plastic is a material that cannot be broken down, so when it is dumped it just moves around until it hits land.  The article pointed out that plastic is incredibly difficult to clean up, particularly on places like Henderson Island.  When it floats in the ocean for a long time, it becomes brittle and breaks into very small fragments.  Those small fragments then mix with the sand and get buried, making it impossible to get rid of.  Another fact about this island that was shocking is that 3,750 pieces of litter wash up everyday, which is 100,000 times than other islands.  Henderson Island is not suitable for humans to live on, as there is no freshwater, frequent storms, and incredibly sharp terrain.  It is interesting that an island that keeps humans away can’t defend itself against plastic.  The reach of humans extends far beyond what they imagine and even uninhabitable land is infested with human waste.  No matter how remote a place is, it will still be effected by people.
David Stiger's curator insight, December 5, 2018 12:08 PM
Although a remote place like Henderson Island is uninhabited, the amount of trash that blankets its shores should still be alarming to humans. It is highly visual evidence of the damage that human waste is having on the earth as a whole. If this much trash if landing on the shores of an island, which is surely degrading the environmental quality and ecosystem, then how much trash lies underneath the waves of our blue planet? This means that coral reefs, the source of fish, and ocean water that transforms into water vapor forming clouds is all contaminated. If something ends up in the oceans, it will eventually end up in our food chain. The marred beaches of Henderson Island illustrate what is happening to nature's cycles. 

While human behavior is the driving force, we can also discern that another main culprit is a global culture of plastic. Humans use way too much plastic and its constant disposal is creating a toxic environment in which people live. It is not enough to say this is a tragic situation and forget about it. It is also not enough to examine one's own life and decide to reduce their personal plastic consumption. No, this is a systemic problem that runs deep in our modern societies. This requires mass political action. The photos and morbid stories serve as devices to inform people and have them feel something. It is up to people to demand policies and laws from both governments and corporations to change our ways. As the article stated, a cleanup of the island (and other islands) will be futile. The only thing to do is to mitigate the worst effects by cutting the problem at its source - the production of plastic. And, it has to be done on a global scale. 

Shifting away from plastic to a more environmentally friendly material will be difficult but not impossible. In this case, if there is a will there is a way. 
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 8:36 PM
It is sickening to see how a uninhabited island can still be ruined by human products. People need to realize that they are hurting more and more islands and need to open their eyes. With people so far away we can still effect ecosystems terribly. 
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The Environmental Cost of Consumption

The Environmental Cost of Consumption | Geography Education |
Environmental artist J Henry Fair captures the beauty and destruction of industrial sites to illustrate the hidden impacts of the things we buy – the polluted air, destroyed habitats and the invisible carbon heating the planet
Seth Dixon's insight:

This artistic portrayal shows the extent of the massive modifications we've made to the landscape with some striking examples.  Pictured above is one of 17 images in this article that promotes the launch of the new book entitled, Industrial Scars: the Environmental Cost of Consumption.  In the image above we see mountaintop coal mining in West Virginia.  "This lonely stand of trees disappeared in barely a day. The small bulldozer on the upper level pushes loose material down to the loader, which scoops it up into the next earth mover in line, which will in turn dump it into a nearby ‘valley fill’, burying the stream there." This might be the most beautiful and ugly set of images that you'll see today. 


Tags: pollution, industry, sustainability, images, art, landscape, unit 6 industry.

Sally Egan's curator insight, October 30, 2016 6:28 PM
Photographic essay illustrates the impacts of human use of resources. The beautiful images illustrate the extreme impact on the environment.
Sally Egan's curator insight, October 30, 2016 6:30 PM
Photographic essay illustrates the impact of human activity on environments.
Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, November 16, 2016 5:37 PM

Production and consumption - interconnections and consequences 

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Beyond debt default and Zika, Puerto Rico struggles as trash piles up

As Puerto Rico’s government grapples with an economic crisis, a Zika outbreak, and widespread landfill closures, another disaster is brewing -- trash on the island. Whenever it rains, several feet of black, contaminated water and trash flood the homes of people living near the Martín Peña Channel.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video clip really stretches across diverse geographic strands...If you are looking for a "post-test," end-of-the-year resource to help them tie together loose strands of the curriculum, this could certainly be of use.


Tags: urbanwatermedical, environmentpollution, urban ecology, Puerto Rico, economic.

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Edible Cutlery

"India is one of the world's largest consumers of disposable plastic cutlery, which has the makings of a huge health and environmental crisis written all over it."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Plastics clog our landfills and single-use plastic consumption is one of the most wasteful elements of our consumer-based, disposable society.  This product is a reaction against the waste of disposable cutlery, but it is also an intriguing developmental strategy (see company kickstarter page or website). 


Tags: developmentfood, gender, agricultureconsumption, South Asia, pollution

Rebecca Geevarghese's curator insight, May 8, 2016 6:27 AM
How innovative!! Will definitely being showing this to my Geography students. 
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, April 5, 2018 2:05 PM
This video was really fascinating and brings up very good points about being environmentally friendly.  The creator of this edible cutlery noticed that there was a problem in India with the use of plastic cutlery.  He points out that it has been littering the area because of the high volume of usage of the product in India.  The problem with plastic cutlery is that it doesn't decompose, so people throw them out and they just sit there forever.  So the inventor of the edible cutlery came up with an ingenious solution to the plastic problem, he created a product that was incredibly ecological.  The cutlery is made of crops that are readily available and grown right in India.  This cuts down on waste transporting the materials to make the cutlery.  He also decided to use millet as the main material in the product because it takes significantly less water to grow than other crops he considered using.  The cutlery is completely biodegradable and 100% edible, so it has little impact on the environment once it is disposed of.  Another unique aspect of the cutlery is that it comes in a variety of flavors so it actually adds to the culinary experience.  Not only did the inventor come up with a great solution to pollution in India, but he has also helped spur the local economy by providing jobs to 9 lower class women.  This shows that even though pollution seems like a huge problem that effects the whole planet, the solution is not always as complicated as it seems.
David Stiger's curator insight, November 12, 2018 6:02 PM
After seeing this my first thought was "absolutely brilliant." With over a billion people living in India, something simple like disposable cutlery is no longer a small, trivial matter - it is a major environmental and public health concern. Disposable plastic on such a large scale is not sustainable. Necessity must be the mother of invention as this Indian engineer find a practical and innovative alternative to help solve an issue in his country. But, this does not have to start and end with India. This eco-friendly solution could be applied to restaurants all over the world. I love that the cutlery is both edible and healthy and also biodegradable. Humanity needs more of this. It would be interesting to see a future in which a raised level of environmental conscientiousness led to people either carrying their own personal resuable cutlery with them or, if they forgot to bring their utensils, used edible/biodegradable ones. What is is so promising is that the interviewee stated that he could find a way to make the edible utensils as cheap as the plastic ones and that they have a shelf life of three years. Climate change is not just a regional problem in India but a globalized problem. When one region of the world discovers a solution, it should be shared and promoted on a global scale.  
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OTL: The promise Rio couldn't keep

OTL: The promise Rio couldn't keep | Geography Education |
Rio de Janeiro's bid for the Summer Games featured an official commitment to cleaner waters. But with less than six months to go, trash and contamination continue to lurk.
Seth Dixon's insight:

ESPN is covering this topic only because of the upcoming Olympics, but underneath the veneer of a sports article are some weighty geographic issues that loom large for Brazil.  


Tags: pollution, economic, Brazil, South America, urban ecology, sport.

derangedmanaged's comment, February 19, 2016 1:51 AM
Sarah Holloway's curator insight, February 23, 2016 12:34 PM

ESPN is covering this topic only because of the upcoming Olympics, but underneath the veneer of a sports article are some weighty geographic issues that loom large for Brazil.  

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The Ganges River Is Dying Under the Weight of Modern India

The Ganges River Is Dying Under the Weight of Modern India | Geography Education |
The country’s future depends on keeping the holy river alive.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This article touches on very serious religious and environmental issues connected to the Ganges River.  The Ganges is the sacred river of Hinduism and in part because the river valley is the most heavily populated region of India.  Simultaneously, this holy river is an incredibly polluted river as it's the watershed for a industrial region that struggles with significant sanitation problems; this is a great article on the environmental and cultural issues of development.

Tags: religionSouth Asia, culture, Hinduism, pollution, industry, economicenvironment, environment modify, unit 3 culture.

Zavier Lineberger's curator insight, April 24, 2018 1:20 PM
(South Asia) Varanasi, the oldest city in India and the religious center of Hinduism, has an enormous business focusing around cremating bodies to scatter in the Ganges River. Hindus believe the Ganges can break the cycle of reincarnation, so many who do not have money to pay for cremation drop their deceased directly into the river to help them break this cycle. However, the river supports approximately 10% of the entire worlds' population and belief in Ganga, "the self-cleaning river god" allows for Indians to poison the same water they drink out of. It is estimated that 70% of people that use the water become diseased by the sewage and industrial waste poured into it.
India cannot stop dependence on the river. Hindus bath in the holy water of the Ganges, and an increasing population means increased water consumption. It will take concentrated efforts from government and spiritual leaders to change the dominate opinion.
brielle blais's curator insight, May 1, 2018 6:39 PM
This article showcases how different aspects of geography can both help and harm a country. The Ganges River is incredibly important to India. It is a sacred place where the people believe in Ganges, the idea of allowing the dead to reach eternal liberation. Here, hundreds of bodies are burned a day. If they aren't burned, family members of the deceased let the dead float down the river. This phenomenon attracts many tourist and allows for the economy of India to thrive. However, the bodies are beginning to seriously pollute the river. Areas have become stagnant, full of disease. The problem doesn't end however, as India's population is increasing steadily as well. Water needs to be cleaned to meet the demand or India will face a true crisis.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, December 14, 2018 2:52 PM
10. Approximately 10% of the world's population lives on the Ganges river basin. Soak that in for a second. 10 % of the world's population rely on one way or another this religiously significant river. The god of the river, Ganga, is worshipped, but the river is also highly polluted. With waste both artificial and human, being thrown into the river and the number of dead bodies that float down to Varanasi, the oldest city in India, to be cremated. As dead bodies flow down the river the people still need to use it to wash. There are ceremonies that the people on the river hold where they dump waste into the river as they know that Ganga will clean the river. The pollution of the river is an issue that will, unfortunately, continue as India's population continues to grow. 
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The Electronic Afterlife

"E-Waste is a growing problem in our consumer-based society. The geography of e-waste is an ‘out of sight out of mind’ problem that we rarely think about but need to due to the ecological impacts of our collective consumption."

Tags: pollutionsustainability, environment, resources, Ghana, Africa.

Jeremy Hansen's curator insight, November 10, 2015 11:37 AM

Maybe getting that new iPhone isn't such a good idea, eh?

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Living in the Shadow of Industrial Farming

"The world eats cheap bacon at the expense of North Carolina's rural poor." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

In a recent article by QZ (the video above comes from the same investigation), they explore the negative impacts of the pork industry.  People love their bacon memes, but forget about social and environmental impacts of an increased global trend towards higher pork consumption

Tags: food, agriculture, agribusiness, unit 5 agriculture, agricultural environment, environment, environment modify, pollution. 

Lilydale High School's curator insight, August 17, 2015 7:33 PM

Consequences of living near industrial sites - even if it is farming.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, September 28, 2015 12:23 PM

This is pretty insane. I've seen other video's where it is a similar situation around chicken farms in the U.S. The people can't even go outside most of the time due to the smell, and it makes me wonder how much of the way we eat is truly devastating the planet. Beyond the smell, I can't help wonder what these types of farms would do the ground water beneath.

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North Dakota Town Evacuated Following Fiery Oil Train Derailment

North Dakota Town Evacuated Following Fiery Oil Train Derailment | Geography Education |
The entire population of  Heimdal, North Dakota has been evacuated Wednesday morning after a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded. A BNSF Railway oil train derailed around 7:30 am, setting at least 10 oil tanker cars on fire. The Bismarck Tribune spoke with emergency responders who "said the the sky was black with smoke near the derailment site."
Seth Dixon's insight:

Many hoping to stop environmental degradation of Canada's Tar Sands and the Dakotas "Kuwait on the Prairie" have opposed the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  It's been decades since crude oil has been shipped by rail in the United States but fracking technologies have opened up areas without oil pipelines to become major producers.  As demonstrated in this NPR podcast, the railroad industry has seized on this vacuum and since 2009 has been supplying the oil industry the means to get their product to the market.  Trains, however, are not the safest way to transport oil, even if they are efficient in the short run.    

Tagstransportationpollution, industry, economic, energy, resources, environment, environment modify.

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Over population, over consumption - in pictures

Over population, over consumption - in pictures | Geography Education |

"How do you raise awareness about population explosion? One group thought that the simplest way would be to show people in pictures the impact of population, pollution and consumption."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This gallery is filled with excellent "teaching images" on human and environmental interactions and all aspects of geography--the one picture above shows how Mexico City has enveloped even the rolling hills as a part of its urban expansion.  

Tags: environmentlandscape, images, environment depend, environment adapt, environment modify, pollution, resourcessustainability.

SRA's curator insight, April 14, 2015 8:16 PM

Jordan Linhart

It is absolutely astounding to me how we are so continually growing and expanding as a human race. What's more astounding to me is how quickly we are depleting and wasting all of the resources we have been given. Don't get me wrong, I was aware there were 7 pushing 8 billion of us on the planet, but growing up in the suburbs I wasn't as aware of it as I could have been. Ignorance is bliss, right? It breaks my heart to see the clearing of beautiful forests, the once turquoise water of Haiti filled with trash, and the death of animals that accidentally stumbled upon our waste. If we as humans don't start taking care of our planet, there won't be any where left for us to over populate, or even populate for that matter.

Eden Eaves's curator insight, May 24, 2015 7:56 PM

Unit 6

These eye opening photos paint a perfect picture of what the world will be like in years to come if we keep living the way we do. There are pictures of trash waves, extreme deforestation, hill-side slums, thousands of fields of oil wells, and overwhelming crowds of people.  

Angela Muster's curator insight, February 21, 2016 12:02 PM

It is important to see pictures like this one to help visualize just how much population, pollution, and consumption are effecting our world. Awareness is vital for change.

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Protecting an Ocean at Risk

"Pristine Seas is an exploration, research, and media project to find, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. These pristine places are unknown by all but long-distance fishing fleets, which have started to encroach on them. It is essential that we let the world know that these places exist, that they are threatened, and that they deserve to be protected.  Learn more about Pristine Seas here: "

Seth Dixon's insight:

I was enchanted hearing Enriq Sala discuss his passion for ocean biodiversity and purity.  This passion, combined with scientific exploration and political advocacy is the backbone of a National Geographic's Pristine Seas project.  Here is one news story about the Seychelles, and how they are trying to manage their fishing industries to promote sustainability and hopefully the Pristine Seas project will lead to greater awareness of the need for ocean conservation. 

Tags: water, conservation, National Geographicphysical, biogeography, environmentpollution, resources.

Emily Coats's curator insight, March 24, 2015 12:41 PM


Fishing and Urban Development have detrimentally destroyed our oceans, and we have polluted the seas at such a high level. Urban growth and over fishing have caused our oceans to be polluted, and we are killing the diversity in Earth's waters. It is essential that we preserve marine life and stop polluting the ocean and the creatures that inhabit it.