Egypt to ‘escalate’ Ethiopian dam dispute

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

While construction of Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam continues apace, downstream neighbour Egypt is crying foul.  Egypt’s main concern is water security, as the country faces a future of increasing scarcity. Nearly all of Egypt’s water comes from the Nile, and its population of 83 million is growing at nearly two percent annually.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

85% of the Nile’s water comes from the Blue Nile that originates in the Ethiopian highlands–it is the Blue Nile that Ethiopia has been working on damming since 2011.  The Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be located ocated near the border with Sudan (see in Google Maps).  As stated in this BBC article (with a nice 1-minute video clip), Egypt and Sudan currently get the majority of the Nile’s waters because of outdated colonial-era treaties that ignored upstream riparian states.  This explains why Egypt is adamantly opposed to Ethiopia’s plan and is actively lobbying the international community to stop construction on the dam, fearing their water supply with be threatened.  Oil might be the most economically valuable liquid resource in North Africa, but water is the most critical for human habitation.   

Tags: Ethiopia, Africa, development. environment, water, energy, borders, political.

See on www.aljazeera.com

The Way Forward in Ukraine

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

“During the meeting in Geneva, the participants agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine and restore security for all citizens.  In a joint press availability with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton, Secretary Kerry outlined several of these initial steps.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Geography is never a completed story; the world is in a constant state of becoming.  The geography of a place and region are only glimpses from one historical vantage point as Russia and Ukraine are demonstrating now.  The Head of NATO is saying that Ukraine is not the only part of Putin’s geopolitical ambitions and other experts are describing the current situation as a new Cold War.  Collectively this means that diplomats and government officials everywhere are seeking solutions to stabilize Ukraine and the region.  NATO has expanded into what was once the Soviet Union’s buffer zone and as a resurgent Russia is now prepared to exert regional influence.  As Russia has confirmed moving troops closer to Eastern Europe, many are suggesting a stronger NATO presence on the eastern border of NATO to counter Russia’s moves.    

Question to Ponder: What do you think the United States (or any other country) should or shouldn’t do in this region?

Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict.

See on blogs.state.gov

Navigating the East China Sea

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

How to ease tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over an uninhabited string of islands.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Experts are saying that Chinese-Japanese relations are as bad as they’ve been since the end of World War II.  Why all the commotion?  The tension has been heightened in the last few months when China claimed control over the airspace in  the East China Sea. Then the Japanese Prime Minister also gave offering to a shrine to honor World War II soldiers (veterans and heroes to some Japanese, war criminals to most of the international community).  China sees this as proof that Japan is becoming more militaristic and willing to exert more power in East Asia.  However, at the root of this issue is that both Japan and China claim certain islands and that is increasingly becoming a sticking point in foreign relations.  See this book review on “Asia’ Cauldron” for more context on the East China Sea.      

Tags: borders, political, conflict, China, Japan, East Asia.

See on www.washingtonpost.com

Venice wants out of Italy

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

VENICE, Italy – Venice, renowned for incomparable Gothic architecture and placid canals plied by gondolas that make it one of the most recognizable cities in the world, may have had enough of Italy.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Some of the wealthiest regions of the poorest countries of the European Union are seeking for greater regional autonomy and even independence.  As one resident said, “I have always felt as a Venetian first, and Italian second.”  The scale at which people construct their primary identities and political loyalties play a key role to the political geographic concept of devolution, where power shifts from a central authority to more local control.  So independence moves are to start negotiating.  As another Venetian said, “I think we’ll end up with a little more autonomy and a little more pride in our city” and not actual independence.

Tags: Italy political, economic, states, autonomy, devolution.

See on www.usatoday.com

Feeding 9 Billion

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Agricultural production is one of the ways in which people modify the environment more than any other.  Global population is expected to top out at around 9 billion around 2050, so will we be able to sustainably feed all of the entire human population?  This one question brings up many more spatial, environmental, political and social questions–this interactive feature nicely addresses many of the pertinent issues in a very accessible manner.    

Tags: sustainability, agriculture, food production, environment modify, unit 5 agriculture

See on www.nationalgeographic.com

The Next America

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

Demographic transformations are dramas in slow motion. America is in the midst of two right now. Our population is becoming majority non-white at the same time a record share is going gray.

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

The demographic shifts in the United States are transforming the cultural fabric of the country and this interactive feature from the Pew Research Center explores some of these changes.  Interracial marriage, declining fertility rates, migration, economic opportunities and politics are just some of the issues that can be seen in these excellent populations pyramids, charts, videos and graphs.      

Tag: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, USA.

See on www.pewresearch.org

Using State Maps in School

“Have you ever seen a map and marveled over all of the information that it contains? It is incredible how maps can capture so much of the real world and depict so many places. From big cities to small towns, maps use characteristics such as topography, hydrography, industry, and recreation to tell the story of a place.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

National Geographic Education has just finished producing all of 50 State Tabletop Mapmaker kits which focus on basic mapping skills for younger audiences.  This set of tiled 8.5 x 11 sheets really expands what you can do and to help educators know what to do with these resources, they wrote this article that shows 9 ways to use these new state maps in your classroom.  I’m looking forward to printing off the Rhode Island state map!

TagsNational Geographic. mapping, K12.

See on blog.education.nationalgeographic.com

CT map

Economic Decline and Sense of Place

West Virginia, Still Home from Hollow Interactive on Vimeo.

“McDowell County, situated in the coalfields of West Virginia, has experienced a great boom-and-bust since 1950. But despite the economic decline and population loss, many still call it home and feel a great sense of purpose among the mountains. Residents speak about their connection to this place and the meaning of ‘home.’ Hear more stories at hollowdocumentary.com

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

This video perfectly exemplifies some key geographic ideas; sense of place, regional economic decline, migration and resource extraction.  This video would be great to shows students and then get them to analyze the geographic context that creates a place like McDowell County, West Virginia.  This will be a great addition to my Place-Based Geography Videos StoryMap.  

Tagseconomicplace, industry, location, migration, APHG, poverty, socioeconomic,

The Science behind Google Earth

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

“Google is using a new technology to automatically generate  3D buildings from 45-degree angle aerial photography made by overlapping passes of aircraft.  The aerial photos are combined to create 3D models.”

Seth Dixon‘s insight:

Some of the nuts and bolts behind Google Earth might be difficult to replicate in the computer lab, but it is critical to conceptually understand how geospatial data is used today.  This series of images shows how important remote sensing is for our modern digital mapping platforms.  

Tags: cartography, visualization, mappingremote sensing, google.

See on worldcadaccess.typepad.com

Why It’s a Big Deal That Half of the Great Lakes Are Still Covered in Ice

See on Scoop.itGeography Education

“More than 200 million tons of cargo, mostly iron ore, coal, and grain, travel across the Great Lakes throughout the year. Even a little ice can make a big dent on this total. Only three shipments of coal were loaded up during March – 69 percent less, by volume, than last year.  A sluggish start to the shipping season is just one of the cascading effects of the Midwest’s cold and icy winter. Some are good, and will allow the region to recover from years of historically low water levels. Others, like this delayed shipping season, less so.”

See on www.theatlanticcities.com