‘The Great Fish Swap': How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply

“One-third of the seafood Americans catch is sold abroad, but most of the seafood we eat here is imported and often of lower quality. Why? Author Paul Greenberg says it has to do with American tastes.”

Source: www.npr.org

The United States exports the best-quality seafood that Americans catch, but import primarily low-grade aquacultural products.  This is just one of the counter-intuitive issues withe U.S. fish consumption and production.  This bizarre dynamic has cultural and economic explanations and this NPR podcast nicely explains these spatial patterns that are bound to frustrate those that advocate for locally sourced food productions. 

Tagsfood production, industry, food, agriculture, agribusinessconsumptioneconomic, sustainability.

Why Finnish babies sleep in boxes

“For 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It’s like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.”

Source: www.bbc.com

This is a fascinating article that can be a great case study to share with students to allow them to analyze the factors that can improve infant mortality rates.  In Finland the government provided oversight to improve infant mortality rates, pre-natal care and promote good parenting in a way that has had tangible results.  

Tags: Finland, medical, population,demographic transition model, unit 2 population.

Donut Holes in Law of the Sea

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

Source: donutholes.ch

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

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

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

The world’s megacities that are sinking 10 times faster than water levels are rising

Scientists have issued a new warning to the world’s coastal megacities that the threat from subsiding land is a more immediate problem than rising sea levels caused by global warming.

A new paper from the Deltares Research Institute in the Netherlands published in April identified regions of the globe where the ground level is falling 10 times faster than water levels are rising – with human activity often to blame.

In Jakarta, Indonesia’s largest city, the population has grown from around half a million in the 1930s to just under 10 million today, with heavily populated areas dropping by as much as six and a half feet as groundwater is pumped up from the Earth to drink.

The same practice led to Tokyo’s ground level falling by two meters before new restrictions were introduced, and in Venice, this sort of extraction has only compounded the effects of natural subsidence caused by long-term geological processes.

Tagscoastalclimate change, urbanmegacitieswater, environmenturban ecology.

Source: www.independent.co.uk

Nicaragua unveils major canal route

“The Nicaraguan government and the company behind plans to build a canal linking the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean have settled on a route.”

Source: www.bbc.com

A Chinese firm (HKND) is planning to construct a canal to rival Panama’s.  I’ve been following this issue as I prepared to co-author an article  for Maps 101 with Julie Dixon and it is clearly a major environmental issue.  However, this issue is much more geographic than just the angle; China and Nicaragua are vying for greater control and access to the shipping lanes that dominate the global economy and international trade.  This shows that they are each attempting to bolster their regional and international impact compared to their rivals (the United States for China and Panama for Nicaragua).   


Tags: transportation, Nicaragua, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Why caste still matters in India

INDIA’S general election will take place before May. The front-runner to be the next prime minister is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently chief  minister of Gujarat. A former tea-seller, he has previously attacked leaders of the ruling Congress party as elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Now he is emphasising his humble caste origins. In a speech in January he said ‘high caste’ Congress leaders were scared of taking on a rival from ‘a backward caste’. If Mr Modi does win, he would be the first prime minister drawn from the ‘other backward classes’, or OBC, group. He is not the only politician to see electoral advantage in bringing up the subject: caste still matters enormously to most Indians.”

Source: www.economist.com

This article from the Economist is dated since Mr. Modi is now the prime minister of India, but this analysis of how caste was used as a political asset in the election is a timely reminder that while the caste system has been officially abolished, the cultural ripples are still being felt today in a myriad of ways that impact social interactions (marriage, jobs, etc.). 

Tagsfolk cultures, culture, development, Indiasocioeconomic, economic, poverty, gender.

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

Editor’s note: This story is one in a series on a crisis in America’s Breadbasket –the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer and its effects on a region that hel…

Source: www.nbcnews.com

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

Tags: agriculture, agribusinesswater, environment, resources

U.S. Hispanic and Asian populations growing, but for different reasons

Both Hispanics and Asians been among the fastest-growing racial/ethnic groups in recent years, but since 2010, number of Asians have increased at a faster rate.

Source: www.pewresearch.org

It is often noted that the cultural composition of the United States is undergoing a shift, referred to by some as the “Browning of America.”  The story of Asian and Hispanic growth in the United States are occurring simultaneously, which makes many assume that they are growing for the same reasons.  The data clearly shows that this is not the case.  

Tags: migration, USA, ethnicity.

Why do competitors open their stores next to one another?

“Why are all the gas stations, cafes and restaurants in one crowded spot? As two competitive cousins vie for ice-cream-selling domination on one small beach, discover how game theory and the Nash Equilibrium inform these retail hotspots.”

Source: www.youtube.com

This TED-ED lesson shows the economic and spatial factors that lead to businesses to cluster together.  This video is a very simple introduction to the concept of agglomeration that is based on competition.

 

Tags: APHGTED, models, spatialK12, location.