“Possibilism, while accepting that physical environments have some affect on the outcomes for human social orders, they’re not the only factor by a long shot. Today, we’re talking about human agency, and the Human Geographers who developed the ideas that make up possibilism. Individuals and groups make the decisions that shape their societies, and while the world sometimes shapes these social orders, people also increasingly affect their world in return.”
Just like that first Crash Course video on environmental determinism, this video on environmental possibilism treats complex ideas in a cut-and-dry manner. All the videos in Crash Course human geography series have an incredibly quick pace and these particular ideas need nuancing and (for most students) time to frame the factors and issues at hand. So if this is someone’s first introduction to environmental possibilism or determinism, they are likely to be both overwhelmed and given a slanted perspective on the topic. I’m still holding out hope for when this series reaches the thematic content of human geography instead of the theoretical underpinnings of past geographical philosophies.
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
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.
Many experts agree with an appeals court’s decision last month that dreadlocks aren’t a common racial characteristic. But left undecided: What’s a common racial characteristic?
Race is both an omnipresent part of culture and surprisingly elusive. “What is race?” might seem like an obvious question with concrete answers, but many see race as a socially constructed concept. Even if it is socially constructed, how it is thought of has legal ramifications (as shown in the case regarding dreadlocks). This is a good article that could start students asking the question “What is race?” and realize that it might be a hard question to answer.
An interactive network visualisation of key players & notable relationships in the Middle East region. Continually updated. Awesome looking.
News flash:the Middle East is complicated. In a region where the enemy of an enemy can be your friend, keeping track of local, regional, and global interests can be a staggering proposition. This flow chart is both incredibly complex, but also aids the user in making sense of the relationships that help to define the region.
Erdogan’s aggressive nationalism is now spilling over Turkey’s borders, grabbing land in Greece and Iraq.
In the past few weeks, a conflict between Ankara and Baghdad over Turkey’s role in the liberation of Mosul has precipitated an alarming burst of Turkish irredentism. President Erdogan criticized the Treaty of Lausanne, which created the borders of modern Turkey, for leaving the country too small. Turkey won’t be annexing part of Iraq anytime soon, but this combination of irredentist cartography and rhetoric nonetheless offers some insight into Turkey’s current foreign and domestic policies and Ankara’s self-image. The military interventions and confrontational rhetoric this nationalism inspires may worsen Turkey’s security and regional standing.
Today we’re talking about how Human Geography has been practiced in the past, how it hitched its wagon to some really bad ideas, and how that kind of thinking still persists in the world today. Basically, we’re starting with a lesson in how not to Human Geographize. Which I don’t think is a real word.
This isn’t exactly what I was hoping for when I heard news of that Crash Course was producing a series of human geography videos, but still has tons of value. This video on environmental determinism will raise as many questions as it answers. Personally, I think it is too dismissive of geographers (such as Jared Diamond) than is fair, but there is lot of good in the video and enough in it to feel that this series has some strong potential for the future. For APHG, it also make be feel optimistic about the future that “we’ve made it to the big leagues” in others eyes and are here to stay.
“Human eyes could be easier to trick than you might think. A Japanese professor, Kokichi Sugihara, created sculptures that trick the mind to see the impossible. He was the winner of the Best Illusion of the Year Contest in 2010 and 2nd place in 2016.”
“The map above, created with data from Telegeography, shows how those cables have developed since 1990. Most existing cables were constructed during a period of rapid growth in the mid-2000’s. This was followed by a gap of several years during which companies steadily exhausted the available capacity. Over the last few years, explosive new demand, driven by streaming video, has once again jumpstarted the the construction of new cables.”
Twenty years ago, people were still connecting to the internet with a dial-up connection through their modem (if you don’t know what that sounds like, this was once the sound of interconnectivity). People focus on cell phones, tablets, and cool gadgets when discussing the digital transformation of globalization, but it all rests on the infrastructure of the global connectivity that is mapped out here. Even still, global trade rests on the back of container ships moving manufactured goods from far-flung factories to major markets.
“The Ballena Marine National Park is located in Puntarenas, at the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica.”
This National Park in Costa Rica is a delightful example of many things geographic. Not only is the local biogeography make this a place famous for whales (ballena in Spanish), but the physical geography also resembles a whale’s tail. This feature is called a tombolo, where a spit connects an island or rock cluster to the mainland. Additionally, there is also a great community of citizen cartographers mapping out this park and the surrounding communities.