Life has long been fraught for a Muslim minority in mainly Buddhist Myanmar, but the recent “ethnic cleansing” has sent Rohingya fleeing en masse.
Many students have asked the question “Who are the Rohingya?” The Muslim minority group, concentrated near the Bangladeshi has a long history of marginalization. Its members lack full citizenship in Myanmar (Burma), and many in Myanmar deny that the Rohingya are a native ethnic group, claiming that they are recent Bengali immigrants. Now, fierce clashes between security forces and Rohingya militants left hundreds dead and entire villages torched to the ground. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled over the border into Bangladesh.
For centuries, South Asia has had its own Khawaja Sira or third gender culture. Now, some third gender people in Pakistan say the modern transgender identity is threatening their ancient culture.
Sometimes our assumptions about a society, and how they might react to cultural issues are just that…assumptions. I for one was very surprised to learn that Pakistan had a a traditional third gender.
“China is the world’s biggest tea producer, selling many varieties of tea leaves such as green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea and yellow tea. Different regions are famous for growing different types of tea. Hangzhou is famous for producing a type of green tea called Longjing or the Dragon Well tea. Tea tastes also vary regionally. Drinkers in Beijing tend to prefer jasmine tea while in Shanghai prefer green tea. Processing raw tea leaves for consumption is a time and labor-intensive activity and still done by hand in many areas in China. The Chinese tea industry employs around 80 million people as farmers, pickers and sales people. Tea pickers tend to be seasonal workers who migrate from all parts of the country during harvest time. In 2016, China produced 2.43 million tons of tea.”
Tea, the world’s most popular beverage, doesn’t just magically appear on kitchen tables–it’s production and consumption is shaped by geographic forces, cultural preferences, and regional variations. These 21 images show the cultural, region, and environmental, economic, and agricultural context of tea.
“Georgetown University’s Tim Frazier talks about the federal government’s management of disaster relief related to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.”
Tim Frazier is not only a fantastic geographer with an expertise in disaster management, he was also my volleyball partner on the “Bad Latitudes” team at Penn State. Good job Tim; great geographic insight and context to understand the response efforts.
This week has seen disasters and destruction on an unprecedented scale, and the HOT Community has activated to respond. Hurricane Irma is the largest Hurricane ever recorded, and has torn death and destruction through the Caribbean. Destruction on some islands is estimated at 95%, affecting the lives of 1.2 million so far, and on track to cause severe destruction across the entire Florida State, where mass evacuation is currently underway. Barbuda’s prime minister, Gaston Browne, described the damage as absolutely heart-wrenching. ‘The island is literally under water and barely habitable,’ Browne said. ‘About 95% of properties are damaged, there is a serious threat of disease. Additionally, those already affected by Irma fear a second brutal battering by Hurricane Jose.'”
Want to see geographic knowledge and geospatial skills in action? Crowd-sourced mapping is increasingly an important resource during an emergency. Poorer places are often not as well mapped out by the commercial cartographic organizations and these are oftentimes the places that are most vulnerable to natural disasters. Relief agencies depend on mapping platforms to handle the logistics of administering aid and assessing the extent of the damage and rely on these crowd-sourced data sets. My students and I join OpenStreetMap (OSM) projects, especially when there is a major humanitarian need…it’s a great way to make service learning and geospatial technologies come together. The projects that are marked urgent by the Red Cross are all in Haiti right now. Here are is a video playlist that explains the project and how you can help if you are new to OpenStreetMap (OSM).
“The 1968 Olympics took place in Mexico City, Mexico. It was the first Games ever hosted in a Latin American country. And for Mexico City, the event was an opportunity to show the world that they were a metropolis as worthy as London, Berlin, Rome or Tokyo to host this huge international affair. The 1968 Olympics were decreed ‘the Games of Peace.’ So Wyman designed a little outline of a dove, which shop owners all over the city had been given to stick in their windows. A protest movement, led by students, was growing in the city around [the organizers and designers]. These protestors believed the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) catered to wealthy Mexicans rather than the poor, rural and working class. Although the country had been experiencing huge economic growth, millions of people had still been left behind. The ‘Mexican Miracle’ hadn’t reached everyone.”
Few years are as powerful in the minds of Mexican identity as the year 1968. Like so many 99 percent invisible podcasts, this blends urban design, social geography, local history in a way that deepens our understanding of place. The built environment can be molded to project an image, and can be used to subvert that same message by the opposition.
“Tomales Bay lies about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of San Francisco, along the edges of two tectonic plates that are grinding past each other. The boundary between them is the San Andreas Fault, the famous rift that partitions California for hundreds of miles. To the west of the Bay is the Pacific plate; to the east is the North American plate. The rock on the western shore of the Bay is granite, an igneous rock that formed underground when molten material slowly cooled over time. On the opposite shore, the land is a mix of several types of marine sedimentary rocks. In Assembling California, John McPhee calls that side “a boneyard of exotica,” a mixture of rock of ‘such widespread provenance that it is quite literally a collection from the entire Pacific basin, or even half of the surface of the planet.'”
Telling the stories of our food from field to fork.
Episode Two: Peeling back the layers of nature’s most powerful superfood.
This 5-minute video is a good introduction to garlic, it’s production, environmental requirements, nutritional profile and diffusion. Historically, garlic was far more important than I ever imagined. The geography of food goes far beyond the kitchen and there are many more episodes in the “How Does it Grow?” series to show that.
“One of my stores, we had 300 employees; 140 of them were displaced by the flooding. So how do you put your store back together quickly? We asked for volunteers in the rest of the company. We brought over 2,000 partners from Austin, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley. They hopped into cars and they just drove to Houston. They said, we’re here to help. For 18 hours a day, they’re going to help us restock and then they’ll go sleep on the couch at somebody’s house.”
Natural disasters complicate the logistics that make our modern economy run. We take these flows for granted–until they are disrupted. This article is a excellent view into how to operate when disaster strikes.