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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Mapping the human impact on the Great Lakes

“It’s no secret that the Great Lakes are suffering tremendous ecological strain — Lake Erie was even pronounced “dead” for a time during the 1960s because of an overload of phosphorus from municipal waste. Back in 1615, though, when the entire region was pristine and explorers Samuel de Champlain and Étienne Brûlé gazed out together from Lake Huron’s shores, they dubbed it la mer douce, ‘the sweet sea.’ Today roughly one-quarter of Canada’s population and a 10th of America’s population drink from the Great Lakes basin; the beleaguered lakes alone hold more than a fifth of Earth’s freshwater.”

Source: www.canadiangeographic.ca

Questions to Ponder: What watershed do you live in?  Where does your drinking water come from?  When you flush the toilet, where does it go? How are places in your watershed linked?  How does this similar map shed more light on these issues?  

 

TagsCanada, environment, resources, waterspatial, scale

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why [Updated]

“After four-plus years of fighting, Syria’s war has killed at least hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. And, though it started as a civil war, it’s become much more than that. It’s a proxy war that has divided much of the Middle East, and has drawn in both Russia and the United States. To understand how Syria got to this place, it helps to start at the beginning and watch it unfold.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Over a year ago I posted a previous version of this video highlighting the complexities behind the Syrian war.  Much has happened since then and this updated version adds more detail and includes a very helpful timeline to show how more internal and external forces became involved in the fighting.  This is an incredibly complicated geopolitical situation because of all the regional and international players involved.  

 

TagsSyria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics.

Sprawling Shanghai

If you could go back in time to the 1980s, you would find a city that is drastically different than today’s Shanghai.

Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

This series of seven satellite images shows how quickly the economic development of China has impacted the urban sprawl of China’s biggest cities.  Pictures of the downtown area’s growth are impressive, but these aerial images show the full magnitude of the change. 

 

Tags: urbanremote sensing, megacities, China, urban ecology.

Water Is Life

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled South Sudan to escape the civil war. When they arrive in Uganda, water is what they need most. Without it, they will die.

Source: www.youtube.com

Next to nothing in this video will make you happy about the way things operate for refugees in Northern Uganda who have fled from South Sudan.  We all know the about the dire conditions that refugees face, but knowing about the specifics, and hearing stories from the refugees about their lives and living conditions is powerful.  A huge influx of refugees can tax local resources, especially water.  Food can be shipped in, but water a much more locally variable resource.   The UN refugee camps recommend at least 15 liters of water per person be made available each day, but often it is more like 4-8 liters in these camps.  Dedicated wells (or boreholes) are more effective, but costly.  Trucking in water from the Nile River is the preferred method to simply keep these drowning people’s heads above water.    

 

Questions to Ponder: Consider how much water you drink, use for cooking, bathing, etc. per day in your household.  How difficult would it be to live on 4 liters of water a day?  What about your lifestyle would be changed? 

 

TagsAfrica, development, Uganda, South Sudan, migrationrefugees, environment, waterenvironment depend, sustainability, resources.

Brexit, UK, Great Britain, and England

“An update of an earlier sketch we did before Brexit, the situation has become a little more unclear since.”

Source: www.youtube.com

The difference between the UK, Great Britain, and England can be confusing (the short version can be shown on a map, but the long version is much more complicated than this).   This is an amusing look at how these complexities lead to real-world complications besides using the right toponym. 

 

Growth of Colonial Settlement

European settlement began in the region around Chesapeake Bay and in the Northeast, then spread south and west into the Appalachian Mountains.

 

Questions to Ponder: How did European immigrants settle along the East Coast? How did geography determine settlement patterns? 

 

Tagsmigrationmap, historicalcolonialism, USA, National Geographic.

Source: www.nationalgeographic.org

Is Zealandia the eighth continent?

“A group of geologists say they’ve enough evidence to confirm the existence of a new continent. Writing in the journal of the Geological Society of America, the group named the eighth continent ‘Zealandia.’ Scientists argue for an 8th continent, Zealandia, in the Geological Society of America.”

Source: www.youtube.com

What makes a continent a continent? There is no set definition of a continent. Some consider cultural groupings and would consider Europe as a separate continent from Asia as a consequence. Geologists consider continental shelves as the defining characteristics of a continent and thus consider Eurasia to be just one continent. We are so accustomed to seeing the coastlines, but if the ocean were drained, we’d see Zealandia and it’s ancient confidential shelf–but don’t expect all the continental maps in elementary schools to change anytime soon.

 

Questions to Ponder: Does human geography or physical geography determine what you consider a continent?  How come?       

 

Tags: physical, tectonics, geologyregions, Oceania.

Urban world: Meeting the demographic challenge in cities

The days of easy growth in the world’s cities are over, and how they respond to demographic shifts will influence their prosperity.

Source: www.mckinsey.com

Some cities throughout Africa and Asia have experienced spectacular growth.  Europe, on the other isn’t see the same level of growth and is even experiencing urban decline in a few regions. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What patterns do you see in these maps?  What cultural, demographic and economic factors explain some of the regional patterns in these maps?        

 

Jackalopes Return to Yellowstone Ecosystem

After a 93 year hiatus, the elusive Jackalope has returned to the greater Yellowstone ecosystem! These beautiful, yet frightening, creatures were once widely collected by tourists, but better management practices have allowed a re-introduced pack to thrive again. These guys have been sporadically spotted all around the west, including Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico. Idaho allowed a “shoot on sight” policy for jackalopes, so they have not been seen there in quite a while.

Source: jellostone.com

Long live the Jackalope!!  May the majestic creature once again flourish in the West. 

 

Tags: biogeography, environmentecology, fun.

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