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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet

“Kazakh was written in Arabic script until 1920 when it was substituted by the Latin alphabet. In 1940, it was replaced by a Cyrillic one. ‘Given that over 100 countries in the world use the Latin script, it is crucial for Kazakhstan’s integration into the global educational and economic environment,’ said Gulnar Karbozova.

The former Soviet Republic declared independence in 1991. Its state language is Kazakh, a member of the Turkic family.

Yet, Russian is widely spoken across Kazakhstan and is its second official language.”

Source: www.aljazeera.com

Having to translate your language into another is one level of cultural difference, but having to change into another writing system (transliteration) adds an extra layer of foreignness that makes interactions more difficult.  Kazakhstan, a with a history of connections to the Middle East and Russia, is now making a choice that appears to signal greater connection to the larger global community.  This is not going to be an easy transitions, as as this additional BBC article notes, the choice comes with plenty of advantages and disadvantages

 

Tags: languagecultureworldwide, regions, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

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Left For Dead: Myanmar’s Muslim Minority

In recent years, democratic reforms have swept through Myanmar, a country that for decades was ruled by a military junta. As the reforms took hold, however, things were growing progressively worse for the Rohingya, a heavily persecuted ethnic Muslim minority concentrated in the country’s western state of Rakhine. The 2012 gang rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslim men ignited violent riots in which hundreds were killed as Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya attacked each other. In the following months, tens of thousands of Rohingya were rounded up and forced to live in squalid camps; Human Rights Watch deemed the attacks crimes against humanity that amounted to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. Thousands of Rohingya have since attempted to leave the country, fueling the region’s intricate and brutal human trafficking network.

 

Tags: Rohingyagenocide, migration, politicalconflict, refugeesBurma, Southeast Asia.

Source: www.youtube.com

State Borders

Source: xkcd.com

I imagine most geographers have wanted to tinker with state or international borders to ‘fix them’ in one way or another…but if any ‘correction’ were to be made, whose criteria would be used?  Which people in which regions would be upset by the changes?  Historical inertia is a power force in maintaining the status quo. When France was preparing to consolidate it’s administrative regions, 68% recognized that consolidating regional administration would be more efficient but 77% didn’t want it to impact their own local region.

 

Tags: XKCD, art, mapping, cartography, borders, political.

Catalan independence crisis escalates

“The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region. Catalan MPs backed the motion 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by the opposition. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had told senators direct rule was needed to return ‘law, democracy and stability’ to Catalonia. The crisis began when Catalans backed independence in a disputed vote earlier this month. The Catalan government said that of the 43% of potential voters who took part in the referendum, 90% were in favour of independence. But Spain’s Constitutional Court had ruled the vote illegal.”

Source: www.bbc.com

Stay tuned, sometimes the status quo changes in unexpected bursts. 

Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope.

Catalonia

Burn Scars on California’s Wine Country

Devastating wildfires burned through California’s wine country in October 2017, taking several lives and leaving thousands of people homeless. On October 21, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on the Terra satellite acquired this false-color image of the burn scars left by the Tubbs (upper left), Nuns (center), and Atlas (lower right) fires. Unburned vegetation appears red; burned vegetation appears brown. Buildings, roads, and other developed areas appear light gray and white.”

 

Tags: remote sensingdisasters, California, physical.

Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

Teaching About the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar

“Why are hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar? Who are the Rohingya and why are they being persecuted? What responsibility does the world have to end what the United Nations is calling ‘ethnic cleansing’ and many are labeling ‘genocide’? In this lesson, students will first learn about the crisis unfolding in Myanmar using Times reporting, videos, podcasts and photography. Then, we suggest a variety of activities for going deeper, such as tackling universal questions about national identity and minority rights, considering the responsibility of the world community, and going inside the squalid refugee camps sprawling across the border in Bangladesh.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

This issue is not as firmly fixed in our minds as it should be.  So much of our media’s attention is on less substantial issues, that when they compile resources for teachers on a subject like this, it deserves mentioning.  Even if you have already read your 10 free monthly articles from the NY Times, you can still watch the video embedded in the lesson.  Attached is a worksheet that I will be using in my classes (feel free to adapt and use).

Tags: Rohingyagenocide, migration, politicalconflict, refugeesBurma, Southeast Asia.

 

Which Countries Have Shrinking Populations?

Source: www.youtube.com

This video explores some of the impacts of a declining population on a country (for example, a smaller workforce, economic decline, and growing public debt).  Eastern Europe as a region is used as the principle example and the countries of Bulgaria, Moldova, and Japan are highlighted. 

 

Tags: declining populations, population, demographic transition model, models, migration, Bulgaria, Moldova, Japan.

Pie Chart of the World’s Most Spoken Languages

Source: imgur.com

This infographic has been making the rounds again this year and it is worth shaing again.  It is a great way to visualize the dominant languages on Earth.  Since this only counts one language per person, mother tongues are listed.  Consequently, lingua franca’s such as English and France are smaller than you might have presumed them to be.  

 

Tags: language, culture, infographic.

Corinth Canal

“This photograph, taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station, shows the straight line of the Corinth Canal as it crosses a narrow isthmus between mainland Greece (right) and the Peloponnese Peninsula. The canal cuts through the narrowest part of the isthmus of Corinth. The goal was to save ships from the dangerous 700-kilometer voyage around the ragged coastline of the peninsula.”

Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

Questions to Ponder: What does the word Isthmus mean and how does this image help tell that story?  When did people start modifying Earth’s physical systems?  What factors do we need to consider when evaluating the impacts of human modifications to the environment?    

 

Tags: water, coastal, landformsGreece.

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