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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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Africa

Senegal’s Great Green Wall combats desertification

“A 7,000 km barrier is being built along the footsteps of the Sahara to stop the desert expanding. The Great Green Wall project started in 2007 in Senegal, along with 10 countries in Africa to combat the effects of climate change. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Widou, deep in the Sahel.”

Source: www.youtube.com

The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world.  This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara.  The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification.  These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this “Green Wall” was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (the shorter, social media friendly version of this video is available here).

 

Tags: Africa, Senegal, development, environment, waterbiogeography, ecology, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, supranationalism, political ecology.

Death toll doubles in Ethiopia garbage dump collapse

“The death toll from a collapse at a landfill outside Ethiopia’s capital has risen sharply to 113, an Addis Ababa city official said Wednesday, as the country began three days of mourning for victims who were mostly women and children. Saturday’s collapse of a mountain of garbage buried makeshift mud-and-stick homes inside the Koshe landfill on the outskirts of the capital.”

Source: www.cbsnews.com

Some geographies are uncomfortable to discuss because they expose some of the social and spatial inequalities that we wish weren’t part of economic geographies.

 

Questions to Ponder: Why did this happen?  Why were so many people in the landfill?  

 

Tags: Ethiopia, Africa, development, urbanpoverty, squatter.

How did Zimbabwe get so poor?

President Mugabe’s economic mismanagement of Zimbabwe has brought the country poverty and malnutrition. After 36 years in charge, he’s looking to extend his rule by 5 more years.

Source: www.youtube.com

Poverty at the national level is usually not a function of limited resources, but more often it is a sign of weak institutions.  This is but one example of how governmental mismanagement can put a country’s developmental progress back decades.

 

Tags: Africa, Zimbabwe, development, economic, political.

An Old King for Congo

“On December 20, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had been a democracy for the past decade (flawed though it was), lost that distinction. The backsliding of democracy in the country was preventable; it unfolded slowly and under the watch of the international community. DRC President Joseph Kabila, faced with the end of his constitutional mandate, had two options: call elections or resort to repression to stay in power. He chose the latter. Kabila’s ultimate decision is not that surprising. He faces deep levels of unpopularity. A Congo Research Group poll of 7,545 Congolese showed that he would have only received 7.8 percent of the vote if elections had been held this year. Furthermore, the presidency guarantees his safety. As Brian Klaas of the London School of Economics has noted, 43 percent of African leaders have been jailed, exiled, or killed after losing power since 1960.”

 

Tags: DR Congo, political, conflict, Africa.

Source: www.foreignaffairs.com

South Sudan On Brink Of ‘Rwanda-Like’ Genocide, Commission Warns

“In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council, commission chief Yasmin Sooka reported murder and rape on an ‘epic’ scale. ‘We are running out of adjectives to describe the horror,’ she said.”

Source: www.npr.org

Since December 2013, South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war that began as a primarily political conflict, but has since taken shape between the country’s two largest ethnic groups, the Dinka and the Nuer.  One of the many tragedies has been the impact on the children living in South Sudan.   

 

Tags: South Sudanpoliticalethnicity, Africa, war.

Is being childless a taboo in Nigeria?

“Childlessness affects millions of women and couples around the world. Infertility in the man or woman is sometimes the cause, as can be the presence of a medical condition or untreated illness. Women across Africa report that not having a child is often frowned upon, and sometimes carries a stigma. Market-goers in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, share their views with BBC Africa’s Bola Mosuro.”

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Nigeria’s population is growing–there are economic as well as cultural explanations for this and in these two videos, the BBC explores some of the cultural factors that impact family size in West Africa.  Some African couples who now live in the U.K. still face some of these cultural pressures to have large families.  

 

Tags: Nigeria, population, demographics.

 

Labor unrest in Cameroon after clashes over language discrimination

In Cameroon, unrest in minority English-speaking regions over discrimination by majority French speakers is still simmering after violent clashes with police claimed at least four lives.

 

English-speakers have been protesting since Monday (11/21/2016) against what they see as their “second-class citizen status” and attempts to marginalize them in the west African nation. Eight of Cameroon’s ten regions are largely Francophone, but two regions, North West and South West Cameroon are English-speaking. English-speaking teachers complain that French-speaking counterparts are being increasingly deployed in English schools, despite differences in the curricula and teaching systems.

 

Tags: language, CameroonAfrica, culture.

Source: www.dw.com

Bamenda protests: Mass arrests in Cameroon

Some 100 people are arrested after protests against using French in Cameroon’s English-speaking region.

 

Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s. The country has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions – eight are Francophone and use the French civil law. English-speakers have long complained that they face discrimination. They often complain that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language. Bamenda is the founding place of Cameroon’s largest opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front.

 

Tags: language, colonialism, CameroonAfrica, culturepolitical, devolution.

Source: www.bbc.com

This is where your smartphone battery begins

Workers, including children, labor in harsh and dangerous conditions to meet the world’s soaring demand for cobalt, a mineral essential to powering electric vehicles, laptops, and smartphones, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a land rich with minerals and resources vital for high end consumer goods (laptops, cellphones, electric cars, etc.).  This in-depth investigation from the Washington Post of the cobalt mining districts in the DRC (60% of global cobalt production) is incredible.  It has great videos, maps, and an detailed article that cuts across the geographic themes (exploited local labor, global commodity chains, political governance, polluted water supply, medical geography, etc.).  

 

Just two days ago, the United States pulled the families of all governmental officials out of the DRC amid political turmoil and violence in the streets of Kinshasa, highlighting the fact that the weakness of political institutions in the DRC are a major reason for this situation.  

 

Tags: Congolaborwatermedical, environmentpollution, political, conflict, resourcespolitical ecology, Africa.

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