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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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Mexico

At Seattle Mariners games, grasshoppers are a favorite snack

“Chapulines [grasshoppers] have become a snack favorite among baseball fans in Seattle. Follow their path from Oaxaca, Mexico, to Safeco Field. To many, the insect might be a novelty – a quirky highlight for an Instagram story from a day at the ballpark. To those in Mexico consuming them for centuries, they are a building block of nutrition.”

Source: www.espn.com

Eating insects is incredibly nutritious; raising them is cost effective and environmentally sustainable. And yet, the cultural taboos against entomophagy in the West are barriers to the cultural diffusion of the practice.  At some baseball games and high-end restaurants, grasshoppers are sold as a novelty item.  What I especially enjoy about this ESPN article is that it covers the cultural production of the chapulines in Mexico and follows the story to the consumption of the grasshoppers in the United States.  

 

Tags: sport, popular culturediffusion, culturecultural norms, foodMexico, economic, agriculture.

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Mexico City 1968

“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.”

Source: 99percentinvisible.org

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.    

 

Tagssport, Mexico, Middle America, urban, architecture, place, landscape.

 

With only one left, iconic yellow road sign showing running immigrants now borders on the extinct

Only one of the 10 iconic Caltrans caution signs emblazoned with the image of an immigrant father, mother and daughter running for their lives remains. They once dotted Interstate 5.

Source: www.latimes.com

As a child of the border (I grew up 8 miles from the U.S.-Mexican border with family on both sides of the line), the cultural, political and economic impacts of this line were very tangible in my life, but to mention family.  This sign was a symbol of mass migration and cultural change in Southern California and I would pass one on the way to my grandmother’s house.  As a fixture of the cultural landscape, it also became a visual talking point that served as a lightning rod in the political landscape.  During the 80’s and 90’s, immigrants from Mexico were coming in to the United States is large numbers, but since the 2000, that dominant stream has dried up, rendering this sign no longer necessary near freeways crossings.  Mexican migration to and from the United States is a contentious topic where political ideology can be louder than the actual statistics.  Since 2009, more Mexicans have been leaving the United States than entering it (PEW Research Center).  Economic and demographic shifts in both countries have led to this reversal.    

 

Tags: Mexico, migration, political, landscape, California, borders.   

Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis

“A host of environmental factors are threatening to push a crowded capital toward a breaking point.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

Urban ecology, environmental justice, gendered inequities, primate city politics, the struggle of growing megacities…it’s all here in this fantastic piece of investigative reporting.  The article highlights the ecological problems that Mexico City faces (high-altitude exacerbates air pollution, interior drainage worsens water pollution, limited aquifers that are overworked lead to subsidence, importing water outside of the basin requires enormous amounts of energy, etc.).  just because the article doesn’t use the word ‘geography’ doesn’t mean that it isn’t incredibly geographic. All of these problems are at the heart of human-environmental nexus of 21st century urbanization. 

   

Tags: urban, megacities, water, environment, Mexico.

Mexico is home to world’s largest pyramid

No one knows who constructed this pyramid 2,300 years ago. Cortés missed it when he invaded the pyramid’s hometown in 1519 and it wasn’t rediscovered until 1910. Today it stands as the largest monument ever constructed.

Source: www.youtube.com

10 years ago, about 30 miles outside of Veracruz, Mexico, I see a hill completely covered in vegetation.  I notice that the angle is rather uniform and that it appears to have distinct faces at right angles.  It dawns on my that I’m staring at an archeological site that has not been excavated and the Indiana Jones explorer in me is immediately fascinated.  Mexico is filled with sites of ancient civilizations that stir the imagination and this is one of those. 

 

TagsMexicoindigenous, folk cultures, culture, tourism.

The Staggering Wealth Of Mexico City

Walk on the streets and you´ll be exposed to its informal economy: people who do what they can to eke out a living including washing windshields, selling food, or even singing, dancing, and performing acrobatics for a tip.

What Americans may not know is that Mexico City is home to the wealthiest people, the poshest neighborhoods, the most exclusive shops, entertainment venues, and cultural centers on the planet.

Source: xpatnation.com

Mexico City has been the economic center of Mexico for a long time and is a true primate city. “Wealth accumulation in Mexico City has historically been concentrated in the hands of a few. In colonial times, the elite was mostly composed of Spanish-born immigrants who held high-ranking offices or worked as business owners or export-oriented merchants. Later, the wealthy were those who owned large estates known as haciendas…It is estimated that around 40 percent of Mexico’s income is owned by just 10 percent of its population, while 52.3 percent of Mexican citizens live in poverty.”

 

Tags: urban, megacitieseconomic, labor, Mexico.

American football has taken root in Mexico at all levels

“Why is the NFL in Mexico? A visitor to the capital city can sense right away why the league is so bullish on the country’s potential.”

 

The last time the NFL ventured into Mexico was in 2005, when the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers in Estadio Azteca. Top-level American football is returning to the same venue in Mexico City on Monday night, when the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders will face off in a contest that has been sold out since July.

Just don’t assume the 11-year gap is related to a lack of interest. In reality, Mexico is the top international hotbed for American football, with the largest NFL fan base of any country outside the United States. There are more fans of the league in Mexico City than in most actual NFL markets.

But the sport’s popularity in Mexico goes well beyond NFL fandom. From youth leagues that are overtaking soccer in popularity in some parts of the country to a new pro league, American football is a major player south of the border. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at where the sport stands on every level in Mexico and how fans there consume the game.

 

Tagssport, popular culturediffusion, culture, Mexico, Middle America.

Source: www.espn.com

‘The Wall Is a Fantasy’

A week in the borderlands with migrants and guards.

Source: www.nytimes.com

This is not a political statement but a reiteration of the geographic realities of borders; they are inherently permeable and unite people just as much as they divide. 

 

Tags: Mexico, borders, political.   

Mexico’s Drug War

“Despite Mexico’s strengthening democracy and booming economy, the country’s security crisis rages on. Fifty thousand people have been killed in the past five years due to drug and organized crime-related violence.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Drug trafficking between Mexico and the Unites States has been burdening both countries for decades. Violence, drug abuse, kidnappings, murders, and government corruption are just a few of the issues that have resulted from it. The Mexican cartela are the culprits behind all of these issues. This gang is funded by drug money. They even exchange drugs for weapons over the U.S border. Recently, many Mexican marijuana farmers have stopped production due to the legalization of pot in many U.S states. Because pot is being produced in smaller quantities in Mexico, the amount of trafficking over the border will decrease, additionally resulting in lower crime rates and violence at the border. The only sure way to help end the drug war is to end the use of illegal drugs in both Mexico and the United States, but that is easier said than done.

 

TagsMexico, conflictnarcotics.

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