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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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oceania

Pacific nation Tuvalu has grown by 73 hectares over 40 years

“The tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu – once thought to be under threat from rising sea levels – has grown the size of California’s Disneyland over the past 40 years. It’s mostly thanks to waves dumping extra sediment, sand and gravel on shore lines, according to research by Auckland University scientists. The study, published in the Nature Communications journal on Friday, was the first in-depth look at how much each of Tuvalu’s 101 islands have changed over the decades.”

 

Tags: Oceaniawatercoastal, environment, physical, geomorphology, erosiongeology, landforms.

Source: www.stuff.co.nz

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A Remote Paradise Island Is Now a Plastic Junkyard

Henderson Island is isolated and uninhabited—but its beaches are still covered in garbage.  

 

Henderson Island (article or podcast) is about the most remote place you can visit without leaving the planet. It sits squarely in the middle of the South Pacific, 3,500 miles from New Zealand in one direction and another 3,500 miles from South America in the other.  Henderson should be pristine. It is uninhabited. Tourists don’t go there. There’s no one around to drop any litter. The whole place was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1988. The nearest settlement is 71 miles away, and has just 40 people on it. And yet, seafaring plastic has turned it into yet another of humanity’s scrapheaps.

 

Tags: pollutionOceaniawater, environmentsustainability, consumption.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

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.

The World’s Newest (Official) Ocean

“The Southern Ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60 degrees south latitude. The Southern Ocean is now the fourth largest of the world’s five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean, but larger than the Arctic Ocean). The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has  declared, named, and demarcated the Southern Ocean as a fifth, separate ocean.”

Source: geography.about.com

Typically we define oceans and seas based on their borders with land as their most important characteristics.  Also, we rarely look at the bottom of the globe as the center of our global perspective.  Those are a few of the reasons why American students usually have never heard of the Southern Ocean, but Australian students see it as one of the world’s main oceans.  

 

TagsOceaniaAntarctica, water, environment, physical.

Climate Comparison Maps

Triton1982 makes maps by comparing each of the city’s highest and lowest average temperatures against the Koppen classification system.”

Source: www.triplem.com.au

Many maps are shared on Reddit, and this series of maps help make some far off places easier to relate to.  I think these cross-regional comparisons can also help students also see that countries can have a great degree of internal variety.  

 

Tags: Australia, Oceania, mapping, visualization 

Ecotourism in Australia

“Ecotourism strives to protect the native cultures and environments of destinations while entertaining and informing tourists of all ages. For many years people within the tourism industry have debated what destinations and practices truly qualify as ecotourism without reaching a definitive consensus.”

Source: cardinalscholar.bsu.edu

Ecotourism is an important aspect of Australia’s success. The Australian Government produced a website, that is dedicated to the tourism and ecotourism industry.  There is a debate of land claims between the Australian Government and indigenous people. The cultural difference plays a significant role in the success of ecotourism because tourists enjoy the cultural heritage. The separation has created social, political, and economic reasons to be involved or not in ecotourism. The Australian Government has developed certificates and policies to allow aborigines rights of their land.

 

Tags: biogeography, environmentindigenous, ecology, Australia, Oceania.

Poles of Inaccessibility

Geography nuts have located the hardest place to get to on every continent and beyond.

Source: www.atlasobscura.com

The middle of nowhere…this is a common expression that is used to convey isolation, backwardness, wilderness, or a lack of network connections.  This article focuses on 8 places that are the farthest away from coasts as well as land.  The point on the map above is Point Nemo, right in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean; it is the farthest place on Earth from land and is one of the best candidates for the world champion title of “the middle of nowehere.”  What is it close to?  Nothing. 

 

Tagsplace, distance, site, Oceania.

Kiribati and Climate Change

Via Scoop.itGeography Education
Fearing that climate change could wipe out their Pacific archipelago, the leaders of Kiribati are considering an unusual backup plan: moving the population to Fiji.  

How urgent is the issue of climate change?  That question is not only geographic in content, but the response might also be somewhat contingent on geography as well.  If your country literally has no higher ground to retreat to, the thought of even minimal sea level change would be totally devastating.
Via www.mercurynews.com

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