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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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poverty

Iqaluit’s population turns to Amazon Prime

Sky-high food prices in the North have led many residents of Iqaluit to turn to Amazon Prime to save on necessities. But is that a sustainable solution?

Source: globalnews.ca

Nunavut is remote…far more remote than most of our students can imagine.  They live over 1,000 miles from any city with half a million people.  The entire territory is enormous, but sparsely populated with only 36,000 people.  Try to image getting commercial goods to such a remote location.  The Canadian government has invested heavily to subsidize systems to get food products and other necessities to Nunavut.  Still, the transportation costs are so high, and the numbers are so few that economies of scale can’t help this situation. 

Enter Amazon Prime in 2005, and the online retail giant began offering free shipping for “Prime” customers for a flat yearly subscription fee (today $99 in the U.S.).  This was simply too good to be true for many customers in far-flung settlements in Nunavut.  Amazon, probably not anticipating the overwhelming transportation costs associated with a place like Nunavut, in 2015 stopped offering Prime membership for Nunavut customers that do not live in the capital city of Iqaluit.  Still, the capital city looks to Amazon Prime more so than the Canadian or territorial government as their lifeline to the global economy.  Some even argue that Amazon Prime has done more to improve the standard of living  and providing food security for Nunavut residents than the government.            

Scoop.it TagsCanada, distanceindigenous, poverty, development, economicfood, food distribution, density.

WordPress TAGS: Canada, distance, indigenous, poverty, development, economic, food distribution, density.

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The Root Causes of Food Insecurity

Why are some communities more vulnerable to hunger and famine? There are many reasons, which together add up to food insecurity, the world’s no.1 health risk.

Source: www.youtube.com

This video is an excellent summary of the geographic factors that lead to food insecurity and hunger and the main ways NGO’s are trying to combat the issues. This is an incredibly complex problem that, at it’s heart, is a geographic issue that can challenge student to synthesize information and make the connections between topics.

 

Scoop.it Tags: food, poverty, economic, political, food desert, agriculture, food production.

WordPress TAGS: food, poverty, economic, Political, food desert, agriculture, food production.

Why Is It So Hard for Clothing Manufacturers to Pay a Living Wage?

“In the garment industry, stories about workers who barely eke out an existence on ‘starvation wages’ are legion: Factory workers in New Delhi often describe living in makeshift hovels ‘barely fit for animals.’ A young woman from Myanmar might wrestle with the decision to feed her children or send them to school. In Bangladesh, sewing-machine operators frequently toil for 100 hours or more a week, only to run out of money before the end of the month. Workers have demanded higher pay in all those countries, of course, sometimes precipitating violence between protesters and police. Companies in general, however, have preferred to sidestep the issue altogether. In fact, no multinational brand or retailer currently claims to pay its garment workers a wage they can subsist on.”

Source: www.racked.com

In some ways this isn’t the right question to be asking.  While clothing brands don’t want the bad PR from low wages, like all businesses, they are incentivized to minimize their inputs and maximize their profits.  If capitalistic logic were completely unrestrained, this situation would never change as long as their are low-skill workers.

 

Questions to Ponder: What institutions have the ability to change this situation and what are effective ways to bring about change?  Where are textile industries located in the international division of labor?  How do sweatshops impact the places where they locate in the international division of labor? 

 

Tagsdevelopment, laborglobalization, economicindustry, poverty

Income and Wealth Inequality

Inequality is a big, big subject. There’s racial inequality, gender inequality, and lots and lots of other kinds of inequality. This is Econ, so we’re going to talk about wealth inequality and income inequality. There’s no question that economic inequality is real. But there is disagreement as to whether income inequality is a problem, and what can or should be done about it.

Source: www.youtube.com

There are many of the 35 videos in the Economics crash course set that touch on geographic issues.   This crash course team explains the difference between wealthy inequality and income inequality.  This video also has a nice laymen’s explanation of the GINI coefficient and how it measures inequality.   In another video in the series, they demonstrate how globalization can be seen as the path to economic growth and others see the process of globalization as what has created poverty

 

Tagsdevelopment, laborglobalization, economicindustry, poverty, crash course

As Venezuela Collapses, Children Are Dying of Hunger

“Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world. But in the last three years its economy has collapsed. Hunger has gripped the nation for years. Now, it’s killing children. The Venezuelan government knows, but won’t admit it. Doctors are seeing record numbers of children with severe malnutrition. Before Venezuela’s economy started spiraling, doctors say, almost all of the child malnutrition cases they saw in public hospitals stemmed from neglect or abuse by parents. But as the economic crisis began to intensify in 2015 and 2016, the number of cases of severe malnutrition at the nation’s leading pediatric health center in the capital more than tripled, doctors say. 2017 was even worse.”

 

Tagsmortality, medical, developmentfood, poverty, Venezuela, South America.

Source: www.nytimes.com

The ‘War on Sitting’ Has a New Front

Cities are removing benches in an effort to counter vagrancy and crime—at the same time that they’re adding them to make the public realm more age-friendly.

Source: www.citylab.com

Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there.  Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision.  Homeless people are essentially always ‘out of place.’  These articles from the Society Pages, Atlas Obscura, the Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering, skate boarding, and homelessness, which are all undesirable to local businesses.  This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel ‘out of place.’  Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless (and here is an ingenious plan to curb public urination).  

    

Tags: urbanplanning, architecture, landscape, place, poverty.

Globalization, Trade, and Poverty

What is globalization? Is globalization a good thing or not. Well, I have an answer that may not surprise you: It’s complicated. This week, Jacob and Adriene will argue that globalization is, in aggregate, good. Free trade and globalization tend to provide an overall benefit, and raises average incomes across the globe. The downside is that it isn’t good for every individual in the system. In some countries, manufacturing jobs move to places where labor costs are lower. And some countries that receive the influx of jobs aren’t prepared to deal with it, from a regulatory standpoint.

Source: www.youtube.com

There are many of the 35 videos in the Economics crash course set that touch on geographic issues, but I’d like to highlight episodes 16 and 17 especially.  Many see globalization as the path to economic growth and others see the process of globalization as what has created poverty.  In many ways both have a point as demonstrated in the 16th episode of this crash course.  In a follow-up video, they explain the difference between wealthy inequality and income inequality.  This video also has a nice layman’s explanation of the GINI coefficient and how it measures inequality.   

 

Tagsdevelopment, laborglobalization, economicindustry, poverty, crash course

 

Divided island: How Haiti and the DR became two worlds

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share a border, and an island. But the two countries are very different today: the Dominican Republic enjoys higher quality of life for many factors than Haiti. I went to this island and visited both countries, to try and understand when and how their paths diverged.

Source: www.youtube.com

This video is an exciting debut for the new series “Vox borders.”  By just about every development metric available, the Dominican Republic is doing better than Haiti, the only bordering country on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the DR.   

 

Questions to Ponder: How does the border impact both countries?  How has sharing one island with different colonial legacies shaped migrational push and pull factors?

 

Tags: Haiti, Dominican Republic, video, poverty, development, economic, labor, migration, political, borders.

Drought and Famine

In which John Green teaches you a little bit about drought, which is a natural weather phenomenon, and famine, which is almost always the result of human activity. Throughout human history, when food shortages strike humanity, there was food around. There was just a failure to connect those people with the food that would keep them alive. There are a lot of reasons that food distribution breaks down, and John is going to teach you about them in the context of the late-19th century famines that struck British India.

Source: www.youtube.com

Famine is exacerbated by natural factors such as drought, but those only stress the system, they rarely cause the actual starvation.  The real failure is that the political/economic systems created by governments and how they handle stains in the food production/distribution systems.  Widespread famines are very rare in democracies and are much more prevalent in authoritarian regimes.  Many of the recent examples have come from collectivation strategies that governments have implemented (currently Venezuela, but historically the Soviet Union and China).  The Choices program has some good resources about teaching current events with the famines today.

 

Tags: food, povertyhistoricalcolonialism, economic, political, governance, agriculture, crash course

 

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