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South America

Chile’s Energy Transformation Is Powered by Wind, Sun and Volcanoes

“Once energy dependent, Chile is on track to become a renewables powerhouse with the potential to export electricity. Chile is on track to rely on clean sources for 90 percent of its electricity needs by 2050, up from the current 45 percent.”

Source: www.nytimes.com

The definition of a natural resource changes as the societal and technological context shifts.  Firewood was once the most important energy resource and now there are tree removal companies that haul are paid to haul away what some would consider very valuable goods. The coastal breeze of the Pacific, the harsh sun of the Atacama desert, and the rugged volcanic landscapes of Chile were never an energy resources…until they were made so by technological advancements and shifting economic paradigms.  As this article and embedded video demonstrate, Chile and South America are fully investing in the transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable energy resources.

 

TagsChileSouth America, industry, sustainabilityeconomic, energy, resources, unit 6 industry.

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Peru gives landlocked Bolivia a piece of Pacific coast to call its own

“It might be a strip of sand without even a jetty but a small stretch of the Pacific coast now harbors Bolivia’s dream of regaining a coast and becoming a maritime nation. The landlocked Andean country has won access to a desolate patch of Peru’s shoreline, fueling hopes that Bolivia will once again have a sea to call its own. President Evo Morales signed a deal yesterday with his Peruvian counterpart, Alan García, allowing Bolivia to build and operate a small port about 10 miles from Peru’s southern port of Ilo. The accord, sealed with declarations of South American brotherhood, was a diplomatic poke at Chile, the neighbor that seized Bolivia’s coast and a swath of Peruvian territory in the 1879-84 war of the Pacific.”

Source: www.theguardian.com

How important is a coastline to the economic viability of a country in the global market and to for the country’s geopolitical strengthen?  Ask the countries without one. 

 

TagsSouth America, Bolivia, economictransportation, political, coastal, borders.

 

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

What Rio doesn’t want the world to see

“Rio is hiding poor people. See Part II: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3BRTlHFpBU

Source: www.youtube.com

This isn’t news, but it isn’t just about Rio de Janeiro, since the World Cup and Olympics have already come and gone. Yet the urban planning designed for the world’s gaze remains.  Some strategies used were to create economic development and stimulate the local communities, but more often than not, the poor of the city and the poor communities cities were swept under the rug without addressing the issues that creating poverty with the city.  Many of the poor communities closest to Olympic venues were demolished without real viable housing options for the displaced residents.

 

Questions to Ponder: Can you think of other ways (of other examples) that city planning is used to hide the poor or the ‘less desirable’ parts of the city?  Why does this happen?  How should urban planning approach economic redevelopment, poverty, and community?   

 

Tags: Brazil, urban, squatter, neighborhood, economicplanning, urbanism.

 

Venezuela Is Starving

Once Latin America’s richest country, Venezuela can no longer feed its people, hobbled by the nationalization of farms as well as price and currency controls. The resulting hunger and malnutrition are an unfolding tragedy.

Source: www.wsj.com

Widespread famines are very rare in democracies and are much more prevalent in authoritarian regimes.  This is because food production is but a small part of a larger picture; the system of food production and distribution in Venezuela has been decimated by the nationalization of private farms.  Individual farmers can’t make a profit in the new political economy and consequently are going to stop producing for the market.  This vicious cycle is political in nature more so than in is agricultural. 

 

Tags: food, poverty, Venezuela, South America, economic, political, governance, agriculture, food production.

Colombia rejects FARC deal: What’s next?

“A narrow win for Colombia’s opponents to a government peace deal with FARC rebels has thrown the country into disarray, leading one journalist to starkly declare, ‘Nobody really knows what will happen tomorrow.’  Likened to the fallout from the United Kingdom’s ‘Brexit’ referendum, the vote’s unexpected failure has left the Colombian political classes reeling and unsure how to respond in order to save four years of hard negotiation with the Marxist militia.”

Source: www.cnn.com

The Colombian peace negotiations with FARC (the insurgent rebels in drug producing regions) were hailed as the key for Colombia to move past it’s violent, drug-cartel past and move into the future.  As the Colombian population rejected the deal by the slimmest of margins (50.22% against), it leaves the government “without a Plan B.” There are more questions than answers at this point about what might happen (if you are asking what’s FARC?, then this primer will walk you through it). 

 

TagsSouth America, Colombiapoliticalnarcotics, conflict.

FARC-Colombia peace deal finalized

Negotiators seeking to end the insurgency in Colombia, one of the world’s longest-running conflicts, said they had reached a final peace deal.

Source: www.cnn.com

Farclandia has long been an insurgent state where the Colombian government had no real power to enforce the rule of law and their sovereignty over this area that all the political maps say are Colombia.   This shadowy place became a place where drug cartels could operate freely and many of the concessions that Colombia is making for this deal to happen involve amnesty for past crimes. 

 

TagsSouth America, Colombiapoliticalnarcotics. conflict.

Why the Catholic Church is losing Latin America, and how it’s trying to get it back

“A religious revolution is underway in Latin America. Between 1900 and 1960, 90% of Latin Americans were Catholics. But in the last fifty years, that figure has slumped to 69%, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center (from which most of the data in this article are taken). The continent may still be home to 425 million Catholics—40% of the world’s total—but the Vatican’s grip is slipping.”

 

Tags: culture, religionChristianityMiddle America, South America.

Source: qz.com

Making Ethanol from Sugarcane

This segment highlights how sugarcane is processed into ethanol for fuel and other uses.

Source: www.youtube.com

Sugarcane ethanol has proven to be one of the most environmentally safe alternative fuel sources. In addition to its green energy properties, sugarcane ethanol has fueled the Brazilian economy for over a decade. The Brazilian automotive industry have developed a complex, “Flex Fuel” engine that allows vehicles to run off of both gasoline and ethanol. Also, sugarcane ethanol has been one of their leading exports in the global economy. Due to recently discovered fuel deposits in Brazil and around the globe, there has been a decline in the need for sugarcane ethanol. This has negatively impacted the economy in addition to the Brazilian job market. But thanks to the engineering of cellulosic ethanol, Brazil is striving to become the green energy superpower yet again.

 

Questions to Ponder: Since cellulosic ethanol production is so expensive, do you think that will deter production and customers from purchasing it? Do you think that Brazil will ever become independent of fossil fuels as a result of their successful sugarcane ethanol production?

 

Tagsenergy, resourcespolitical ecologyagriculture, food production, land use, Brazil, South America.

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