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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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urban ecology

How Clean is Narragansett Bay?

“The progress in Rhode Island toward clean water owes a lot to this federal law. Seeing urban rivers and the beaches and coves of the upper bay rediscovered as natural assets for wildlife and people to enjoy is one of the great successes of the Clean Water Act [of 1972].”

Source: www.rimonthly.com

This article from geographer Mary Grady shows a pleasant story in the human and environmental interaction.  The upper bay (that in-between place where the Providence River widens and becomes part of the Narragansett Bay) has been cleaned up and has ecologically been revitalized and is becoming an asset to the community again.  It is far from pristine, but it nice to read about encouraging signs on this front.  

 

Tags: watercoastal, Rhode Island.

Sprawling Shanghai

If you could go back in time to the 1980s, you would find a city that is drastically different than today’s Shanghai.

Source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

This series of seven satellite images shows how quickly the economic development of China has impacted the urban sprawl of China’s biggest cities.  Pictures of the downtown area’s growth are impressive, but these aerial images show the full magnitude of the change. 

 

Tags: urbanremote sensing, megacities, China, urban ecology.

Paris mayor unveils plan ​to restrict traffic and pedestrianize city center

Anne Hidalgo says she wants to cut the number of cars in French capital by half as part of campaign to tackle pollution

Source: www.theguardian.com

The world’s biggest cities are struggling to maintain access to congested downtown areas and still ensure that the downtown maintains it’s historic sense of place that generate so much tourism and concentration of cultural amenities.  Pollution is driving cities to change as the private automobile as the default mode of transportation becomes less feasible and unsustainable as cities expand to be far larger than they ever have been before.  

 

Tags: urban, environmentpollution, urban ecology, France, place, tourism, Paris, megacities, transportation.

Finding North America’s lost medieval city

Cahokia was North America’s biggest city—then it was completely abandoned. I went there to find out why.

Source: arstechnica.com

The earthen mounds of Cahokia on the flat flood plains must have been the most awe-inspiring demonstration of political power and economic wealth in its day.  Like so many other civilizations before them (and many more in the future?), Cahokia probably declined from too many environmental modifications that led to unforeseen consequences.

 

Tagsurban ecology, indigenousenvironment, environment modify, historical, North America.

Cahokia – why did North America’s largest city vanish?

Long before Columbus reached the Americas, Cahokia was the biggest, most cosmopolitan city north of Mexico. Yet by 1350 it had been deserted by its native inhabitants the Mississippians – and no one is sure why

Source: www.theguardian.com

This article is the eighth in the “Lost Cities” series (Babylon, Troy, Pompeii, Angkor, Fordlandia, etc.).  The earthen mounds of Cahokia on the flat flood plains must have been the most awe-inspiring demonstration of political power and economic wealth in its day.  Like so many other civilizations before them (and many more in the future?), Cahokia probably declined from too many environmental modifications that led to unforeseen consequences.

 

Tagsurban ecology, indigenousenvironment, environment modify, historical, North America.

How over 2 feet of rain caused historic flooding in Louisiana in less than 72 hours

All-told, over 20 inches of rain fell in less than 72 hours around Baton Rouge.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

Last month I was in New Orleans, and it rained for about 2 hours…it was staggering to see how many issues stemmed from that drainage in such a flat floodplain.  This is so much worse.  This article focuses on the weather/environmental situation, and this one on the political/human impact.

 

Tags: urban ecology, environmentweather and climate, water, disasters

China pollution: First ever red alert in effect in Beijing

“Schools in Beijing are closed and outdoor construction halted as the Chinese capital’s first ever pollution “red alert” comes into effect over smog levels.”

Source: www.bbc.com

A large part of China’s rapid economic growth has been dependent on cutting corners in labor and environmental standards.  This is one reason why I don’t think that the Chinese economy can continue this growth indefinitely.

 

Tags: pollutionChina, development, economic, megacities, East Asia, industry, sustainability, urban ecology.

China pollution: First ever red alert in effect in Beijing

“Schools in Beijing are closed and outdoor construction halted as the Chinese capital’s first ever pollution “red alert” comes into effect over smog levels.”

Source: www.bbc.com

A large part of China’s rapid economic growth has been dependent on cutting corners in labor and environmental standards.  This is one reason why I don’t think that the Chinese economy can continue this growth indefinitely.

 

Tags: pollutionChina, development, economic, megacities, East Asia, industry, sustainability, urban ecology.

America’s recent drought history, animated

“California’s drought just hit a new milestone: As of this week, 32.98 percent of the state is experiencing “exceptional” drought, making it the worst drought in the 14 years that the Department of Agriculture’s Drought Monitor has tracked data.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

The recent drought in California has only deepened and this Washington Post article shows an animated map that highlights the temporal and spatial patterns in the drought data (hint–it’s not pretty).  In a related note, May 2014 was the hottest May in recorded history.     

Questions to Consider: What are some reasons (both from human and physical geography) for this severe drought? What can be done in the short-term to lessen the problem? What can be done to make California’s water situation better for the next 50 years?

Tags: physical, weather and climate, consumptionCalifornia, water, environment, resources, environment dependurban ecology.

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