Greenland’s Banana Coast.

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Sineriak Bananeqarfik is Greenlandic for “Banana Coast”. That is the nickname of Greeland’s southern coast. Greenland has an ironic name, considering that most of Greenland’s 2,166,086 km(836,330 sq mi) of land consists of ice cap, the largest outside of Antarctica. However, the southern coast of Greenland truly has green vegetation and even trees. Being the southernmost part of Greenland, this is the warmest part of Greenland, specifically Kujalleq, a municipality (Greenland’s equivalent of a state, province, or county) in southern Greenland. No, bananas do not grow here, but it does have a milder (though still cold) climate than anywhere else in Greenland, suitable for raising sheep, a big part of Kujalleq’s economy.

Learn more from the video below (Source: Youtube)

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Rainwater Harvesting, Geopolitics, And The Future Of Water Supply.

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No, rainwater is not some kind of crop. However, the harvesting of rainwater can be one of the most valuable things for human beings. While Earth itself is majority water, most of that water is not usable for human consumption, unless you plan on building a plethora of desalination plants.

Most of the world’s freshwater is locked up in glaciers and ice sheets. Rivers and lakes serve as sources of freshwater. And there is one more source, the weather. In particular, the rain. Human beings have been capturing and using the rain as a water resource for thousands of years. In times when municipal water systems were not available, and water was needed, wherever it rained, that rain could be a source of water for drinking, washing up, irrigation, or in the case of the video below, fountains.

In a world where water is becoming more valuable than ever, rain water capturing still proves to be a beneficial sources of water. In many places, rain that would have simply become storm water runoff is put to good use in ponds and fountains.

Harvesting the rain is often used as a source of drinking water. In Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta, there is salt water among the ground water. In a land where rainfall is plentiful, rainwater harvesting is a major source of water.

In places with a decent water supply, rainwater can be a supplement to the existing water supply. It can also be a set-aside in the event that a drought takes place. And in that case, captured rainwater is beneficial in agriculture, as it serves as an irrigation source. Rainwater is often used to recharge the groundwater in some areas. For developing nations, harvesting rainwater is often seen as a solution for combating a scarcity of potable water. In many places, there is plenty of water, but much of it is not drinkable.

Capturing rainwater is nothing complicated. It can be done through simple means. It is often collected in vessels, from rooftops, and it can be harvested from rivers or reservoirs. It is simple, but it will have an impact on the water supply world wide. With more technological innovations, this form of capturing water for human consumption could play a major role in the future. Of course, it has to be conducted the right way. In many places, rainwater is collected from rooftops. There isn’t a guarantee that such water is safe. Birds often land there, and defecate in many cases.

Consider this. Many geopolitical issues in the world are related to the water supply. Water is a major issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Water rights are a major issue in the Middle East. Considering the desert geography the region this will continue to play a role in geopolitics. Rainwater is not equal everywhere. Many places have low rainfall totals. Technological innovations can often be a response to bridge the gap between humans and the environments they live in. It will not be just a matter of harvesting rainwater. It will also be about where that rainwater will go. In theory, rainwater can be collected in one place, and sent to another place. In fact, this is already being done in several places. In California, much of the population lives in areas that get rainfall totals that qualify it as semiarid or desert. The California Aqueduct collects water from the Sierra Nevadas, and through an elaborate network of canals, pipes, and tunnels, that water id distributed to places such as southern California. Aqueducts have been used to distribute water for ages. It was done in the Roman Empire. It can be done today, with even more advanced technology than in antiquity. And even in the Middle East, rainwater can be harvested from high elevation areas. Turkey and Iran have some of the rainiest places in the Middle East. Lebanon has high elevation regions where snowfall is commonplace.

However, water issues go beyond California. How will geopolitics play a role in water distribution, if measures such as distributing collected rainwater take place? Will there be peace as a result? Or will the existing geopolitical problems hinder such solutions? And will it be enough? Where will it come from? Many questions, no easy answers. In the present, rainwater harvesting still has its benefits locally.

Geography Is Dynamic, And A Newspaper Article Proves It.

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Geography is dynamic. This is the Earth. Things are always changing on this planet. Borders change, land changes. A 1994 newspaper article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that geography is dynamic. The article shows the changes and events that were taking place back then. Consider the events of the early/mid 1990s, and compare them to today.

Houston, We Have Indoor Baseball

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Take some time to imagine this. Playing baseball where the sun doesn’t shine. Now imagine playing baseball in a place where no kind of weather takes place, only that which HVAC controls. Mom always said don’t play ball in the house. But imagine that your house is wider than a baseball field and 18 stories high.

Well, in 1965, such a place would come to fruition. The place: Houston, Texas,USA. The Astrodome. During the 1960s, man would be trying to reach the moon, and eventually got there by decades’ end. Closer to Earth, humans were trying to figure out how to attract Major League Baseball to Houston, and cope with Houston’s hot, humid, mosquito-clad environment.

In 1962,  baseball would come to Houston in the form of the Houston Colt .45s, named for the gun that would epitomize the west. This is Texas. With Houston growing as a city, it seemed fitting that Major League Baseball would have a team there. However, Colt Stadium was an outdoor stadium. And Houston’s geography made it difficult to play baseball. Heat and humidity, mosquitoes (Houston is located on Buffalo Bayou), and the afternoon thunderstorm during late afternoon.

How does one respond to such geography and weather? Go inside. And with that, a stadium was constructed for that purpose. By 1965, it was named the Astrodome, and would be the new home of the newly named Houston Astros for the next 35 seasons. And this home was complete with air conditioning.

This will not get into the architecture of the Astrodome or its putt-putt playing surface. This however, will get into the geography of baseball in Houston. It is fitting that the Astrodome was built in Houston,TX. Before 1962, Major League Baseball never went that far South.  Anaheim, a Los Angeles suburb in Orange County, was the furthest south baseball went. However, being so far west, and being on the chilly eastern Pacific Ocean, summers were relatively cooler, and drier. More comfortable for the players.

In many ways the Astrodome represented a new frontier for baseball. A growing city in the sunbelt region. Houston was beginning to throw off the shackles of Jim Crow. It would also represent the hottest place baseball would be played, until 1972 when an a metro with even hotter summers, the Dallas-Ft Worth region, would be given the Texas Rangers baseball team. It represented the first time baseball would go indoors because of the climate/geography of the local area. It is fitting that a Houston baseball team is called the Astros. With the NASA space program making its home in Houston, and baseball having to be on the cutting technology to respond to the geography of Houston, this was very fitting. Houston Astros would reiterate this  in 2000, when it moved into Reliant Stadium, an indoor stadium with a retractable dome.

Oases And Geopolitics

Huacachina-übersichtImagine this. You’re on a voyage through the desert. Water has not been seen for days. Barren, dry land  abounds. Suddenly, a cluster of vegetation appears. No, this is not a mirage. It is for real. Where does that vegetation come from? It hardly ever rains?

An oasis is an isolated cluster of vegetation surrounding some source of water. Very often, it is a spring. It can be a small lake. What needs to take place is an underground water source coming to the surface, such as an aquifer.

In an arid environment like the desert, water is precious. People go where the water is. Physical geography determining human geography. In an oasis, agriculture is made much easier, thanks to the availability of water. Some cities in the Sahara region got their start BECAUSE of oases.

Oases have also played a major role in human history, particularly in geopolitics. Why? It is about resources. Geopolitical issues are frequently about resources, the allocation of resources, competition for those resources, trade routes,etc. An oasis town had a role in trade. Think of it like a filling station, with more people. Here is where geopolitics has played a role. Empires looking for more control over trade routes wanted control of the oases. Geopolitics is about how geography determines the way nations relate to one another. It is about studying foreign policy through the lens of geographic factories. In the instance of an oasis, a nation wants to bolster its trade. Resources are not what said nation would like. There is competition for a certain trade route.

Example Bukhara, Uzbekistan is a city that often doesn’t make headlines these days. However, during the days of the Silk Route, it was a highly sought after city. Bukhara was an oasis city. It has long been a major center of trade because it was an oasis city. It was like a filling station. You stopped there for supplies while going along a major trade route. Because of this, it was highly sought after. Before becoming part of the Soviet Union, it was part of the Persian Empire. Seleucid Empire, Greco-Bactrians, , Kushan Empire. It was also ruled by the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan. This was an oasis city and it was highly sought after. Its local geography made it a stopping point along a major trade route. Want more control over resources and trade? You sought the oasis cities. In the deserts, they were the islands of prosperity in an otherwise arid land.

A nation’s foreign policy would be determined by the need to control a trade route. This would me trying to get control of a certain oasis city(or cities).

Geopolitics is determined by resources related to geography. The geopolitics surrounding an oasis city has often been about access to trade. Nations fighting for control of resources.

Why Geography Is Dynamic.

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Geography Is Dynamic. Let’s break this down a bit.

Geography – The study of the physical features, atmosphere, and the human-environmental interaction of the Earth.

Dynamic – Constantly changing.

Geography Is Dynamic. Why? Because geography is about studying the Earth, and the Earth is constantly changing. Nothing on Earth remains in a static position. The only constant on the Earth is change. Things are always changing. The rate of which things change varies from place to place.

Even within the field of geography, there is a subfield of geography that is specifically about the changes in physical geographic features. It is known as geomorphology. See video below to learn more.

Geomorphology is just one example of how geography is dynamic. In fact, if you look at every subfield of geography, from tourism geography, limnology, urban geography, biogeography, environmental geography, to political geography, geomatics, and cartography. Things are always changing on the planet. All the more reason they need to be studied. And this should be the very first rule of geography. Geography Is Dynamic. It is dynamic because this earth is dynamic.

In teaching geography in the schools, this should be the first lesson. Geography is dynamic. Learning state capital should not be the first thing anyone learns when it comes to geography. Understanding that the Earth is dynamic is the first thing that should be learned.

Why learn geography? Because it’s a dynamic subject. Why is it dynamic? Because Earth is a dynamic place. Things are always changing. We need to constantly study those changes.

#GeographyIsDynamic