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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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.

Poland’s Borders, Geography, and Geopolitics.

Poland is one of the largest nations in Europe. It is also a nation that has been through immense changes in its history. It has gone from being one of Europe’s largest empires to not even appearing on the map. Watch video below to see Poland’s borders change from 1635-now.

Now, it is important to consider that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was at its largest in 1619, after the Truce of Deulino. This truce ended the Polish-Muscovite War, a series of conflicts between the Commonwealth vs The Tsardom of Russia and the Kingdom of Sweden. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth once included nations such as Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Latvia, southern Estonia, parts of Russia, and a tiny sliver of what is now Moldova. The westernmost regions of Poland were not part of that Commonwealth. It was a union between Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

 

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(Photo by Samotny Wędrowiec)

The first Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth started in 1569. Poland and Sweden had a complicated relationship. The Commonwealth would expand east and north, gaining territories such as Livonia and Prussia. These regions would prove to me a subject of contention between Poland and Sweden. Starting in 1648, the series of wars ravaged the Commonwealth. Unlike conflicts of the past, these conflicts were not limited to the peripheral regions. The central regions were affected too. Conflicts with Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Livonia, Ukraine, Sweden, and other neighboring nations would result in its decline. Poland would endure a series of invasions known as “the Deluge”. In particular, from the Tsardom of Russia, Brandenburg, Khmelnytsky Cossack Uprisings in Ukraine, and the Kingdom of Sweden.

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War, and epidemics would decimate Poland’s population, and weaken the Commonwealth. Between 1764-1795, the Commonwealth underwent a series of partitions by Prussia, Russia, and Austria. These partitions took Poland off of the map. Through the 19th century and into the early 20th century, a series of rebellions took place. By 1918, the Second Polish Republic was established.  This lasted until 1939. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. It was a neutrality pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. It was signed 23 August 1939. 1 September 1939, Nazi Germany attacked Poland. On 17 September 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland. 2 year later, Hitler would send the German Army on attacks in Eastern Poland, where Soviets had their positions. As World War II concluded, territories were redrawn. Poland would gain what was Germany’s easternmost regions. Danzig would become Gdansk, one of Poland’s port cities today. Poland would also lose its eastern regions. Those areas are now part of Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania. The borders were shaped by the demands made by Stalin in the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement, which were brought up in the Tehran Conference of 1943, and again in the Yalta Conference of 1945.

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Map_of_Poland_(1945)

Poland’s political geography has been shaped by its conflicts with its neighbors. This conflict has a physical geography element to it. Poland today is on the Great European Plain. Most of the nation is flat with the exception of the southernmost parts, where the Tatra Mountains are located. Poland’s location has made it a major thoroughfare for invasion. With relatively flat terrain, there were no buffer zones, except in the south. It has also influenced how its own empire has grown. Poland grew by expanding north, southeast, and east. Going directly south would make invasion difficult due to mountainous terrain. This is particularly so for what is now Ukraine. In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it occupied much of Ukraine except for the westernmost regions. The Carpathian Mountains are in Ukraine’s western areas. The rest of Ukraine is much less rugged, and has historically been more prone to invasion.

Poland has had conflicts with Russia, Austria, Germany, Sweden, the Ottoman Empire (at one this empire occupied southeast Europe), and Prussia. Many of the biggest conflicts have involved Russia, Sweden, Germany, and Prussia. Relatively flat land has made invasion strategically easy.  Land plays a big part in war. Land is a resource. This is what should be considered.

Much of Poland has fertile soil, with the exception of the northern regions with its sandy soil. Fertile land for farming has long been a sought after resource. Another resource is warm water ports. Poland gets cold winters. However, its portion of the Baltic coast is warmer than most places along the Baltic Sea, being further south. Land and greater maritime access are often factors in fighting wars. Poland’s geography has been both an advantage and a disadvantage. Advantageous in terms of fertile soil, a greater access to the sea, and a mountainous buffer zone to the south. However, its geography of rolling hills and plains have given it a disadvantage. It has both been able to invade, and at the same time, be invaded from different directions.

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Geography has been a factor in shaping Poland, from its height in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, to the Polish Partition, to what it is today.

 

Explaining The Blue Jay Fan Presence in Seattle.

Photo from Seattle Times.

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In September 2016, a frustrated Felix Hernandez shouted this refrain to booing Blue Jays fans at Safeco Field while pointing downward at the field: “THIS IS MY HOUSE”!!

1977. The Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays begin play. Whenever the Toronto Blue Jays come to town, so do Blue Jays fans. In some cases, the Blue Jays’ fans outnumber the Mariners’ fans.

How? Toronto doesn’t even play in the same division as Seattle. Toronto is close to Detroit and Cleveland than it is to Seattle.

Well, the answer is alot closer than you think. Seattle is much closer to Canada than many people realize. Seattle is 142.6 miles from Vancouver,BC,Canada. This is basically a 2 1/2 hour drive. One might think that because Vancouver is so close to Seattle, people in that city would root for the Seattle Mariners. Well……..

Some of this could be blamed on the subpar playing of the Mariners between 2004 and now(out of those years, only 4 seasons above the .500 mark). However, there is a cultural geography component here. Vancouver is in Canada. The Toronto Blue Jays have traditionally represented English-speaking Canada. The Montreal Expos, baseball’s representatives in the Francophone province of Quebec, play in Washington,DC as of 2005. This leaves the Blue Jays as Canada’s sole team. Not that this would matter. Vancouver is an Anglophone city, and it’s closer to Toronto than Montreal. Even if Seattle is the closest city to Vancouver, Vancouver is in the long-reaching sphere of the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays being a Canadian team, people in Vancouver would be more likely to root for the Blue Jays.

In short, Blue Jays fans in Vancouver have an easy drive to Seattle. Could the Mariners and Blue Jays become a big rivalry? Geography is strangely on its side. The Mariners have never really had geographic rivalries. At least not in the traditional sense. However, the geography is in the details. With Vancouver 2.5 hours away, this could really make things interesting.

Paris Agreement, Geographic Perspective

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After U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris Agreement, an immense amount of controversy has taken place. For a long time, issues such as climate change and global warming have proven to be polarizing subjects, at least when put into the political arena. First, the Paris Climate Agreement needs to be defined.

The Paris Climate Agreement is an agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The goal is to decide how to mitigate climate change and how to adapt to climate change. The Paris Agreement was drafted in November-December 2015, and signed in April 2016. It became effective on 4 November 2016. 195 members of the UNFCCC have signed it, and 148 members have ratified it.

The goals involved according to the agreement.

“(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;(c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.”

In short, minimize the rise of the average global temperature above pre-industrial level, adapt to changes in the world caused by climate change, and invest more money into technology that would produce less emissions.

Sounds like a noble goal. However, not all nations that signed would stay. When this agreement was signed by the USA, Barack Obama was President of the USA. Today, it is Donald Trump. And President Trump has announced, as of 1 June 2017 that the USA would withdraw from the agreement.

Now, this is to be considered. Every nation within the agreement can determine its own goals in terms of mitigating climate change. There is no force involved and there is no set dates involved. However, the idea is that once a goal is set, said nation should reach or go beyond said goals.

In short, the USA isn’t under the utmost force. According to Trump, it is a solemn duty to the USA to pull out of the agreement. Here is an important question. How is the Paris Agreement harmful to the USA? How do Americans feel about it?

There have been several polls with contrasting results. One poll could show the majority of Americans being for the Paris Agreement. Another poll could show the majority of Americans being against the Paris Agreement. President Trump mentioned that leaving the agreement would boost the coal industry. He mentioned that it would hurt the U.S. economy.

According to the Paris Agreement, the USA can set its own goals and determine the path it wants to go to. And if the USA wants to leave, no one can stop the USA from doing so.

However, it still leaves this question. Would the Paris Agreement hurt the economy? Considering that Trump’s focus on a better economy is manufacturing, there are still many things that need to be considered. Because the USA can determine its own goals in mitigating climate change, there are some things that need to be considered.

  1. The coal industry. This industry has been on the decline for decades, specifically in Central Appalachia. It is flourishing in the Powder River region in Montana/Wyoming. Geographically, it is easier to transport coal from the Powder River region than Central Appalachia, given its more abundant railroad infrastructure, better roads, and less rugged terrain. The coal in this region has a lower amount of sulfur compared to Appalachian coal.
  2. Steel. While the steel industry depends on coal, the dependence on it is dropping. More steel plants are seeking out natural gas as a cleaner fuel source.
  3. Natural gas. Natural gas emits far less CO2, a greenhouse gas, than coal does. As this power source is sought after, the economy could grow because of this resource.

These 3 considerations are just the tip of the iceberg.

And then there is this to consider. There are other forms of energy that can be harnessed, such as water, the sun, wind, geothermal power. Geography, however, will play a role. Places with high average wind speeds will benefit from wind power. Areas near strong watercourses and large tides will benefit from hydroelectric and tidal power. Sunny regions in the USA can harness solar power. Areas near high geothermal activity can use geothermal power. There are a myriad of resources. And the USA can set its own goals if it remains with the Paris Agreement. It will not mean the exclusion of a certain energy source. Energy diversification can be a factor in the USA

If one is to build on ALL of these energy resources, this will require the manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, equipment for geothermal power, the building of dams, and this could also spur more innovation. A new economic boom similar to Silicon Valley could begin, depending on the geography of an area.

If one learns more about geography, and how geography can effect energy resources and transportation. A more educated decision on whether or not the Paris Agreement would hurt the USA’s economy.

Peachless in Georgia

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If you go to Georgia, one thing you will quickly figure out is that it’s called “The Peach State”. It isn’t just a nickname. It is a big part of the state.  Georgia isn’t the biggest producer of peaches, but it’s among the top 4 states.

California – 620,000 tons

South Carolina – 60,800 tons

Georgia – 33,000 tons

New Jersey – 21,050

Source: http://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/fruits/peaches/

California produces 49 percent of the USA’s peaches. However, it’s the 3rd largest state in the USA. Georgia is a leading grower of peaches. And it has the climate for it. A state with a humid, subtropical climate with cool to mild winters and hot summers is climate that peaches can grow in. Peach crops are tolerant to frost. However, Georgia gets lesser amounts of cold weather compared to other regions in the USA, considering that it’s in the Southeastern USA.

This year, however, Georgia may not be a big leader in peach production. Why? WEATHER. For those who do not get the difference between weather and climate, a simple explanation. Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. Watch the video below to get a better idea.

This is what happened. Georgia had one of its warmest winters ever. Apart from the ice storm that hit the Atlanta area on 6-7 January 2017, there are many days when high temperatures reached the upper 60s/low 70s. Temperatures dropping below freezing serves to prevent blooming from taking place. Unless there is a guarantee that no killing frost will take place, it is best not to have prolonged periods of warm weather in the winter. Georgia had these prolonged periods of warm weather, and then in early March, a freeze took place. This killed half of the state’s peach crops. The plants likely bloomed too early and were not given a chance to become full-grown peaches thanks to an early March freeze.

What impact will this have? Let us start with the price of peaches. Supply and demand applies to economics, and this can be affected by things such as geography and weather. Fewer peaches, but the demand remains the same, the prices goes up. Farmers will also be at a loss. Money will be lost because of the loss of product.

Weather is different from climate. What can be grown in a geographic area is often determined by climate. Weather, on the other hand, isn’t as certain.

Photo by WABE 90.1