World Fragility

This year’s Index of Global “fragility” (as reported in the Economist)has been released by the Fund for Peace (FfP) and it quite-well reflects the shifting political landscape around the world. Good news for Canadians – we are seen as being more stable this year than last. For obvious reasons, the US is sliding as are North Korea, Turkey and Brazil.

The graphics in the article make for a great lesson starters for Geopolitics, Media and Politics in general.

Fagile States Index

Infographic: Canada’s protected areas

Canadian Geographic has just released an infographic updating Canada’s protected areas

Canadians can be proud of our protected areas – national parks and many (but not all) provincial parks – but we still have a long ways to go! To date, our 7500 protected areas add up to 11.7% of our area BUT this is still far short of the UNEP target of 17% by 2020. We’re doing better at protecting land area, with 11.5% protected, but Great Lakes and marine areas have only 1.5% protected. Furthermore, some areas of the country, such as the Prairies and the lower Great Lakes region, are still very poorly represented. In a recent press release, though, the Government of Canada has “committed that at least 17 per cent of land and inland water will be conserved by 2020”. 

Syria: what students need to know

What is education these days without TED! And, thanks to TED-Ed there is an excellent resource for helping students understand what’s happening in Syria. Some of the source videos I’ve seen and used before, but having it altogether in one place is not only helpful, but a great source for a flipped classroom.

Night Light Maps Open Up New Applications

Much has been written lately in the popular press regarding the new set of satellite images released by NASA showing Earth at Night. Few sources provide a clearer view of human settlement patterns contrasting heavily populated and industrialized areas with those less populated and/or less “plugged in”; while Europe and eastern North America gleam, much of Africa is dark despite its high population, although the Nile Valley and Delta sure stand out.

I particularly like the Earth at Night images for illustrating settlement patterns across Canada: high concentrations show up as the urban archipelago across the nation; there are regular, evenly-dispersed populations across the plainsfarmland of southwestern Ontario and, of course, the Prairies; mountain valleys in the west clearly show linear patterns as do the coastal margins of the Martimes and St. Lawrence and along with rail and road corridors across northern Ontario, while much of the rest of the Canadian Shield is dark except for randomly dispersed mining and logging settlements and First Nations’ communities.

I highly recommend spending a few minutes reading this article by the Earth Observatory, as it provides an insightful glimpse of the tech behind these wonderful images – ideal for anyone pursuing remote sensing.

Climate change causes glacial river in Yukon to change direction

from CBC News…

Glacier retreated so much that its meltwater switched course, in an event not documented in modern times.

Climate change has caused the massive Kaskawulsh Glacier in the Yukon to retreat so much that its meltwater abruptly switched direction, in the first documented case of “river piracy” in modern times.

Instead of flowing into the Slims River and then north to the Bering Sea, the water has changed course and now flows south toward the Kaskawulsh River, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean, scientists have found.  Read more…

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/climate-change-yukon-river-piracy-1.4070153

As global groundwater disappears, rice, wheat and other international crops may start to vanish

from PBS Newshour

We already know that humans are depleting vital groundwater resources across the globe. But a new study shows one of the biggest causes of disappearing groundwater is the international food trade. Read more…