Designing Human Geography
(for the time being, a place to cache raggedy bits which will eventually be massaged into sleek prose... and goes through 24 May. Subsequent development of a course proposal is elsewhere)

12 March 2001 (in need of editing...)
I've been doing a lot of hunting and reading that will eventually feed into an articulated proposal for a Human Geography course. I keep coming back to the necessity for students (and professorial colleagues...) to read a lot more than they're in the habit of processing, and to the fluency skills that are essential to the enterprise. And I keep finding trenchant passages that epitomize problems and points of view and elements of agendas... here's one, even more poignant because I am 'class of 1961' and it's my lifetime he's writing about:

In the [33] years since the class of 1961 set out to find its way, world population grew from 3.2 billion to 5.5 billion; approximately 120 billion tons of carbon dioxide were emitted to the atmosphere mostly from the combustion of fossil fuels; perhaps a tenth of the life forms on earth disappeared in that time; a quarter of the world's rain forests were cut down; half or more of the forests in Europe wer damaged by acid rain; careless farming and development caused the erosion of some 600 billion tons of topsoil worldwide; and the ozone shield was severely damaged. Before the class of 1961 is just a faint memory, the earth may be 2C to 3C hotter, with consequences we can barely imagine; world population will be 8-9 billion; perthaps 25% of the Earth's species will have disappeared; and humans will have turned an area roughly equivalent to the size of the U.S. into desert. Something of earth-shattering importance went wrong in our lifetime. and we were prepared neither to see it nor to avoid complicity in it. (David W. Orr Earth in mind [1994] pg 156)
And another:
...a purely global focus tends to reduce the Earth to a set of abstractions that blur what happens to real people in specific settings... It is a short step from there to ideas of planetary management, which appeals to the industrial urge to control. Indeed, it is aimed mostly at the preservation of industrial economies, albeit with greater efficiency. Planetary managers seek homogenized solutions that work against cultural and ecological diversity... When the world and its problems are taken to be abstractions, it becomes easier to overlook the fine grain of social and ecological details for the 'big picture'; and it becomes easier for ecology to become just another science in service to planet managers and corporations. (Orr 1994:161-162)
I see Global Stewardship as active human geography, concentrating on knowing about the effects of human activities, direct and indirect, upon natural systems. The reason to know (to study, to learn) is to make informed decisions in the use and allocation of resources. We have knowledge about the world at global and continental and national and regional and local scales; we have global communication systems. We can make choices as individuals and as groups and as nations --and, more to the point, we do make decisions, though often tacitly and indirectly. We generally don't have very well-developed temporal or spatial understanding at the basis of the decisions, and we tend to prefer short-term gain over long-term wisdom --but that's partly a matter of wisdom being long-term hindsight.

We don't do enough studying and integrating of existing information before taking action, making decisions, committing energies and resources. Our perspectives are usually foreshortened, short-term, rushed. We're great actors, not great considerers of implications and actions. Effective stewardship is substantially an Information issue: the steward has to gather and analyze and integrate in order to make wise decisions.

Anthropogenic is at the core of what we need to consider, and consequences are what we need to develop prescience about...

13 March
Globalization needs more careful treatment than it gets. Held et al. Global Transformations is a good example of recent advances, and I've found quite a few other on-ramps that present the usual problem of lots to read and assimilate. Just at the moment there's a lot of play in the media for globalization of food, including stories about how Macdonalds is bad for us (who knew?)

Sustainability is another perennial...

and I've been looking into some diseases and invasives (malaria, West Nile, foot and mouth, Aedes albopictus) as examples of the interconnections that are upon us. I happened upon  GLOBAL CHANGE AND HUMAN SUSCEPTIBILITY TO DISEASE (Gretchen C. Daily and Paul R. Ehrlich
Annu. Rev. Energy Environ. 1996. 21:125-144), and sources like The changing global context of public health (McMichael AJ, Beaglehole R LANCET 356 (9228): 495-499 AUG 5 2000) and publications like Bulletin of the World Health Organization ("One of the world's most respected - and frequently cited - sources of scientific research relevant to public health", and $160/year) seem more essential than they once did.

Some work of John Doyle's reveals that Anthropological Index Online seems to be available... and  ASCE's Civil Engineering Database and  Population Index (1986-1999, with earlier issues via JSTOR [1937-1985] )

Willem H. Vanderburg's The Labyrinth of Technology (University of Toronto Press, 2000) [CB478 .V38 2000] looks like another to add to the reading list

15 March
Results of PubMed searches for 'remote sensing and malaria' [and '...and disease'] suggest an interesting unit, and the whole issue of invasive and non-indigenous species would be another.

and here's an " if we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people..."

16 March
 Remote Sensing and Human Health: New Sensors and New Opportunities (Louisa R. Beck, Bradley M. Lobitz, and Byron L. Wood, Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 6, No. 3 March-April 2000)

 Global Climate and Infectious Disease: The Cholera Paradigm (Rita Colwell, Science 20 Dec 1996, pp. 2025-2031)

 Emerging Marine Diseases--Climate Links and Anthropogenic Factors (C. D. Harvell et al., Science 3 Sep 1999, pp. 1505-1510)

 Infectious History (Joshua Lederberg, Science 14 Apr 2000, pp. 287-293)

26 March
After a visit to Biosphere2 I'll add some references to 'ecofootprint'. Drury's Global Perspectives ("...liberal arts core curriculum ... Through discussing the most interesting and important questions of our time, students better comprehend our complex world. Three skills, essential to lifelong learning and global perspectives, are emphasized: strong communication and interpersonal skills (writing, speaking, listening and reading), critical and creative thinking...") is an interesting GenEd development

29 March
One can start just about anywhere, and what's necessary is to develop cases that draw on the interests and skills and knowledge of various people. Frank Settle's work on rayon (specifically the case of the Avtex plant in Front Royal) makes a wonderful example, connecting to questions of sustainability and the export of ecologically costly production to places with fewer controls, and thus connecting industrial chemistry and economics (and other realms too, of course).

An excellent book: Wood et al. The Root Causes of Biodiversity Loss (GE140 .R66 2000) has 10 case studies (Cameroon: bushmeat and wildlife trade, Pakistan: mangroves, Danube River Basin: wetlands and floodplains, etc.) which address historical (economic, political, etc.) developments of biodiversity loss via a common framework of  "conceptual models" of system components and flows.

The whole issue of estimating environmental costs needs attention.

 Fueling Vietnam's Development
 Environmental Accounting: Principles For The Sustainable Enterprise
 Using Economics to Help Make Decisions about development and conservation options (54 pages, .pdf)
 Studies of the Environmental Costs of Electricity (OTA .pdf, 82 pages)
2 April
 Agricultural Biotechnology and the Poor ("CGIAR's mission is to contribute to food security and poverty
                       eradication in developing countries through research, partnership,
                       capacity building, and policy support. The CGIAR promotes
                       sustainable agricultural development based on the environmentally
                       sound management of natural resources.")

 Collection on Critical Global Issues ("developed in 1999 by United Nations
                                     University Press. It contains 210 publications (32,000 pages) in the fields of Agriculture
                                     and Land Management, Development, Environment and Sustainability, Food and
                                     Nutrition, Natural Resource Development, Science and Technology.")

3 April
 A continent-wide blueprint for conservation action in Africa (data accompanying Balmford et al.  Conservation Conflicts Across Africa in Science Volume 291, Number 5513, Issue of 30 Mar 2001, pp. 2616-2619)

9 April
 WDR 2000/2001: Attacking Poverty (World Bank report)

 World Resources 2000-2001 (World Resources Institute)

 WRI 2000-2001 data CD-ROM ($100) with 20-year time series for many variables

 Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems (PAGE) (print: QH541.5 .F7 P464 2000)

16 April
Two books to locate again, and another on order:

TITLE        Global transformations : politics, economics and culture / David Held ... [et al.]
IMPRINT      Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1999.
CALL NO.     D32 .G46 1999. (see also the web site )

AUTHOR       Vanderburg, William H.
TITLE        The labyrinth of technology / Willem H. Vanderburg.
IMPRINT      Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c2000.
CALL NO.     CB478 .V38 2000. (see especially chapters on "The ecology of technology and map-making")

TITLE        The global transformations reader : an introduction to the  globalization debate.
IMPRINT      Malden, Mass. : Polity Press, 2000.
(on order)

9 May
John Lambeth suggested yesterday that there may be an opportunity to teach Human Geography to University Scholars in the Fall term, so I'm thinking actively about how that could be done, and what resources would be needed and used.  One thing that accompanies the opportunity is the chance to develop the use of resources we have and have access to as tools for classroom teaching, including Science online and the JSTOR archives in a number of realms (obviously Population Studies, but quite a few other collections would be similarly relevant).

An excellent choice for a 'text':

Harrison, Paul, 1945-
AAAS atlas of population & environment / Paul Harrison, Fred Pearce ; foreword by Peter H. Raven
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2000
Leyburn-Reference HB849.415 .H374 2000
Other resources to not lose track of:
 UNEP Map Portal

17 May
 Global Trends 2015 : A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts (National Intelligence Council Report)

Journal of World-Systems Research

Pesticide Action Network (California)

21 May
Appalachia as a case? Some Cherokee materials ...Appalachian counties list (Appalachian Regional Commission),  Southern Appalachian Man and Biosphere Program and  GIS data (lots of it... free... uses .sit (Stuffit Expander, downloaded to C:\) for .shp files, also offers .e00 --I grabbed the counties and the public lands, c:\esri\appalachia\)

It's easy to imagine a Scholars 202 course as a collection of case studies but it wants a clearer organization. It needs to be data-based, as much as possible.

The necessary skill elements include GIS training and how-to-find components and the integration of such electronic wonders as JSTOR.

Distribution and Trajectory are obvious explicanda: why is space/time arrayed as the data tell us? What forces, processes, agents produced what we observe? What do we need to know (learn about, integrate into understanding, take into account) to give a convincing explanation?

24 May
Electronic Green Journal ("Professional journal on international environmental information")