INTRODUCTION TO GEOGRAPHY Major Concepts
POPULATION Rapid population growth has occurred over the last several hundred years, but growth rates are not slowing and some societies are even shrinking. Changes in economic development patterns, government policy, access to health care, and gender roles have reduced incentives for large families. These and other factors also shape the distribution and movement of human populations. The most rapidly growing populations are poor and rural. These women are in Congo (Kinshasa). As growth slows, many populations are rapidly aging. These retired men are in Portugal. Families with only one child are now common in Japan, and elsewhere in East Asia
POPULATION DENSITY MAPS Show PATTERNS of SETTLEMENT!
GENDER Many places are moving toward greater equality between the genders. As more women pursue educational and employment opportunities outside the home, birth rates are declining. Meanwhile, economic development and politics are becoming transformed by the increasing participation of women. A women votes in Congo (Kinshasa) Israeli military police Female high school students in Tanzania
DEVELOPMENT Parts of the world (often labeled “the developing world”) are shifting from lower-value and labor-intensive raw materials-based economies to higher-value and higher-skilled-based manufacturing and service economies. The shift depends in part on the availability of social services. A young boy cultivating by hand in Uganda. A nurse delivers prenatal care to a pregnant women in Kenya. Students in a science class in Dakar, Senegal.
FOOD So far, food production systems are keeping pace with global population growth, in part by shifting away from labor-intensive, small-scale subsistence agriculture toward mechanized, chemically intensive, large-scale, commercial agriculture. This process increases productivity, but at the cost of environmental degradationthat threatens further growth in food production. Moreover, many farmers are unable to afford the chemicals and machinery required for commercial agriculture and have to give up farming as a result. Mechanized farming, as practiced above in Oregon, often exposes soils to wind and rain, resulting in erosion over time. A crop dusters sprays pesticides in Texas. A tractor is used for harvesting papayas in Brazil.
URBANIZATION Changes in food production are pushing people out of rural areas, while the development of manufacturing and service economies is pulling them into cities. Living standards increase for some rural migrants, as access to jobs, health care, and education often improves. However, many are forced into vast slums with poor housing and inadequate access to water or social services. Many migrants in Dhaka, Bangladesh, work as bicycle rickshaw drivers. The pressures of life in urban slums break up many families. This orphan is in Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, is home to more than 1 million people.
GLOBALIZATION Local self-sufficiency is giving way to global interdependence as goods, money, and people move across vast distances faster and on a larger scale than every before. Influences from afar are transforming even seemingly isolated societies. In Guangdong, China, a woman manufacturers computer boards destined for the United States. A Masai herder in Tanzania uses his new cell phone. An Indian construction worker next to an English-language advertisement for the building he works on in Dubai, UAE.
DEMOCRATIZATION Authoritarianism, based on the authority of the state or community leaders, is giving way to more democratic systemsin which each individual is given a greater voice in how governments are run. The shift is strongly linked to the growth of political freedoms, such as, the right to protest and take action against injustice, especially through media and the legal system. Women line up to vote in Yemen. A journalist in Mexico City protests censorship of the media. Riot police disperse a peaceful protest for better access to water in Uganda.
WATER Fresh water is becoming scarce as human impacts on the environment increase. Pressure to reduce water use and pollution are rising as conflicts intensify over access to water for drinking and irrigation, and over the resource of aquatic ecosystems. For many urban dwellers, such as this boy in Kenya, a communal spigot is the only source of clean water. Dams can provide electricity and water for irrigation, but they flood potentially vast areas, and downstream river flows are forever altered. Irrigated rice terraces, such as these in China, feed billions of people worldwide.
CLIMATE CHANGE Human activities that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases are trapping heat in the atmosphere. The industrialized and rapidly industrializing countries, who are responsible for most of these emissions, are attempting to reduce their output of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, the poorest countries of the world are highly vulnerable to the changes in climate brought about by global warming. Global warming is likely to increase flooding, especially in low-lying coastal areas such as Bangladesh(shown above). This coal-fired power plant in Russia spews tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each day. Global warming is bring higher temperatures and greater acidity to the oceans, threatening coral reefs and the fishing industries they support.
REGIONAL ISSUES IN WORLD GEOGRAPHY Concepts are often used in combination to explain regional issues.
GLOBALIZATION AND DEVELOPMENTIN MADAGASCAR, SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Highly globalized patterns of economic development dominate most of Africa. Originally set up by European colonial powers but still in place today, these patterns keep Africa relatively impoverished. Countries rely on exports of low-value raw materials to wealthier regions. They then have to import expensive manufactured goods needed to support their raw materials industries and movement of human populations. Madagascar’s largely agricultural economy leaves many in poverty. Women sort vanilla beans, a major export of Madagascar. Prices for vanilla are low on global markets. Madagascar imports the engines for its trains from China at considerable expense.
CLIMATE CHANGE, FOOD, AND WATER IN SOUTH ASIA South Asia’s three largest rivers are fed by glaciers high in the Himalayan Mountains that have been shrinking due to faster-than-normal melting. Most could be gone in 350 years. While flooding is the result for now, water shortages will be severe once the glaciers are gone, especially during the dry winter season when rivers are fed mostly by melt water. Faster-than-normal glacial melting causes flooding. Farmers in Bangladesh try to salvage their harvest after a flood. During the dry winter months, many rivers are fed by glacial meltwater. This valley bottom was once covered by a glacier. An Indian farmer irrigates his rice field with age-old technology. Irrigation water will be less available during the winter if glaciers melt completely.
POPULATION AND GENDER IN EAST ASIA China’s attempt to control population growth with a one-child policy has had the unintended effect of producing a shortage of women. Cultural preferences for sons lead many couples to abort female fetuses or commit infanticide. China’s government estimates that by 2020 there will be 30 million fewer women than men. Most Chinese families would prefer that the one child they are allowed be a boy. A man and his son play in a park in Xian, China. Some studies suggest that a large population of bachelors could lead to higher crime rates. Duan Biansheng, one of many unmarried men in the 'bachelor village' of Banzhushan in Hunan province. Photograph: Tania Branigan With so many fewer women than men, and with many women choosing careers instead of child raising, brides are increasingly scare in China.