1/07/2005

so geography is cool. There's a lot of interesting geography-related articles in the news lately because of the tsunamis in Asia. People used to ask me "what do you study in geography class?" and I'd tell them about the various subjects. These articles talk about some diverse issues raised by the disaster.

The first one talks about the protective role of mangrove groves and coral reefs, both of which are being destroyed by development and pollution. Areas where the reefs and groves were in their natural state suffered the least devastation. A similar thing could be said about forests, hills, and grasslands, where leaving them in their natural state usually makes surrounding developed areas safer.

This second one talks about the changes to maps caused by the earthquake and tsunami, especially maritime hazards like new obstacles and changing water depths. There's going to have to be a huge effort to remap the ocean and shores in the area to make it safe for shipping, and I would not be surprised if there were a lot of shipwrecks. There's a lot of oil produced in the region too, and oil tanker spills could become a hazard. I feel like I'm back in class.

This third one is about an English girl who learned about tsunamis in school just before she went on vacation to Thailand with her family, and she realized what was happening and told people to head for the high ground, saving a lot of peoples' lives.

This last one talks about the reversion of the beaches to their natural state, which is sort of interesting but kind of short on analysis.

So how's that for geography? I'm thinking though that next time I tell somebody I'm a cartographer and they ask "what do you make maps of?" I'll answer "routes to your mom's house."

No comments: