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Archive for the ‘Geography’ Category

Just a quick note to feature this beautiful beadwork illustrating global warming in North America.


By Peggy Dembicer on flickr.

What a beautiful piece of artwork to bring attention to this threat to our global ecosystem.

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There was an interesting article in the New York Times today about a plan by the Netherlands to build a tulip-shaped island off-shore to help protect its coast from sea level rise.  Here is the photo that appeared:

From the article:

The idea, Mr. de Boer went on, would be not only to gain land and protect the coast, but also to showcase Dutch engineering skills. At the same time, an island could be an energy powerhouse, shaped like a ring to create so-called blue energy by using the contrast of fresh and salt water to generate electricity, or the ebb and flow of the tides. Wind turbines could also produce even more energy, he said.

A green project all-around? I’m skeptical, but the concept is quite interesting on many levels.

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Here is a group I want to find out a lot more about: The Center for Land Use Interpretation. I discovered them from a little sidebar in the New York Times on the Hudson River which mentioned their new book, Up River: Man-Made Sites of Interest on the Hudson from the Battery to Troy. According to their website, the CLUI:

is a research organization involved in exploring, examining, and understanding land and landscape issues. The Center employs a variety of methods to pursue its mission – engaging in research, classification, extrapolation, and exhibition.

But that seems to be putting it mildly. They seem to have a fascination for all the many ways that man and landscape intersect for good or for bad. And their medium is based in the visual. They have many other books, online features, newsletters (going back to 1995!), and exhibitions on everything from trash to parking spaces. I’m going to have to spend a lot more time checking them out.

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Superfund – what’s that? Just a little program that made polluters pay to clean up after themselves – spurred by the infamous Love Canal case. But it was more or less killed by the Bush Administration (well, it has been defunded, which is the same thing).

I just ran across a review in American Scientist of a website devoted to shedding light on the remaining Superfund Sites (there are hundreds). This site, called Superfund365 is a wonderful blend of detailed scientific, demographic, and geographic information pulled together with a very pleasing and easy to understand interface. A new site is featured every day for 365 days (it started in September 2007) but you can browse all of the sites at any time.

There’s been a lot of discussion lately of the marriage of science and design and this is an excellent example. My only wish would be that there were a way to navigate all of the sites geographically (a la Center for Public Integrity’s Superfund site, Wasting Away), but that’s my personal bent. Once you have selected a site, there is a very nicely built in Google Map where you can navigate around the site.

Check it out – you might learn something while you enjoy the elegant design.

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In the categories of maps and carbon emissions, I present Project Vulcan (and it has nothing to do with Star Trek, except perhaps some inspiration in naming). This is a project at Purdue University to distill information about carbon emissions by economic sector (power, industry, transportation) into useful visualizations. It is funded by NASA and DOE (I wonder if the administration knows about this heresy).

Too lazy to check out the website? Here is a video that summarizes the work:

Here’s a graphic they created of the top 20 carbon emitting U.S. Counties (I find it morbidly humorous that #11 is Carbon, PA):
Top 20 U.S. Carbon Emitting Counties

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I made a discovery today that makes me so incredibly happy.  For months, I’ve been wondering why Atlanta can’t get with the program and submit its public transportation data to Google Transit.   I still don’t know why it hasn’t happened, but now we have something better: A-TRAIN Atlanta Transit/Bike/Walk Trip Planner.  This site is so smart it can tell you how long it will take you to get from point A to point B using whatever mode or combination of modes you choose, and it even takes into account topography and lets you change your personal walking or biking speed so you can get an accurate reflection of how much time you will need.  So. Incredibly. Awesome.

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I have been waiting to post on this for over a week while I became inspired to add some value to simply linking to Green Maps Around the World, but I really can’t add anything to their own self-description:

Green Map ® System promotes inclusive participation in sustainable community development around the world, using mapmaking as our medium.

GMS supports local Green Mapmakers as they create perspective-changing community ‘portraits’ which act as comprehensive inventories for decision-making and as practical guides for residents and tourists.Mapmaking teams pair our adaptable tools and universal iconography with local knowledge and leadership to chart green living, ecological, social and cultural resources.

Over 300 vibrant Green Maps have published to date, and hundreds more have been created in classrooms and workshops by youth and adults. Both the mapmaking process and the resulting Green Maps have tangible effects that:

  • Strengthen local-global sustainability networks
  • Expand the demand for healthier, greener choices
  • Help successful initiatives spread to even more communities

Green Map System has been developed collaboratively since 1995, and is now active in 400 cities, villages and neighborhoods in 50 countries. GMS and its network of regional hubs and community-led Green Map projects share the award-winning outcomes through their online profiles, blogs, Green Map books and media productions, workshops and other public presentations.

This website is the gathering point for both the makers and users of Green Maps, and offers many inspiring resources including our new organizational booklet to anyone interested in a sustainable future.

Online since 1995, GreenMap.org was re-launched in May 2007, with an exciting new presentation-collaboration-resource center for Mapmakers (we named this content management system the Greenhouse for its ability to cultivate and preserve our diverse ‘garden of Green Maps’). At that point, there were 400 registered Green Map projects from 51 countries. Find a List of all at About the Mapmakers along with more background. In the continually expanding Maps section, find fresh, new locally-authored illustrated profiles and Green Maps from all parts of the world!

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