Focused Series »

Indo-European Origins
Siberia
Northern California
The Caucasus
Imaginary Geography
Home » Archive by Category

Articles in Environmental Geography

Whither GeoCurrents?

By Martin W. Lewis | January 6, 2014 | 36 Comments

Dear Readers,
GeoCurrents has just completed its fourth year of publication and its second year as a joint production of myself and Asya Pereltsvaig. During that time it has undergone a number of changes, as we have sought various ways to increase our visibility and readership, relying on the technical expertise of Kevin Morton. Running this site has been an extremely …

Unnecessary Environmental Destruction from Marijuana Cultivation in the United States

By Martin W. Lewis | October 22, 2013 | 9 Comments

Over the past several years, the campaign for marijuana legalization has surged ahead in the United States. Colorado and Washington have voted for full legalization, and a number of other states now allow the consumption of medical cannabis. Yet the U.S. federal government still regards the substance as a “Schedule 1” drug, more dangerous and less useful than cocaine or …

Mapping the Farmlands of Coastal Peru

By Martin W. Lewis | July 19, 2013 |

In writing about the fruit and vegetable exports of coastal Peru, I could not locate any on-line maps of the farming districts of the region. It is easy, however, to distinguish these areas in Google Earth, as the color contrasts between the lush, irrigated lands and their desert environs stand out, as do the rectilinear patterns of the cultivated fields. …

Asparagus Land: Coastal Peru’s Fruit and Vegetable Export Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | July 17, 2013 |

The global market for temperate fruit was transformed several decades ago when Chile began to take advantage of its Southern Hemisphere location by massively exporting off-season produce to North America and Europe. When I was young, table grapes were only available in the United States during the summer and fall; now they are found in almost every grocery store year-round. …

The Paradoxes of Ethiopia’s Dam-Building Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | June 6, 2013 |

The Wikipedia article on Dams and Hydropower in Ethiopia claims that “Ethiopia considers itself the powerhouse of Africa due to its high hydropower potential.” But while Ethiopia’s hydropower resources are indeed impressive, they are dwarfed by those of DR Congo, as the Congo River alone is said to account for as much as 13 percent of total global hydroelectric potential. …

Egyptian Protests, Ethiopian Dams, and the Hydropolitics of the Nile Basin

By Martin W. Lewis | June 4, 2013 | 13 Comments

Water struggles in the Nile Basin have recently intensified as Egyptian nationalists denounce Ethiopia’s building of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, the river’s largest tributary. Ethiopia is now diverting the river in preparation for construction, angering many Egyptians, whose country is heavily dependent on the Nile flow. Protestors gathered in front of the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo …

Bhutan’s Paradoxical Development

By Martin W. Lewis | May 13, 2013 | 18 Comments

The southern rim of the Himalayas is rarely mapped as a region, as it encompasses two independent countries (Nepal and Bhutan) and five Indian states.* As a result, maps depicting economic and social development of the area can be misleading, as they typically contrast the two Himalayan countries with India as a whole. To address this situation, I have made …

Zoï’s Fantastic Central Asia Water Map, and Turkmenistan’s Geo-Engineering Projects

By Martin W. Lewis | March 19, 2013 | 9 Comments

The Geneva-based Zoï Environment Network has created some detailed and well-designed environmental maps. Available through flickr photostream along with many other images, the maps are not very well catalogued. Regardless of such organizational problems, the site is well worth exploring. The map that I have posted here, moreover, is the best presentation of the Central Asia’s water crisis that I …

Self-Rule and Environmental Crisis in Ogoniland

By Nicholas Baldo | September 18, 2012 | 2 Comments

In recent months, relations between the Ogoni people of Rivers State in southeastern Nigeria and the government have come under intense pressure. On August 2nd, a group of Ogoni led by Goodluck Diigbo of the pro-autonomy Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) declared their sovereignty in internal affairs while stopping short of secession.

From Drought to Floods in South Asia

By Martin W. Lewis | September 17, 2012 |

The all-important summer monsoon of South Asia has given weather and climate forecasters, as well as news reporters, a wild ride this year. In late June, Reuters hopefully reported that India’s crucial monsoon rains were “expected to be average in 2012, … helping to allay concern over farm output triggered by sparse rainfall in the last few weeks.” Such concerns, however, only deepened, and by late July, news sources were reporting that “with drought conditions prevailing in most parts of India, Monsoon 2012 is set to be the worst in the last 65 years.”

Khareef Season Draws Thousands to Southern Oman

By Nicholas Baldo | September 11, 2012 |

Lush, verdant hillsides are not the type of landscape one would expect to find on the Arabian Peninsula. Indeed, most of the region is parched desert where plant life is extremely sparse without human intervention. During the summer monsoon season, however, parts of Oman and Yemen find themselves soaked in rain and wreathed by fog.

The U.S. Drought and the South American Farming Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | August 24, 2012 |

The drought in the U.S. farm-belt is having major repercussions in South America, as farmers in the region seek to take advantage of high commodity prices. As reported in BloombergBusinessweek, Argentine farmers hope to harvest as much as 31 million tons of corn (maize) in early 2013, which would smash their previous record of 22 million tons.

Melting and Mining in Greenland

By Martin W. Lewis | July 31, 2012 |

Reports of recent massive surface melting on Greenland’s central ice cap have circulated widely in the global media. According to NASA, the area exhibiting a surface thaw expanded from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent in a mere four-day period this July. As reported by Canada’s CBC News, “You literally had this wave of warm air wash over the Greenland ice sheet and melt it,” NASA ice scientist Tom Wagner said Tuesday.

Massive Smallwood Reservoir and Dry Waterfalls

By Martin W. Lewis | July 17, 2012 |

In working on the recent GeoCurrents post on dams, I was astounded to learn that the world’s second largest human-created lake, by surface area, is Smallwood Reservoir in northeastern Canada, which covers 6,527 km2 (2,520 sq mi) of land. This massive lake was created not by an individual dam, but rather by 88 dikes that together stretch over 64 km (40 mi). An idea of …

The Environmental Paradox of Large-Scale Hydroelectric Developments

By Martin W. Lewis | July 14, 2012 | 12 Comments

Hydroelectric power poses a major paradox for environmentalism, as noted in a previous GeoCurrents post. On the one hand, most environmentalists detest dams, which drastically transform riverine ecology, prevent anadromous fish migration, inundate productive and diverse terrestrial ecosystems, displace sizable numbers of people, and occasionally threaten entire indigenous cultures.  Yet on the other hand, hydropower is remarkably clean, produces no …

?php get_sidebar(); ?>