Germany: the Fight With Global Warming

Ignorance is bliss; there are some people on this planet that refuse to believe that global warming exists. But unfortunately, to the rest of the world, ignorance is not a luxury we can afford because the majority of the world’s population is staring right in the face of climate change. As more and more countries from the periphery industrialize, more pollutants occupy the planet. Carrying over 7 billion people, the Earth’s natural resources are slowly stripped away by humans. As more and more humans inhabit the planet, the earth can no longer sustain us and stay healthy at the same time and as people become wealthier, the resources they consume per capita increases as well (Pearce). According to director of the Princeton Environment Institute, Stephen Pacala, fifty percent of the world’s richest people or seven percent of the world’s population, are the cause of half of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, fifty percent of the poorest people of the world merely emit seven percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions (Pearce).

An image of Greenland's disturbing lack of ice.

An image of Greenland’s decreasing ice.

The idea that humans could play a role in changing the earth’s climate used to be a somewhat distant and unachievable idea, but evidence of exactly that has been piling up in recent years.  In fact, in the past decade, global temperatures have reached all time highs with temperatures that are 0.85 degrees Celsius higher than the 20th century temperature average (UCAR). Because of this, the earth is losing 13.3 percent of its arctic ice per year and is losing 258 billion metric tons of land ice per year (NASA). This then causes an increase of  sea level at a rate of 3.19 millimeters per year (NASA). Above all, as forest cover is decreasing at a rate of 1.5 million square kilometers per year, carbon dioxide emissions have reached 400.57 parts per million people (NASA). Global warming is no longer something we can ignore because the evidence of it is overwhelming.

An image of a polar bear; one of the most endangered animals on the planet.

An image of a polar bear; one of the most endangered animals on the planet.

Without a healthy planet, having healthy humans is also hard because global warming is bringing a whole array of new problems and threats for the human species. Unfortunately not many people know just how much global warming is affecting them (Global Warming Affects on Health). Climate change is the main cause of natural disasters like droughts, the wider spread of diseases such as malaria, poor air quality in many places, and a rise in conditions such as asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases (Global Warming Affects on Health). Not just humans, animals are also victims of climate change (Smith). Many migratory animals have started staying in places longer or altering their paths due to rising global temperatures (Species Threatened by Climate Change). Ecosystems are being destroyed which endangers a lot of earth’s animal and plant species. In the polar regions especially, animals that make their homes on ice are at the risk of losing their homelands (Species Threatened by Climate Change).

A picture of a modern feedlot. Cows are huge contributors to global methane emissions.

A picture of a modern feedlot. Cows are huge contributors to global methane emissions.

There are three levels at which we can decrease global warming: the government at the national level, private companies at the corporate level, and individuals at the individual level. Tackling the problem of climate change doesn’t just take one organisation; it takes every individual person to get involved in helping our planet.  At the individual level, we can help our planet by leading a greener life style (How to Fight Global Warming). This includes using green technology in your home, biking or walking instead of driving, saving water and electricity, and eating less meat (Eat Less Meat). Examples of green technology in your home are things such as using heat insulation in your walls so you don’t need heaters, and having lots of windows so the house is cooler. Biking or walking instead of driving is a good way to help decrease the amount of pollutants going into the atmosphere. If biking or walking is not possible, hybrid cars are gaining popularity and save a lot of fossil fuel (How to Fight Global Warming). Not only do you use less fuel if you walk or bike, but you also get exercise (Environmental Benefits). Saving water and electricity is also a good way of helping the planet. The lack of water in many parts of the world is a problem, because it causes droughts and decertification. Saving water is necessary to decrease the rate at which these things are happening. An example of a drought happening is the California drought. People in richer countries are so used to using so much water that it’s hard to have a lack of it. Food production is responsible for two thirds of the global water footprint (The Water Footprint of Food). The main reason for this is the huge amounts used in meat production. We feed water to animals we eat later on so that uses a lot of water compared to if we just eat vegetables. Also, if we eat less meat, we would raise less livestock which would decrease the amount of green house gases those animals emit (Eat Less Meat).

At the corporate level, companies around the world can also invest in green technology and lower their carbon footprint. Big companies now have started to develop, as well as implement, green technology and renewable energy (Why Big Tech Companies Are Investing in Renewable Energy). One example is Google which is right now investing in green technology to increase the efficiency of their company while also using renewable energy at the same time (Google Green). Factories and companies can also implement green tech such as solar cells or the use of wind energy. Not only are these efficient but they also do not release any carbon dioxide (Clean Energy).

Perhaps the most powerful way to decrease the speed of climate change are laws, regulations, and investment by the government. There are four countries in the world that are investing heavily in green energy and technology; they are Germany, Denmark, China, and Brazil (Mayer). Today, I will take Germany as an example.

Germany is known for its beer, castles, and sausages, but it is also known for something entirely different — being green and eco friendly. The German Energiewende or energy transition is Germany’s transition from using traditional fossil fuel or nuclear power plants to renewable energy producing plants such as solar, wind, water, thermal, or ocean currents (Energiewende). The Energiewende was first thought of in the 1970s and 80s when people first started doubting if nuclear energy was good for the planet and people’s health. The plan was then implemented when the nuclear explosion happened in Chernobyl (Energiewende). The German public quickly realised that nuclear energy was not a long term solution for energy and that it would definitely not be beneficial to the earth (Navigation und Service). However, the public started to doubt the energy transition when they started noticing an increasing trend in the use of coal power and also nuclear power plants (Wilson). In 2011, Germany and the world once again awoke to the dangers of nuclear power when the nuclear plant in Fukushima exploded (Bowen). The key policy document was then passed setting the goals of replacing most of the fossil fuel energy and nuclear energy with renewable energy. The energy transition is predicting that by the year of 2020, Germany will only have forty three percent of its energy coming from fossil fuel and fifty seven percent of its energy coming from renewable (Germany’s Plan to Phase Out Nuclear Jeopardizes Emission Goals).

Feldheim. a small village in Germany that showed the world how we can depend entirely on renewable energy.

Feldheim. a small village in Germany that showed the world how we can depend entirely on renewable energy.

We can already see Germany’s plan in action by looking at some of its real life examples. The village of Feldheim, located near Berlin, may seem like a very normal village from the outside. Beneath its surface however lies its secret, the entire village is supplied entirely by renewable energy (Bowen). It started in 1995 when an engineer student proposed a plan to erect two wind turbines on the flat and windy terrain. It then slowly expanded to what is now a giant wind farm of forty seven wind turbines. Since the village also built its own electrical grid, the entire village has become entirely self sufficient on energy (Bowen). Energy prices have also dropped by about a third of the original. This village has gained international attention and serves as a role model for many countries. Japanese people especially take interest in this after what happened after the Fukushima explosion (Bowen). Lyn Hovey and Australian sustainability activist says that “Climate change is something this generation has got to solve, and in Australia we cannot rely on government, it’s up to the people. And so you’ve got to go and learn from where it’s happened before.”(Bowen).

In the United Nations Climate Change Summit president Obama begins his speech with “That so many of us are here today is a recognition that the threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing. Our generation’s response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it – boldly, swiftly, and together – we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe (The White House).” And yes indeed, if we do not face climate change immediately our planet will face great dangers. Evidence of our planet deteriorating is piling up; we can no longer waste time because these matters affect everyone. It is in our best interests to make our planet healthy for our future generations. The most effective way to solve this problem is not to do it alone but as a community. Just as the people of Feldheim, Germany taught us, it is necessary to work together. The earth depends on us and we need to save it.

Works Cited

“Analysis: Germany’s Plan to Phase Out Nuclear Jeopardizes Emissions Goals.” The

Breakthrough Institute -. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/analysis_germanys_plan_to_phas>.

Bowen, Andrew. “Feldheim: Germany’s Renewable Village | Environment | DW.DE |

28.05.2015.” DW.DE. Deutsche Welle, 28 May 2015. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://www.dw.de/feldheim-germanys-renewable-village/a-18466800>.

“Clean Energy – Green Technology” Clean Energy. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://www.truthcontest.com/insights/clean-energy-green-technology/>.

Conrad, Naomi. “Pondering Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ | Germany | DW.DE | 11.05.2015.”

DW.DE. Deutsche Welle, 11 May 2015. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://www.dw.de/pondering-germanys-energiewende/a-18443995>.

Diehn, Sonya Angelica. “Germany: Leader in a Global Energy Transition? | Environment |

DW.DE | 12.05.2015.” DW.DE. Deutsche Welle. Web. 1 June 2015. <http://www.dw.de/germany-leader-in-a-global-energy-transition/a-18444592>.

“Eat Less Meat Can Save the Environment, Panel Advises.” Nature World News. 20

Feb. 2015. Web. 1 June 2015. <http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/12868/ 20150220/eat-less-meat-to-save-the-environment-panel-advises.htm>.

“Energiewende: Germany’s Energy Transition.” Daily Kos. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/04/02/1375019/-Energiewende-Germany-s-Ene rgy-Transition>.

“Environmental Benefits.” Bay Area. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://www.youcanbikethere.com/content/environmental-benefits-0>.

“Germany: Energiewende Kaput?” Energy Matters. 19 May 2014. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://euanmearns.com/germany-energiewende-kaput/>.

“Global Climate Change.” Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet. NASA. Web. 31 May

  1.  <http://climate.nasa.gov>.

“Global Warming Effects on Health.” Union of Concerned Scientists. Web. 31 May 2015.

<http://go.delicious.com/?id=63408X1518852&xs=1&url=http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-effects/health.html&sref=https://delicious.com/katganz>.

“Google Green.” Google. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://www.google.com/green/>.

“How to Fight Global Warming.” Natural Resource Defense Counsil. NRDC, 25 Sept. 2014.

Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/gsteps.asp>.

Mayer, Andre. “Climate Change: 4 Countries That Are Fighting the Trend – Technology &

Science – CBC News.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 2 Apr. 2014. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/climate-change-4-countries-that-are -fighting -the  -trend-1.2593219>.

“Navigation Und Service.” Bundesregierung. Bundesregierung Deutschland. Web. 1 June

  1. <http://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/Breg/DE/Themen/Energiewende/_node.html>.

Pearce, Fred. “Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat.” Yale

Environment 360. 13 Apr. 2009. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://e360.yale.edu/feature/ consumption_dwarfs_population_as_main_environmental_threat/2140/>.

“Remarks by the President at UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Climate Change

Summit.” The White House. The White House. Web. 1 June 2015. <https://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-at-UN-Secretary-General-Ban-Ki-moons-Climate-Change-Summit/>.

Smith, Samantha. “Climate Change.” World Wildlife Fund. Web. 31 May 2015.

<http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/>.

“Species Threatened by Climate Change.” World Wildlife Fund. Web. 31 May 2015.

<http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/problems/impacts/species/>.

“The Water Footprint of Food.” GRACE Communications Foundation. Web. 1 June 2015.

<http://www.gracelinks.org/1361/the-water-footprint-of-food>.

“What Is the Average Global Temperature Now?” University Corporation for

Atmospheric Research. UCAR. Web. 31 May 2015. <https://www2.ucar.edu/ news/what-average-global-temperature-now>.

“Why Big Tech Companies Are Investing In Renewable Energy.” Forbes Magazine,

10 July 2014. Web. 1 June 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/emc/2014/07/10/ why-big-tech-companies-are-investing-in-renewable-energy/>.

Wilson, Robert. “Why Germany’s Nuclear Phase Out Is Leading to More Coal Burning.” The

Energy Collective. Web. 12 June 2015. <http://theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/328841/why-germanys-nuclear-phase-out-leading-more-coal-burning>.

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The Galactic City Model

The galactic city model, also known as the peripheral model, was created in the 1960s by Chauncy Harris who also co-authored the multiple nuclei model. Based on the city of Detroit, Michigan, the galactic city model shows a city that’s been taken over by a car based living and has been affected by urban sprawl. It has a rapidly growing suburb, and an increasing number of edge cities. A city that is based on this model is very decentralized, this is again due to urban sprawl.

A view of the Galactic City Model.

A view of the Galactic City Model made with Google Sketchup.

In the center of the model is the CBD or central business district, it is where commercial businesses and companies locate. However, in this model, the CBD is very decentralized and empty due to the urban to suburban migration. Entertainment businesses and other services have moved out into the suburbs along with the urban to suburban migration too. These businesses concentrate in edge cities which are located at highway junctions. Large shopping centers are also located outside the CBD, usually they are spread out in the suburbs where the people are. Low income residents of the suburbs live near the industrial districts which are also near the highways. Then, located at highway junctions are also the office parks where the middle class citizens work. Office parks are located here because it is easier to get there by car and closer to the suburbs; not many people drive into the CBD everyday to work. Finally, there are the combined employment and shopping centers, this is where both offices and shopping malls are located.

A clearer view of the model from above. Yellow: CBD/ Red: Mall/ Green: combined  employment and shopping centre/ Grey: industrial/ Blue: service centre/ Purple: airport/ white: office park

A clearer view of the model from above. Yellow: CBD/ Red: Mall/ Green: combined employment and shopping centre/ Grey: industrial/ Blue: service centre/ Purple: airport/ white: office park

Here is the link to the galactic city model: The Galactic City Model

Scale of Analysis Applied to Germany

Scale of analysis is the scale in which you analyze a specific region or factor. The scale of analysis can greatly affect the way you view a certain place. You can use the scale of analysis to study a place at the global scale, regional scale, national scale, and even at a city or local scale. When the scale of analysis is applied to analyzing a country, your image of that country can change depending on how big or small your scale is. In this blog post, I will apply the scale of analysis to Germany and analyze its GDP per capita and its religions. It will show what a dramatic difference a scale of analysis can make. When using the scale of analysis on the GDP per capita of Germany and Europe, I looked at three different scales: Europe as a world region, eastern and western Europe as “sub” regions, and finally Germany on a national scale as an individual country.

When we think of Europe, most of the time we picture a family with a high income living in a single house with a big garden. But, there are huge disparities of GDP per capita between countries. When I averaged the GDP per capitas of all European countries, the GDP per capita was 31,006.5553 euros (33393.75 usd). When I compared the average GDP per capita of Europe to that of Sub Saharan Africa for example, is much higher.

A chloropleth map showing GDP per capita in major world regions.

A chloropleth map showing GDP per capita in major world regions.

After looking at the global level, I looked at the GDP per capita of both western and eastern Europe. After averaging the GDP per capita of the western european countries, the average GDP per capita was 25,287.6704 euros (27,234.56818 usd). Eastern Europe on the other hand is significantly poorer with an average GDP per capita of 10,940.4754 euros (11,782.78261 usd). [eastern europe may be rich compared to Sub Saharan Africa but compared to western europe it is poor.] This shows how even though many of us have the image of Europe having a generally high income, it still depends on in which parts of Europe you live in.

This is another chloropleth map showing the GDP per capitas of Europe. Note that western Europe has darker shades of green indicating higher GDP per capita.

This is another chloropleth map showing the GDP per capitas of Europe. Note that western Europe has darker shades of green indicating higher GDP per capita.

Analyzing at an even closer scale is the national scale; the country scale. Germany as a country has a GDP per capita of 43,038.4683 euros (46,352 usd). From this, we can see that Germany being one of the richest countries in Western Europe has a higher GDP per capita than the average GDP per capita of Western Europe. When you look at Portugal on the other hand, it’s GDP per capita is much lower at 21 812.0499 euros (23,930 usd). In conclusion, yes, a country may be in an overall rich region but it doesn’t mean that its GDP per capita is close to the average GDP per capita of the entire region. In this case, it’s Portugal.

This is the map showing GDP per capita of the German states. (state/city level)

This is the map showing GDP per capita of the German states. (state/city level)

Germany is divided into 16 federal states called bundeslaender. At the state scale, there are also differences in GDP per capita. In the above map of Germany’s states and their GDP per capitas, you can see that the poorest states are the ones in the north-east. Those states with GDP per capita of 20,000 to 24,000 usd are Thuringia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Why? Well, these states are part of the land that was under Soviet occupation during WWII. The Soviet’s iron curtain, prevented free trade with the rest of Germany and the world. Their low GDP per capitas show a relic boundary that can be clearly seen today.

These states are also part of Germany’s own “rust belt” region. Which means they used to be industrial regions but the factories shut down and relocated. The Soviet’s strict communist rule has scarred that region and prevented it from developing a service sector. Naturally, this region is poorer. In stark contrast are the northwestern and southern states of Germany. They clearly have a higher GDP per capita than northeastern Germany. These are the states that were free of Soviet communist influence. They industrialized, deindustrialized, and successfully moved into the service sector, gradually extending into the tertiary, quaternary, and even the quinary sector. These high sectors are characterized by high education and high paying jobs. One example would be Hamburg. The map shows that Hamburg as a city-state has one of the highest GDP per capitas than the rest of Germany. After WWII, Hamburg rapidly developed into a center of commerce and banking. Another factor is its strategic location as a major port.

Another factor you can compare using the scale of analysis is culture. I will apply the scale of analysis to religion this time, and will again have three scales: global, national, and state/city level. When we look at the map above of major religions of the world, all of Europe is purple-meaning it is dominantly Christian.

This map shows the dominant religions of the world, note that Europe as a whole is mainly purple. Also note that Germany has Muslims in the Berlin region.

This map shows the dominant religions of the world, note that Europe as a whole is mainly purple. Also note that Germany has Muslims in the Berlin region.

This will make us think that Germany is all Christian. Now as we look at the national scale, aka country scale, we see a clear division between two main branches of Christianity– Protestantism and Catholicism. Historically, we know that Germany is divided between the Northern protestants and the Southern Catholics. At this scale, we will generally believe that Germany is Christian and is divided between Catholics and Protestants. “Zooming in” even closer is the city/state scale. In the German states of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, Brandenburg, Berlin, Saxony Anhalt, Saxony, and Thuringia, there are very large percentages of nonreligious people. That means, yes, maybe the northern states have large amounts of protestants, but there is also a large percentage of that population that is actually non- religious (map below) If we go even further to the city/local scale, Berlin will stand out as a city with a very large minority of Turkish muslims (map above).

A map of the major religious beliefs of Germany. Purple is the population that is dominantly non religious. Pink is the populations that is majority protestantism. The yellow region is for the Catholics.

A map of the major religious beliefs of Germany. Purple is the population that is dominantly non religious. Pink is the populations that is majority Protestantism. The yellow region is for the Catholics.

In conclusion, when we use different scales to look at one specific thing or place, our perception of that place changes dramatically depending on what scale we use to analyse it with. In the case of Europe, we proved by using the scale of analysis that there are huge distinctions between different regions and countries within Europe. Depending on where you are, differences between rich and poor are very clear. A country located in a rich region is not necessarily rich. When we looked at religion, we proved that Germany, a dominantly Christian country, has internal regions and cities that have huge amounts of muslims or even non-religious people.

ISIS: the Dark Cloud that Looms Over Iraq and Syria

A picture showing terrorists waving the ISIS flag.

A picture showing terrorists waving the ISIS flag.

The dark cloud that looms over Iraq and Syria; ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It is a Sunni extremist, jihadist group that terrorizes parts of Syria and Iraq. These extremists use force in the form of brutal violence to control their territory. They are known to slaughter anyone, men, women, and children, who do not follow their beliefs and have even killed news reporters and journalists (“What is Islamic State?”). The specific origins of this terrorist group we do not know, but by analyzing the history of Southwest Asia, the geographic origins of ISIS are due mainly to the Western world. ISIS comes from the Western world’s foolish decisions to invade and then leaving without properly restoring peace in the country and the poorly drawn colonial boundaries former colonial powers left behind.

A map showing the extent of the Ottoman Empire.

A map showing the extent of the Ottoman Empire.

The first foolish decision the Western world did was to divide the Middle East or Southwest Asia into countries irregardless of the diversified ethnicities within the area. In the 1580s, these states were all part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire extended from Southeastern Europe, encompasses the Black Sea, then slowly made it’s way south, in the end it encircles half of the Meditteranian Sea and extends as far as Egypt. During World War I, the British, who were part of the Allied States started to colonize more and more of Southwest Asia. Having already colonized Egypt, the British started to plan how they would conquer the Southwest Asian territory. The Ottoman Empire started to decline towards the end of the world war and fell after. Quickly, the British jumped at the chance and divided up the territories into different colonies. They never thought about the many diverse ethnicities and religions they are splitting. Unintentionally, the British caused an ongoing problem in the area; they divided tribes with the boundaries they drew on the land, and grouped some tribes together within one boundary. This created tension and conflicts when the different ethnicities tried to gain their territory back (“Ottoman Empire”).

A map showing the distribution of Sunni (dark orange), Shia (light orange), and the Kurds (green) in Iraq.

A map showing the distribution of Sunni (dark orange), Shia (light orange), and the Kurds (green) in Iraq.

Because the British drew boundaries that encompass different ethnic groups, there were different nations living in the same territory. Multiple nations within a state can cause a lot of tension. The superimposed boundaries or boundaries drawn by a foreign power through the territories they are colonising are the cause of these tensions. When drawing their boundary lines, the British didn’t care about the delicate situation about different ethnicities. This resulted in including multiple ethnicities in one territory which is the main cause for the various civil wars and terrorist acts in Iraq and Syria. ISIS, which is an Islamic fundamentalist group, profoundly believes in only one religion. In other words, they are prodigiously aware of these differences and will do anything to stop people from following a different belief. ISIS invaded Iraq this year because Iraq is prorated into three ethnic groups: the Sunni in the northwest, the Shia in the south , and the Kurdish people in the northeast. Since ISIS is seeking a “pure” Sunni Islam empire, ISIS is invading Iraq to ethnically cleanse the area and make is a Sunni only state (“How did it come to this?”).

A map showing the extent of ISIS' control.

A map showing the extent of ISIS’ control.

Not only is having multiple nations in one state a cause of ISIS, but the United States invasion of Iraq is also a cause of ISIS. The U.S.’s invasion was a provokation in the face of ISIS. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, their mission was to put an end to the misery Saddam Hussein was impending on his people (Jacobsen, Tor). Well, they had good intentions but they killed many thousands through this process. In fact, over 500,000 people were killed during the invasion (“Iraq Body Count”). The U.S. not only failed to restore peace in Iraq, but made situations even worse after they left. Most of the country was in rubble and the country lacked basic services. The U.S.’s failed mission to restore peace in Iraq only provoked ISIS to become more determined to work towards their goal of an Islamic state. They didn’t want anymore foreign culture or people coming into their holy land (Kedhery, Ali).

In conclusion, ISIS’s origin is mainly caused by Western interventions in conflicts in Southwest Asia. First, the colonial boundaries drawn by Britain, the former colonial power of the Middle East, caused tension amongst ethnic groups. Then, Western involvement in trying to gain peace in the Middle East was unseccessful, because it provoked ISIS to use more violent methods to show that they do not want any influence from other countries. ISIS is indeed like a dark cloud that looms over the Middle East. It crawls over the land causing storms and killing innnocent people mercilessly.

 

 

Works Cited

“What Is Islamic State?” BBC News- Middle East. 26 Sept. 2014. Web. 25 Dec. 2014.

<http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29052144>.

“Iraq: How Did It Come to This?” The Economist 27 June 2014 Web. 25 Dec. 2014.

<http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21604627-crisis-iraq-has-roots

-going-far-back-history-recently-folly>.

“Ottoman Empire.” BBC Religions. BBC, 4 Sept. 2009. Web. 25 Dec. 2014.

<http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/ottomanempire_1.shtml>.

Khedery, Ali. “How ISIS Came to Be.” The Guardian. The Observer, 22 Aug. 2014. Web. 25

Dec. 2014.

<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/22/syria-iraq-incubators-isis-jihad>.

Iraq Body Count. Iraq Body Count Organization, 2014. Web. 25 Dec. 2014

<https://www.iraqbodycount.org>

Jacobsen, Tor. “Why Did the United States Invade Iraq in 2003?” Popular Social Science.

12 Oct. 2012. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.

<http://www.popularsocialscience.com/2012/10/25/why-did-the-united-states-invade-iraq-in-2003-2/>.

How Globalized is Germany?

Globalization is the process in which goods, ideas, and beliefs are spread across the world with the aid of modern communication and transportation technologies, it stimulates economic growth and increases the interdependency between nations. Things that contribute to the rise of globalization are factors such as increase in trade which means two or more countries are connected. Travel also causes globalization, if people move around the world, ideas and people are spread. Now, it is much cheaper and easier than former times to travel. Distance decay is effected because the relative distance is decreased.

angela merkel, chinese relations

Chinese Primies Li Keqiang and Angela Merkel meet in Berlin to discuss trade.

 

Globalization can be measured and each country has it’s own ranking of how globalized it is. Germany ranks 26th on the KOF Globalization Index and has a globalization index of 79.47. 26th is very high compared to the rest of the world. It isn’t the highest though; other countries that are near or next to it have even higher rankings. For example: Poland (25th), Italy (22nd), France (21st), Luxembourg (15th), or Belgium (2nd). Despite being the biggest economy in the European Union and the 4th in the whole world, Germany does not lead the way in being most globalized.

There are various factors that cause this. According to DB research, only one fifth of Germany’s population welcomes globalization. The rest look at Globalization critically and don’t welcome it. This is probably because after WWII the people who benefited from globalization (economic wise) are the businesspeople – the poor did not benefit. Large groups in the population are negatively affected through this process. Factory workers for example, demand higher wages compared to other countries. This causes companies to move their factories to other countries where they can get cheap labor.

German soccer fans

German soccer fans proudly waving the German flag.

 

Another reason that Germans probably don’t want to be globalized because ever since WWII they have a hard time feeling proud of their country. People in Germany feel sad and guilty for what happened during that harsh time. “Patriotism” was considered a bad idea to many Germans because they are afraid it’s a step toward “nationalism” and then “Nazism” again. This started to change after their reunification of east and west Germany. President Bush from the United States asked the German Chancellor to join the invasion of Iraq. Chancellor Gerhart Schroeder said no. For the first time, Germans felt that they were independent and separate from the world.

forest protection

A large portion of Germany’s forests are under protection. This is the famous Black Forest in the Baden Württemberg region in southwestern Germany.

The third reason that Germany might not like globalization is because globalization has a drastic effect on the environment. With globalization comes big franchises. Again, Mcdonald’s being the biggest of them all takes up a lot of space. One McDonald’s store might be small, but McDonald’s needs lots of space for their meat, plant, and wheat production. This causes a lot of forests to be cut down for space. Germany is one of the world’s leading countries in forest and environmental protection. People would not be very happy when trees have to be cut down. This makes people not want globalization.

Mcdonald's Germany

A McDonald’s in Dortmund Germany

 

In conclusion, although Germany is one of the world’s leading economies it isn’t as globalized as you would think. It ranks 26th in the KOF Globalization Index; ranking lower than many other European countries. There are many reasons that Germany isn’t highest ranking. One is that not all people benefit from globalization therefore they don’t like it. The second reason is Germany’s new pride in their country. The third reason is environmental and has to do with Germany’s forest and environmental protection.

Germany’s Population Versus Nuclear Power Plants and Energy Consumption

Electricity is very important in our modern world, without it we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of things. Germany is a big country with a population of 80,621,788, meaning that it needs a lot of electrical power plants to supply all the people with electricity. Germany’s electrical power plants use both renewable resources and nonrenewable resources. Renewable resources are resources used to fuel power plants which cannot be exhausted. Some of these include hydroelectric dams, thermal power plants, wind mill farms, and solar energy. Non renewable resources are fuels that can be used up gradually. Examples of nonrenewable resources are things such as patrolium or coal.

Germany's nuclear plants versus energy use

Germany’s nuclear power plant locations and the total electricity consumption.

Germany has many nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy is part of the renewable energy section. Most of the plants are clustered in the south western region of Germany. Six of them are in the north western region and a few are in the north. Little are seen in the eastern side of Germany. This can be explained by where the population is most. The majority of the population is in the southern region and western region. The light green parts have few people, and that is also where the power plants leave a huge gap which can be seen in the map with the nuclear power pants. Because of the high population, as said before, Germany needs a lot of electrical power. The total electricity consumption per capita in Germany is 522- 1772kWh.

Germany population for each region

Germany’s population per region.

In conclusion, electricity is very important. It helps us through our everyday lives and improves it. Of course, the more people a country has, the more power plants it has to build to supply that demand. Nuclear power plants in Germany contribute a lot of electricity along with many other types of electrical plants.

India’s Nuclear Power Plants and Earthquake Hazard Zones

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 18.51.22

By looking at a GIS map of the earthquakes around India, you can see that India is very close to the ring of fire. The ring of fire is an area in the Paciic oceans where there is a constant plate movement. Countries on the ring of fire often experience earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Although India is not on the ring of fire (it’s on it’s own plate), some of it’s nuclear power plants are still in danger of having earthquake damage. Take the example of the 2004 tsunami. It hit India’s entire east coast that was facing Indonesia and Malaysia. Although this 9.0 magnitude earthquake was far away, it still affected India a lot. Entire villages along the coastlines were torn down and swept away; hundreds of thousands of people were killed. There are two nuclear reactors along the east coast, both in tsunami risk zones.

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The power plants on the west coast are not entirely risk free either. There are lots of earthquakes in the Arabian Sea that risk India’s and Pakistan’s coastal regions too. There are three power plants dangerously close to that earthquake region. All these power plants are on the coast but the ones on land are not danger free either. The plate boundary in northern India is a converging boundary meaning that there are earthquakes happenning constantly in that area. The power plants in that area are not safe either.

The Surface Winds of Germany

This post is about the real time wind currents in Germany compared to the generalised maps for wind currents in the whole world.

GERMANY’S WIND CURRENTS

wind currents change

Sometimes, there are slight changes in wind direction.

wind currents in Europe

The animated map of NASA showing part of eastern Europe and the northern Atlantic Ocean.

Germany lies in the prevailing wind zone called the westerlies in the middle latitudes. The westerlies are wind currents that come from the west and blow into the east. On the animated map created by NASA, you can see that there are both winds coming from the east and the west. On the east side of Germany, the wind currents are coming from the Caucasus region and blow upwards through Poland and the Czech Republic into Germany. On the west, winds start from the Mediterranean Sea, go through France then into Germany. Both the eastern winds and the western winds meet up at the northern tip of Germany where they speed up at the northern Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. These winds then pass the United Kingdom and create a swirl not so far away from Iceland.

world wind currents generalised

This is a generalised wind current pattern map of the whole world.

In the animated wind current map, Europe’s wind currents are clearly coming from the west and blowing upwards in the eastern direction. What we don’t see on a generalised map is that some wind currents are also blowing east to west creating big wind swirls indicating storms our on the Atlantic Ocean.

Another difference between the animated map and the generalised map is that the generalised maps can only show specific patterns while when you look at an animated map, you can see changes occur in the wind pattern.

Germany’s Biomes and Anthromes

germany's predominant biomes

light green- temperate broadleaf forest biome dark green- montane forest biome

Germany’s predominant biome is the temperate broadleaf forest biome(light green parts), also known as the deciduous forest biome. The deciduous forest biome is consisted of five different zones,  the stratum tree zone, the small tree and sapling zone, the shrub zone, the herb zone, and the ground zone. The stratum zone is made up of big trees such as oak, beech, or maple trees. the small tree and sapling zone has younger and shorter trees. The shrub zone is made up of shrubs, hence its name. The herb zone is the fourth zone and is made up small herbal plants. The ground zone is the last zone, it is made up of fungi and different types of mosses.

The less dominant biome in Germany is the montane forest biome(dark green parts). It is found mainly in the south to southwestern regions of Germany. The montane forest biome is consisted of dense forests at moderate elevations and grasslands in higher altitudes.

urban anthrome

urban anthrome

Germany’s predominant anthromes are urban, dense settlement, residential rainfed mosaic croplands, and populated irrigated cropland. The urban anthromes are situated at big cities such as Berlin, Leipzig, and Frankfurt. Due to laws and regulations, only very few cities can have skyscrapers and tall buildings.

dense settlement

dense settlement anthrome.

The more suburban parts of Germany like Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Munich, Duesseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, and most cities in Germany are dense settlements. These cities do not have any tall buildings (only a few exceptions) and have single house settlements.

residential mosaic cropland anthrome

residential mosaic cropland anthrome

The residential mosaic croplands are located in eastern Germany, north of Berlin, parts of Bavaria, areas near the Baltic Sea, and around Munich. In simpler terms, residential mosaic croplands are mostly situated outside of big cities.

populated irrigated cropland anthrome

populated irrigated cropland anthrome

The populated irrigated cropland are in central Germany; east of Stuttgart and Karlsruhe and in the northwestern parts of Bavaria.

THE ANTHROPOGENIC CHANGES IN GERMANY 1700-2000

legend

the anthropogenic biome map legend

germany 1700

Germany’s anthromes 1700

I can see that between 1700 and 2000 there is a significant change in the land use. In 1700, most of the lands were rangelands.

germany 1800

Germany’s anthromes in 1800

Slowly, in 1800, the land in certain areas started to become more populated resulting in more rainfed villages but with the rangelands still being the most dominant type of anthrome.

germany 1900

Germany’s anthromes 1900

In the 1900s, a significant change can be seen. More of the land is transformed into rainfed villages and even some urban areas started emerging. It is also during this time period that residential rainfed croplands started emerging in between rangelands.

germany 2000

Germany’s anthromes 2000

The biggest change occurred in the 2000s where the most dominant anthrome is the residential rainfed cropland which replaced most to all of the rangeland. You can also identify the big urban cities clearly. Berlin being the one in the east, followed by Hamburg, Stuttgart, Cologne, and Munich.

The difference between anthromes and biomes is that biomes is the peaceful world without any human interaction. It shows just the vegetation of the planet without the unnatural human elements like cities or roads. An anthrome is basically a biome map plus human environmental interaction. It shows how humans have changed the biomes over time to fit their needs.