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UNIT I: Intro to Geography. Cultural Ecology. Aristotle.

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Unit i intro to geography

UNIT I:Intro to Geography

Cultural Ecology


“The well-known contrast between the energetic people of the most progressive parts of the temperate zone and the inert inhabitants of the tropics and even of intermediate regions, such as Persia [modern day Iran], is largely due to climate. . . .the people of the cyclonic regions rank so far above those of the other parts of the world that they are natural leaders.”

- What is he saying? Or eluding to?

What geographers thought before environmental determinism

What Geographers thought before: Environmental Determinism

Just from hearing the term, what do you think this suggest?

Environmental determinism
Environmental Determinism

  • Human behavior is controlled [determined] by the physical environment.

  • To Aristotle the most ideal climate was that of Greece.

    • Today: Climates most suited for progress/productiveness in culture, politics or technology is that of:

      • Western Europe

      • USA

    • Why? What’s so great about those climates?

    • Can you think of examples where this does not hold true?

Why does environmental determinism not hold true
Why does Environmental Determinism not hold true?

  • People are the decision makers and the modifiers – not just slaves of environmental forces!

  • People and their cultures shape environments, constantly altering the landscape and effecting environmental systems.


Possibilism Determinism doesn’t hold true?

Just from hearing the term, what do you think that this suggests?

Possibilism Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • Environment merely serves to limit the range of choices available to a culture.

  • Choices that a society makes depends on its members’:

    • Things needed by that society

    • Technology available

  • Today , it is possible to do many things that are at odds with the environment – examples?

Case study in possibilism

Case Study in Possibilism: Determinism doesn’t hold true?

New Orleans, Louisiana

Guesses as to how this city is an example of Possibilism?

City in a bowl
“City in a Bowl” Determinism doesn’t hold true?

Why this locality
Why this locality? Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • Lake Pontchatrain to the North

  • Mississippi to the South

What makes this city unique
What makes this city unique? Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • Originally a Spanish city

  • Ceded to the French in 1763

  • Louisiana Purchase in 1803

  • Haitian Revolution in 1804

Current demographics
Current Demographics Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • As of 2000 – 484,674 people:

    • 67.25% African American

    • 28.05% Caucasian

    • 2.26% Asian

    • 3.06% Latino

When you think of new orleans what do you think of

When you think of Determinism doesn’t hold true?New Orleans what do you think of?

Hurricane katrina 2005

Hurricane Katrina 2005 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

What went wrong?

To see the sufferation sicken me

Them suit no fit me

To wine election they trick we

And they don’t do nuttin’ at all.

~Damian Marley, Welcome to Jam-Rock

Saturday august 27
Saturday, August 27 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • 5 PM: Gov. Blanco & Mayor Nagin warn residents of the storm. Nagin declares a state of emergency, but stops short of calling a mandatory evacuation.

    • WHY?

  • 10 PM: NHC predicts that entire Gulf Coast is in danger.

Sunday august 28
Sunday August 28 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • 1240 AM: Katrina rated Category 4

    • What does that mean?

    • Hurricane PAM

  • 8 AM: Superdome is opened as a shelter of last resort?

    • Why do they have to do this?

      • Poverty rate in NOLA: 23.2% (about twice that of the nation – USA Today)

    • What ended up happening here?

  • 5 PM: First signs of storm  rains on fringe

Monday august 29
Monday, August 29 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • MIDNIGHT: Beachside residents report foot of water in homes.

  • 3 AM: 17th St. Canal begins to breach

    • What does that mean?

    • Army Corps of Engineers

  • 814 AM: Industrial Canal breaches – flooding Lower 9th Ward (6-8 ft. of flooding)

    • Why is this ward important?

  • 645 PM: Coast Guard begins rescues with only 7 helicopters

  • 8PM: Gov. Blanco pleads for help from Pres. Bush

Tuesday august 30
Tuesday, August 30 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • By end of day: 20,000 in Superdome

  • 6 AM: Area surrounding Superdome has 3 ft. of water.

  • 10 AM: Sandbags being used to aid breaches

  • 1053 AM: Nagin declares mandatory evacuation.

  • 407 PM: House Speaker tells Pres Bush:

    “the People of Mississippi are flat on their backs. They are going to need your help.”

Why didn t people leave

Why didn’t people leave? Determinism doesn’t hold true?

Wednesday august 31
Wednesday, August 31 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • 78,000 of NOLA residents are living in shelters

  • Superdome = 26,000

  • 9 AM: Gov. Blanco continues to call Pres.

  • 11 AM: Superdome is closed, people go to Convention Center

  • NOON: Water finally stops rising

  • 3 PM: Pres. Bush meets for only one hour in D.C. to discuss disaster

Thursday september 1
Thursday, September 1 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • 4,000 People stranded on I-10: many are elderly and without Rx.

  • Convention Center = 15-20,000

  • 2 AM: 1st Evacuees to Houston arrive

  • 2 PM: Mayor Nagin delivers ultimatum to rest of the country on CNN

Mayor nagin on cnn
Mayor Nagin on CNN Determinism doesn’t hold true?

“I need reinforcements. I need troops man. I need five hundred buses, man. This is a national disaster. I’ve talked directly with the President. I’ve talked to the head of Homeland Security. I’ve talked to everybody under the sun.”

Friday september 2
Friday, September 2 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • National Guard troops = 19,500; 6500 in NOLA

  • 455 AM: Gould CNN correspondent calls it a “genocide” and says: “Okay, so we got to sit by and watch 4 or 5 more elderly sick people die or some—another baby die, or whatever, while they’re making up their minds to come in.”

  • 230 PM: Pres. Bush makes it to NOLA

Saturday september 3
Saturday, September 3 Determinism doesn’t hold true?

  • Katrina has impacted 90,000 sq. mi. – size of Great Britain

  • 215 AM: Evacuation of Superdome almost complete

  • NOON: Buses arrive to Convention Center

  • 547 PM : Superdome is empty.

FEMA? Determinism doesn’t hold true?

What is it or what was it supposed to do?

Ethel freeman
Ethel Freeman Determinism doesn’t hold true?

Paper assignment

Paper Assignment Determinism doesn’t hold true?

Although Possibilism allows for humans to virtually build anything anywhere, is it really worthwhile for the city of New Orleans to rebuild the levees/city after the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina – why or why not?

Lil wayne hollygrove nola
Lil Wayne & Determinism doesn’t hold true?Hollygrove, NOLA

Interview with tony zumbado cnn correspondent
Interview with Tony Zumbado – Determinism doesn’t hold true?CNN correspondent