What does Friedman's work teach about geography in Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most interesting elements out of Friedman's work is its recasting of geography.  The idea of geography used to encompass vast distances of worlds that are not known.  There was a sense of the separate that encompassed geographic study.  "X was here" and "We are there."  However, Friedman recasts this in a variety of ways.  Initially, because of the vast progression of information technology and the massive proliferation of technological contact between people, there is a growing interconnectedness between people and nations.  Geography is being seen as a more "closely" defined realm, whereby distance is not the focal point, but rather the togetherness that is shared.  Geographic distances are now only seen as a source of amazement as to how our world is actually smaller.  Borders are only made to be overcome.  At the same time, geography has changed in emphasizing the interdependence that is present.  In emphasizing how connected all individuals really are, Friedman makes the point that geography has to focus on how destruction of resources in one area of the overcrowded world impacts others nearby.  In this recasting of geography, closeness over distance is emphasized.