Why is it important that geography stresses the connections between these different subject areas and what are some examples?
1) The diversity of Canada's natural landscapes
2) Natural resources and the challenge of sustainability
3) Canadian industries (location, impact and opportunity)
4) People, places and patterns
5) Canada and the world
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Many educational models are increasing their focus on organizational and interactive relationships, partly out of the increasingly interactive forces at work in the world, and, I think, partially to justify the importance of some of the less-applicable disciplines to the average person. For example, it is rarely important for the average person, in the course of an average day, to be able to identify Canada on a map; however it may be vital for them to understand the relevance of Canada's geography to her economy.
Stressing connections between different subjects draws attention to cause-and-effect and other forms of sequential relationships. This is especially important in the modern world because so many of these relationships are relatively invisible to us; so many commodities are provided for direct purchase without any part of their supply chain being visible. This can lead to a false impression of the ease with which our lifestyles can be accommodated, and a false sense of blame when these relationships break down. We should also be drawing attention to the fact that first-world countries currently enjoy a high standard of living at least in part due to, rather than in spite of, third-world exploitations. We also need to consider the non-human relationships at stake, such as the complex cycles involved in the Earth and the generation of natural resources.
Geography in particular should be stressing interactive relationships because so many things are determined by geography, such as the suitability of a region for agriculture. We should also remember that in most parts of the world, the vast majority of the population is concentrated in very small geographic regions, leading to disproportionate impacts on those areas as well as the less-inhabited ones; for example, it takes a considerable amount of land to feed all those people, even if they don't live anywhere near it.
There are many relationships between landscape diversity, natural resources, and industry. For example, different regions of Canada are suitable for different types of industry, based on their natural resources, which are derived from landscape diversity. Hudson Bay and Vancouver are both port regions, but the Hudson is positioned in an unfavorable area and freezes over in the winter, rendering it less geographically accommodating. We might also consider looking at drainage basins for lakes and and streams, and considering how one's relationship to the upstream or downstream flows impacts the water quality.
An example of the relationship between people and natural resources is the question of whether to grant exclusive hunting, property or resource rights to native tribes in their historical lands. Another might be the extent to which new construction is allowed to displace wild habitats. Another might be the trade relationship with the United States, which receives the majority of Canada's exports; how will geographical changes in both countries impact their trade relationships?
All of these relationships merit further investigation in order to fully understand them, but the point of stressing connections via geography is often simply to point out that the connection exists.
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