Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lab 1: Disease and Exploitation Around the World

Figure 1. Malaria Regions around the World

I am primarily interested in Africa because I was born in Durban, South Africa. I chose this map on malaria because it was extremely hot yesterday (113 degrees Fahrenheit), and the topic of mosquitoes came up with a group of my friends. I was interested in finding a map that made it simple to see what areas of the world were currently affected by malaria. As one can see, this still is an important issue in many parts of the world. This map and information comes from Fred R. Opperdoes, who teaches a course on Parasitology at the UCL in Brussels, Belgium. According to Opperdoes, about 90 percent of African countries are affected by malaria. If one were to imagine the United States in this situation, the environment and living conditions would be much different then what they are today. In this map, the continents that are depicted in red are countries that are classified as malaria regions. As the map depicts, areas like the North America, Europe, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, and parts of Asia are free from malaria.

Figure 2. Starbucks Exploitation

I was always interested in the Starbucks chain. This corporation comes into an area and then drive out most coffee shops and exploits tea farmers in foreign countries. After taking Geography 135 with Professor Carney, I have seen the impact of coffee exploitation in African countries such as Ethiopia. This image was taken from the site coffee chat. It depicts Starbucks and McDonald's and their presence in the world. I will not talk about McDonald's because it was already mentioned in class. The image shows Starbucks getting most of their coffee from second or third world countries such as, Latin America, Africa, and the Philippines. They get their paper sources from Canada and northern Europe. The largest continents that consume Starbucks coffee are North America and Asia. I searched for this type of map because when someone thinks about coffee, Starbucks is one of the biggest names that come to mind. Coffee patrons need to be more aware of the type of corporation they are supporting when buying coffee. There are alternatives called fair trade coffee, which tries to give back a portion to the farmers directly.

Figure 3. Global View of HIV

This map was taken from knol website on the spread of AIDS. It labels the world with different shades of yellow, orange, and red showing how much of the population is affected with HIV. Since I have participated in UCLA's Dance Marathon each year, I was curious to see the areas of the world that are at high risk of the disease. According to knowl, Sub Saharan Africa is the most affected region, which is about five percent compared with .8% with the rest of the world. Africa is a continent of conflict. There are wars fought over resources and diseases such as malaria that are already plaguing the continent. Spreading awareness of contraceptives and increasing education will allow countries, especially in Sub Saharan Africa to be able to bring that percentage down in the upcoming years. Ultimately, it is the responsibility for leaders of these countries to be the voice of their people.