Movie review: “Home”

October 17, 2009 at 1:50 am | Posted in Environment, Health, Movies, Problems, Wheater | Leave a comment
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“The average temperature of the last 15 years has been the highest since records began”

“The ice cap has lost 40% of its thickness in 40 years”

“There could be 200 million climate refuges by 2050”

“20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the planet resources”

Should we be surprised by those sentences? Not really, actually… I think they have been outhere outside to be also inside, there in our mind. Even if we forget them the most of the time. But thanks to movies – better let’s say like this as the word “documentary” seems to scare people – like “Home”, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the evidence can no longer be hidden.

An aerial camera takes us to the most breathtaking places all over the world. In a combination of beauty and horror, we see everything, from the most amazing landscape to the most destructed one, cleverly remembering us that it is up to us to chose the one we would like to live in. Meanwhile, the movie explains to us, since the beginning of life in the Earth why we have arrived to the current situation.

The movie spends some time explaining the situation for the Arctic environment, some of the more affected by the global warming and, at the same time, one of the most important one for the Earth’s future. The ice on the poles, one of the most important reserves of water in the world, is now melting, and the consequences, such as increasing of the sea level or changing of the temperature of the air, are as dangerous as unpredictable in a long term time.

But after the dark side of the movie, it comes the light. As it says, “It’s too late to be a pessimistic, I know that a single human can knock down every wall”. All of us are a single human, and humanity is just all of us. So you and me have in (y)our hands the power to change our way to walk, the path we are tracing and the print we are leaving on the Earth, Home. The decision is up to us, so go and watch the movie, and if after doing that you think you agree with its ideas, move!

Get the movie and find more information in the Official Site.

Mapping light eyes

October 7, 2009 at 12:27 am | Posted in genetics, Maps | Leave a comment
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Thanks again to my friend Xarxes, I saw that curios map about the distribution of light eyed people around the European continent. Blue eyes are so wonderful for dark hazelnut eyed people like me, that the map caught my attention immediatly. See how bad distributed are they? Nordic and Central Europe people got them all, dammit!

By the way, and speaking a bit more seriously, my eyes went straight to the Arctic Circle line, and I noticed the highly diferenct percentatge between Sami land (Lappland) and the other Nordic zones. Interesting, right? The genetical diferences show them here too!

(Seen by my friend in Deixant rastre)

State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2009

July 24, 2009 at 11:18 am | Posted in Education, Organization, Research | Leave a comment
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A new report on minorities has just appeared. It has been published by the Minority Rights Group in collaboration with Unicef, and it’s called State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2009.

In addition to the report, you can also download some special articles, some of them only available on-line. Enjoy!

Antarctic Images by Anthony Powell

July 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Posted in antarctica, Photography, Wheater | Leave a comment
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If you are reading this just right now, there is the chance that you have asked yourself, at some point, how would it be leaving in the North or South Pole. Since my friends know that, today Xarxes sent me this very cool site created and mantained by Anthony Powell. Anthony has been working as seasonal contract worker since 1998 as a Satellite Communications Tech. Just for personal pleasure, h’es been doing photography and time-lapse photography, figuring out systems that work in the extreme cold that will last over long periods of time. And this personal effort received finally recognition since he received the NSF Artists and Writers Grant to work on time-lapse footage full time.

Next year a comprehensive film of a time-lapse “Year on Ice”, edited thanks to this grant, will be released. You can start taking a look at this project through his site Antarctic Images, where you can find images or videos like this one, not to miss!

The photo gallery with pictures from the Northern Lights kept me speechless for a while. The world must beat differently there. And if you are half as curious as I am, I’ll be probably interested on his Youtube Channel or his blog Frozen South.  Thanks to Internet, no limits to satisfy your curiosity on what’s up in Antarctica 😉

Culture Clash: Fast Food and Indigenous People

July 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Health, North Pole, Traditions | Leave a comment
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I find this interesting audio recording through Indigenous People Issues. I was quite surprised not only because of the subject, fast food, but specially for the format. Audio recordings is still not a widely extended way of communication on the Internet for formal issues, though its pedagogical skills made it a very good tool for spreading knowledge in an easy way. A podcast or something like this would be great to have.

Culture Clash: Fast Food and Indigenous People (Audio Piece) from Sharon Shattuck on Vimeo.

Sorry for the lack of preview or embedded video, it’s just Wordpres that’s not friends with Vimeo…

The subject of fast food and its impacts really interested me, as I’m, or I try to be a conscious consumer concerning food and some other stuff, beacause of the ecological and social impacts and also for the health. Off-trend iniciatives around indigenous communities seem a very good iniciative, as the impact is (even) worse in some of them.

Polar People

June 25, 2009 at 8:11 am | Posted in arctic, Demographics, Maps, Research | 2 Comments
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The North and the circumpolar regions, above 60Âș latitude, are considered to be one of the less populated areas of the world. This map shows the last numbers on that, distributed by country and organized by percentatge. This is published in Arctic Pollution Issues. A State of the Arctic Environment Report. Stefansson Arctic Institute, 2004. Arctic Human Development Report, and the map was created by Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal.

UNESCO Conference: Confronting Climate Change in the Arctic

March 26, 2009 at 11:34 pm | Posted in arctic, Environment, North Pole, Problems, Wheater | Leave a comment

Recently, a conference about climate change in the Artic was held in Monaco, organized by Unesco. Here you can see the press new:

Confronting Climate Change in the Arctic

The Principality of Monaco hosted and supported a four-day meeting in early March, which was organized by UNESCO to address the concerns of the Arctic community and identify strategies for the sustainable development of the region. Experts in the social and natural sciences, ethics, education, and international affairs sought the local expertise of indigenous peoples in drafting a set of recommendations for follow-up action. The discussions engendered an integrated approach toward facing challenges in the Arctic.

“For the first time as an Alaskan Inuit I feel great hope because my words were taken seriously and weight was put on them,” said Mayor Edward Itta of the North Slope Borough in Alaska and president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). Instead of telling Itta how the Inuit population will need to change their way of life to adapt to the changes occurring around them, as he said was typical of other meetings he had attended over the past 15 years, the experts at this meeting made a pointed effort to draw on indigenous expertise and acknowledge the value of maintaining traditional cultures. “This is the first time in many, many meetings similar to this that I actually felt useful to my people,” Itta said.

The 42 participants of the meeting concluded that a key challenge to achieving sustainable development in the Arctic will be in coordinating the interdisciplinary and international effort necessary to confront the changes that an ice-free “blue” Arctic Ocean will bring to the northern ecosystem, the culture and livelihoods of indigenous peoples, and economic activities in general.

“The Arctic and its population engaged in traditional activities should not be viewed as a system of early warning but as a system of early rescue,” added Larissa Abryutina, vice-president of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON). There are 200,000 indigenous people living in Russia—80,000 of whom are living in the Arctic, she explained.

The group concluded that the challenges of maintaining and enhancing the prosperity and cultural well-being of the people of the Arctic are often complicated by drivers of change which have non-Arctic origins. In addition, scientific, developmental, and conservation efforts are often driven by interests outside the Arctic.

“Nonetheless,” the group reported, “Arctic governments and Arctic residents welcome the growing global interest in this important region. Efforts to advance Arctic knowledge through scientific, traditional, and local means will be critically important to formulating responses to major challenges such as climate change. As work advances on all fronts, it will be important to acknowledge the people of the Arctic and their institutions as actors with valid interests and not simply treat the Arctic as a project to be acted upon.”

“Action formulated to address Arctic issues must begin from an understanding that many of the peoples of the Arctic have self-governing institutions. These peoples and their institutions have immense creativity and seek to advance the self-determination, prosperity and aspirations of their communities and their regions,” they added.

[…]

The recommendations include establishing “a working/advisory group to develop dialogue and strategy on the challenges of climate change for circumpolar indigenous peoples, including safeguarding intangible heritage and building synergies between indigenous and scientific knowledge.” Other objectives range from promoting employment opportunities through the conservation of traditional forms of activities for circumpolar indigenous peoples, to improving the access researchers have to exclusive economic zones in the Arctic.

The recommendations were the result of a consensus among the participants. Included at the meeting were indigenous peoples working with the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON), the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), and the Saami Parliament. Also attending were representatives of the Arctic Council, UNEP and UNESCO.

With participation not only from all Arctic States (Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States) but also elsewhere in Europe, and from as far away as New Zealand, South Africa, and Japan—the meeting provided testimony that what happens in the Arctic is of interest on a global scale.

[…]

You can read the whole article here.

The bad part about this is that politicians maybe listened to indigenous people, but they are not gonna change anything. Time will tell…

SSILA: studying the indigenous languages of the Americas

January 24, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Alaska, Language, Organization | Leave a comment

A arrived to this site via Talking Alaska. They were announcing the SSILA 2009 Annual Meeting, with the following topics:

  • Acoustic correlates of stress in the Inland dialect of Dena’ina Athabascan (Siri Tuttle, University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
  • The phonetics of tone in two dialects of Dane-zaa (Julia Colleen Miller, University of Washington)
  • A H+L% boundary tone in Athabaskan (Sharon Hargus, University of Washington)
  • Landscape and landscape at the intersection of Athabascan and Eskimo (Gary Holton, University of Alaska Fairbanks)
  • The morphosyntax of Navajo comparatives and the degree argument (Elizabeth Bogal­Allbritten, Swarthmore)
  • Aspiration as phonation: An acoustic analysis of aspirated affricates in the Dene languages (Joyce McDonough, University of Rochester; Jordan Lachler, Sealaska Heritage Institute; Sally Rice, University of Alberta)
  • Coordination in Pribil of Islands Aleut (Anna Berge, University of Alaska Fairbanks)
  • A contrastive feature account of Inuit ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ /i/ (Richard Compton and B. Elan Dresher, University of Toronto
  • Navajo degree constructions and the decompositional analysis of gradable predicates (Elizabeth Bogal­Allbritten, Swarthmore)

After reading that, I keep looking for more information:

The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA)

The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) was founded in December 1981 as the international scholarly organization representing American Indian linguistics, and was incorporated in 1997. Membership in SSILA is open to all those who are interested in the scientific study of the languages of the native peoples of North, Central and South America. The Society has approximately 900 members, more than a third of them residing outside the United States.

All members receive the SSILA Newsletter, a quarterly publication that contains news, announcements, notices of recent publications, current journal contents, a listing of recent dissertations, and several other regular features. (The Newsletter is sent at the airmail rate to all members residing outside the United States, at no additional charge.) If you would like to purchase previous volumes of the SSILA Newsletter, most are still avaliable for US $3.50 per issue. A “SSILA Bulletin” with late-breaking news, job openings, etc.,is also e-mailed to all members (and to others on request) every two to fourweeks. The “SSILA Bulletin” is archived on this website in pdf format.

Other activities and benefits of the Society include:

  • SSILA holds an annual winter meeting, featuring several topical sessions on various aspects of American Indian linguistics, usually meeting jointly with the Linguistic Society of America. We will next meet in Chicago, Illinois in January, 2008.
  • The Mary R. Haas Book Award is presented annually to an unpublished monograph that the Society judges to be a significant contribution to our knowledge of American indigenous languages. Manuscripts receiving the Haas Award are eligible for publication under the Society’s sponsorship.
  • A Membership Directory is published yearly in February, and includes an index of the language specializations of the Society’s members, as well as postal and e-mail addresses. The Directory is available to members for US $3.50 (or $5.00 Canadian) in addition to basic dues. A searchable web version of the Membership Directory, with postal and e-mail addresses, is kept current. The membership directory is available only to members.
  • Mouton de Gruyter regularly offers substantial discounts to SSILA members on its publications in American Indian linguistics and allied topics.
  • The SSILA Bulletin with late-breaking news, job openings, etc., is posted regularly (at least once a month, and sometimes more frequently) on the Internet. Back issues are archived at the SSILA website.

Do not miss the bulletin, the newsletter and the links pages! And if you find it interesting enough, you may decide to apply as a member here.

Travel time to major cities

January 15, 2009 at 12:57 am | Posted in Maps, North Pole, Research | Leave a comment

This information arrived to me via my friend Xarxes. This map shows how from most of the planet it tajes less than 48 hours to reach a major city. They say that only 10% of the land area is remote – more than 48 hours from a large city, and also that 95% of the people live on just 10% of the land. We see that the territories around the arctic circle, maybe except Scandinavia, are a notable exception. That should be taken into account and respected.

Travel Time to Major Cities

Background

The world is shrinking. Cheap flights, large scale commercial shipping and expanding road networks all mean that we are better connected to everywhere else than ever before. But global travel and international trade and just two of the forces that have reshaped our world. A new map of Travel Time to Major Cities – developed by the European Commission and the World Bank – captures this connectivity and the concentration of economic activity and also highlights that there is little wilderness left. The map shows how accessible some parts of the world have become whilst other regions have remained isolated. Accessibility – whether it is to markets, schools, hospitals or water – is a precondition for the satisfaction of almost any economic need. Furthermore, accessibility is relevant at all levels, from local development to global trade and this map fills an important gap in our understanding of the spatial patterns of economic, physical and social connectivity.

These web pages describe the global map of accessibility, the input GIS data and a description of the underlying model that were developed by Andrew Nelson in the GEM unit in collaboration with the World Bank’s Development Research Group between October 2007 and May 2008.

What these data are and what they are not

Accessibility maps are made for a specific purpose and they cannot be used as a generic dataset to represent “the” accessibility for a given study area. The data described and presented here were used to create an urban/rural population gradient around large cities of 50,000 or more people. The assumptions made in the generation of this accessibility map can be found in the description and data sources links on the left. If these assumptions sound reasonable for your requirements then the data are available for download. If, however, the assumptions do not match your requirements then you can use the information in these pages as well as the software and external links to create your own accessibility model.

Why was this map made?

This map was made for the World Bank’s World Development Report 2009 Reshaping Economic Geography. The message of the report can be summarised as: Concentration & density. 95% of the people live on just 10% of the land “As economies grow from low to high income, production becomes more concentrated spatially. Some places—cities, coastal areas, and connected countries—are favored by producers. … The way to get both the immediate benefits of concentration of production and the long-term benefits of a convergence in living standards is economic integration.” (WDR 2009, Overview). For measuring the concentration of economic activity, instead of using binary distinctions of rural versus urban, the report takes advantage of global accessibility measures which can be combined with data on population density to create a much finer typology which is termed the Agglomeration Index (AI). The global map of travel time to major cities (cities of 50,000 or more people in year 2000) is a useful dataset in its own right, but it is also a component of the AI.

This map has been created by the World Bank’s World Development Report 2009 Reshaping Economic Geography and it is published by the Global Environment Monitoring (European Comission).

Arctic Indigenous Languages

December 26, 2008 at 12:54 am | Posted in arctic, Language, North Pole, Research | Leave a comment
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This is one of the most specific sites I found. Is it dedicated to all of the Arctic languages, so the topic is quite similar to mine. It is packed with good information, I will post something more later on:

Welcome to Arctic Indigenous Languages website.


This website aims to be a resource that strengthens Arctic indigenous languages. It includes background papers and articles related to indigenous languages, video clips of Arctic indigenous people explaining how important their languages are to them, and descriptions of current best practices in the protection and revitalization of indigenous languages.

An interestint section of the page is the one about the state of Arctic Indigenous Languages, where you will find some interesting documents:

State of Arctic Indigenous Languages

saami woman in conversationThe circumpolar Arctic is home to over 40 indigenous languages, with hundreds of indigenous communities spread throughout the circumpolar region – many speaking local variations of their people’s language. Because these communities differ in many ways, including their historical interactions with their colonizers and non-indigenous neighbours, it is clear that there will be many local perspectives and variations in how indigenous languages are currently used in the Arctic.

The articles and links on this page offer recent information on the state of Arctic indigenous languages, though this information is certainly not exhaustive.


Arctic Human Development Report (Chapter 3: Societies and Cultures: Change and Persistence) PDF icon

The Arctic Human Development Report was published in November 2004. The section “Languages: losses and reversed language shifts” on pages 53-56 describes the current state of the over 40 indigenous languages spoken in the Arctic.


United Nations Forum calls on governments to immediately support the revitalization of indigenous languages PDF icon

English | French | Inuktitut | Inuinnaqtun

May 27, 2008 (Iqaluit, Nunavut) – The Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth welcomes the recent calls for action from the international community to stop the rapid erosion of indigenous languages.


National Inuit Leader Says Census Data points to Call for ActionPDF icon

The President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Mary Simon says Inuit must recognize that the Inuit language is eroding and be prepared to do whatever is necessary to reverse this trend to protect, preserve and enhance the Inuit language and the different dialects that we speak.


Nunavut Examines Indigenous Language Issues
on World Stage
PDF icon

The Government of Nunavut recently returned home after attending the 7th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. The forum is a United Nations advisory body that deals with indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights.


UNESCO – 2008 International Year of Languages

On 16 May 2007, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 to be the International Year of Languages. UNESCO invites all its partners to increase their own activities to promote and protect all languages, particularly endangered languages, in all individual and collective contexts.


International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages

Documents from the indigenous experts, UNPFII members, Member States, UN Agencies, Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations, and Non-Governmental Organizations who participated in the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages in New York, 8-10 January 2008.


Inuit Language PDF icon

Presentation by Carl Christian Olsen (Puju) at the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages, 8-10 January 2008.


International Day of World’s Indigenous People (August 9th)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, to be observed August 9th, 2008.


Inuktut Uqausiit (Inuit Languages) in Canada – History and Contemporary Developments – Nadine Fabbi PDF icon

This overview of the history and current use of Inuit languages was updated in August 2008 to reflect the latest developments of Inuit languages in Canada.


Preserving Endangered Languages or Local Speech Variants in Kamchatka PDF icon

This paper was prepared for the 12th Conference of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, held in September 2008. It concerns various language preservation projects in the Russian Far East that center on the production and dissemination of multimedia language teaching materials (DVD with textbook) with culturally adapted content, designed for use inside and outside the classroom. They refer to the endangered language of Itelmen as well as to endangered local variants of the Even and the Koryak languages spoken in Kamchatka.

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