December 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
“If you are you, breathe. If you breathe, you talk. If you talk, you ask. If you ask, you think. If you think, you search. If you search, you experience. If you experience, you learn. If you learn, you grow. If you grow, you wish. If you wish, you find. And if you find, you doubt. If you doubt, you question. If you question, you understand and if you understand, you know. If you know, you want to know more. If you want to know, more you are alive.” – National Geographic Society
“The decline of geography in academia is easy to understand: we live in an age of ever-increasing specialization, and geography is a generalist’s discipline. Imagine the poor geographer trying to explain to someone at a campus cocktail party (or even to an unsympathetic adminitrator) exactly what it is he or she studies.
“Geography is Greek for ‘writing about the earth.’ We study the Earth.”
“Right, like geologists.”
“Well, yes, but we’re interested in the whole world, not just the rocky bits. Geographers also study oceans, lakes, the water cycle…”
“So, it’s like oceanography or hydrology.”
“And the atmosphere.”
“It’s broader than just physical geography. We’re also interested in how humans relate to their planet.”
“How is that different from ecology or environmental science?”
“Well, it encompasses them. Aspects of them. But we also study the social and economic and cultural and geopolitical sides of–”
“Sociology, economics, cultural studies, poli sci.”
“Some geographers specialize in different world regions.”
“Ah, right, we have Asian and African and Latin American studies programs here. But I didn’t know they were part of the geography department.”
“So, uh, what is it that do study then?” – Ken Jennings
“Because you have seen something doesn’t mean you can explain it. Differing interpretations will always abound, even when good minds come to bear. The kernel of indisputable information is a dot in space; interpretations grow out of the desire to make this point a line, to give it direction. The directions in which it can be sent, the uses to which it can be put by a culturally, professionally, and geographically diverse society are almost without limit. The possibilities make good scientists chary.” – Barry Lopez
“Man was first a hunter, and an artist: his early vestiges tell us that alone. But he must always have dreamed, and recognized and guessed and supposed, all the skills of the imagination. Language itself is a continuously imaginative act. Rational discourse outside our familiar territory of Greek logic sounds to our ears like the wildest imagination. The Dogon, a people of West Africa, will tell you that a white fox named Ogo frequently weaves himself a hat of string bean hulls, puts it on his impudent head, and dances in the okra to insult and infuriate God Almighty, and that there’s nothing we can do about it except abide him in faith and patience.
This is not folklore, or quaint custom, but as serious a matter to the Dogon as a filling station to us Americans. The imagination; that is, the way we shape and use the world, indeed the way we see the world, has geographical boundaries like islands, continents, and countries. These boundaries can be crossed. That Dogon fox and his impudent dance came to live with us, but in a different body, and to serve a different mode of the imagination. We call him Brer Rabbit.” – Guy Davenport
Sevier Lake bed
“Poetry, if it is not to be a lifeless repetition of forms, must be constantly exploring “the frontiers of the spirit.” But these frontiers are not like the surveys of geographical explorers, conquered once for all and settled. The frontiers of the spirit are more like the jungle which, unless continuously kept under control, is always ready to encroach and eventually obliterate the cultivated area.” – T.S. Eliot
“The full measure of a culture embraces both the actions of a people and the quality of their aspirations, the nature of the metaphors that propel their lives. And no description of a people can be complete without reference to the character of their homeland, the ecological and geographical matrix in which they have determined to live out their destiny. Just as a landscape defines character, culture springs from a spirit of place.” – Wade Davis, The Wayfinders
Basin and Range National Monument
Established 10th July 2015, Basin and Range National Monument is named after the dominant landscape of Nevada; wide basins separating long but narrow mountain ranges, scenery typical of the Great Basin Desert that extends across most of the state.
“I came to recognize the landscape of my life in the lives of many women. Their stories and the places they spoke of spanned a world beyond my experience, from mill towns to suburbs, from logging camps to ethnic neighborhoods, from inner cities to Indian reservations. Few shared my place of origin or the events of my life, but many, it seems, shared my experience. Listening to their stories, I came to understand how women can be isolated by circumstances as well as by distance, and how our experiences, though geographically distinct, often translated into the same feelings. Away from the physical presence of my past, I found it easy to argue that what mattered most was the story, the truth of what we tell ourselves, the versions we pass along to our daughters. But as I stood in the living room of my rock house that afternoon, I was again reminded of the enormous power of this prairie, its silence and the whisper I made inside it. I had forgotten how easily one person can be lost here.” – Judy Blunt