Category Archives: Physical Geography

A Long Journey to Eradicating Terrorism

A commercial ad promoting people to fight terrorism
A commercial ad promoting people to fight terrorism

Terrorism has been around for centuries and is now currently a growing issue all over the globe. While it is hard to come up with a precise definition for what exactly terrorism is, several scholars and organizations have come up with close definitions. Terrorism is the “calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear, intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological”, as defined by the United States Department of Defense (Terrorism Research 1). Terrorism could also be defined as “an axiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-)clandestine individual, group, or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal, or political reasons, whereby- in contrast to assassination- the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators,” as defined by Alex Schmid, a Dutch scholar on terrorism studies (Sageman 3).  From these two definitions it is clear that there are differences in the definitions defined by different scholars and different organizations. However, it is agreed amongst all that terrorists use violence in ways that dehumanizes and or traumatizes victims beyond the directed target. This paper will be be analyzing terrorism and introducing new ways everyone can help to end this problem.

Depending on how one defines terrorism, it can be dated back to as early as the 1st century. Most people would agree that terrorism is “as old as humans’ willingness to use violence in order to get power or to change politics in their favor” (Hayes, Brunner and Rowen). Sicarii is a word meaning “dagger-men” in modern Hebrew, they were a 1st century terrorist group who carried out assassinations and massacres using short daggers (Zalman). These terrorists Jewish Zealots led by the descendents of Judas of Galilee Northern Israel. Judas, known as one of Christ’s disciples, believed that the Jews should be ruled by no one but God alone. With this belief held in mind, the Jewish terrorists, Sicarii, led a revolution against Roman rulers when they tried carrying out a census in the 6th CE so the Roman rulers in Syria could tax their Jewish subjects. This was only the beginning of Sicarii, they began violent resistance to Roman rule around 40 years later, in 50 CE, which was when they really started using guerrillas and terrorist tactics. Today problems involving terrorism greatly affects Israel and other countries such as Egypt.

Though there had been many attempts in solving the issue of terrorism, there are still many existing and emerging. Some of the more well known terrorist groups include Al-Qaeda, Boka Haram, Abu Sayyaf, BIFF, etcetera. Al-Qaeda is today one of the most infamous terrorist groups, surpassing Hamas and Hezbollah, it is known mostly for its suicide attack on the twin towers on September 11th, 2001 (Hayes, Brunner and Rowen). Boko Haram is another terrorist group that rose to the public’s attention a few years ago. Located in Northeastern Nigeria, Boko Haram is known for the Chibok Schoolgirls Kidnapping that happened just last year, 2014, around April 14th-15th (NCNT). According to the women who were just rescued around a month ago in May 2nd, Boko Haram members brutally slaughtered the older males in front of their family members before taking the females into a forest where most died of either starvation or diseases (NBC News). Many people have a misconception that modern day terrorists are centralized in places such as Africa and the Middle East, like the examples provided above, but little do they know that terrorism is occurring all over the world. Abu- Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) are both terrorist groups centered in the Philippines. ASG is known to be the most violent terrorist that is currently operating in the Southern Philippines. They want to create an Islamic State in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago (NCNT). BIFF is also centered in the South of the Philippines. It is believed that they only have a few hundred soldiers, making it less of a threat when compared to other terrorist groups like ASG (Global Security).

One reason why terrorism is such a big threat today is because many people from all over the world are joining to become one of them, especially European Muslims. Immigrants or their descendents from all over Europe– Madrid, Milan, Marseilles, and Berlin– are starting to volunteer for jihad against the West (Leiken). There are many reasons behind these European Muslims joining for jihad; for some it is because they feel mistreated and feel like they do not have equal rights as white Europeans, and for others it is because of their dissatisfaction with their current governments. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research last year,  they found hat the majority of the population in countries like Greece, Italy, and Poland gave the Muslims in their country an unfavorable rating (Hackett). Of course Islam isn’t the only religion with terrorism, many other religions such as Christianity suffers from terrorists of their own religion, too. One major Christian terrorist groups known by many people is the Ku Klux Klan, or the KKK. However, the terrorism problem Egypt faces is Islamic terrorism, therefore it will be discussed more. It is not new to us the Islamists’ conflict with democracy, most European Muslims feel uncomfortable with democratic governments that grant citizens universal rights such as freedom of speech and expression,  freedom of religion, and even gender equality (Cooper and Hasan). Recently, European governments have started becoming aware of this growing issue and are planning on passing a joint law to prevent citizens from joining terrorists. European laws vary; countries like France already have laws that charges people with crimes if the government finds out they are planning to leave the country to support jihadists. Nonetheless, there are still many countries that lack laws to prevent people from leaving to join terrorists, such as Scandinavia (Irish Examiner).

Rise of Global Terrorism
Rise of Global Terrorism

It shouldn’t surprise anyone if a study shows up saying that no one likes terrorists, however, the vast Muslim population is usually blamed for terrorism. According to “Al-Islam”, a website explaining hidden meanings in the Qu’ran,  Islam does not in any way support terrorism and prohibits Muslim men from attacking innocent people. Over the past decades, there has been many Islamic scholars who have tried to explain to us why terrorists are not considered Muslims. For example, from Charles Cooper, a London based researcher on Middle Eastern politics, jihadism and Islamist movements, “Islam does not support terrorism under any circumstances, terrorism goes against every principle of Islam. If a Muslim engages in terrorism, he is not following Islam. He may be wrongly using the name of Islam for political or financial gains.” Another quote from a US educated Saudi Arabian journalist further proving why a lot of people today’s perspectives are wrong: “Muslims throughout their history never allowed the killing of civilians, even in the midst of wars such as crusades. There is no respected Islamic scholar here in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else in the Muslim world who would support such a fatwa” (Khashoggi). Such misconceptions could be very detrimental to the self esteem of the Muslim community and should be dropped immediately.

The problem of terrorism in Egypt has been becoming more and more of a problem since the 1990s, when Islamic terrorist groups from the Middle East started attacking government officials, local policemen, the Christian minorities, and tourists visiting Egypt. Since then, many attacks have occurred including the 2004 Sinai bombing, the April 2005 Attacks in Cairo, the 2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks, the Dahab bombing, and so on. However, with the problem of terrorism growing bigger each year, the Egyptian government led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seems unable to fight this alone (Solomon).

The whole world has been trying to eradicate terrorism, the Western world by preventing their citizens to join and become one of the terrorists and the Middle East with the Kurdish army fighting terrorists and insurgents, but what has the world’s biggest peacekeeping organization, the United Nations, done? Eighteen instruments- fourteen instruments and four amendments- have been elaborated within the UN system; an instrument is a formal legal document published. The General Assembly has been especially active in countering terrorism, trying to come up with the perfect resolution to stop international terrorism. The Security Council has also been active, establishing subsidiary bodies and working on resolutions (UN). Countering international terrorism is one of the UN’s priorities, though there has not been a resolution passed that has successfully eradicated terrorism.

Now that we have talked discussed what the world how the world has contributed to countering international terrorism, let us discuss what individuals can do to prevent terrorism from spreading. Individuals  can help cut off funding sources to terrorist groups by not buying products from black markets. Elephants, one of the most beautiful animals out there, are facing extinction. A study shows that around 100 to 150 elephants are killed per day, and UNEP released a study saying that 17,000 elephants in monitored reserves were killed in the year of 2011, and the number became even higher in 2012. Elephants are mostly slaughtered for their ivory tusks. Where do the tusks end up? In black markets. Black markets today are able to earn millions just by slaughtering elephants and selling their tusks, and many of these black markets are used to fund terrorists, one terrorist group funded mainly by black markets is Boko Haram (Quarterman). This means that by not buying illegal goods like ivory tusks, you are cutting off their source of fundings. If they do not have money, it decreases the chance of their future attacks.

Believe it or not, companies and organizations can be very useful and can be a great help when it comes to eradicating terrorism. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are useful especially when it comes to network terrorism and social media (H.). NGOs have an advantage when dealing with network terrorism and are especially suited to fight network type terror groups. Examples of network type terror groups include Al-Qaeda and Al- Shabaab. Social media nowadays is where many things happen, it is also one of the main contributors to terrorism because it has made it easy for extremists to have access to unlimited public debates. NGOs have the power to “restructure the linguistic and political landscapes that these extremists want support from through social media” (H.). On the other hand, companies are also useful when it comes to preventing terrorism. For example, after the 9/11 attack set out by Al- Qaeda, firms immediately started producing anti-terrorist equipments and services. Some of these include machines that check suitcases and luggages for weapons and explosives, bisthmus cartridge, other anti- terrorist products.

At the end of the day, it is agreed by everyone that terrorism is definitely not something good and should be eradicated as fast as we can. It is obvious that the current strategy we are using right now is not working. For our this journey of eradication to work at its optimal efficiency, we must throw away our old strategy and adopt a new one. It is crucial for us to combine our individual power, the power of the country, and the power of firms and NGOs. There is a very well known myth amongst many Indian villages that has been passed down for generations. It tells a story of a village next to a river. One day, the villagers noticed bodies floating down the river, they take the bodies out and bury them. But no matter how many bodies they take out and bury, more bodies always flow down the river. The same thing kept occurring for days and days. One day. a villager decided to ask the village elder for help. He told the villagers to stop burying the bodies but instead go up hill to find out what’s causing these bodies to flow down the river. So they went and found the cause of these floating dead bodies and successfully solved the problem (WashingtonBlog). What does this story tell us? It tells us that the United States politicians are the villagers; they’re sending in military forces to fight against terrorism but they don’t actually understand the root cause of terrorism. Attacking terrorists may help solve the problem temporarily (or it may not),  but if we’re looking for an effective way to eradicate terrorism, looking for the underlying motivation of these jihadists in inevitable. Begin today, and the brighter future without terrorists terrorizing people will come faster.

 

Works Cited

“Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters [BIFF].” Global Security, 1 Apr.

Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/par

a/biff.htm>

“Bodies in the River.” Washingtons Blog. Washington Blog, 3 Dec. 2008. Web. 31 May

  1.  <http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2008/12/bodies-in-the-river.html>

Cooper, Charles, and Usama Hasan. “Democracy is Hypocrisy!” European Muslims,

Democratic Malaise and Islamist Extremism Queries Magazine.” Queries Magazine. European Progressive Observatory, 27 Feb. 2014. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://

www.queries-feps.eu/democracy-is-hypocrisy-european-muslims-democratic-malaise-and-islamist-extremism/>

“Europe Agrees to Make Joint Laws to Stop People Joining Terrorists.”Irish Examiner, 19

May 2015. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/wor

ld/europe-agrees-to-make-joint-laws-to-stop-people-joining-terrorists-677878.html>

“Freed Nigerian Women Tell of Boko Haram Horror.” NBC News. Web. 31 May 2015.

<http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-nigeria-schoolgirls/freed-nigerian-women-tell-boko-haram-horror-n352866>

H., Daniel. “Kenya Deregisters Over 500 NGOs: The Role of NGOs in the Fight Against

Terrorism.” The Hope Project. Hope Project, 21 Dec. 2014. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.hope-project.org/africa/kenya-deregisters-over-500-ngos- the-role-of-

ngos-in-the-fight-against-terrorism/>

Hackett, Conrad. “5 Facts about the Muslim Population in Europe.” Pew Research, 15 Jan.

  1. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/01/15/5-fa

cts-about-the-muslim-population-in-europe/>

Hayes, Laura, Borgna Brunner, and Beth Rowen. “Al-Qaeda Osama Bin Laden’s Network of

Terror.” Infoplease. Infoplease, 2007. Web. 31 May 2015.<http://www.infoplease.co

m/spot/al-qaeda-terrorism.html>

Leiken, Robert S. “Europe’s Angry Muslims.” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 July 2005.

Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.cfr.org/religion/europes-angry-muslims/p8218>

Khashoggi, Jamal. “Why the US Must Find a More Just Perspective.” The Guardian. 10 Mar.

  1. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/oct/10/af

ghanistan.terrorism18>

“National Counterterrorism Center Groups.” National Counterterrorism Center.

NCTC, 1 Nov. 2013. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/boko_

haram.html>

Quarterman, Mark. “Opinion: Elephant Killings Surge as Tusks Fund Terror – CNN.com.”

CNN. Cable News Network, 30 June 2013. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://edition.cnn.co

m/2013/06/19/opinion/quarterman-elephant-slaughter/>

Sageman, Marc, and Christopher Hewitt. “Chapter 1.” What Is Terrorism? Sagepub. 3. Print.

<http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/51172_ch_1.pdf>

Solomon, Ariel Ben. “Analysis: Can Egypt Tackle Its Terrorism Problem?” The Jerusalem

Post. Jpost, 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 14 June 2015. <http://www.jpost.com/Middle

-East/Can-Egypt-tackle-its-terrorism-problem-398265>

“Terrorism RESEARCH.”International Terrorism and Security Research. Web. 31 May

  1. <http://www.terrorism-research.com/>

“United Nations Action to Counter Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Global Counter-terrorism

Strategy, General Assembly and Counter-terrorism, Secretary-general and Counter Terrorism, SG, UN, SC, Terrorism, GA, General Assembly.” United Nations. Web. 31 May 2015. <http://www.un.org/en/terrorism/strategy-counter-terrorism.shtml>

Web. 22 June 2015. <http://www.emannabih.com/files/2013/09/Egypt-Fighting-Terrori

sm.png>

Web. 22 June 2015. <http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/12/04/article-2242803-16591734000005DC-71_634x369.jpg&gt;

Zalman, Amy. “Global Terrorism.” Terrorism About. 2015. Web. 31 May 2015.

<http://terrorism.about.com/od/groupsleader1/p/Hamas.htm>

 

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Burgess Concentric Ring Model

Over the past century, many models have been made to explain urban social structures of a city. Created in 1923 by sociologist Ernest Burgess, the Burgess concentric ring model, also known as the Concentric zone model or the CCD mode, is one of the earliest theoretical model made and used to explain the structure of a city.  This model is a very simple one based on the city of San Francisco in the 1920s. Below is an image of the CCD model on Google Sketchup with the link attached to it.

Link:Burgess Concentric Ring Model Google Sketchup Pro File

Burgess Concentric Ring model on Google Sketchup
Burgess Concentric Ring model on Google Sketchup 2015

In the model above, we see five different colored rings; pink, turquoise, green, grey, and burgundy. The pink center is the central business district (CBD), it is where all the business and trade happens. The CBD is also where the malls and expensive shopping and dining halls, which are mostly accessed by the elite residents, are located. The next ring, the turquoise ring outside the CBD, are the factories and industries. This is where all the goods are manufactured and sent off to the CBD to be sold for a profit.

Central Business District; pink, and the factories; turquoise
Central Business District; pink, and the factories; turquoise

Outside the factories we have the low income residents. In the picture above, we can see that the houses in the low income residential area are all cramped together. This is because there were many many people belonging the the low income residential area, causing a lack of space. The only solution to this problem was to build tinier houses and make the area more cramp. The low income residential area also live closest to the central business center and the factories because they are not rich enough to afford cars, thus most of them either walk to get to places or they take streetcars.  Then we have the middle income residents living outside the low income residential area. The middle income residential area have houses that are more spread out and spacious.

Middle income residential
Middle income residential

Lastly, we have the elite residents/ high income residential section. As  you can see in the image at the very top, the elite residents have extremely spread out houses with many trees, parks, and other entertainments such as swimming pools in between. The elite residents live furthest away from the CBD because they were able to afford cars to travel to places. At the time this model was created, cars were a new thing, so they were extremely expensive. Only the richest of the rich could afford them, which were most of the people living in this area.

There is a link at the very top that will lead you to the Google Sketch-up Pro file of the Burgess Concentric Ring model.

Scale of Analysis

Our views on the world are often misled by stereotypes and the national image of a country. One might think the United States, one of the most powerful countries in the world, is a place where starvation and poverty does not exist. Yes, it is true that the United States is a lot better off than most of the countries around the globe. However, if we zoom in and look at specific cities such as Detroit or Brooklyn, we would find people suffering from extreme poverty worse than that of some African countries. Another example would be Germany. When it comes the religions that the people in Europe practices, the different branches of Christianity would be the first thing that comes to most people’s minds. Nonetheless, most people would be shocked to know that the majority of Berlin, Germany’s population are Muslims. The scale of analysis is where you analyze a certain factor, such as culture or economy, of a specific region. It can be measured at a global scale, regional scale, national scale, or even a local scale. The scale of analysis helps us change our perceptions of the areas we’re analyzing. Today we will be analyzing Egypt’s GDP and IMR (Infant Mortality Rate). When analyzing the data, we will be looking at the global scale, North Africa and the Middle East as the regional scale, and the local scale which will be mainly focused on the capital city of Cairo.

Global GDP (nominal) Per Capital Map
Global GDP (nominal) Per Capital Map

When it comes to Egypt, the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is, of course, pyramids and camels wandering around on the deserts. But economy-wise, my best guess would be that most people don’t think of Egypt as a very wealthy country, with it being stuck in between the Middle East and North Africa. Looking at the chart above,Egypt is colored in yellow, meaning that Egypt has a nominal GDP per capita lower than the countries colored in blue and green, but higher than the ones in orange and red.  The photo below is the GDP per capita ranking of 2013 done by the World Bank. Egypt was ranked number 121, so we can see that its GDP per capita is quite low compared to  a lot of other countries.

png;base6475eedfd8480d884f

Now zooming in to the North African-Middle Eastern Region, where we’ll be analyzing the regional scale. After averaging out the GDP per capita of most of the countries within this region, we ended up with the GDP per capita of 356,163 USD. Egypt, yet, only has the GDP per capital of 3,314 (2013)  as we can see in the chart above. So compared to some of the very wealthy Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar (GDP per capita- 93,714 USD), Kuwait (GDP per capita- 52,197 USD), or the UAE (GDP per capita- 43,048 USD), Egypt is still considered a very poor country. However, Egypt is still a lot better off than other countries in its region such as Yemen, with the GDP per capita of only 1,516 USD. Therefore, if we were to rank all the countries in the North African- Middle Eastern region by GDP per capita, Egypt would be ranked right around the middle. Going down into the even closer local scale, Cairo’s GDP per capita alone is 2,782 per capita. It is significantly lower than the country’s as a whole.

GDP per capita of some of the examples provided above

Libya 12,375.4 5,685.4 13,302.8 11,964.7
Oman 20,922.7 22,984.2 23,384.8 21,929.0
Qatar 71,510.2 88,861.0 92,801.0 93,714.1
Egypt, Arab Rep. 2,803.5 2,972.6 3,256.0 3,314.5

Moving on to the other factor that will be analyzed today; IMR, or the infant mortality rate. Most people, again, would probably think that Egypt has a somewhat high infant mortality rate due to the fact that it is located in the North African- Middle Eastern Region. It is pretty safe to say that Egypt does have a pretty high infant mortality rate, with 22.41 deaths per 1,000 births. However, it is only ranked 80 on the global ranking chart, with countries like Afghanistan and Angola fighting for 1st place with over 120 deaths in every 1,000 births. Looking at the map below, we see that most of the North African- Middle East region we’re analyzing are in different shades of lighter pink, indicating that the infant mortality rate in that region isn’t actually as bad as we thought it was. However, in the poorer countries such as Yemen, the infant mortality rate can reach as high as 60 deaths in every 1,000 births, pulling the regional IMR average up. After averaging out the infant mortality rate of most of the countries in this region, we ended up with 34.5 deaths/ 1,000 births. This is much higher than Egypt’s, which tells us that Egypt is actually dealing with the problem of infant mortality quite a lot better than its neighboring countries.

 

Infant Mortality Rate Map (2012)
Infant Mortality Rate Map (2012)
Infant Mortality Chart in Egypt compared to Under-five Mortality and Neonatal mortality
Infant Mortality Chart in Egypt compared to Under-five Mortality and Neonatal mortality

Though Egypt as a whole only suffers from 22.41 deaths in every 1,000 births, its capital city Cairo’s infant mortality rate is significantly higher, with 35.4 deaths per 1,000 baby/ This is probably due to the fact that most of the population is concentrated in this city, which increases the rate of air pollution and other factors that risks the lives of newborn babies, thus making the death rate higher than most of the other cities.

The scale of analysis can change our perception on the world greatly, it can also at the same time help us gain a better understanding of the world and how it works. In this case of Egypt, Egypt’s actual economy and infant mortality rate doesn’t show any dramatic difference as how people perceive it. Its economy isn’t on the top like the United States or Canada, it isn’t dead on the bottom either like Sierra Leone. But it could come as shocking for some people to know that Egypt actually has a pretty good economy, ranking 40 in the global scale as we have mentioned above. Egypt’s infant mortality rate also didn’t show any big differences than how the world perceived it. But whether there’s a dramatic difference of not, using the scale of analysis helps us learn a lot more about the world and what’s actually going on there.

Thailand Tourism Google Earth Map

Linked below is a Google Earth file containing information about Thailand. The colorful polygons are the different ethnic groups, and the pins include Thailand’s history, culture, political and economic geography, and a bunch of interesting tourist sites that are worth a visit! Click the link attached to the picture for more information.

Google earth
Google earth link on Thailand tourism

India’s Earthquake Powerplant Risk Analysis

The nuclear powerplants are mostly located in zone II out of the four earthquake zones in India.  The nuclear plants in India are not very safe, due to the fact that India is located in an earthquake prone area. It is constantly bumping into the Indo-Australian plate causing many disastrous earthquakes to occur. The picture below shows the plate boundaries, occurrence of earthquake over a month’s time period, and the location of India’s nuclear power stations.

India nuclear power plants, plate boundaries, and earthquake
India nuclear power plants, plate boundaries, and earthquake+magnitude

As you can see in the picture above, many earthquakes happened in just one month. The magnitudes of these earthquakes range from 0.7 to 7.1. The earthquake on the coast of Indonesia can be a big threat to the Indian power stations because they could cause ginormous tsunamis to go into India and destroy all the nuclear plants on the coast as well as taking away the lives of many people. As for the north, the power stations are located on the Indian plate, so it could be destroyed easily by earthquakes if they’re strong enough. India is an extremely dense country, if any accidents happen to these nuclear powerplants, it’ll cause a massive destruction and kill hundreds and thousands of people in India.

Egypt’s Prevailing Wind Currents

Wind currents are a necessity of life and they affect the world greatly. Wind currents play a big part on this planet, they can cause the climate to change from time to time and it leads the people who trade on sea. Many people read generalized wind current maps to get a good idea of the wind currents near them, however the generalized maps actually differs quite a lot from the real-time wind currents.

generalized prevailing wind currents
generalized prevailing wind currents
Real-time wind currents
Real-time wind currents

These two maps are very similar, but the real-time wind currents is a lot more detailed.

Here on these two pictures above we can see quite a few similarities and a bit of a difference. On both pictures the wind current of north Egypt goes upward toward the Mediterranean Sea and the wind current of south Egypt goes downward to the southern African countries like Chad and the Central African Republic.

Egypt wind currents
Egypt wind currents

On the map above, we can also see that there is wind blowing into Egypt from the Red Sea.  After the wind comes in from the Red Sea, it starts blowing south along with the other wind current. This is one part that the generalized wind current map doesn’t show.

Though generalized wind current maps and real-time wind current maps are pretty similar, it would be better to use a real-time wind current map because there are still many details on a real-time wind current map that a generalized map doesn’t show.

 

The world can be mapped in many different ways, and the two I am going to talk about today are a biomes map and an anthropogenic map. The difference between biomes and anthromes is that biomes shows us what the climate, vegetation, and geology would be like without any human environmental interactions. It gives us a clear idea on what our planet would be like without humans living in it. We use anthromes because the earth has been reshaped by humans. An anthrome map shows us how humans make use of the land and how they’ve changed it over time.

The predominate biome in Egypt is the desert biome. Egypt is nearly completely made of desert. Desert here, desert there, desert everywhere. So, as expected, Egypt has a fail agriculture due to the sweltering sun and lack of water. The Egyptian desert, also known as the Sahara, is the biggest desert in the world, and is growing every year because of a magical process called desertification. But guess what they have? The Nile River! The Egyptians all moved near the Nile because the flooding that happens once in a while makes the land fertile enough to grow crops.

Biome map of egypt; grey area is the desert
Biome map of egypt; grey area is the desert

The predominant anthrome of Egypt is of course, wild treeless and barren lands. But if you put that aside, we have irrigated villages and residential irrigated croplands. That’s because they all lived near the Nile River, making them to adopt irrigated systems.

Now let us get started on the anthromes of each century from 1700 AD to 2000 AD:

The only life that existed in 1700 AD Egypt was along the Nile River. Other than that, Egypt was mostly just wild treeless and barren lands. At the North of the Nile River, we had irrigated villages, residential irrigated croplands, residential rainfed croplands, mixed settlements, and residential woodlands. Moving south, the land use were more equally divided between irrigated villages, mixed settlements, rainfed villages, and residential rainfed croplands.

Anthromes of 1700AD
Anthromes of 1700AD

In 1800 AD, there was a pretty significant change in Egypt’s anthrome. Most of the residential rainfed croplands were gone and replaced with inhabited treeless&barren lands in the north. On the other hand, in the south, both the rainfed croplands and the rainfed villages were gone. So that was the major change over the 100 year time period.

1800AD anthromes
1800AD anthromes

Moving on to 1900 AD, the residential irrigated croplands along the Nile River were mostly replaced by irrigated villages. The amount of rainfed villages decreased. The amount of mixed settlements also decreased as the urban settlements increased.

1900AD anthromes
1900AD anthromes

Lastly, we have 2000 AD. We can see that in 2000 AD, the residential rainfed croplands came back though the residential irrigated croplands decreased. Urban settlement and mixed settlement increased quite evenly in both the north and the south, the rainfed villages expanded mostly in the south.

2000AD anthromes
2000AD anthromes

In conclusion, the one major thing that all of these have in common is that life has always been near the Nile River, probably because they wouldn’t be able to survive if they went too far away from it. But through out the years, the residential irrigated croplands gradually turned into irrigated villages. One other significant change is that over time, different types of settlements kicked in where the irrigated villages are.

An anthrome map would be better for viewing the spatial extent of the vegetation on earth. Because an anthrome map allows us to know how people use the land and what kind of croplands are located in what location. That would give us a pretty good idea of which place has which vegetation.

Both anthromes and biomes are fascinating and amazing things. With these two, we can learn about what Earth would be like with and without the trace of humans.