A big plane has simply vanished from the sky, and the tragic incident is a reminder of the vastness of the planet--all the modern technology that we have is simply not enough for us to track it down. I recall reading a long time ago, perhaps in the Scientific American, that we have practically no idea about what lies beneath the waters that cover most of this pale blue dot.
If that geography lesson weren't enough, and as if to remind us all of the old "geographical pivot of history" thesis, the developments in Ukraine and Crimea have us all scrambling around for maps and atlases.
These are two of the many, many, geography lessons we--not merely geographers, but, and more importantly, the interested public as well--have had over the three weeks. If only we can draw a lot more people into geography!
There is more to learn about. Which is what I plan on doing, at the annual meeting, in Tampa. Attending the sessions there is a part of my continuing education, I tell students. It will be a delight to meet with fellow APCGers there and chat over coffee. If you will also be there at Tampa and want to connect, yes, please email me.
A final note: one of the professional, academic geographers, who played a significant role in making the public aware of the importance of geography was Harm de Blij, who recently passed away. AAG's Executive Director, Doug Richardson, notes in his email on "the sad news of the death of prominent geographer and of long-time AAG member Harm J. de Blij".:
Over the past 40 years, de Blij was also one of the few academic geographers of his generation to make a major and lasting impact in the public arena. He was much in demand on the lecture circuit and his extraordinary communication skills were widely recognized (a generous legacy is available on YouTube). In this sphere, he probably will best be remembered for his seven-year stint as Geography Editor on ABC's Good Morning America (1989-1996), whose contributions achieved a partial Emmy Award as well as a full-page profile in TV Guide.