Time To Get A Global View

FTLComm - Tisdale - Sunday, March 3, 2002

Last week CBS was running promos for the new series that began this past Thursday night, one which I am confident I will avoid with pleasure. Yet another Survival show this one located like the first one, on a tropical island. They mentioned the name of the island chain where they would be shooting and I thought nothing of it because it was a name that really I had no knowledge. That got me thinking.

In my first principalship in 1968 a grade eight girl discovered to her embarrassment that her parents were going on a vacation to Hawaii and she had no clue where that was. When she looked at a map and discovered it was not somewhere in southern United States she realised that when it came to knowing about the simple geography of the planet she was woefully inadequate and so for almost two solid weeks Jana studies the world, drawing maps and memorizing place names she was determined to defeat her ignorance of world geography

So when the promo said they were going to the Marquesas islands (arrow points to the South Pacific islands where this edition of Survivor originates) and I didn't know where that was I was immediately reminded of Jana and put the globe on the kitchen table for all of this week.

I discovered that it is about 6,500 miles from Tisdale to Kandahar, Afghanistan and a straight line from here to there passes just East of Moscow. It is about the same distance from Tisdale to Santiago Chile while it is only 4,500 miles from here to Shanghai.

I explored the Solomon Islands (arrow points to them) and its infamous Guadacanal and though I was familiar with their location on a flat mercador projection it surprised me to see how close that scene of the turning point battle of the Pacific part of World War II was to Australia.

Flat maps really distort things and give a local self centred or directed view of things whereas a globe shows an accurate and relational representation of location.

After a week of following every world news story on my globe it is going to remain a constant reference from now on as we live in a time when a simple apparently insignificant act anywhere on the planet can have a direct effect on our lives here.

If you don't have a globe get one and find out just where things are. If you have children in your house make the globe their companion to growing awareness to self. Formal school education of this era does not include map study, world geography and a working knowledge of place names. The modern curriculums leave these experiences largely up to incidental learning as geography vanished as a formal subject in the early fifties just as history vanished in the seventies.

Timothy W. Shire