The purpose of this assignment is to get us familiarized with the practical essence of the concepts we covered in class during the last week. We will be dealing with geographic areas and thus, implement concepts such as: latitude, topography, geographical coordinates, biomes and climate. With the help of Google Earth we will experience the practice of all such terms and in personal level, I will try to put theory into practice. In addition, I will get more familiarized with the use of Google Earth and its tools and get a chance to learn some places of interest in Thessaloniki apart from those I already know.
To begin with, I will introduce one of my favorite places in Thessaloniki and I will explain briefly its matter of significance. The place (or area) I am referring to is simply the port of Thessaloniki or “Limani” in Greek. Limani (λιμάνι) is located in the center of Thessaloniki in the beginning of Nikis Boulevard (the main onshore street). More precisely, its coordinates are: 40°37’56.37”B and 22°56’08.87”E .
I find “Limani” a place of special interest since currently more of its warehouses are used for exhibition purposes. As a matter of fact, the International Film Festival has its exhibits hosted within the warehouses of the port for more than a couple of years.
Also there is a beautiful restaurant there from which the view of Thessaloniki is stunning. Sometimes, places like this make me feel very lucky for being a student in this city and having the chance to visit so many interesting areas. And saying of “living” in Thessaloniki, let me now introduce you to my “crib”. My apartment is also located in the center of Thessaloniki on Ippodromiou street which is from the other side of the center (east center). To simplify it to you, Ippodromiou is exactly the first parallel street to Navarinou (from the east of Navarinou). The coordinates of my place are: 40°37’47.88”B and 22°57’03.47”E.
From the coordinates we can see that Thessaloniki center has latitude of 40° (seen both in Limani’s coordinates and my place’s coordinates). As we know from the book, 40° latitude means biome: Mediterranean Woodland. The climate in this biome has no extreme diversifications (Greece, California, S. Africa, Lebanon etc). It is cool and moist during fall, winter and spring, whereas hot and dry in summer. Its soil is generally fragile, low to fertility and erosion can be severe. Places of that biome suffer from regular fires and thus trees and animals that grow and live there are adapted to drought and fire. Also, human influences are substantial and usually there is a large population growth in Mediterranean Woodland. All of these characteristics stand for Thessaloniki as well and therefore the claim of this city being a Mediterranean Woodland is perfectly sound.
Although this biome has some standards which exist in almost every place of Mediterranean Woodland, there are some slight differentiations according to the exact and precise geographical placement. For instance, Thessaloniki has indeed all the determinants of that biome but has also some characteristics of its own (as a city) which influence its local (perhaps of smaller scale) climatic changes. One of these variables is its gulf. The fact that the center of Thessaloniki is so close to water (Thermaikos sea) increases the area’s humidity. Also, the presence of water makes the cold winters slightly less bitter since the sea functions always as a heat preserver (in winter).
|Country||Ecological Footprint (EF) (hectares per person)||Proportion relative to world average||Proportion relative to world area available||Gross Domestic Product (GDP)|
|United Arab Emirates||9.9||4.44||5.56||12650|
|North Korea (Asia)||1.5||0.67||0.84||16950|
From the table above, if we observe the relationship between the ecological footprints of all countries (relatively to our random sample of 12 countries), we will see that United Arab Emirates has the largest ecological footprint (9.9) whereas Bangladesh has the smallest (0.5). Also, it seems that the most common size is between 1.00 and 3.00 (Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, N. Korea, Brazil and Nigeria: 6 out of 12) and that consists 50% of the world average. In addition, Europe’s ecological footprint seems to be close to 6 (from 5 to 6) with the examples of France, Greece and Sweden. Another observation is that the US accompanied by the United Arab Emirates are the most demanding countries in ecological resources while Europe is the region to follow.
We should not forget that the one who consumes the most is also the one that exposes the most waste to the environment. For instance, the US’s ecological footprint is 9.9 simply because the United States is one (if not “the”) most development regions of the world. Extreme development has created a situation in which people are consuming much more quickly resources than the time world needs to provide them. A similar situation holds for the United Arab Emirates. Probably after the discovery of oil in the area development increased so rapidly causing excess environmental resources.
In contrast, Bangladesh’s ecological footprint is extremely small in comparison to the previously discussed countries. That is because, although Bangladesh is among the most densely populated countries, it is also very high in poverty rates. Of course development is present but is very little in comparison to its large geographic dimensions. In addition, Bangladesh is tropic in terms of climate; fact that results the country to a plentiful growth of vegetation (and generally ecological resources).
Finally, and by that I will explain my previous mentioning to poverty, income per capita does indeed influence countries’ ecological footprints. Our example (US vs Bangladesh) is a relevant example of that acquisition. More specifically, a country may be very dense in population and still having a much smaller impact to environmental capacity than a less dense country. That is because wealth plays a very significant role here. Wealth is what creates high development and high development is what causes extreme needs for resources. A country may be very dense but if in larger scale (majority of people) it is a poor country it will never reach that level and thus have a significantly small ecological footprint. (examples: Bangladesh, China, Korea etc)
My Ecological Footprint – Quiz Results
= 3.44 Earths
…still less than the average of Greece..