With Lonesome George an international icon for conservation has died (although there are still chances that his subspecies of the Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis abingdoni) will continue to exist). The extinction rate of endangered species however remains high and some say may even be the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. Less controversially it can be stated that the current extinction rates are higher than one would expect without humankind’s influence, and that more action to preserve the environment is needed. Continue reading
“A report released by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees shows 2011 to have been a record year for forced displacement across borders, with more people becoming refugees than at any time since 2000. UNHCR’s ‘Global Trends 2011′ report details for the first time the extent of forced displacement from a string of major humanitarian crises that began in late 2010 in Côte d’Ivoire, and was quickly followed by others in Libya, Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere. In all, 4.3 million people were newly displaced, with a full 800,000 of these fleeing their countries and becoming refugees.” (Quoted from the UNHCR Press Release)
In the Worldmapper project we have mapped refugees before (see the maps of refugee origins and destinations) but these maps are far more outdated than most material that we have on Worldmapper. Not only provides the new report a comprehensive updated series of data, but also are refugee numbers of an extremely changing nature as they do not follow general mid- or long-term trends (such as changes in population or carbon emissions). As the introductory statement indicates, humanitarian crises and other hardly predictable events can result in changing refugee patterns.
The following two maps show the updated picture of refugee trends in 2011 as published in the UNHCR report this week (which also saw the commemoration of World Refugee Day “dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world“. The two maps use the total numbers for ‘refugees and people in refugee-like situations’ according to their country of origin and destination. Excluded in these maps are those refugees whose origin is unknown or who are stateless:
Global inequalities in health find their expression in a wide range of issues that start in the very early ages of a person’s life. Children are most at risk, as health-related problems can have implications on the rest of their life – if they survive childhood at all. Finding the Final Fifth: Inequalities in Immunisation is the title of a new report published by Save the Children in partnership with ACTION and endorsed by the World Health Organisation.
The report takes a closer look at health inequalities related to immunisation coverage. With children being highly vulnerable, no access to immunisation is one of the preventable causes of death. Further efforts such as the Global Vaccine Action Plan (pdf) are needed to tackle the problem. “Reaching the hard-to-reach must be a priority for all countries“, concludes Save the Children in a statement prior to the 65th World Health Assembly where these issues were on the agenda.
The Worldmapper project contributed a cartogram series to the report, looking at some of the data that Save the Children used in its findings. The data shows how access to health and immunisation compares to mortality rates of children and how this data gives an indication of the prevailing global inequalities. We created four maps, of which three were included in the report (the following maps are modified version of these maps). The original data sources are given in the report (download link see below). The first map shows the mortality rates of under-five year old children:
The 5th of March 2012 marks the 500th birthday of Gerardus Mercator, the creator of the world map that profoundly changed our views of the world. He was not the only one who worked on a conformal map projection in the 16th century, which was still an age of exploration and discovery. But he was the first to do the maths right and complete a world map that allowed ships to navigate around the planet by its ability to represent lines of constant course. That makes the Mercator projection a milestone in the history of cartography and remains one of the central map projections up to the present day. Continue reading
‘How to Land a Jumbo Jet’ is the catchy title of a little book published by Lonely Planet a couple of month ago. The book is a “visual exploration of travel facts, figures and ephemera” and a “visual guide to the way we live, travel and inhabit the globe”. Edited by the British graphic designer Nigel Holmes, the book follows the increased interest in information graphics that started to flourish yet again with the increasing availability of ever growing amounts of data. Continue reading
In a report released by the Landmine Monitor it is stated that landmine use is ‘highest since 2004′ despite record clearances. While with Burma (Myanmar), Israel, Lybia and Syria, four of the 20% of countries who did not sign an international treaty to stop the use of land mines, continued to use new devices this year (and further armed groups in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia and Pakistan also laid new mines, as reported by the BBC), the deadly impact of these weapons reaches further than those countries. Continue reading