Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
In response to a question about why America has fallen behind in global educational outcomes (the United States placed 17th among a ranking of 50 countries in 2012), Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that the problem began when “mom got in the work place.”
Bryant quickly noted that his remark about working mothers was “controversial” and would get him “a lot of emails,” and attempted to clarify that he meant working parents in general: “In today’s society parents are so challenged. They’re working overtime.”
But, contrary to what Bryant may believe, working mothers don’t seem to be a problem in Finland, the top-rated country for education. According to 2013 data, more than 70 percent of mothers in Finland work, which is right on par with numbers in the United States. So the problem may have more to do with, say, the American education system, than with women’s increasing role as breadwinners, as a report from Stanford University notes:
In the last decades, U.S. and Finnish education policies have appeared to be moving in opposite directions. While U.S. public schools moved to standardized testing, Finnish schools eschewed nationwide tests to evaluate teachers, students or schools, instead relying on sample-based testing and school principals to identify potential problems, [Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish education expert] said.
While U.S. public schools are locally funded, usually from property taxes, and rewarded based on high performance through programs such as the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top grants, Finnish schools are nationally funded based on the number of students. Schools are provided additional funding if they have a higher proportion of immigrants or students whose parents are uneducated or unemployed, he said.
[Linda] Darling-Hammond [co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education] who wrote about the Finnish educational system in her book The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future, also contrasted America’s test-based teaching to Finland’s more flexible system.
“The [Finnish] curricula are very much focused on critical thinking and problem solving, project-based learning, and learning to learn,” she said. “There is a lot of collaboration in the classroom.”
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.