Today’s maps take a look at some challenges for economic and political decision-making. Doing the right thing – like addressing climate change and global inequality – isn’t easy. But the issues are real, folks, and they’re scary. And they’re going to require bold and transformational changes, which takes courage. Let’s take a look at where we are today. [Remember, you can click on any map to zoom in on more details.]
Each Country’s Top Export in the world.
You can see from this map, using 2018 UN Comtrade data, why weaning the world from oil and coal is no easy task. There are lots of jobs and tax dollars in play, in many countries. That doesn’t mean there can’t be just as many jobs and tax dollars in a green economy.
Russia and Europe have ties that bind.
Speaking of oil, since we are currently still hooked on it, this map tells the tale of why European countries – EU and otherwise – are sensitive to maintaining a working relationship with Russia despite many issues. That’s where their oil comes from, unless you’re Norway.
Fish stocks around the world.
This map brings into focus why the dispute on fishing quotas in the waters between Britain and France kept Brexit negotiations going for so long. There are a lot of fish in those waters!
The world’s busiest container ports.
This 2012 map is older than I would like, but newer data suggests that the proportions of business remain the same, and I couldn’t find an updated map. There’s no doubt where the action is!
World Ecological Footprint.
This map takes some studying. It has a damning statement for all of us in the so-called developed nations. We are using far more of the Earth’s resources than can be regenerated or be available for people who are currently going without. A lot of this has to do with meat consumption.
As stated in the small print in the lower right of the map:
The Ecological Footprint per person is a nation’s total Ecological Footprint divided by its total population. To live within the means of our planet’s resources, the world’s Ecological Footprint would have to equal the available biocapacity per person on our planet, which is 1.7 global hectares. So if a nations’ per person Ecological Footprint is 6.8 global hectares, its citizens are demanding four times the resources and wastes our planet can regenerate and absorb in the atmosphere.
Notice that the green countries on the Ecological Footprint map are those of the poorest countries. They’re the ones using less than their fair share of the planet’s resources, and they are hungry. Many of the bio-resources in their countries are being used to feed us. Very sadly, as well, much of our waste is going back to them.
But, world hunger has been abating.
This map has some cautiously optimistic news about decreases in world hunger. The data in this map is from 2017; let’s pray that the global pandemic doesn’t contribute to setting that trend back, or at least not for very long.
Plenty of food for thought.