Today we commemorate Columbus Day, an American holiday observed in some states, perhaps for Christopher Columbus’s perseverance and bravery rather than his geographical knowledge. In light of recent scares involving “potential Ebola cases” and air travel involving individuals who had been nowhere near the Ebola outbreak zone, it seems we all could use a little geography lesson.
via It’s Columbus Day. Let’s talk about geography and Ebola. – The Washington Post.
Face it, many places in Europe are closer to the Ebola outbreak than many places in Africa.
Greenland is actually about 1/14 the size of the African continent, but the misunderstandings perpetrated by old maps — plus cultural and media norms that often refer to Africa as one entity rather than an 11.7 million-square-mile land mass comprised of 54 countries and over 1.1 billion people who speak over 2,000 different languages
perpetuate many misconceptions.
Hopefully geography classes will do their part in educating students about the continent.
Africa is big. Really big. As this resource from Boston University’s African Studies program shows, the combined land masses of the United States (including Alaska), Europe, and China are all smaller than the African continent. The United States — including Alaska — would fit into Africa three times.
So although 3 tiny countries in West Africa are going through untold horrors, most of the massive continent is unaffected by Ebola. Except economically.
Safari bookings are way down, because ignorant people have no idea how far Kenya is from the outbreak zone.
These actions are based in fear, not reality. We are faced with risk every day, and would be better suited to understand our relative risks if we appreciated where in the world some places are.
What are you most at risk for? I bet it’s not Ebola.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Africa, Ebola, risk, size | Leave a comment »