Possibilism _ NOLA

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UNIT I:
Intro to Geography
Cultural Ecology
Aristotle
“The well-known contrast between the energetic people
of the most progressive parts of the temperate zone
and the inert inhabitants of the tropics and even of
intermediate regions, such as Persia [modern day Iran],
is largely due to climate. . . .the people of the cyclonic
regions rank so far above those of the other parts of
the world that they are natural leaders.”
- What is he saying? Or eluding to?
What Geographers thought
before:
Environmental Determinism
Just from hearing the term, what do
you think this suggest?
Environmental Determinism

Human behavior is controlled [determined] by the
physical environment.

To Aristotle the most ideal climate was that of
Greece.

Today: Climates most suited for progress/productiveness
in culture, politics or technology is that of:
Western Europe
 USA


Why? What’s so great about those climates?
Why does Environmental
Determinism not hold true?

People are the decision makers and the modifiers
– not just slaves of environmental forces!

People and their cultures shape environments,
constantly altering the landscape and effecting
environmental systems.
So what do Geographers
follow today if Environmental
Determinism doesn’t hold
true?
Possibilism
Just from hearing the term, what do
you think that this suggests?
Possibilism

Environment merely serves to limit the range of
choices available to a culture.

Choices that a society makes depends on its
members’:
1.
2.

Things needed by that society
Technology available
Today , it is possible to do many things that are at odds
with the environment – examples?
Case Study in Possibilism:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Guesses as to how this city is an example of
Possibilism?
“City in a Bowl”
Why this locality?

Lake Pontchatrain
to the North

Mississippi to the
South
What makes this city unique?

Originally a Spanish city

Ceded to the French in 1763

Louisiana Purchase in 1803

Haitian Revolution in 1804
Current Demographics

As of 2000 – 484,674
people:




67.25% African American
28.05% Caucasian
2.26% Asian
3.06% Latino
When you think of
New Orleans what do you
think of ?
Hurricane Katrina 2005
What went wrong?
To see the sufferation sicken me
Them suit no fit me
To wine election they trick we
And they don’t do nuttin’ at all.
~Damian Marley, Welcome to Jam-Rock
Saturday, August 27

5 PM: Gov. Blanco & Mayor
Nagin warn residents of the
storm. Nagin declares a state of
emergency, but stops short of
calling a mandatory evacuation.
 WHY?

10 PM: NHC predicts that entire
Gulf Coast is in danger.
Sunday August 28

1240 AM: Katrina rated Category 4
 What does that mean?
 Hurricane PAM

8 AM: Superdome is opened as a
shelter of last resort?
 Why do they have to do this?
 Poverty rate in NOLA:
23.2% (about twice that of
the nation – USA Today)
 What ended up happening here?

5 PM: First signs of storm  rains
on fringe
Monday, August 29

MIDNIGHT: Beachside residents
report foot of water in homes.

3 AM: 17th St. Canal begins to breach
 What does that mean?
 Army Corps of Engineers

814 AM: Industrial Canal breaches –
flooding Lower 9th Ward (6-8 ft. of
flooding)
 Why is this ward important?

645 PM: Coast Guard begins rescues
with only 7 helicopters

8PM: Gov. Blanco pleads for help from
Pres. Bush
Tuesday, August 30

By end of day: 20,000 in Superdome

6 AM: Area surrounding Superdome
has 3 ft. of water.

10 AM: Sandbags being used to aid
breaches

1053 AM: Nagin declares
mandatory evacuation.

407 PM: House Speaker tells Pres
Bush:
“the People of Mississippi are flat on
their backs. They are going to need
your help.”
Why didn’t people
leave?
Wednesday, August 31

78,000 of NOLA residents are
living in shelters

Superdome = 26,000

9 AM: Gov. Blanco continues to
call Pres.

11 AM: Superdome is closed,
people go to Convention Center

NOON: Water finally stops rising

3 PM: Pres. Bush meets for only
one hour in D.C. to discuss
disaster
Thursday, September 1

4,000 People stranded on I10: many are elderly and
without Rx.

Convention Center = 1520,000

2 AM: 1st Evacuees to
Houston arrive

2 PM: Mayor Nagin delivers
ultimatum to rest of the
country on CNN
Mayor Nagin on CNN
“I need reinforcements. I need troops man. I
need five hundred buses, man. This is a national
disaster. I’ve talked directly with the President.
I’ve talked to the head of Homeland Security.
I’ve talked to everybody under the sun.”
Friday, September 2

National Guard troops =
19,500; 6500 in NOLA

455 AM: Gould CNN
correspondent calls it a
“genocide” and says: “Okay, so
we got to sit by and watch 4 or
5 more elderly sick people die
or some—another baby die, or
whatever, while they’re making
up their minds to come in.”

230 PM: Pres. Bush makes it to
NOLA
Saturday, September 3

Katrina has impacted 90,000
sq. mi. – size of Great
Britain

215 AM: Evacuation of
Superdome almost complete

NOON: Buses arrive to
Convention Center

547 PM : Superdome is
empty.
FEMA?
What is it or what was it supposed to
do?
Ethel Freeman
Paper Assignment
Although Possibilism allows for humans to virtually
build anything anywhere, is it really worthwhile for the
city of New Orleans to rebuild the levees/city after the
wreckage of Hurricane Katrina – why or why not?
Lil Wayne &
Hollygrove, NOLA
Interview with Tony Zumbado –
CNN correspondent
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