Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4

Articles

Can a pandemic stop or slow the Anthropocene?

Marek Więckowski

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 473-492 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0183

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Abstract:

The entire Earth system consists of fully dynamic conditions. Humankind’s manifold large and small influences on the planet are now very well-documented. Changes are now so vast, their traces so significant, that we have come to term this as if it was genuinely a new Epoch in that history – as the Anthropocene. Recently, however,the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how an ostensibly small event at a single locality can take just a few weeks or months to change the world, and in some real sense to stop it. The author in this article in particular seeks to inject a further dose of far-reaching reflection on our pandemic, its influence on life on Earth, and its possible future consequences. Ultimately, then, it seeks an answer for a key question – as to whether COVID-19 is really in a position to stop, or at least slow, the runaway Anthropocene.With a view to encouraging reflectionon humankind’s potentially reduced impact on the planet the Author suggests priority areas of study in the near future.

Keywords: Geography, Anthropocene, pandemic, COVID-19, IGU, globalisation

Marek Więckowski [marekw@twarda.pan.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences Twarda 51/55, 00‑818 Warsaw: Poland

Perspectives on internationalism in Geography

Michael E. Meadows

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 493-504 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0189

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Abstract:

International collaboration in science in general continues to grow and the discipline of Geography is increasingly becoming internationalized. Although there are many benefits to internationalism and, indeed, it is essential if we are to address major global challenges, there is debate as to whether or not existing power relations contribute to cementing unevenness and inequity among the global community of geographers. This is reflected in academic publication practices which clearly advantage particular communities over others. In this essay, I offer some thoughts on the nature of internationalism and its influence on representation in the global geographical community. Important constraints to greater inclusivity are highlighted and the role of the International Geographical Union in potentially offsetting some of the apparent inequities is discussed.The paper concludes with some thoughts as to what is needed if internationalism is to help reduce rather than accentuate such imbalances.

Keywords: internationalization, hegemony, scientific publications, International Geographical Union

Michael E. Meadows [michael.meadows@uct.ac.za], Department of Environmental and Geographical Science University of Cape Town Rondebosch 7701: South Africa; Department of Geographical Sciences East China Normal University Shanghai: PR China; College of Geography and Environmental Sciences Zhejiang Normal University Jinhua: PR China

Where the Meghalayan meets the Anthropocene: Stratigraphic signals of human-environmental interactions on the periphery of Indian civilisation

Paweł Prokop

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 505-523 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0185

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Abstract:

The aims of this study were to review human-environment interactions during the Meghalayan and to search for the stratigraphic boundary of a new epoch, informally termed the Anthropocene, as well as to determine whether the stratigraphic signals of human activity on the Meghalaya Plateau in Northeast India can be correlated globally. This plateau is the base of the Meghalayan Age that was determined from a speleothemin a cave located on it. Review indicates that study region developed on the periphery of ancient Indian civilisation, with stratigraphic signals of human activity being apparent in only the last few thousand years; that is, substantially later than the neighbouring ancient Indian civilisation. The stratigraphic signals are heterogeneous and diachronous, not only as a result of various human activities, but also in the effect of the diverse sensitivities of the environment to anthropogenic disturbances. A discrete and visible cultural layer that relates to the development of settlements and the production of new materials is still being formed and reworked.The only synchronous stratigraphic signal with a global range seems to be associated with the artificial radionuclide fallout from nuclear weapons testing, which covers a topsoil layer of up to tens of centimetres thick.

Keywords: stratigraphy, Holocene, Anthropocene, Meghalaya, human impact

Paweł Prokop [pawel@zg.pan.krakow.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences Jana 22, 31-018 Kraków: Poland

Challenges and opportunities for human geography: A few remarks

Vladimir Ira, René Matlovič

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 525-538 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0184

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Abstract:

In the long-term development of human geography we can observe a tendency to combine ideas from an intradisciplinary debate and those imported from outside the discipline. It is profoundly influenced by a number of impulses from the rapidly changing world. This paper provides a brief survey of challenges for human geography setting them within the context of paradigmatic development and economic, social, cultural, environmental, political, and technological changes. It briefly focuses on the debates of human geographers what their discipline could or should study in the near future and how it could be done. Part of the paper is devoted to a few reflections of authors from the Visegrad Four countries concentrating attention to further direction of human geography. Human geography is unlikely to be characterised by a mono-paradigm dominance in the next few decades, but a discussion on how to find a common base for the integration of paradigms in geography is likely to continue. Changing hierarchical structures, significant modernization processes, as well as local, regional and global changes influencing space-time behavioural patterns of humans can be expected among the main sources of inspiration for the human geographic research

Keywords: human geography, challenges, future directions, geographical thought, integration of paradigms, Visegrad Four countries,

Vladimir Ira [geogira@savba.sk], Institute of Geography Slovak Academy of Sciences Stefánikova 49, 814 73 Bratislava: Slovakia; Department of Geography, Faculty of Education University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice Jeronýmova 10, 371 15 České Budějovice: Czechia
René Matlovič [geogmatl@savba.sk], Institute of Geography Slovak Academy of Sciences Štefánikova 49, 814 73 Bratislava: Slovakia

The conservation of traumatic ruins: A sensitive issue to improve urban resilience

Antoine Le Blanc

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 539-552 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0186

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Preserved urban ruins convey a social and political message, sometimes with great impact. Whereas stakeholders often tend to cancel the traces of disaster, the conservation of ruins has been the consequence of much disputed decisions. Such decisions can be explained by the will to use the conservation of ruins as a preventive tool. Indeed, the conservation of a disaster’s traumatic marks can be a tool to perform urban resilience, sincethe urban system integrates the trauma, in an open purpose of risk mitigation. However, this instrument of risk management entails major urban planning issues. Many municipalities in various countries have decidedto preserve ruins after tragic events. They set up specific restoration and management standards, variousaesthetic and technical choices, access and presentation criteria, but they also indicate a political exploitationof the disaster.

Keywords: risks, catastrophe, ruins, conservation, resilience

Antoine Le Blanc [antoine.le-blanc@univ-littoral.fr], Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale F-59140 Dunkerque: France; TVES – Territoires Villes Environnement & Société Université de Lille Lille: France

Borderscapes and tourismscapes: The place of postcards in Mexican border town tourism

Dallen J. Timothy

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 553-568 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0188

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Since the early 1900s, Mexico’s northern border towns became important tourism destinations, receiving more foreign tourists than any other areas of Mexico. Historically, postcards followed the development of tourism in the borderlands, depicting unique border-oriented tourismscapes and life in general, and establishing an iconic image of the border as a rowdy, promiscuous and decadent location where Americans could spend their holidays abroad and participate in tourisms of vice. Until the 2000s, tourism in the US-Mexico border zone was overwhelmingly leisure oriented, and the proliferation of postcards illustrated that fact. Today, there are few postcards left and the ones that do remain are less focused on the border itself, as they once were; instead, they focus on the broader community with less emphasis on the borderline. Changes in border tourism from leisure pursuits to medical tourism and alcohol consumption, growing security concerns, and the proliferation of mobile phones and social media have almost entirely eliminated postcard use as a souvenir and marker of regional tourism identity in the US-Mexico borderlands.

Keywords: borders • tourism • postcards • Mexico • United States • landscapes

Dallen J. Timothy [dtimothy@asu.edu], School of Community Resources and Development Arizona State University 411 N. Central Avenue, Suite 550, 85004, Phoenix, Arizona: USA; School of Tourism and Hospitality University of Johannesburg Johannesburg: South Africa; College of Tourism Hunan Normal University Changsha: China

The Early Mediaeval Slav-German border (Limes Sorabicus) in the light of research into Y-chromosome polymorphism in contemporary and historical German populations

Mariusz Kowalski

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 569-596 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0190

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In the 8th century, the first political boundary between Germany (the land of the Franks) and the Slav people – known as Limes Sorabicus – followed the line of the Rivers Elbe and its tributary the Saale. In later centuries this was breached under the influence of an eastwards political expansion of Germany also characterised by developing German colonisation in that same direction (of the so-called Ostsiedlung). The consequence was for German regional communities to take shape to the east of the old Limes Sorabicus. Alongside the emigrants from the west, further participants in the process where autochthonous Slavs and Balts. This mixed origin of the new communities arising is revealed in historical accounts, but also via the results of scientific analyses of various profiles. The genetic research carried out to date supports the above contention, as well as a conclusion that the zone around the old Limes Sorabicus, despite its running through the centre of what is today an ethnically-German area, continues to represent a separation of populations whose ancestors are mainly of distinct origins.

Keywords: Germans, Slavs, eastward colonisation, origin of populations, relict boundaries, genetic research

Mariusz Kowalski [mar.kow@twarda.pan.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warsaw: Poland

Lichenometric curve for the southern slope of the Tatra Mountains (Slovak Tatras)

Stanisław Kędzia, Juraj Hreško, Gabriel Bugár

Geographia Polonica (2020) vol. 93, iss. 4, pp. 597-610 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.0187

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Abstract:

This paper presents the first lichenometric curve of Rhizocarpon geographicum for the southern slope of the Tatra Mts (Slovak Tatras). The curve was developed based on measurements carried out in the years 2018-2019. The curve was constructed using measurement results from 9 objects of known time of origin, situated in the Tatra Mts. at an altitude of 1,250-1,900 m a.s.l. On each of them, the diameter of the 5 largest thalli was measured. Their average diameter was assigned an age value and then the lichen factor was calculated and a classical lichenometric curve was developed, as well as a modified curve taking into account the effect of altitude on the rate of thallus growth. The lichen factor is in the range between approx. 34.5 mm/100 years at 1,900 m a.s.l. and 44 mm/100 years at 1,250 m a.s.l. No significant differences were found in the rate of thallus growth between the southern and northern slopes of the Tatra Mts.

Keywords: lichenometric dating, Rhizocarpon geographicum, Tatra Mountains

Stanisław Kędzia [kedzia@zg.pan.krakow.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 31-018 Krakow, Sw. Jana 22, Poland
Juraj Hreško [jhresko@ukf.sk], Department of Ecology and Environmentalistics Faculty of Natural Sciences Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra
Gabriel Bugár [gbugar@ukf.sk], Department of Ecology and Environmentalistics Faculty of Natural Sciences Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra