Making the World a Better Place

Redlands, California
34.055569300000, -117.182538100000
Journal Entry:

When I was finishing college and starting out as a teacher, people would say, "You're a geographer? Well, don't ask me about state capitals, I don't know them." When I said that geography is more than state capitals, people were often confused and asked questions about what it really meant to be a geographer. I would tell them that geography is the study of the world and all that is in it, which is a lot!

Everything happens somewhere, and usually things are where they are because of several reasons. One reason is that something being where it is affects other things. People who understand these patterns and relationships can help farmers optimize their crops and treatments. They can help planners and transportation engineers understand why traffic accidents often clump along a given stretch of road. They can help politicians running for office, wildfire fighters planning firelines, epidemiologists racing to slow a pandemic and countless other tasks in almost every industry.

To do this, they should know how to create and work with data, be able to analyze data sets or complex problems from different viewpoints, be comfortable asking "what if" questions and be able to communicate in compelling ways.