I thought I’d share these simple but incredibly neat and telling maps of a couple of key factors of our modern global society and its foibles, not only to show you how fun it actually can be playing with maps and programs like GIS (geographical information systems) to produce such beauties, but how useful they are in teaching us about the world in a concise way.
I can assure you this love is not just because I’m currently a geographer…that has nothing to do with it.
The first of the maps that graced my presence today was the one you see above. It shows, in graded colours, how every country in the world has changed in regards to its Environmental Performance Index, a very clever way of showing whether a country has done good, or done bad. Basically, those in the red and orange fall into the latter category, such as Russia or South Africa, whilst the greens portray the golden apples.
It’s explained in the original study that this dark red smear over Russia is most likely down to the poor air quality, child health, forest felling and fish depletion, all of which are comfortable failing miserably, as is the case in those under the orange banner. On the other hand, us Europeans, a good portion of SE Asia and N America all appear to be greatly increasing their EPI, suggesting advances in all things environmental and green (forgive the pun), and that all is just lovely.
Of course, this map doesn’t take into account certain aspects of the entire sustainable debate, so I would hope it doesn’t get taken at face-value as a solid advocate for halting low-carbon investment and the like because the UK is ‘green’ on the scale.
This could easily be skewed in some part by the phenomenon of carbon leakage, in which developed nations offset their carbon emissions by simply relocating industry and dirty manufacturing in lesser developed nations, not only lowering their overall score, as seen by the orange and red, but at the same time raising the originators. However, this is unlikely to impact the criteria used in this map by too bigger a degree, as other factors will balance it. What I feel is important to take from this map, is that the world is actually making a pretty fine attempt at improving itself, even if sometimes it seems we’re surrounded by absolute fools.
This next one is particularly nice, and just one of a large set I urge you to check out on the subject of billionaires. Here we see the spread of billionaires depending upon where they currently reside, which is why the maps have been ballooned and shrunk in such an odd way.
To no surprise, the US dominates the map, with China and Russia alongside, whilst the rest of Europe sits with roughly the same amount of wallet-busting aficionados in the background; even Brazil has quite a sizeable impact on the global presence of money.
What is pretty astounding to me, even though it is again not too surprising, is the complete absence of Africa and many Middle East nations, pushed entirely out of the picture by their neighbourly states, demonstrating just how little of the world’s big money ever finds it way there.
I think a nice addition would be some sort of flow diagram or separate map showing how this money moves around, where it goes and whether the money is first generated in those nations not represented on this map, before being whisked away into the bank accounts somewhere in the US or Moscow.
One last note; if you combined the earnings of each and every one of these single people’s wallets, and shared this value over the global population, how much do you think each person would receive? Little, a lot, or just plain stupid and move on to the next subject?