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Mongolia Five Themes of Geography (by Tessa Berns)
Transcript of Mongolia Five Themes of Geography (by Tessa Berns)
Below: the Uigher territory at the height of their empire. Left and above: Khitan men hunting with eagles and the Khitan empire. Above and left: modern-day Kyrgz women and the historical empire. H. E. I. In Mongolia, people have used the environment innovatively, creating lumber, mining, industrial, and herding markets, thus creating jobs for them and their families. However, this has also affected and sometimes hurt the environment, an issue which has come to light in recent years. Governmental and non-governmental groups have responded to this both positively and negatively, with some companies halfway between conservation of water and their limited budgets. These are all part of the relationship between humanity and the environment. In any place, the interaction between the environment and humans is fascinating and reveals much about the country's culture. How they use it, how they've changed it and the consequences of this change, the government's and people's response to it, and what jobs that have been made because of the environment are another way to look at Mongolia's culture. We will look at the interplay between both modern industry and the environment, and traditional ways of life and the environment. Mongolia, in recent decades, has gleaned a great deal from using the environment for manufacturing and production, but has also continued using it for semi-nomadic herding. Its economy has seen growth, mainly due to the formerly untapped natural resources in the land. The mining industry, for instance, is around 30% of GDP and government revenues, and composes nearly 80% of export earnings. It was the largest exporter of coal to China last year, and has deals with foreign coal companies. Its mining sector includes coal, copper, iron, gold, fluorite and other minerals. In addition, Mongolia's western forests have provided lumber to use. Mongolia also has a heritage of herding and livestock, so it is no suprise that these animal resources continue to be used and sold by the nomadic population. Goats, for example, provide cashmere, an expensive commodity, and cattle can provide leather. Sheep and cattle are both valuable meat sources; dairy products can be taken from most livestock for the family's own consumption. Not only are these animals part of the environment impacted by humans, but they also feed on the grasslands, which are thus also used by humans. The resources of the environment, both living and inanimate, can and are used as resources by sedentary and semi-nomadic humans so that they might prosper. On the other hand, as a result of the exploitation of the natural resources, the air, soil, and creatures could be negatively affected, with disastrous consequences. The mining, for example, could pollute the water sources, which already suffer from lack of sufficient sanitation. This results in water contamination, imperiling the water source of years to come. Nearly 1700 hectares have been polluted in relation to mining. The lumber industry contributes to heavy deforestation, as much as 60 thousand hectares a year, which means that there will be fewer trees in the future to use as resources for humans, and animals that rely on these trees might not have homes or adequate food. More indirectly, transportation of these natural resources and inefficient energy usage creates smog, manifested in respiratory illnesses that are increasingly common in children under five. The effects of the herding are not so obvious, but are just as serious. Goats are easily the most destructive animal out of the ones common in Mongolia, as they eat all of the plants in the grassland unlike the other livestock, which leaves weeds behind. Despite this, raising them is growing more common because of the high price of cashmere. Not only this, but the overall herd is larger, due to better resources and medicine. The grasslands bear a risk of becoming deserts in comparatively few years; the consumption of nutrients is more than the yield. Thus this might create more air pollution from the resulting dust. The changes made to the environment and the myriad consequences of these changes, worrying as they may be, are part of the interaction between humans and the environment. Because the environment is being hurt this way, the government and people have reacted to this by pressuring for more environmental protection laws-but some have continued polluting the environment. Mining laws governing pollution and fining those who do pollute have increased as of last year, fines depending on the rarity and value of the resources polluted. However, up until 2011 Oyu Tolgoi had continued to use surface water as a resource, which would force nomadic locals to search harder for a water source. It said it would reconsider and is hopefully trying to make its impact more positive by taking water from another aquifer. The company operating the mine will attempt to monitor biodiversity in the environment. The Mongolian Nature Protection Civil Movements Coalition (MNPCMC), a non-governmental group, has started an initiative to engage stakeholders in conserving the environment through discussing the mineral sector. The damage to 70% of Mongolia’s grazing grassland has been reported upon by the World Wildlife Fund and CNN, as well as several governmental ministers from Mongolia, but it seems as though because this is a small, local phenomenon there are fewer ways to stop it. The Mongolian herders reacted negatively to the lower price of cashmere, raising more goats and using more land. However, both the Mongolian Environmental Civil Council (MECC) and the Mongolian Nature Protection Civil Movements Coalition (MNPCMC) were formed in 2008, and have tried to reduce deforestation, overgrazing, and other issues. The Mongolian people’s and government’s reaction to environmental issues is an integral part of the interaction between them and the environment. Whatever one thinks of the human treatment of the environment, the environment has provided multiple jobs for people who would otherwise have been poor and unable to feed themselves. Manufacturing jobs, mining jobs, and transportation-related jobs have all been made possible because of the environment. Life is only possible because of the environment's water; cleansing jobs have been created due to this. The environment has also created a way of life: semi-nomadism. For thousands of years people have moved semi-annually, herding and relying on livestock-part of their environment-and the grasslands-the environment. Every day they are milked and sheared; they must be taken care of and fed. The environment plays a huge part in the everyday life of workers and herders who rely on it. Tavan Tolgoi, the now defunct coal mine in Mongolia Left from top to bottom: goats and a horse. Below, air pollution in Ulaanbaatar prevents visibility. Rows upon rows of cut down trees The various regions of Mongolia include the physical, the cultural, and the political. The physical region is the landscape and climates, the cultural the way people live, and the political the way legislation is passed and how the country is run. These regions are separate and yet intricately connected; they combine with each other to create a magnificent and layered fabric: Mongolia. Region The land, people, and government are separate areas but are interconnected with each other. They are, when combined, a unified-or not-whole, and when taken separately are perspectives through which to scrutinize and better understand Mongolia. Lastly, the political region of Mongolia relates to how the government is set up. Composed of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, Mongolia’s government is intimately connected to the other regions while divergent from them. The executive branch, like ours, has a president who serves for four years, but off the popular vote, not the electoral. It also has a prime minister, who also serves for four years but based off the votes of the legislative branch’s largest party or coalition. The prime minister chooses the cabinet members, with input from the president and legislative branch. Again quite like ours, the legislative branch is a body of representatives from the districts of the country. However, Mongolia’s legislative branch, called the State Grand Hural, is formed only partly from these districts’ specific vote for the representatives (48 politicians represent 26 districts); the other part are taken proportionally from each party’s share of the vote (28 of them). Because this is based off a vote, the president and prime minister must bend to the will of their people-the culture of their people. Thus, they are affected by the cultural region. On the other hand, they are distinct form their people because they have a four-year-tenure in which to make unpopular decisions. Nevertheless the legislative and executive branches are both Mongolian in their details, which represents the cultural region too-and we must not forget that the politicians are also Mongols. The government also makes decisions that affect the culture of the country. The last section of government, less connected to the cultural region because it is less vote-based, is the judicial branch. This is divided again into two courts: the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Unlike the U. S.’s court system, the Supreme Court hears appeals from lower courts, while the Constitutional Court makes rulings on whether laws abided by Mongolia’s constitution. Ultimately, the governmental region of Mongolia is tied to but divorced from the other two regions. It is the cultural region of a place that brings it to life; it controls to a point how the political region functions and in turn is controlled in part by the physical region. It includes how people live, which we will be discussing today, to what they believe, to what foods they eat. Mongolia’s substantial semi-nomadic population (about half of the total) and its urban, sedentary population (the other half), as well as the people in between, are elements of this region. The semi-nomadic population lives in gers, usually modernly equipped circular dwellings made of latticed wood and canvas, and moves regularly every season or so, so that their herds of sheep, goats, yaks, and others can graze on new grassland, as mentioned earlier. Horses are frequently used to herd these animals and move the gers. The urban population, however, has congregated in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, and lives much the same as in the United States. Their residences primarily date from the Soviet era. Some of those in the city are not, though, as prosperous as either of the other parts of the population. These are those caught between nomadic life and the city, who for whatever reason have had to move into urban life. Though most still reside in gers, the outskirts of the city where they have to live are smoggy and unpleasant. Around a quarter of the entire population lives like this. All of these percentages and ways of living are an component of the cultural region, and are connected to the other regions but distinct, too. While it may appear irrelevant, the physical region influences greatly all the other regions. For example, the central steppe, which composes most of Mongolia’s land, caused Mongols to live nomadically, herding animals that thrive there. This affects the cultural region significantly. It does so today, its grasslands supporting sheep, goats, and livestock, among other wildlife. Contrast that to the Gobi desert, in southern Mongolia, which is oddly cold due to its polar location but still arid, and thus inhospitable for most activities apart from cattle herding. The next and last element of Mongolia is the mountains, which are cold and quite high, as would be expected of mountains, and sustain predatory birds and others. These all contribute to the landscape-related region in Mongolia. At top is Prime Minister Norovyn Altankhuyag; below him is President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj The soyombo: a symbol of Mongolia. The fire represents growth, the three prongs past, present, and future; the sun and moon eternity, the universe, or the origin of Mongols; the two triangles weapons defeating enemies within and without; the two rectangles on the inside the justice of the people; the yin/yang symbol the contrast of male and female; the outside rectangles walls keeping Mongolia safe; and lastly at the bottom a ceremonial scarf (or, as it appears to me, a lotus blossom as in Buddhism) is represented. It is also the symbol of the Legislative branch. A communist star was put on top of the fire during the 20th century. The Mongolian coat of arms: the teardrops represent Buddhist jewels, which are said to grant wishes; the blue to eternal blue sky; the horse is a wind horse, representing a treasured steed and the sovereignty and independence of the Mongolian people, in which there is again the soyombo; then the dharma wheel from Buddhism upon green mountains; encircling this is the tumen nusan, for eternity and finally this is placed upon a ceremonial scarf: the khadag. The flag of Mongolia: red representing progress, the blue a Buddhist symbol representing sky and purity. Again we see the soyombo. It used to have a communist star on it. 0 .2 .4 .6 .8 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 81. 82. Halh Kazakh Dorvad Bayad Buriad Dariganga Zahchin Urianhai Others Foreigners Ethnicities in Mongolia Percentages Ethnic Group This graph shows the unique human characteristics as exemplified in Place, and demonstrates an aspect of the cultural region. Ethnic groups in Mongolia are shown as percentages here out of 2,373,500 people as of the 2000 census. The Halh are by far the largest ethnic group, and speak Khalha Mongolian, which is the national language. Rio Tinto Expects Mongolia's OK for Oyu Tolgoi Exports Soon
Published May 09, 2013Dow Jones Newswires
Rio Tinto PLC (RIO.AU) expects final approvals from Mongolia to ship copper and gold from its Oyu Tolgoi mine within weeks, a big step forward for the nation's largest investment project that has been caught up in a row over costs between the miner and the government.
Rio Tinto had previously targeted commercial production by the end of June, but now thinks it will be able to start shipping material to its customers by that time, Chief Executive Sam Walsh said Thursday.
"This will depend on the ongoing discussions with the government of Mongolia," Mr. Walsh said following the company's annual meeting in Sydney.
Talks have so far been "very productive and very constructive," he added.
Mr. Walsh said approvals for the transportation and shipment of material from the mine, located in the Gobi Desert, are expected "in the next couple of weeks, and that will facilitate the shipments."
Rio Tinto controls Oyu Tolgoi LLC, the company responsible for developing the mine, through its majority ownership of Toronto-listed Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ).
Mongolia owns a 34% stake in Oyu Tolgoi, but is refusing to support Rio Tinto's efforts to raise as much as US$6 billion to fund the next phase of development and has queried what it says are rising costs for the project. Rio Tinto and Mongolia have agreed to continue funding the US$6.2 billion first phase of the Oyu Tolgoi mine. The second phase of the project is still expected to cost $5.1 billion to build, despite the exclusion of a $1.16 billion coal-fired power station and $645 million concentrator expansion from the plan.
"I think we have moved well down the path in terms of resolving issues the government had tabled with us, enabling us really to move forward with the project," said Mr. Walsh, without elaborating further. The budget for the project remains under monthly review, he added.
Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at email@example.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires Rio Tinto, the company that owns the mining company by the name of Oyu Tolgoi LLC, expects approval from Mongolia's government, which owns 34% of the company, to ship copper and gold from the mine of the same name in the Gobi Desert. It expects to be shipping by July, depending on negotiations with the government, ahead of its original expectations. This is after a long conflict between the two concerning costs. The government has refused to support fundraising for more than half a billion US dollars just for the first phase up until now, but has now agreed. The second phase, costing almost as much, is still unresolved.
The reason this is important is because it will affect people's lives. People who rely on resources the coal mine potentially uses up might be forced to leave if the negotiations succeed; people who rely on the company and those who have invested in it will lose out if they don't succeed. It will affect the way people view the government's actions, and thus will affect the way the government deals with this. This also affects the economic success and health of Mongolia overall. If the company creates jobs for the poor, this will hopefully aid the government's revenue for services and help the GPD and unemployment rate; if it lands in debt and doesn't succeed, the government's finances will be negatively affected because of a bad investment and perhaps the overall economy will be negatively affected.
Determinants of News
Timeliness-this only happened three days ago.
Conflict-the government and Rio Tinto's cost-related ideas are conflicting, bogging down the operation.
Progress (or lack thereof)-this shows progress in developing Mongolia's resources and in the negotiations, but a lack of progress because this might hurt the environment and will cost quite a lot of money.
Suspense-we don't know if the mine will turn out well or if it will be developed; the outcome of the ongoing negotiations is a mystery for us.
Consequence-this will have consequences for the livelihoods of people who work for the company and the government. It will also affect the people who live in the Gobi because the mine could impair their ability to find resources and create air pollution.
Human Interest-this could help people find jobs and feed their families; conversely it could force nomadic families to move to the cities because of scarce resources.
This is related to the H.E.I., the Place, and Movement. The H. E. I. is related because the coal mine might negatively affect the environment around it by polluting the air and water; it could inadvertently destroy natural habitats and the creatures already living in the Gobi because of smoke and runoff. The Place includes the economy and commodities that are unique to Mongolia: Oyu Tolgoi would play a part in creating characteristic economic commodities: copper and gold. These unique commodities must be shipped, however, by train, plane, or truck; they must be moved from one place to another, as in the theme Movement. The potential pollution and the distinguishing commodities resulting from the mine, and the way these commodities will be transported closely tie in the the Themes of Geography. Current Event Article Analysis http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2013/05/09/rio-tinto-expects-mongolia-ok-for-oyu-tolgoi-exports-soon/ Thank you for watching. 1 1. "Altai Alpine Meadow and Tundra." The Encyclopedia of Earth. The Encyclopedia of Earth, 9 Aug. 2012. Web. 15 May 2013.
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