WASHINGTON (Nov. 2, 2012)—Seventy-five percent of the farms that produce cocoa beans (the main ingredient in chocolate) are in West Africa; Cote d’Ivoire alone produces more than 30 percent of the world’s cocoa beans. However, Africa accounts for less than 3 percent of the world’s chocolate consumption. Schools and communities across the country will explore global connections and intersections like this during this year’s Geography Awareness Week, Nov. 11-17, with its theme “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence.”
Geography Awareness Week, established by presidential proclamation in 1987, is an annual public awareness program led by National Geographic that celebrates the importance of geography education. Each year, more than 100,000 Americans take part in Geography Awareness Week activities through programs in their schools, local communities and even their own backyards. Every year, National Geographic chooses a theme for Geography Awareness Week; this year’s “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence” theme investigates the idea that we are all are connected to the rest of the world through the decisions we make on a daily basis, including what foods we eat and the things we buy.
“This year’s theme explores the fact that every place on Earth is connected to every other, directly or indirectly,” said Danny Edelson, National Geographic’s vice president for Education. “For example, a drought in Mexico could affect the availability of fresh produce in the United States, especially in the winter and spring. To make good decisions in today’s world, people have to understand the connections that link places together.”
Geography Awareness Week’s online hub www.GAWeek.org, hosted on National Geographic Education Programs’ award-winning website NatGeoEd.org, offers access to activities, games and more, all relating geography to a variety of subjects as well as day-to-day life. This year’s new online activity is the global closet calculator, which lets site users examine the contents of their closets to see where on the planet their belongings come from, and compare their closets to those of others around the world.
The site features contributions from National Geographic and partner organizations such as WorldSavvy, National Environmental Education Foundation, National Council for Geographic Education and Esri. Educators and parents will find valuable lists of activities for at home and in the classroom, geographer profiles, family-friendly games and a downloadable Geography Awareness Week poster. Site visitors also can read and contribute to a Geography Awareness Week Blog-a-Thon, updated multiple times daily with commentary and multimedia features.
The website provides the opportunity to join nearly 10,000 geography supporters in promoting geo-literacy. A link to Speak Up for Geography (www.speakupforgeography.org) invites visitors to write to their senators and representatives to request federal funding for geography education.
Geography Awareness Week recently launched a CafePress store, with customizable merchandise. From Nov. 5 to 17, shoppers can get a 15 percent discount by entering the code GAWEEK at checkout.
In addition, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and self-described “Guerrilla Geographer” Daniel Raven-Ellison will be hosting a Google hangout video chat on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. ET. Check out the Nat Geo Education blog to find out how to participate.
Raven-Ellison, who believes in encouraging children and adults to experience the world around them in a more meaningful way, will present a lecture on “guerilla geography” at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., on November 13 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available online via the National Geographic Live website.
On the local level, during Geography Awareness Week, grassroots organizers around the country will host events, workshops and contests at local schools and community centers. The website offers a toolkit with resources on how to host a local Geography Awareness Week event, such as a community festival or a geography trivia evening.
Geography Awareness Week 2012 is supported by the Geo-Literacy Coalition, whose members include CH2M HILL, Esri, Google and the National Geographic Society.
About the Geo-Literacy Coalition
The Geo-Literacy Coalition is an alliance of organizations working to improve the preparation of Americans for 21st-century decision-making. The members of the Geo-Literacy Coalition are CH2M HILL, a global leader in consulting, design, design-build, operations and program management for government, civil, industrial and energy clients; Esri, which develops the world’s leading geographic information system (GIS) technology that enables organizations of all sizes in both the public and private sectors to take advantage of their geographic data; Google, a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information; and National Geographic.
About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; travel programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.