Miriam has travelled a lot with her nine years and was already in over 20 countries – a milestone that I only reached with over 25 years. It’s great that with our German passport we have the opportunity to have all these experiences. But in other countries – and especially in Nepal, where we lived for a long time – she has often seen and experienced poverty, environmental problems and the destruction of nature. It is very important to me that she understands that these should not be viewed in isolation, but that in today’s world everything is simply interrelated. With the “Atlas of Globalisation” by “Le Monde diplomatique” we have now found a great book that helps us both to understand these connections a little better.
The Atlas of Globalization
The atlas of globalization with the appropriate subtitle “World in Motion” is divided into seven parts that deal with different topics. It deals, for example, with climate change, demographic challenges, flight and migration, and unresolved conflicts. Each article focuses on a regional topic, which, however, often represents a larger, global problem.
The book is certainly not a children’s book, but with Miriam I looked at selected chapters that had really exciting and new information for both of us, which made it possible to understand global connections a little better. Although I studied geography, Miriam always has questions for me that I can’t answer without further ado. In the Atlas of Globalization we have found answers to many of these questions and together we have opened up new fields of knowledge.
For example, we have learned that Japan is responding to the ageing of its society by developing care robots – perhaps a solution for Germany? In a chapter in the section on capitalism, we read about why developing countries today are increasingly left behind in economic development when they are pushed into free trade agreements. The rapid pace of technological progress does not make it any easier to keep up, so new and more inclusive instruments are needed to prevent the economies from drifting apart – an exciting idea in times of escalating protectionism in countries like the USA.
Especially exciting and unfortunately also familiar for Miriam and me was the chapter on labour migration from the Philippines. In Nepal this is also the order of the day, and the father of Miriam’s best friend has also been working in Malaysia for years. Millions of guest workers from poorer countries around the world ensure that the shop runs – and often pay a high price for it. The social structures in the home countries often fall apart because a large part of the young population is missing. A whole generation of children grows up without parents, and the social systems for old-age provision no longer work because people are missing. And unfortunately the guest workers come back home far too often in coffins, because the working conditions are often not good and very dangerous. Even if you then think that there is no such thing in Germany, reading the Atlas of Globalisation quickly makes it clear that nowadays no cruise ship or tanker leaves the port without a Filipino crew – so we are definitely part of the problem.
Cold air – the history of air conditioning
While we are sweating in the current heat wave, the chapter “Cold Air” is particularly topical (click here for a sample). It describes the triumph of air conditioning in a very exciting and entertaining way – and the effects it has had on the environment. Just yesterday I had discussed it with my mother, because it is hardly bearable in our not air-conditioned apartment, and unfortunately more such hot summers are to be expected. It was interesting for me that in this chapter it becomes clear that a colonization as it exists today in federal states like Florida would not have been possible without the air conditioning – and that even the distribution of births has changed due to the artificial cold. Whereas nine months after the hot summer months there used to be fewer births, this is no longer the case.
Le Monde diplomatique’s Atlas of Globalization really gives a good insight into today’s global challenges and their interrelationships. Also for me as a geographer every chapter had new information, which is beautifully presented in appealing graphics and overviews. The book has 183 pages and costs 18 Euro.
Selected chapters can also be read and discussed with children in order to better understand globalisation and all its consequences, both positive and negative. In order to be able to question something critically and possibly adapt it, it must first be understood, and our children will probably have the greatest role to play here.
Dear Eva, thank you very much for presenting this atlas. I hadn’t heard about it before and it sounds really exciting – all kinds of topics that move the world, us. Some more, others less. I think it’s great that you read it together with Miriam. I will take the opportunity to have a look at it and will certainly show it to my son when he is a few years older.
Ana Freitas Solop (Monday, 22 July 2019 14:22)
Dear Eva, I just found your blog. I am Brazilian and live in Germany with my 11 year old son. You speak to me quite often from the soul and I will accompany you and your Miriam from now on. Foi muito bom ter te encontrado! To abraco
Welcome to Miriam and Eva on the road! For more than five years we have been travelling the world and are still full of adventure. This blog is all about travelling and hiking with children – because everything that takes place outside is our passion!
Most of the time we spend in Nepal or Germany, but since 2016 we are also on the road a lot. Our absolute favourite country in Europe is now Slovenia!
Have fun browsing, and we are looking forward to your comments, travel suggestions and contacts!