Coffee, Breakwater, and Mars

Besides the map exhibit (previous post), my university also had several other events for Geography Awareness Week: a talk on the geography of coffee (including a free tasting), a film screening, and a talk on the geography of Mars.

We kicked off Geo Week with a coffee talk by an undergrad, Bret Hartt.  Bret with the help of his brother Brooks, talked about the history of coffee and its influences on society.  You can download the talk here.  My campus paper, the Daily 49er, also covered the event and wrote this article on it.

(Note: the audio has been edited – part of the introduction and ending have been removed so that only the actual talk on coffee is presented).

The next event was also courtesy of Bret Hartt.  He’s not only interested in geography but also film and created this documentary on the Long Beach breakwater, titled “Breakwater”.  This film discussed various views on the good and bad reasons for keeping or destroying the breakwater, which you read more about at Surfrider and City of Long Beach.

Various people in the community were interviewed and gave their very different opinions on what should be done to the breakwater.  Those for tearing it down or reconfiguring it state environmental and health reasons while those that oppose removing it say that it’s too costly and dangerous to those owning property along the coast (erosion/wave damage to homes).

The film tries to be neutral, presenting both sides to allow the viewer to draw their own conclusions and seek out more information on this local problem.  After the showing there was a Q and A with Brett and the director, which you can download and listen to here.

(Note: the audio has been edited – part of the introduction has been removed and it ends abruptly because I had to leave early).

Outdoor screening of "Breakwater".

Outdoor screening of “Breakwater”.

Another fascinating talk was on the Geography of Mars, given by a CSULB faculty Dr. Christine Rodrigue.  Before this talk I had no idea there was such a subject.  I, like most people, think of geography as something only related to our planet, but this talk showed me that geography is amazing ANYWHERE!

The talk focused on the physical landscape as well as the inner workings of Mars.  Dr. Rodrigue said that 2/3 of the geographers studying Mars are physical geographers while 1/3 work in GIS.  You can download and listen to her talk here.

(Note: the audio has been edited – long pauses and times when Dr. Rodrigue was having technical difficulties with her computer have been removed).

Her talk included some amazing images from NASA and ESA, which Dr. Rodrigue also placed on this site.  Mouse over the images below to get more information.

This concludes my posts on Geography Awareness Week.  I hope you enjoyed them and became much more aware of what geography is and what geographers do.


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