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ASPECT FROM RAGS TO RICHES Exploring the favela neighbourhood of Rocinha, Brazil

DID SOMEONE DIE FOR THIS DIAMOND Investigating the world of blood diamonds

THE G8 CRISIS ON SYRIA Will there ever be peace in Syria?

CONTACTING THE UNCONTACTED Living in complete isolation


the TEAM Editor-in-Chief: Elspeth White Art Editor: Bailey Williamson-Ward Journalists: Bea White Phoebe Tatton-Brown Isabel Cole Meredith Frost Bella Guimaro-Rowe

on the COVER The Cover Photo Taken by: Every Little Action, Wordpress Page 4:

FROM RAGS TO RICHES Written by Phoebe TattonBrown

Page 16: DID SOMEONE DIE FOR THIS DIAMOND? Written by Bella GuimaroRowe Page 12: THE G8 CRISIS ON SYRIA Written by Isabel Cole Page 14: CONTACTING THE UN CONTACTED Written by Bea White 2

CONTENTS July 2013 Page 4:


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Rocinha is the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro housing over 69, 356 people, according to the latest census, although it is thought that there are 100,000 – 200,000 inhabitants. This population is one of squatters, but is what they are doing squatting? High on the hill above the city the sprawling settlement resides. What once was a struggling shantytown is now seen as established neighbourhood. The community, which occupies just 0.86 km2, used to be made of falling down wooden shacks separated by dirt tracks. In the last 20 years or so those who live there have transformed the area; they built concrete houses, with some buildings reaching three or four stories and almost everyone now has basic running water, sanitation and electricity. When you think of shantytowns, you see images of sewage in the street, tin roofs and no basic amenities. However in Rocinha, the infrastructure has developed so far that streets are lined with businesses from banks to doctors, with bus lines and cable television. The area is so advanced that it has its own TV channel, TV ROC, and a McDonalds franchise. 4

However even with all this development, life is still hard in the favela. With so many people crammed into such a small space, disease can spread quickly and it is estimated that at least 6,000 people have a health related disability, although many wouldn’t consider this representative. This is a stark reality compared to its neighbouring communities. São Conrado and Gávea are two of Brazil’s wealthiest neighbourhoods which offer its inhabitants excellent health care and education. This contrast in healthcare mirrors the disparity in education with residents only having 4.1 years on average in education and less than 1% of the adult population having a diploma from higher education, restricting job opportunities. In spite of this Rocinha is much more advanced than many of the other slums around the world where electricity isn’t even in the equation and communal toilets are the norm. Although life is hard for the residents of Rocinha, it is better than other favela’s in Rio as it now has the status ‘favela bairro’ or ‘favela neighbourhood’.



the future of GM

CROPS On June 20th Mr Paterson, the environmental secretary, said GM crops offer “the most wonderful opportunities to improve human health” but these controversial crops meet much criticism from green groups. He even went as far as saying that “the use of more precise technology and the greater regulatory scrutiny probably make GMOs even safer than conventional plants and food". His statements have been backed up previously by Anne Glover, the EU chief scientist, who says “there is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health on animal health or on environmental health”. The example of golden rice can be taken as an outstanding illustration of GM’s beneficial effects as this crop helps developing countries as it has increased levels of vitamin A which can prevent blindness in young children. However even though golden rice was developed in 1999, it has yet to be grown commercially. Mr Paterson stated that around 7 million children have gone blind or died in this time. The EU has been deadlocked on GM for a long time with currently only 2 crops approved for commercial growing and a further 7 waiting for approval. In the UK there are no commercial GM crops grown although cattle, sheep and pigs are often fed on imported GM. To add urgency to the matter, there have also been price spikes for basic commodities in 2008 and 2010 due to growing problems such as resource diminution, population growth, environmental degradation and climate change. 6

fact, Mr Paterson's speech coincided as the same week that the National Farmers Union warned that the UK's wheat crop could be 30% smaller than last year because of extreme weather. Furthermore world demand for food is predicted to increase by 50% by 2030. Mr Peter Kendall, the President of the National Farmers’ Union is a clear fan of GM - "We are not developing the crops we need for the future, we need to develop crops which will help us manage with less water and crops which don't need to be sprayed for insects. The resilience we need for the future will be delivered by smart plant breeding - and that's all GM is." Many others are concerned too; Sir John Beddington, the government’s Chief Scientist has been quoted saying "a perfect storm that presents a serious challenge to global food security". He like many others believes that GM could be the solution; "The fact is that we're not making any more land. If we're going to feed a growing population, raise the poorest out of poverty and address these problems of food security, then in some cases GM may actually be the answer. We've got to look for a significant and sustainable intensification of agriculture". However there are always two sides to every argument and in this case it is the environmental supporter Greenpeace in protest. Fourteen years ago, Greenpeace supporters broke into a field in Norfolk and destroyed a genetically modified wheat crop. This sparked a campaign which eventually forced the government to 7

Last year it’s estimated that around 170 million hectares of GM crops were farmed in 28 countries. The global GM leaders are currently the US, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and India; yet only one plant is known to be grown across the whole of the UK. To summarise, here are the pros and cons – should we grow GM crops here in the UK? Advantages:


GM crops can provide more nutrients, vitamins, and reduced saturated fats than traditional varieties.


Crops can be resistant to disease and insects, potentially cutting farming costs on pesticides and herbicides.


GM crops are already consumed in high quantities in the U.S. with no health concerns.


Crops can have a longer shelf life.


Testing of new GM crops is very thorough.


GM crops could reduce world hunger



GM crops could damage small farms as they become reliant on seeds from the corporation. They could also damage foreign farming if tropical crops can be grown in temperate climates.


Risk that crops and insects may develop resistance, creating ‘super weeds/super insects’


Not all the effects are known and the risks could be overlooked by the profit driven corporations.


Some studies show crop yields are not increased. MEREDITH FROST


you should come to



COMPETITION Have you taken a photograph that shows an ASPECT of geographical life? We are looking for a photograph to grace the cover of the next issue of ASPECT magazine and 2 runners up to have their photograph shown inside the magazine. Please can all photographs be ‘portrait’ and emailed to Good luck!


a place in pictures,



I had the pleasure of going to Lanzarote for a week in Easter. To give you some background information, Lanzarote is a Spanish island that is part of the Canary islands. It is located 79 miles of the coast of Africa, giving it a mild, dry climate with a low annual rainfall - a perfect year-round destination. Its distinctive landscape is often referred to as ‘Lunar ‘ or ‘Martian’ as the island is of volcanic origin. Here are some of my holiday snaps. BAILEY WILLIAMSON-WARD 11

the G8 crisis ON SYRIA This year the G8 summit was hosted by the UK in Northern Ireland. It consisted of the most powerful leaders; Cameron from the UK, Obama from the USA, Putin from Russia, Harper from Canada, Merkel from Germany, Hollande from France, Letta from Italy and Abe from Japan. This is one of the most powerful gatherings on Earth but this year the meeting in Northern Ireland was overshadowed by a disaster that no one seemed able to prevent: Syria’s nightmarish civil war.

Among the G8 powers, Russia is already heavily involved in Syria. It has supplied vital weapons and support to the otherwise isolated Syrian government, led by the dictator Bashar al Assad (his only other major ally is Iran). On the other side, Britain, France and the US have been helping the rebels with ‘non-lethal’ supplies. Last week, however, the US declared that it would start giving Syria’s rebels what they really want: weapons of war. UK Prime Minister David Cameron is keen to do the same, although the precise extent of this new military support remains unclear.


There are 3 main arguments: 1.

US scientists have claimed to have found evidence of chemical weapons and have therefore promised serious consequences if they cross the ‘red line’. The critics and Russia, however, say the evidence of chemical weapon usage is not strong enough though. People also still bitterly remember the misleading claims about WMDs that justified the disastrous Iraq War.


Then there is an argument about national interest. If Assad wins in Syria, the defeated rebels will be radicalised and angry. Islamist groups, funded by Arab backers, will thrive at the expense of moderate groups who relied on the West for support. The radical jihadis, spreading out through the Middle East, could destabilise the whole region and be a threat to Europe and the US. On the other hand, many of Syria’s rebels are Islamists already – naturally hostile to the West. Critics like London mayor Boris Johnson say it is ‘madness’ to be ‘pressing weapons into the hands of maniacs.’


Lastly there is the moral argument. Opponents of intervention feel very strongly that what happens in another country is not anyone else’s business. What gives us the right, they ask, to interfere in a war that is not our own? Getting involved in the Syrian civil war is neo-imperialist arrogance of the worst sort. But those who want to arm the rebels feel just as strongly, as they watch Assad crush rebel strongholds, killing and maiming his own people without compunction. They are haunted by the words of the philosopher and politician Edmund Burke: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’. ISABEL COLE 13

contacting the

UNCONTACTED In the society that we live in today, it is hard to imagine anyone who has never taken a phone call or used the Internet. It may even seem out of the ordinary to not own a computer or mobile. However there are over 100 tribes, mainly found in South America and Indonesia, whose people have never made contact with the world outside their own land; they live in complete isolation. Many of the tribes are thought of as hostile and dangerous because they prevent visitors entering their land. However this stems from their fear of outsiders, who have brought nothing but brutality and horrific violence upon the people. In the past, there have been massacres of the people to clear the land for farmers to graze cattle and grow crops. Many of the Indians living in Western Amazonia are relatives of the few who survived the ‘Rubber Boom’, which occurred in the late 19th Century. Rubber plantations were created in the rainforest and many native Indians were forced into slavery. One plantation originally had 50,000 Indian workers, however many of these were slaughtered and by the time this was discovered only 8,000 were left. Another famous incident took place during 1963, close to the Aripuana River, in Brazil, where a Company was collecting rubber. The Cinta Larga Indians were thought of as ‘in the way of the activities’. The owner of the company stated “these Indians are parasites, they 14

pests. Lets liquidate these vagabonds.� Shortly after this statement was released, a small plane dropped sticks of dynamite over the Cinta Larga village below. Workers then returned on foot to eliminate the survivors, including a women breastfeeding her child. It is clear that these acts of senseless brutality have driven these tribes into hiding in the land where they feel safest, away from outsiders who aim to take their land for their own benefits. However even nowadays, the tribes are still under threat from illegal loggers and oil drilling. Many explorers have tried to discover these tribes as they believe that contact with them will be beneficial for both parties. However, although unintentional, contact has devastated many tribes whose people catch diseases that they have not been exposed to before. For example, after fleeing into the forests when outsiders came to their land many of the Mati people of Brazil died of Pneumonia as little exposure to disease previously meant they had no protection from it. Now there are several agencies working to protect the tribes and the land that they live off. Survival International is campaigning for the rights of these people to live as they have done for millennia. Although today much of this land is protected on paper and invasions of it are seen as a violation to human rights, illegal practices still take place. In order for these people to feel completely safe Governments must take definitive action against those who threaten the tribes’ survival. BEA WHITE 15

did someone die for this

DIAMOND? Diamonds are seen to be timeless, beautiful, symbols of love; they are the world’s most precious and sought after gem. However in Africa during the 1990s, these beautiful stones became blood diamonds named not for their colour but for their cost; human conflict and suffering. The term blood diamond is used to describe a diamond which has funded an armed conflict or a civil war (mainly in Africa) and has consequently killed millions. Profits from the sale of such diamonds are used by warlords and rebels to buy weapons to use in warfare; blood diamonds have originated from conflicts such as in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone. Whilst the wars mentioned above are now mostly over, the phenomenon of the blood diamond is still very much alive. Côte d'Ivoire is an example of a country where these illegal diamonds continue to reach the international diamond market and are being sold to commercial giants such as De Beers and Graff. After the continuous threat that society would boycott the diamond and turn its image into a symbol of suffering, the World 16

as the Kimberley process which attempted to strengthen the diamond industries ability to block sales of blood diamonds; this would not only prevent human suffering but also ensure that the diamond sales continued as normal. Among other things it called for an international certification system on the export and import of diamonds and for countries to impose criminal charges on anyone trafficking in blood diamonds. Despite its pledge to support the Kimberley Process, the Diamond Industry has failed to implement the necessary rules for self-regulation. The retail sector in particular fails to provide sufficient assurance to consumers that the diamonds they sell are conflict-free; this is mainly because there is no guarantee that the diamonds with a Kimberley Process Certification are in fact conflict free due to the nature of the corrupt government officials in leading diamond producing countries. Therefore there is one important question to ask when faced with a diamond – ‘did someone die for this?’ [The film ‘Blood Diamond’, produced in 2006, tells the story of two African men whose fates become intertwined in a quest to recover a rare pink diamond that can change their lives; it is set against the backdrop of the chaos and civil war that enveloped 1990s Sierra Leone.] BELLA GUIMARO-ROWE


crime in the CITY In general, crime rates increase as the distance from the city centre decreases. This trend is particularly clear in our city of London. In London, boroughs on the outskirts have lower (below average) crime rates compared to boroughs in the centre of the city (above average). 1. Bexley, the borough highlighted in blue on the map above, has an average crime rate that is lower than the average crime rate in London. In April 2013 there were 933 crimes committed with a slight increase to 962 crimes in May 2013. 2. Moving in towards the centre of London, Greenwich, highlighted in yellow has an average crime rate. In April 2013 there were 1622 crimes committed with a decrease to 1554 crimes in May 2013.These figures are significantly higher than the figures for the borough of Bexley. 3. Even further into the city centre we meet Tower Hamlets which is highlighted in orange on the map above. In April 2013 there were 2242 crimes committed with an increase to 2483 crimes in May 2013. These figures are extremely high with around 80.1 crimes each day in May this year! 4. Right in the centre of London is Westminster which has the highest crime rates in the whole of the city and it is highlighted in red on the map. In April 2013 there were 4605 crimes committed with a slight decrease to 4431 crimes in May 2013. This is a shocking 148.5 crimes per day in April this year! If we were to zoom in on Hammersmith, home to our school, we would find that in the whole of the Hammersmith and Fulham Borough there were 1539 crimes in April this year and 1657 crimes in May this 18

year. Looking more closely at Hammersmith the following map is produced: Areas surrounding Hammersmith Broadway tend to have the highest crime rates with slightly lower rates around Ravenscourt Park Station. You can also see from this map that heavily residential areas have generally lower crime numbers than areas providing shops and services. For example, the area of Brackenbury Village (just north of the school) is dominated by residential streets and has very low crime rates compared to the more commercial areas of King Street and Hammersmith Broadway, Recent research has suggested that increased unemployment has been a contributing factor to rising crime rates. Looking at the first graph it can be seen that the unemployment rates are higher in the inner city and lower in the outer city showing a strong correlation Looking at the graph above there is also a correlation between individual boroughs. For example Tower Hamlets, 3, has higher crime rates and higher rates of unemployment than Greenwich, 2. ELSPETH WHITE 19

ASPECT, The Godolphin and Latymer Geography Magazine 20


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