I love this phrase ‘immapancy’ (insufficient geographic knowledge). Well, I don’t love it – I just like having the pseudo-word as it describes our collective geographic skills to a ‘T’. And sounds less scary than ‘geographic illiterate’. (click the image to see full size)
Americans are particularly bad on this front; myself included, depending on the continent. And that effects how we think about the poverty, civil war, disease and starvation in places like Africa. It’s far off with other people much closer to help them.
It feels far away, yes – but more importantly, it doesn’t feel as scary huge of a global problem as it actually is. This is a country over four times the area that the United States is, but thanks to budget cuts on travel, our terrible attention span and ‘oh shiny’ sentiments when it comes to natural and global disaster there just isn’t enough attention brought by the media.
What does help? In part, smart communication through solid visuals. When things are so bad, stories and news casts just won’t do. When things are so bad, we have to see them with our own eyes because after a while the numbers just don’t mean anything.
It’s big, it’s bad, it’s scary. But seeing things as they really are can help us with the get up and go to make a difference.