Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why Globes Should be in Schools and Homes

GeoSafari Talking Globe Jr.
GeoSafari Talking Globe Jr

The two biggest characteristics of well-made globes are:
  1. They are beautiful.
  2. They are educational.
This is because great map and globe makers, like Vincenzo Coronelli, were not only good at science – they were also good at the arts. You could say they are the Michelangelos or Leonardo da Vincis of the cartographic scene.

Vincenzo Coronelli
And indeed they were expected to be very very good. In the age of exploration, the information put into globes and maps were oftentimes obtained at great cost (funding for voyages of exploration were mainly bets on the hope of getting profits many times larger than the investment). The only ones who could afford good globes before the Industrial Revolution were people of the highest standards and exacting tastes – kings and princes, lords and ladies. Hence, globes (and their makers) were expected to be the best money can buy. (The same thing could also be said of early clocks and watches.)

Consequently, early globes were also one of the earliest advertising and promotional tools for advancing various agenda – bolstering imperial claims, showing the intellect and skill of the makers and their owners, and tempting potential investors to fund more expeditions. That's why, in older globes made when there were still undiscovered lands, these unknown lands (terra incognita) were drawn with the aid of old stories and legends and the imagination – and often embellished with people and creatures and riches designed to attract those wishing to make handsome profits. The age of exploration created a demand for good quality maps and globes.

The tradition of accurate and beautiful maps and globes never died out. By the time cheap, mass produced maps and globes could be had, these retained the same high standards of accuracy and artistry of their earlier prototypes. By then, there were very little undiscovered places left. And what was left for most people was to learn about known places so they could be familiar with countries and peoples outside their own borders.

This is where school globes come in. They teach children about the various known places on earth, teaching them where they are and, hopefully, instilling in them a desire to find their place in this world. If globes also awaken the love of travel in children, the better. Traveling changes a person's perspective – hence the expression "broadening one's horizons." Travel – or at least a healthy knowledge of people and places outside one's own – reduces fears and xenophobia. Globes then, are tools for global understanding – leading, hopefully, to a more peaceful world. The earlier you start introducing kids to globes, the better (no matter how small) the chances for world peace will be.

If you have a globe in your home, don't wait for your kids to go to school before they learn about globes. Like kindness, the knowledge of the world should start at home.

Waypoint Geographic Scout Globes

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