Geography is revolutionary and more important now than ever before, according to geographer Joseph Kerski. We live in an increasingly complex and interconnected world with serious challenges; in order to grapple with those challenges, Kerski says, people need to understand geography is immediately relevant in global decision-making. That’s why he wrote his sixth book, “Interpreting Our World: 100 Discoveries that Revolutionized Geography.”
The events and inventions included in the book span 8,000 years of human history, from the first Babylonian clay tablet maps to today’s ever-expanding Internet of Things.
Published in October 2016, the book is a natural extension of Kerski’s long-term goal to help people realize geography matters to modern societies—a passion he developed through years of experience in academia and federal service.
“It is essential that we embrace [geography], that we study it, that we do investigations within a geographic framework because of all these complex issues in society,” he said, mentioning “climate change, natural hazards, population change, water, energy, biodiversity.”
By showcasing these 100 moments, Kerski hopes to explain how breakthroughs in geography have changed the world before and are capable of doing so again.
Each chapter—from “Aerial Photography” to “Zheng He”—is roughly three pages of clear, easily digestible prose written to both inform and spark dialogue among readers of all levels of expertise.
“It is a book that you could hand to your mom, or your aunt or uncle, or your friend and say, ‘look, this is why this stuff actually matters, and it’s actually interesting,’” Kerski said.
On the other hand, Kerski said book could also be used as a textbook at a university level because it strikes a balance between accessibility and education.
“That’s one of the reasons why we write—to teach. I’m very passionate about helping people learn, but I’m a lifelong learner, too. I want to model what I’m preaching,” Kerski said.
More than anything, he said, “it’s about making sense of the world.”
“Interpreting Our World: 100 Discoveries that Revolutionized Geography” is available for purchase on Amazon.
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