Worldview Expander

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Worldview Expander

What, indeed, are we all doing with our humanity, with our “hour upon the stage”, our blink of a life? The answers are, of course, endless, so we are creating a WorldView Expander to help put some perspective on the process of deciding how well we are making a positive difference.  

First, we’ve divided the challenge into five different categories: Thinking, Acting, Advocating, Innovating, Changing. These represent the five stages and ways in which we each might act, might use our humanity to promote the common good.  The question is not so much “Am I doing good?” or “Am I doing bad?,” but more an examination of where we actually stand, day to day, in our efforts at positive change.


The WorldView Expander will induce people to seriously engage with the questions and operate in a way that better reflects the open ended nature involved in the process of self examination. Instead of asking about a person’s knowledge of their world, it asks about what roles they have played in changing it, and if they have seriously considered the best ways to do so.

Changing is both a start and a beginning; it means changing our views and attitudes to reflect what was learned over the previous four steps. This opens the possibility of presenting these words in a circle, which would represent the fact that this process is never complete, but that once we have acted and changed our views, that we must then begin to think about what we are doing with our humanity before taking any actions.

Clicking on one of the five categories opens a “fancy box” style frame that will gray-out the other four words, bringing the selection to the front. In this frame, a very short essay will introduce the significance of that word, and a series of questions and links will provide the visitor with options to explore the site further, presumably leading to content of the site. This presents the option of digging deeper or, as the fancy box frame can easily be closed, the possibility of returning to the Expander’s top page and exploring the other possibilities.

Eratosthenes, head of the great library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt, coined the term “geography”. It means “earth writing” and is now an intricate element not only of humanity’s environmental challenges but also of our social, economic and political ones. They all have inescapable geographic components. This is why we worked on a way to offer you feedback on your personal awareness of the world, on your ability to recognize and understand the fascinating complexity of this planet and your life on it.


Here are examples of the questions we will ask on our WorldView Expander  -  along with some of the answers:

1.        Chile is an example of a:

a/ microstate

b/ fragmented state

c/ compact state

d/ elongated state

e/ perforated state

Chile is a long, narrow state on the west coast of South America, perfect example of an elongated state.


2.            A _____________ is a group of people with a common cultural identity, and a _____________is a country with recognized borders.

a/ territory….state

b/ nation…territory

c/ state…territory

d/ nation…state

e/ territory…nation

A nation, although commonly and incorrectly used as a synonym for country, consists of a cultural group that may or may not have an internationally recognized piece of land to associate itself with. A state is a correct synonym for country and it consists of a piece of land with internationally recognized borders.


3.            These makeshift neighborhoods, constructed of scrap materials, are found in all of the world’s largest peripheral cities.

a/ edge cities

b/ squatter setlements

c/ swiddenlands

d/ gentrified districts

e/ informal economic districts

Squatter settlements go by different names in different places: barrios, favelas, shantytowns, etc. Regardless of the name, these settlement areas consist of large numbers of poor migrants, moving from rural areas to the city for employment. The cities cannot accommodate such rapidly-growing populations, consequently people build their own settlements using whatever materials are available. Squatter settlements generally have little to no services; most people occupying them work in the informal economy.


4.            Which language family has the most speakers across the globe?

a/ Sino-Tibetan

b/ Mandarin Chinese

c/ Indo-European

d/ Afro-Asiatic

e/ Uralic-Altaic

The language family with the most speakers across the globe is the Indo-
European language family, of which English is a member. As a primary, secondary, or tertiary language, English has the most speakers across the globe; this fact, in addition to the number of speakers of other languages in the Indo-European family, makes it the most dominant language family across the globe today.


5.            Which of the following is an example of a nation within a state?

a/ Israel

b/ Serbia

c/ Kurdistan

d/ Texas

e/ Afghanistan

Kurdistan is a nation that spans across several countries in the Eastern Europe/Middle East region, but does not have any politically recognized boundaries or authority.


6.            Which of the following world regions is LEAST developed?

a/ Central America

b/ Eastern Asia

c/ Russia/Eastern Europe

d/ South Asia

e/ Sub-Saharan Africa

When describing levels of development, human geographers generally distinguish between economic indicators (which include things like gross domestic product, or percentage of the labor force engaged in different economic sectors) and social welfare indicators (which try to paint a picture of the social situation in a particular country through measures indicating education levels, access to healthcare services, and access to other basic services such as potable water). In investigations of both types of indicators, sub-Saharan Africa consistently demonstates the worst scenarios.


7.            What is the biggest difference between universalizing and ethnic religions?

a/ Ethnic religions are exclusively monotheistic

b/ Universalizing religions involve beliefs in one or more deities (gods)

c/ Universalizing religions actively seek new converts

d/ Universalizing religions are only meant to apply to a particular cultural group

e/ Ethnic religions show stronger patterns of spatial diffusion than universal religions

Universalizing religions, just as they sound, apply universally. Consequently, a major component of most universal religions involves proselytizing – the active recruitment of new converts. Conversely, ethnic religions typically apply to a particular ethnic group: consequently, membership is determined more by birth than by a conversion experience.



8.            The European Union is a multi-state coalition based primarily on

a/ military defense

b/ politics

c/ economics

d/ anti-terrorism policy

e/ none of the above

The European Union morphed out of an organization developed in 1958 called the European Economic Community. This original community consisted of six states that joined together in a union that encouraged the elimination of certain tariffs and freer flow of labor, capital, and certain commodities. This organization grew to 12 members when it became established as the European Union in 1992 and continues to add new members through a somewhat difficult integration process. In the late 1990”s the Union adopted its own currency, the Euro, to facilitate economic transactions between member states.


9.            Which of these American Presidents won the Nobel Peace Prize?

a/ John F. Kennedy

b/ Abraham Lincoln

c/ Harry Truman

d/ Theodore Roosevelt

e/ Ronald Reagan

The three U.S. presidents who have received this award are Theodore Roosevelt (1906), Woodrow Wilson (1919) and Jimmy Carter (2002). Roosevelt was honored for his role in settling the Russian-Japanese War in 1905.


10.         Which of these Asian leaders won the Nobel Peace Prize?

a/ Aung San Suu Kyi

b/ Muhammad Yunus

c/ Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo

d/ Kim Dae Jung

e/ All of the above

f/  None of the above

They each won it. Aung San Suu Kyi (1991) for her brave opposition to the military junta in Burma; Muhammad Yunus (2006) for his work in creating the field of micro-finance by founding the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh; Bishop Belo (1996) with Jose Ramos-Horta for leading the fight for freedom of East Timor; and Kim Dae Jung (2000) for lading South Korea’s fight for democracy.


11.         How many countries are there on this planet?

a/ 119

b/  92

c/ 154

d/ 212

e/ 195

f/  There is no definitive answer.

There are 192 members of the United Nations. But the Vatican City and Kosovo are independent countries and are not members of the U.N. The United States’ State Department recognizes 194 independent countries around the world, but their list reflects the political agenda of the United States of America and its allies. Missing is Taiwan, which  meets the requirements of independent country or state status. Taiwan was actually a member of the United Nations (and even the Security Council) until 1971, when mainland China replaced Taiwan in the organization. Taiwan continues to press for full recognition by other countries, to become “part of the club” and fully recognized worldwide but China claims that Taiwan is simply a province of China. So 195 is the answer. There also are country-like entities that are not countries, including Hong Kong, Bermuda, Greenland, Puerto Rico, and most notably the constituent parts of the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England).

A “state” (with a lower-case “s”) is usually a division of a federal State (such as the states of the United States of America).

12.         What percentage of the world’s people have access to potable water every day?

a/ 93%

b/ 80%

c/ 52%

d/ less than 60%

More than 40% of the world’s people do not have daily access to clean, safe water. And the problem is getting worse. A child dies every 8 seconds from drinking contaminated water. Twenty-six countries are classified as water-stressed, meaning that they cannot sustain agriculture and economic development using their existing water supplies. According to EarthCARE, by 2025 the number of people living in those water-stressed countries will increase six and a half times. We seem to be on the approach of a rising bell curve which sees the situation getting worse before it improves.

In fact, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) reports that supplies of fresh water for consumption and for agricultural and industrial use has not kept pace with population growth in Africa and The Middle East. It would therefore seem to be somewhat premature to make a prediction of when everybody worldwide will have enough clean, safe water to drink. In fact, it is apparent that clean, safe drinking water is becoming scarcer all the time, and that this scarcity will most certainly be reflected in a lucrative water market economy.

That being said, it follows that potable water may be in greater demand in the future but in all likelihood the prospects for the potential for universal access to it will increase proportionally. That is because investments are now being made the world over in the area of water purification in decontamination and desalination and in water delivery. But seeing to it that everybody the world over has access to clean potable water will be a very long and painstaking process.

Proper attention should be given to areas that have the greatest need. By way of example, Pakistan’s huge population of 135 million people for the most part does not have access to safe drinking water. Alarmingly, as much as 60 percent of that country’s fresh water is allowed to flow back into the sea. This is the result of poor water management and an obvious misplacement of priorities at the highest levels.

The growing global consensus on well-known environmental issues like global warming and deforestation will eventually see a placement of the water scarcity issue of the future on the front lines of debate. Then, hopefully, international organizations and corporations will step in to assure that water management infrastructure will improve a depressingly poor situation for many people worldwide. What is needed at this time is a UN sponsored international Year of Clean Water to bring public awareness to this particular issue. The first world cannot afford to be complacent about this crisis simply because it is a non-issue for them. Who wouldn’t like to see that everybody the world over has access to enough clean, safe water for their uses?

13/          How many wars are being fought on the planet right now?

14/         What is the highest mountain on your continent?

15/         What kills the most humans every year?

 a/ cancer

b/ famine

c/ disease

d/ other humans

e/ bad weather

f/ car accidents

16/          In your opinion, how old shoud a person be to vote?

To go to war?

To smoke?

To have sex?

To drink alchohol?

17/         What country (other than your own) would you most like to live in? Or something about the happy index….

18/ What percentage of US budget goes to foreign aid? To military?

19/ in 1997 what country led the world in solar energy r and d?

20/ In 2007, what country led the world in solar energy r and d?

21/ What is the only city on two continents? (Istanbul, Turkey)

22/ What are the capitals of Azerbaijan, Syria and the Bahamas?

23/ What is the life expectancy of citizens of Zimbabwe? (32 years) In Japan? (83 years)

24/ What is the longest river in the world? (The Nile)

25/ The highest waterfall in the world? (Angel Falls, Venezuela)

26 Who won the first World Cup, in 1930? (Uruguay)