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Michael Raw

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Helen Harris

Andy Palmer

Peter Stiff


Confidently navigate the new OCR A Level specification with print and digital resources that

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Part 1 Physical systems

Chapter 1: Coastal landscapes

1.1 How can coastal landscapes be viewed as systems?

1.2 How are coastal landforms developed?

1.3 How do coastal landforms evolve over time as climate changes?

1.4 How does human activity cause change within coastal landscape systems?

Practice questions

Chapter 2: Glaciated landscapes

2.1 How can glaciated landscapes be viewed as systems?

2.2 How are glacial landforms developed?

2.3 How do glacial landforms evolve over time as climate changes?

2.4 How does human activity cause change within glaciated and periglacial landscape systems?

Practice questions

Chapter 3: Dryland landscapes

3.1 How can dryland landscapes be viewed as systems?

3.2 How are landforms of mid and low latitude deserts developed?

3.3 How do dryland landforms evolve over time as climate changes?

3.4 How does human activity cause change within dryland landscape systems?

Practice questions

Chapter 4: Earth’s life support systems

4.1 How important are water and carbon to life on earth?

4.2 How do the water and carbon cycles operate in contrasting locations?

4.3 How much change occurs over time in the water and carbon cycles?

4.4 To what extent are the water and carbon cycles linked?

Practice questions

Part 2 Human Interactions

Chapter 5: Changing spaces; making places

5.1 What’s in a place?

5.2 How do we understand place?

5.3 How does economic change influence patterns of social inequality in places?

5.4 Who are the players that influence economic change in places?

5.5 How are places created through place-making processes?

Practice questions

Chapter 6: Trade in the contemporary world

6.1 What are the contemporary patterns of international trade?

6.2 Why has trade become increasingly complex?

6.3 What are the issues associated with unequal flows of international trade?

Practice questions

Chapter 7: Global migration

7.1 What are the contemporary patterns of global migration?

7.2 Why has migration become increasingly complex?

7.3 What are the issues associated with unequal flows of global migration?

Practice questions

Chapter 8: Human rights

8.1 What is meant by human rights?

8.2 What are the variations in women’s rights?

8.3 What are the strategies for global governance of human rights?

8.4 To what extent has intervention in human rights contributed to development?

Practice questions

Chapter 9: Power and borders

9.1 What is meant by sovereignty and territorial integrity?

9.2 What are the contemporary challenges to sovereign state authority?

9.3 What is the role of global governance in conflict?

9.4 How effective is global governance of sovereignty and territorial integrity?

Practice questions

Part 3 Geographical debates

Chapter 10: Climate change

10.1 How and why has climate changed in the geological past?

10.2 How and why has the era of industrialisation affected global climate?

10.3 Why is there a debate over climate change?

10.4 In what ways can humans respond to climate change?

10.5 Can an international response to climate change ever work?

Practice questions

Chapter 13: Future of food

13.1 What is food security and why is it of global significance?

13.2 What are the causes of inequality in global food security?

13.3 What are the threats to global food security?

13.4 How do food production and security issues impact people and the physical environment?

13.5 Is there hope for the future of food?

Practice questions

Chapter 14: Hazardous Earth

14.1 What is the evidence for continental drift and plate tectonics?

14.2 What are the main hazards generated by volcanic activity?

14.3 What are the main hazards generated by seismic activity?

14.4 What are the implications of living in tectonically active locations?

14.5 What measures are available to help people cope with living in tectonically active locations?

Practice questions

Part 4 Investigative geography

Chapter 15: Geographical skills

Chapter 16: Independent investigation




Chapter 11: Disease dilemmas

11.1 What are the global patterns of disease and can factors be identified that determine these?

11.2 Is there a link between disease and levels of economic development?

11.3 How effectively are communicable and non-communicable diseases dealt with?

11.4 How far can disease be predicted and mitigated against?

11.5 Can diseases ever be fully eradicated?

Practice questions


Chapter 12: Exploring oceans

12.1 What are the main characteristics of oceans?

12.2 What are the opportunities and threats arising from the use of ocean resources?

12.3 How and in what ways do human activities pollute oceans?

12.4 How is climate change impacting the ocean system?

12.5 How have socio-economic and political factors influenced the use of the oceans?

Practice questions



Features in the book:

Key terms are defined in the glossary, equipping students with the

high-level geographical vocabulary they need to use and understand

Key ideas from

the specification

are introduced

for each topic to

focus students’




of the content

and concepts

guide you and

your students


the 2016


Chapter 4 Earth’s life support systems


Chapter 4

Earth’s life support systems

4.1 How important are water

and carbon to life on Earth?

Key idea

➜ Water and carbon support life on Earth and

move between the land, the oceans and the


The importance of water in

supporting life on the planet

Scientists believe that water is the key to understanding

the evolution of life on Earth as it provides a

medium that allows organic molecules to mix and

form more complex structures. The ubiquity of

liquid water on Earth is due to the distance of the

Earth from the Sun: it lies in the so-called ‘Goldilocks

zone’, which is ‘just right’ for water to exist in its

liquid form.

The importance of liquid water to life can be

appreciated when we compare Earth with our nearest

planetary neighbour, Mars. Although water ice exists

on Mars, there is new evidence of very small amounts

of liquid water flowing on the Martian surface.

Scientists think this liquid water increases the chance

of finding life forms on the planet.

Water helps to create benign thermal conditions

on Earth. For example, oceans, which occupy 71 per

cent of the Earth’s surface, moderate temperatures by

absorbing heat, storing it and releasing it slowly. Water

also moderates the environment in other ways. Clouds

made up of tiny water droplets and ice crystals reflect

around a fifth of incoming solar radiation and lower

surface temperatures. At the same time water vapour,

a potent greenhouse gas, absorbs long-wave radiation

from the Earth helping to maintain average global

temperatures almost 15 °C higher than they would be


The uses of water for flora, fauna

and people

Water makes up to 65–95 per cent of all living organisms

and is crucial to their growth, reproduction and other

metabolic functions. Plants, which manufacture their

own food, need water for photosynthesis, respiration

and transpiration. Photosynthesis takes place in the

leaves of plants combining CO 2

, sunlight and water to

make glucose and starches. Respiration in plants and

animals converts glucose to energy through its reaction

with oxygen, releasing water and CO 2

in the process.

Plants also require water to maintain their rigidity

(plants wilt when they run out of water) and to

transport mineral nutrients from the soil. In people

and animals water is the medium used for all chemical

reactions in the body including the circulation of oxygen

and nutrients. Transpiration of water from leaf surfaces

cools plants by evaporation. Sweating is a similar cooling

process in humans. In fur-covered mammals, reptiles and

birds, evaporative cooling is achieved by panting.

Water is also an essential resource for economic

activity. It is used to generate electricity, irrigate crops,

provide recreational facilities and satisfy public demand

(drinking water, sewage disposal), as well as in a huge

range of industries including food manufacturing,

brewing, paper making and steel making.

The importance of carbon to life

on Earth

Carbon is a common chemical element. It is stored in

carbonate rocks such as limestone, sea floor sediments,

ocean water (as dissolved CO 2

), the atmosphere (as CO 2

gas), and in the biosphere. Life as we know it is carbonbased:

built on large molecules of carbon atoms such as

proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids.

Apart from its biological significance, carbon is used

as an economic resource. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil

and natural gas power the global economy. Oil is also

used as a raw material in the manufacture of products

ranging from plastics to paint and synthetic fabrics.

Agricultural crops and forest trees also store large

amounts of carbon available for human use as food,

timber, paper and so on.

The water and carbon cycles

At the global scale, water and carbon flow in closed

systems between the atmosphere, the oceans, land

and the biosphere. The cycling of individual water

molecules and carbon atoms occurs on time scales

varying from days to millions of years.

At its most basic, the global water cycle consists of

three main stores: the atmosphere, oceans and land. The

oceans are by far the biggest store and the atmosphere

is the smallest. Water moves between stores through the

processes of precipitation, evapotranspiration, run-off

and groundwater flow, see Figure 4.1.


13 × km 3 10 3

Precipitation (111)


Evaporation (425)




36,000 × km 3 10 3


1,370,000 × km 3 10 3 Run-off/groundwater flow (40)


Figures are in thousands of cubic kilometres for storage,

and thousands of cubic kilometres/year for flows.

Figure 4.1 The global water cycle: stores and annual flows

The global carbon cycle is similar in comprising a series

of stores and flows. Long-term storage in sedimentary

rocks holds 99.9 per cent of all carbon on Earth. In

contrast, most of the carbon in circulation moves rapidly

between the atmosphere, the oceans, soil and the

biosphere. The main pathways between stores followed

by carbon in this cycle include photosynthesis,

respiration, oxidation (decomposition, combustion)

and weathering, see Figure 4.2.

The water and carbon cycles as open and

closed systems

Systems are groups of objects and the relationships that

bind the objects together. On a global scale the water

and carbon cycles are closed systems driven by the Sun’s

energy (which is external to the Earth). Only energy (and

not matter) cross the boundaries of the global water and

carbon cycles - hence we refer to these systems as ‘closed’.

At smaller scales (e.g. drainage basin or forest ecosystem),

materials as well as the Sun’s energy cross system

boundaries. These systems are therefore open systems.








18 years OCEANS

Surface: 700 25 years


Deep: 38,000 1250 years

SOIL 2,300


6 years




Volcanic activity



(Fossil fuels 4130)

240–300 million years

90 92

0.2 2




GT = 1 billion tonnes

Residence time = average length of time carbon remains in stores

Figure 4.2 The global carbon cycle: stores, flows and residence

times (GT/stores and flows year)

Key idea

➜ The water and carbon cycles are systems with

inputs, outputs and stores

The global water cycle

Reservoirs and stores

The global water cycle consists of a number of reservoirs

where water is stored for variable lengths of time (Table 4.1),

and the linkages or pathways between these reservoirs.

Table 4.1 Global reservoirs of water

Store Size (km 3 × 10 3 ) % of global water

Oceans 1,370,000 97

Polar ice and glaciers 29,000 2

Groundwater (aquifers) 9,500 0.7

Lakes 125 0.01

Soils 65 0.005

Atmosphere 13 0.001

Rivers 1.7 0.0001

Biosphere 0.6 0.00004

The oceans contain 97 per cent of all water on the

planet and dominate the global water cycle. Fresh

water comprises only a tiny proportion of water in

store and three-quarters is frozen in the ice caps of

Antarctica and Greenland. Meanwhile, water stored

below ground in permeable rocks amounts to just

one-fifth of all fresh water.

Physical systems


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Features in the book:

Skills-focused activities enable

students to apply and improve

their theoretical knowledge

Fieldwork opportunities are highlighted throughout, helping you plan relevant human

and physical geography projects that meet the changed assessment requirements

Chapter 4 Earth’s life support systems


Given its pivotal role in the water cycle, it is

perhaps surprising that only a minute fraction of the

Earth’s water is found in the atmosphere. This paradox

is explained by the rapid flux of water into and out of

the atmosphere: the average residence time of a water

molecule in the atmosphere is just nine days.

Inputs and outputs of water

According to USGS estimates, the global water cycle

budget circulates around 505,000 km 3 of water a year as

inputs and outputs between the principal water stores.

● Inputs of water to the atmosphere include water vapour

evaporated from the oceans, soils, lakes and rivers, and

vapour transpired through the leaves of plants. Together

these processes are known as evapotranspiration.

● Moisture leaves the atmosphere as precipitation

(i.e. rain, snow, hail, etc.) and condensation (e.g. fog).

Ice sheets, glaciers and snowfields release water by

melting and sublimation (phase change of water

from ice to vapour).

● Precipitation and meltwater drain from the land

surface as run-off into rivers. Most rivers flow to

the ocean, though some, in continental drylands like

southwest USA, drain to inland basins. A large part of

water falling as precipitation on the land reaches rivers

only after infiltrating and flowing through the soil.

● After infiltrating the soil, water under gravity may

percolate into permeable rocks or aquifers. This

groundwater eventually reaches the surface as

springs or seepages and contributes to run-off.

Figure 4.3 Satellite image of global water vapour (mm)


1 Construct a simple systems diagram, comprising

boxes (stores) and arrows (flows) to illustrate

the global water cycle. Add details to show the

volume of water in store and water transfers

between stores.

2 Describe and explain the distribution of water

vapour in Figure 4.3.

The global carbon cycle

The global carbon cycle consists of a number of stores

or sinks connected by flows of carbon. The principal

stores are: the atmosphere, the oceans, carbonate

rocks, fossil fuels, plants and soils (Table 4.2).

Carbon moves between these stores in an

unending cycle.

Table 4.2 Principal carbon stores


Carbon in store (billon tonnes)

Atmosphere 720

Oceans 39,000

Sedimentary (carbonate)



Fossil fuels 4,000

Land plants 560

Soils/peat 1,500

Carbonate rocks, such as limestone and chalk, and

deep-ocean sediments are by far the biggest carbon

store. Most of the carbon that is not stored in rocks

and sediments is found in the oceans as dissolved CO 2


Carbon storage in the atmosphere, plants and soils is

relatively small. However, these stores play a crucial

part in the carbon cycle. They also represent most of

the carbon in circulation at any one time.

There are two strands to the carbon cycle: a slow

cycle and a fast cycle.

The slow carbon cycle

Carbon stored in rocks, sea-floor sediments and fossil

fuels is locked away for millions of years. The total

amount of carbon circulated by this slow cycle is between

ten and 100 million tonnes a year. CO 2

diffuses from the

atmosphere into the oceans where marine organisms,

such as coral and clams, make their shells and skeletons

by fixing dissolved carbon together with calcium to

form calcium carbonate (CaCO 3

). On death, the remains

of these organisms sink to the ocean floor. There they

accumulate and over millions of years, heat and pressure

convert them to carbon-rich sedimentary rocks.

Typical residence times for carbon held in rocks

is around 150 million years. Some carbon-rich

sedimentary rocks, subducted into the upper mantle

at tectonic plate boundaries are vented to the

atmosphere in volcanic eruptions. Others exposed at or

near the surface by erosion and tectonic movements

are attacked by chemical weathering which releases

CO 2

to the atmosphere, and in dissolved form to

streams, rivers and oceans.

On land, partly decomposed organic material

may be buried beneath younger sediments to form

carbonaceous rocks such as coal, lignite, oil and natural

gas. Like deep-ocean sediments, these fossil fuels act as

carbon sinks that endure for millions of years.

The fast carbon cycle

Carbon circulates most rapidly between the atmosphere,

the oceans, living organisms (biosphere) and soils.

These transfers are between ten and 1,000 times faster

than those in the slow carbon cycle. Land plants and

microscopic phytoplankton in the oceans are the key

components of the fast cycle. Through photosynthesis

they absorb CO 2

from the atmosphere and combine

it with water to make carbohydrates (sugars/glucose).

Photosynthesis is a fundamental process and the

foundation of the food chain. Respiration by plants and

animals is the opposite process and results in the release

of CO 2

. Decomposition of dead organic material by

microbial activity also returns CO 2

to the atmosphere.

In the fast cycle, carbon exchange also occurs

between the atmosphere and the oceans. Atmospheric

CO 2

dissolves in ocean surface waters while the oceans

ventilate CO 2

back to the atmosphere. Through this

exchange individual carbon atoms are stored (by

natural sequestration) in the oceans for, on average,

about 350 years.

Fieldwork opportunity

Investigate differences in the soil carbon store at two

contrasting sites: grassland and either deciduous or

coniferous woodland.

a Collect controlled and comparable samples (i.e.

samples at the two sites should be at the same soil

depth, the sites should have the same slope, aspect,

altitude, characteristics, etc.).

b Dry the samples in an oven and weigh them.

c Use a bunsen burner to remove organic material

and reweigh.

d Calculate the percentage of organic material in each

sample and test for significant differences using

Chi2, U-test or t-test (see Chapter 15:

Geographical Skills).

Review questions

1 Describe two ways in which water moderates global


2 What is meant by the term ‘Goldilocks zone’?

3 Define the term ‘system’.

4 What is the difference between open and closed


5 Why is water vapour described as a ‘greenhouse


6 What is the main store of fresh water in the global

water cycle?

7 Give two examples of permeable rocks.

8 What is an aquifer?

9 State two ways in which water leaves the


10 What is the difference between evaporation and


11 Name six major carbon stores.

12 Outline the main differences between the fast and

slow carbon cycles.

13 What are phytoplankton and why are they

important in the carbon cycle?

14 What is the role of plate tectonics in the carbon


Physical systems


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Review questions at the end of each

chapter consolidate students’ topic

knowledge and aid self-assessment

02/11/15 11:03 AM

Chapter 8 Human rights


Chapter 8

Human rights

8.1 What is meant by human


Key idea

➜ There is global variation in human rights norms

Understanding what is meant by

human rights

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to

which all human beings are entitled. They are applicable

at all times and in all places and they protect everyone

equally, without discrimination.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner

for Human Rights states:

Human rights are rights inherent to all human

beings, whatever our nationality, place of

residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour,

religion, language, or any other status. We are

all equally entitled to our human rights without


Definitions and understanding of human rights and the

issues that surround them in the twenty-first century

are derived from The Universal Declaration of Human

Rights (UDHR). This was one of the most significant

events in human rights history when it was adopted by

the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

Two examples of the statements found within the

Declaration are:

l Article 5: No one shall be subject to torture or

to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or


l Article 9: No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest,

detention or exile.

Other examples, and there are 30 in all, may be found


Since that time it has become evident that many of

the principles set out in 1948 have not been adhered

to uniformly. From a geographical perspective these

violations of human rights have occurred in many

different parts of the world, on every continent, in

advanced countries as well as in developing countries,

and at different scales from individuals to large scale

groups. Examples include use of child labour, people

trafficking, genocide and modern slavery.

Globalisation has contradictory impacts on human

rights. Transnational integration and increased mobility

have had the effect of simultaneously strengthening

and diminishing the protection of human rights.

l On the one hand this has enhanced the ability of

civil society to work across borders and to promote

human rights.

l On the other it has enabled some organisations to

gain power and perpetrate violations.

Geographical patterns of socio-economic inequality

are closely associated with inequalities in respect for

human rights. Many development programmes and

the steps towards achieving the UN’s Millennium

Development Goals (MDGs) have been human

rights led.

The website of the UN Office of the High

Commissioner for Human Rights

Issues/Pages/ListOfIssues.aspx is a useful resource for

further investigation of human rights issues.

Human rights norms

Human rights norms represent ways of living that

have been inculcated into the culture of a country or

area over long periods of time. They are the foundation

of human rights. It was on the basis of established

customs and norms drawn from all cultures, religions

and philosophies across the world that the UDHR was

devised. These norms are based on the moral principles

that underpin the universally accepted standards of

human behaviour.

The statements set out in the UDHR are generally

accepted as international human rights norms. And

although this is a non-binding resolution, human rights

are in fact protected by international law.

International human rights law sets out the

obligations of state governments. By signing

international treaties, it is the duty of states to

respect, protect and fulfil international human rights.

Governments that ratify or sign treaties therefore have

to put in practice domestic measures and legislation

which are compatible with that treaty.

There are growing numbers of human rights norms,

laws and treaties or conventions. The most widelyratified

of all international human rights is the UN

Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This

Convention, signed by governments worldwide, has

been designed to change the ways in which children

are viewed and treated. The rights embedded within it

describe what a child needs in order to survive, grow

and achieve full potential. It explains the responsibilities

of adults and governments to ensure that children

everywhere can enjoy all their rights. This forms the

basis of UNICEF’s work today.

Nevertheless, there is still significant global variation

in deaths of young children. The infant mortality rate

(IMR) is defined as the annual number of deaths of

infants under the age of one per 1,000 live births. And

the 2013 figures exemplify the global range from Mali

106.5 and Chad 91.9 to the UK 4.5, Czech Republic

3.7, and Italy 3.3, see Figure 8.1. Afghanistan also has a

particularly high IMR.

Most of these infant deaths could be prevented. The

UN view is that if a country is not doing what it can to

prevent these deaths it is not meeting its legal and moral

obligations. It is not upholding the rights of its most

vulnerable people. Therefore infant mortality is not just a

health matter but a human rights concern.


Number of deaths of infants under age 1 per 1000 live births.

75+ 50 – 74 25 – 49 15 – 24

Chapter 8 Human rights


Intervention includes the use of military force by a

state or group of states in a foreign territory in order

to end gross violation of fundamental human rights

of its citizens. This type of intervention in pursuit

of humanitarian objectives is often referred to as

humanitarian intervention.

The UN Security Council is the only body that can

legally authorise use of force. Irrespective of this, the

entire process of military intervention is controversial.

It can be effective in stopping the violations. This

can have immediate benefits for local communities

and contribute to longer term socio-economic

development and political stability. But it can have

unintended negative impacts. These include injuries

and deaths of civilians, loss of homes and population

displacement. It may also cause an increase in human

rights abuses, further injustices and widening of

the socio-economic inequalities which already exist

within the country.

United Nations involvement takes many forms

and its peacekeeping, political and peacebuilding

missions (see Figure 8.3) serve many purposes, not least

concerning human rights violation. If the international

community is called upon, the UN Security Council

establishes a mandate so that its workers and troops

can be authorised and drawn from a wide range of

member states. Usually military presence helps protect

citizens from human rights abuse, with non-use of force


West Africa






Central Africa


Middle East








Central Asia





MENUB United Nations Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi

(established 2015)

UNAMA United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (established 2002)

UNAMI United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (established 2003)

UNIOGBIS United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau

(established 2010)

UNOCA United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (established 2011)

UNOWA United Nations Office for West Africa (established 2001)

UNRCCA United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for

Central Asia (established 2008)

UNSCO Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East

Peace Process (established 1999)

UNSCOL Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon

(established 2007)

except in self-defence. In addition a UN human rights

team works in the area to protect and promote human

rights. Its task is to monitor the situation, attempt to

empower populations to assert their human rights,

enable governments to implement their human rights

obligations and strengthen rule of law.

The UN also coordinates the input of a wide range

of agencies and organisations in the area affected.

These include:

l regional organisations such as the North Atlantic Treaty

Organisation (NATO), the Organisation for Security

and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the ASEAN

Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

l non-governmental organisations such as the

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and


l public-private partnerships such as the Gavi

Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and



The North Atlantic Treaty organization (NATO) was

established in 1949 with twelve member countries

from Europe and North America; in 2015 there were

28 member states.

1 Access the NATO website and investigate

the purpose of the organisation and the different ways

in which it attempts to achieve its aims.

2 a) Use NATO’s interactive map, (Figure 8.4), to

examine specific details of its work in any one area

(current operations, videos, statistics, partners)

b) To what extent has this kind of intervention been

successful in resolving human rights issues?

The term intervention is also used in a wider non-military

sense. For example, other instruments of intervention

designed to compel states, or groups within them, to

respect human rights include economic sanctions and the

international criminal prosecution of individuals responsible

for the abuses. Furthermore, it includes NGOs, private

enterprises and human rights activists working with local

communities and national governments.

Global governance of human rights is therefore

complex and multifaceted: it can involve direct physical

intervention as well as the application of a growing

number of human rights norms, laws and treaties or

conventions, plus the work of civil society. Effective

intervention depends on their interaction and

coordination at all scales.

Figure 8.4 Map of current NATO operations


The term geopolitics refers to the global balance of

political power and international relations. The pattern

of political power is closely related to economic power

especially in terms of the relative wealth and international

trade strength of nations and groups of nations.

Historically there have been a number of ‘geopolitical

transitions’ in which geopolitical world order or power

has shifted. The most recent has been the ending of

the Cold War. This situation existed from 1946 to 1989

in which period the USA and the USSR were the two

dominant superpowers.

Contemporary geopolitical power has a very uneven

spatial distribution and is viewed from different


l the USA is the only superpower. It may have lost

its place to China as the world’s leading trading

nation but it remains dominant militarily and


l there are inequalities in power between individual

states depending on wealth, political strength

and development. According to the International

Monetary Fund (IMF) there are the powerful

advanced countries (ACs), the increasingly

influential emerging and developing countries

(EDCs) and the peripheral economies of the lower

income developing countries (LIDCs)

l there are supra-national political and economic

organisations such as the UN, EU, ASEAN, and OPEC,

which exert greater geopolitical influence than their

individual member states

l there are the effects of globalisation in which

trans-state organisations such as multi-national

corporations (MNCs) have considerable influence on

the countries in which they invest.

The geopolitics of intervention is therefore a term

which involves an understanding of the:

l political composition of the groups of countries and

organisations that are involved in intervention

l nature of the intervention itself

l reasons why intervention has been deemed


l characteristic features of the country, government

and peoples affected

l possible political, socio-economic and environmental

effects of intervention/global governance.

Key idea

➜ Patterns of human rights violation are influenced

by a range of factors

Current spatial patterns of human

rights issues including forced

labour, maternal mortality rates

and capital punishment

Article 3 of the UDHR states that ‘everyone has

the right to life, liberty and security’. Forced labour,

UNSMIL United Nations Support Mission in Libya (established 2011)

UNSOM United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (established 2013)

maternal mortality rates and capital punishment are

Figure 8.3 Ongoing political and peacebuilding UN missions

all connected to this most basic of human

12 13

Human Interactions

Features in the book:

A variety of visual stimulus materials

illustrate geographical concepts, increase

understanding and support revision

Stretch and challenge tasks extend high-achieving

students’ knowledge and skills so they can target

the top grades

rights. However, maps and statistics of their global

patterns illustrate significant spatial variation in their


Forced labour

The term forced labour, as described by the

International Labour Organization (ILO), refers to:

situations in which persons are coerced

to work through the use of violence or

intimidation, or by more subtle means

such as accumulation of debt, retention of

identity papers or threats of denunciation to

immigration authorities.

It is estimated that globally 21 million people are victims

of forced labour – 11.4 million women and girls and

9.5 million men and boys. Nineteen million of these

are exploited by private individuals or enterprises and

2 million by state or rebel groups. In the private economy

this generates US$150 billion in illegal profits annually.

Forced labour includes:

l children who are denied education because they are

forced to work

l men unable to leave work because of debts owed to

recruitment agents

l women and girls exploited as unpaid, abused

domestic workers.







Figure 8.5 Victims of forced labour by region, 2012

The global distribution of these estimates is very uneven

(Figure 8.5). South East Asia has the highest overall

incidence but significantly no region is unaffected.


Forced labour is a major element of modern slavery

(Figure 8.5).

1 Describe the global pattern of modern slavery shown

in Figure 8.6.

2 Use the information in Figure 8.7 to suggest reasons

for this pattern.

Factors that influence global variations of forced labour


• Poverty

• Lack of economic

opportunities and


• Low wages

• Subsistence farming

• Migration and seeking work


• Gender inequality

• Age, especially children

• Entire families enslaved

through bonded labour, e.g.

construction, agriculture,

brick making, garment

factories in India and Pakistan

• Women and children

trafficking for sexual

exploitation, e.g. through

organised crime in Europe

from Nigeria

• Indigenous people


• Political instability

• Conflict

• Breakdown of rule of law

• Corruption

• State sponsorship of modern

slavery, e.g. cotton harvest in


• High levels of discrimination

and prejudice


• Escaping climate-related

disasters including food and

water shortages

• Hazardous working conditions

in open mines

Figure 8.7 Factors that contribute to vulnerability to forced labour

Stretch and challenge

Investigate the factors that contribute to the prevalence of

modern slavery in any one country and assess their relative

significance. The Walk Free Foundation Global Slavery

Index is a useful source:

Maternal mortality rate (MMR)

The definition of maternal mortality used by the

World Health Organization (WHO) states: ‘the

death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days

of termination of pregnancy … from any cause

related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its

management’. The maternal mortality rate (MMR)

is the annual number of these deaths per 100,000

live births.

In 2013, globally 289,000 women died during and

following pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these

deaths occurred in developing countries (Figure 8.8). The

worst affected countries were all in sub-Saharan Africa –

Sierra Leone (1,100), Chad (980) and the Central African

Republic (880). The lowest figures were in the more

developed countries in Europe, such as Belarus (1) and

Italy (4), and in North America.

Human Interactions








Percentage of the population that is enslaved (2014)

0.04 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.7 0.75




Annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births

Features in the book:

Skills focus


students to learn

and practise the


and data skills


in the 2016


Skills focus

MMRs have changed over time in most countries. WHO estimates are available in

the country profiles at

1 Construct a graph which enables comparison of changes in MMR between 1990

and 2013 for any six countries to demonstrate global contrasts.

2 Discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of your presentation technique.

3 Suggest and justify one alternative technique to represent this data.

Factors that influence global variations of MMR

The global inequalities in MMR can be explained by:

l access to treatments for pregnancy and birth

complications, especially emergency care

l quality of medical services, especially provision of

skilled attendance at birth

l level of political commitment and government


l availability of information and education

l cultural barriers which affect discrimination

l poverty.

The vast majority of these deaths are preventable

therefore this is not just a matter of development but

of human rights. These rights are all legally protected

by international human rights treaties including:

l the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of

Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

l the International Covenant on Economic, Social and

Cultural Rights

l various regional treaties and the laws of many

individual states.

Capital punishment

The death penalty is a denial of the most basic of

human rights, i.e. that states must recognise the right

to life. The UN General Assembly has called for an end

to the death penalty. Human rights organisations such

as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch

campaign against its imposition as a fundamental

breach of human rights norms.

Nevertheless, according to Amnesty International, in

2014 there were at least 607 executions globally and

2,466 people were sentenced to death in 55 countries.

There are significant global inequalities in capital

punishment (Figure 8.9).

Factors that influence global variations of capital


The inequalities can be explained by factors such as:

l differences between countries in the range and type

of crimes for which it is imposed

l the incidence of its legality under national law

l the increase in the number of countries in which it is

being abolished

l its reinstatement in some countries for threats to

state security and public safety posed by terrorism

l the number of commutations and pardons (granted

in 28 countries in 2014).







Structured/data response

1 Study Figure 1 which shows child mortality in

Africa in 2012.


Review questions

1 Identify two international human rights norms

stated in the UDHR.

2 What do you understand by the term human rights


3 What is meant by intervention in human rights


4 What is meant by forced labour?

5 What factors account for variation in the global

pattern of maternal mortality rates?

6 Why do numbers of executions vary spatially

throughout the world?

a) i) Globally what is the relationship between child

mortality rates and GDP/capita? (2 marks)

ii) With reference to Figure 1, suggest two possible

reasons why child mortality rates vary from one

part of Africa to another.

(4 marks)

iii) Examine two factors which might cause

decline in the child mortality rate of

a country over time.

(4 marks)

b) With reference to a case study, account

for low levels of female participation in


(8 marks)

Human Interactions


2 ‘Global governance of human rights issues has

only positive consequences.’ How far do you


(18 marks)

0 1000



Children dying before the age of 5 per 1,000 live births

150–199 100–149 50–99


0–19 no data

Figure 1 Child mortality in Africa, 2012

Figure 8.9 Death penalty executions, 2014



858703_08_OCR_Geog_A_level_14-17.indd 16

23/11/15 8:49 AM

858703_08_OCR_Geog_A_level_14-17.indd 17

Practice questions build students’

skills and confidence approaching


23/11/15 8:49 AM

Chapter 12 Exploring oceans


Chapter 12

Exploring oceans

12.5 How have socio-economic

and political factors influenced

the use of oceans?

Key idea

➜ Oceans are a vital element in the process of


The importance of oceans in the

process of globalisation

Over many centuries oceans have been important as

a means of transportation. Both goods and people

have travelled over increasing distances. Since the

growth of inter-continental air travel, people now tend

to travel mainly short distances by sea, for example

ferries between the UK and Europe. Freight dominates

maritime transport.

Globalisation in the twenty-first century differs

significantly from earlier activities such as gold and

silver shipped from South America to Europe in the

sixteenth century, or the slave trade. Longer and

more extensive connections have led to increasing

interdependence of people and places. Trading of

goods of all sorts criss-crosses the oceans: Australian

coal is shipped to Japan, furniture made in China

makes its way to Europe, grain produced in the USA

and Canada arrives in the UK. World trade has more

than trebled to 45 per cent of global GDP since

the 1950s.

Global connections affect the everyday lives of

billions of people; just a century ago, few people had

links beyond their own country. Today there are global

brands recognised in most countries and billions of

people purchase products made outside their own


Oceans have a role in a key aspect of globalisation,

known as time-space compression. This refers to

the world being considered a ‘smaller place’ as

Table 12.1 Growth of global seaborne trade

Year Oil Bulk cargoes 1 Dry cargo 2 Total cargoes

1970 1,442 448 676 2,566

1980 1,871 796 1,037 3,704

1990 1,755 968 1,285 4,008

2000 2,163 1,288 2,533 5,984

2010 2,752 2,333 3,323 8,408


Iron ore, grain, coal, bauxite, phosphate


Wide range of products e.g. textiles

interconnections grow. New technologies have

revolutionised connectivity. Developments in ocean

transport have increased the speed and reliability of

delivery. Globalisation means that oil tankers from the

Gulf queue up in the Channel waiting for the Hong

Kong-based owners of their cargoes to give permission

to head for Rotterdam, when the global price per barrel

of oil rises to its most profitable level.

The pattern of global shipping routes

The principal shipping routes follow a relatively simple

pattern. An east-west corridor links North America,

Europe and Pacific Asia through the Suez Canal, the

Strait of Malacca and the Panama Canal. A major route

also extends from Europe to eastern South America and

then various secondary routes, such as between Brazil

and South Africa, add to the pattern.




Core route

Secondary route

Suez Canal

Figure 12.1 Early twenty-first century shipping routes

Factors influencing global shipping routes

Physical geography has a key role to play in the pattern

of ocean routes. The shape of coastlines, winds, water

currents, water depth, reefs, sea-ice and icebergs

influence shipping routes. Two major influences on eastwest

routes was the long detour to the south round

either Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope.

Impacts of the Suez and Panama Canals

Planned by the French but constructed by the British,

the Suez Canal opened in 1869. The Panama Canal, also

initiated by the French, was completed and opened in

1914 under USA control. These engineering projects are

two of the most significant maritime ‘shortcuts’ ever

built and have had far reaching consequences for trade

and geopolitics.

Table 12.2 Fact file: the Suez and Panama Canals

Suez Canal Panama Canal


Red Sea to Atlantic to Pacific


Length 192 km 82 km

Maximum size of ship 150,000 tonnes 65,000 tonnes

Average time to sail About 14 hours About 17 hours


Distance saved About 8,900 km About 13,000 km

Sailing time saved About ten days About twenty days

Both canals are currently being upgraded to allow more

and larger ships to pass through them. The Suez Canal

can only accommodate ships travelling in one direction

at a time while the Panama Canal has locks which slow

the travelling time.


Stretch and challenge

Investigate what is meant by a ‘great circle route’.

Explain why they are significant to intercontinental

shipping trade. Use examples in your explanation.

The physical geography of the coast is an important

influence on port location. Depth of water, tidal range and

shelter are key factors. Natural harbours such as Sydney,

San Francisco and Singapore are long established ports.

But with increasingly ambitious engineering, harbours

can be developed in previously little used locations. For

example, extensive engineering such as dredging and dock

construction have allowed Europoort to develop at the

mouth of the River Rhine in the Netherlands.

The direction and type of trade

across oceans

Ocean trade connects producers and consumers of

raw materials and manufactured goods. Market size

exerts a strong influence on the volume of shipping

visiting a port. For example, Europoort serves a large

part of western and central Europe. Total population

is an indication of market size but an imperfect one.

Income levels are also significant as they affect the

ability to purchase goods. In addition the type of goods

traded influence the volume and direction of ocean

trade. For example, there are clear patterns in the

trade in unprocessed primary products such as crude

oil, mineral ores and agricultural products compared

to manufactured goods such as vehicles, electronic

equipment and clothes.

Study Tables 12.3 to 12.8 which show the percentage of world trade in various categories of goods.

Table 12.3 Leading exporters of agricultural products (2014) Table 12.4 Leading importers of agricultural products (2014)



(million US$)

% share of world


EU 613,000 37

USA 172,000 10

Brazil 86,400 5

China 66,175 4

Canada 62,800 4

Indonesia 45,000 3

Argentina 43,150 3

India 42,400 3

Thailand 42,000 3

Australia 38,400 2

Malaysia 34,000 2



(million US$)

% share of world


EU 623,000 36

China 157,000 9

USA 142,000 8

Japan 94,000 5

Russian Federation 42,000 2

Canada 38,000 2

South Korea 33,700 2

Saudi Arabia 29,300 2

Mexico 27,000 2

India 25,700 1

Hong Kong, China 25,000

Table 12.5 Leading exporters of fuels and mining products (2014)



(million US$)

% share of world


EU 682,400 16

Russian Federation 377,300 9

Saudi Arabia 325,600 8

USA 187,200 5

Australia 160,300 4

Canada 149,000 4

United Arab Emirates 129,200 3

Norway 121,000 3

Qatar 116,000 2

Kuwait 112,300 2

Nigeria 104,000 2

Table 12.6 Leading importers of fuels and mining products (2014)



(million US$)

% share of world


EU 1,263,000 30

China 534,000 13

USA 486,000 12

Japan 361,000 8

South Korea 227,300 5

India 210,300 4

Singapore 130,000 3

Taiwan 89,000 2

Turkey 68,100 2

Canada 64,800 2

Germany 60,100 2

Table 12.7 Leading exporters of manufactured goods (2014)



(million US$)

% share of world


EU 4,385,000 38

China 1,925,000 17

USA 1,102,000 10

Japan 709,600 6

South Korea 462,600 4

Hong Kong, China 423,200 4

Singapore 283,000 2

Table 12.8 Leading importers of manufactured goods (2014)



(million US$)

% share of world


EU 3,905,000 33

USA 1,618,000 14

China 1,060,000 9

Hong Kong, China 489,000 4

Japan 418,000 3

Canada 340,000 3

Mexico 290,000 2

South Korea 257,400 2

Russian Federation 253,100 2

1 On an outline world map, represent the percentage

share figures for each category of trade. Use a located

graphical method such as a bar graph.

2 Describe and suggest reasons for the patterns.

3 The figures are for total trade, not just ocean trade.

Suggest the role that ocean transport is likely to play

in the trade for each category of product.

unloading containers is highly mechanised and benefits

from every single container having its own unique code.

Computers track each container allowing the logistics

of distribution to be very efficient.

Bulk carriers of goods such as oil, mineral ores and

grains have also increased in size and achieved similar scale

economies. The largest oil tankers carry some 3 million

barrels of oil, equivalent to some 440,000 tonnes. Iron ore

carriers can be nearly as big at 400,000 tonnes.

Although oceans are primarily highways for goods,

cruise ships have also been a growing presence. The

largest of these are up to 225,000 tonnes, 360 metres

long and can carry around 6,000 passengers and 2,300

crew. Unsurprisingly, this class of vessel is the most

expensive ever constructed.

When large vessels come to port, the scale of the

handling facilities matches that of the ships.

Table 12.9 Port of Singapore – vital statistics per year



% world’s containers handled 20

% world’s crude oil handled 50

Number of ships docked 130,000

Number of containers handled About 33 million

Until 2005, Singapore was the world’s busiest port in

terms of total tonnage handled. It is now second after

Shanghai. However, Singapore remains the world’s

largest trans-shipment port in terms of goods in and out.

The importance of ocean-going vessels in increasing the

interconnectivity of the world cannot be underestimated.

Although much is rightly made of the impact of the

internet, a strong argument can be made for the

revolution in ocean transport as the driver of globalisation.

Submarine cables – unseen connections

Oceans can also be crossed below the surface. The

first submarine cables were laid in the second half of

the nineteenth century, notably the first trans-Atlantic

telegraph cable in 1866. By the early twentieth century

a global telegraphic network had been laid. Telephone

cables were laid during the 1950s. Today, fibre optic

cables criss-cross the oceans forming an essential part

of the globalised telecommunications network. The

internet could not exist without these cables.

When laying a new cable route, several cables are

laid at the same time so that if one were to fail, traffic

can be swiftly re-routed. In the past two decades, the

greatest amount of cable laying has been in Pacific Asia.

A submarine link across the Arctic is also being developed

between locations such as London and Tokyo for example.


1 Describe the pattern of submarine cable networks.

2 Suggest reasons for this pattern.

Geographical debates

Chapter 12 Exploring oceans

Marine technology – a revolution in


Technological changes in ocean shipping, including

ports, have revolutionised movement of all types of

products by sea. The huge increase in the sizes of ships

over the past few decades is unprecedented.

Containerisation is fundamental to the process of

globalisation. By using standard-sized metal boxes to

move a wide variety of goods, costs have been reduced

dramatically. The elimination of item by item, or ‘loose

cargo’ handling reduces costs at every stage of a

journey from factory to final distribution centre. That

so many containers can now be moved by one ship

adds to the economies of scale. Ocean freight rates

have reduced as a consequence, and it is not just costs

which are saved; the time taken for goods to travel

around the globe has greatly reduced. Loading and





















1970s 1980s 2000 2014


Figure 12.2 Increasing size of container ships. TEU: twenty foot

equivalent unit – the measure of the number of containers


Higher speeds (> 3,000 gigabytes/second)

Medium speeds (2,000–3,000 gigabytes/second)

Lower speeds (< 2,000 gigabytes/second)

Figure 12.3 Main global submarine cable network

carried by a ship

20 21

Chapter 12 Exploring oceans

Key idea

➜ Oceans are important spaces where countries

challenge each other

Rival countries have long argued about the ‘right’ of their

ships to sail freely across the seas and to have access

to ocean resources. The establishment of sea areas in

international law such the as ‘exclusive economic zone’

has not been straightforward. In some locations marine

boundaries continue to be disputed. Geopolitics can be

especially contentious in ocean settings. The Arctic is

likely to witness increasing tensions as the region warms

and the Arctic Ocean becomes more accessible.

Over the centuries, gaining naval supremacy has been

important to the political and economic ambitions of

countries. Sometimes a clash at sea has been a pivotal

moment in a nation’s history. The defeat of the Spanish

Armada in 1588, the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and

the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War,

can all be seen as turning points in the course of British

history. Today naval power remains a significant element

for many countries wishing to preserve or expand their

spheres of influence. A superpower such as the USA and

emerging powers such as India and China either maintain

or are growing their ability to exert power via the oceans.

China’s growing naval power

China has for centuries been a naval power within

Asia. In recent years, significant investment has

been made into its naval capabilities. This is part of

China’s emerging role both regionally within Asia and

the Pacific but also globally. Economic strength and

increasing technological expertise are allowing the

Chinese navy to expand and modernise at a rapid rate.

China’s coastline extends for 14,500 kilometres which

ranks it tenth in the world simply in terms of length.

There are four primary domestic naval ports covering

the north, central and southern stretches of coastline.

It is significant that China has been establishing bases in

other countries, which allow its navy to operate further

away from home. The term blue water navy describes

one that is able to operate away from its home bases.

That China is extending its naval military capacity is a

strong indication of its emerging superpower status.

The spread of Chinese naval power into the Indian

Ocean is of increasing concern for India. These concerns

are made more serious for India because potential

Chinese naval bases are in countries such as Pakistan



















Chinese naval base

Ports receiving substantial Chinese investment in its facilities

Figure 12.4 China’s naval bases

with which India does not necessarily have good

relations. The level of infrastructure in each of these

overseas bases, however, is not developed enough to

support substantial Chinese military power. But China’s

developing commercial interests in the trade across

the Indian Ocean, such as that originating from the

Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal, and its involvement in

Africa, mean that its is likely to retain a strong strategic

interest in the Indian Ocean.

Marine conflict – the South

China Sea

For centuries, various countries have argued and on

occasions fought, over territory in the South China Sea.

Two island chains, the Paracels and the Spratlys, as well

as areas of adjacent sea are claimed either in whole or in

part by various countries. The island chains include many

rocky outcrops, coral atolls and reefs, and sandbanks.

China claims the most ocean as defined by the ‘ninedash

line’. This claim is based on historical factors

which Vietnam disputes. Taiwan mirrors China’s claim

while the proximity to the Spratlys of the Philippines

archipelago is the basis of its claim. Other countries

also involved in claiming some of the South China Sea

are Malaysia and Brunei. The attractions of the islands

include reserves of oil and gas under the sea bed while

trade routes passing through the region are important

to China’s economy.

22 23













China’s claimed territorial borders

UNCLOS 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone

Figure 12.5 Marine conflict in the South China Sea



Recent incidents in the South China Sea

l 1974 and 1988 – armed clashes between China and

Vietnam over the Paracels and Spratlys; some 130

Vietnamese military personnel killed

The Publishers would like to thank the following for permission to reproduce copyright material:

Photo credits

l 2012 – China and Philippines accuse each other of

incursion in the Scarborough Shoal

l 2012 – China formally creates Sansha City in the

Paracels to administer Chinese territory in the region;

Vietnam and the Philippines protest

l 2013 – Philippines challenges legality of China’s actions

under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

l 2014 – China sets up a drilling rig near to Paracels;

multiple collisions occur between Chinese and

Vietnamese vessels

l 2015 – US satellite and spy plane reconnaissance

shows China building infrastructure on some of the

Spratly Islands e.g. an airstrip.

The USA has significant strategic interests in the region.

The region, which is worth US$1.2 trillion to the US

economy, is a very important trading location for the

USA. The USA also has several long-standing allies

such as South Korea and Taiwan whose security it

needs to safeguard.

Militarily, the US Seventh Fleet based in Japan is by

far the strongest in the region. However, the chance

of direct confrontation between the USA and China

is low if past tensions are anything to go by, even

though the USA has not signed up to the UNCLOS

agreement. It only voluntarily agrees to its principles

and so this weakens the argument for a legal and

rules-based solution.

p. 8 © NASA; p.16 © Benjamin Henning

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© Michael Raw, David Barker, Helen Harris, Andrew Palmer, Peter Stiff 2015

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