In the United States, we pay homage to some of our greatest men and women by recognizing their professional lives. From Presidents’ Day to Veterans’ Day to Labor Day, all of us enjoy holidays in celebration of the hard work we put into our livelihoods for over 50 weeks each year.
As the United States honors its fallen soldiers during next week’s Memorial Day observances, Brazil prepares to recognize another professional community: its geographers.
Dia do Geógrafo or “Day of the Geographer,” is recognized annually on May 29 by the largest country in the southern hemisphere. Its purpose? To acknowledge the work done by geographers and their contributions to Brazil’s past, present, and future.
Dia do Geógrafo educates citizens on the roles played by geographers, reminding us that although studying climate, vegetation, and rivers is important, it is only a small focus of professional geographers. Geographers also study the economy, population, political divisions, culture, and much, much more. Using these two parallels—physical geography and human geography—geographers delineate how people interact with the environment in which they live.
As a fast-developing “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) nation, Brazil will face great challenges in sustaining smart development over the course of the coming decades. Geographers will play an important role in planning for the country’s sustainable development in urban, regional, and rural settings. Geographers have already played key roles in education, urban planning, resource conservation, environmental protection, and population studies throughout the country.
In the United States, Geography Awareness Week is recognized in November, bringing the importance of geography education to the public’s attention. GIS Day, celebrated on the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week, is perhaps the closest we come to celebrating geography as a profession, but it is more a recognition of the tool than the trade (and of course, GIS is used by many professionals other than geographers).
What do you think? Should we recognize geographers with their own day in the U.S.? Let us know your thoughts by emailing us at email@example.com or responding in the comments section!
Former Nat Geo intern Justin Fisch wrote this back in May 2012!