When my daughter was very little, my brother asked her if she liked bees. He was just trying to be friendly, but it struck me as a puzzler of a question, as it did her. Now I will do the same to you. Do you like maps?

I do. I like maps a lot. They show many interesting things besides where places are. There are historic maps and political maps and resource maps and religion maps and ethnicity maps and many many more! Many times maps show that groupings of people or things don’t follow national boundaries at all. And a lot of the time that tells you more about the politics of a place than reading every single thing that gets written about it.

Something that has always fascinated me is how for all the state boundaries in the US, and the very different state laws, political, social, and educational groupings, when shown by county, flow across state lines as if there were no states at all. You’ve probably noticed that too. An example this week was the map showing economic mobility by county. I’d link to it, but I want to link to a different map and my rule is one link per Blog Post, even if I’ve broken that rule sometimes.

But here’s the map I like the best right now. http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/07/23/where-is-the-midwest-ctd/ It’s used in a discussion of what the ‘Midwest’ actually is. I’m from Buffalo, and I’ve always said that Buffalo is the easternmost part of the Midwest, but I digress. What I like about the map is what it actually is. An ecosystem map. Once again, the areas don’t follow state lines. But I think some version of this map should be in every school and every home, with engaging names given to the ecosystems. If people thought of themselves as living in one of these, they might be more inclined to learn about them, appreciate them and protect the native species, both animal and palnt within them. Can we get there from here?