Geography and Environment

Geography and Environment

The earth is the planet where we live. We live have in different regions with distinctive natural environments. Naturally, our lifestyles, societies, cultural, economic and political activities have unique characteristics. All these things are the topic of discussion in modern geography. So, geography is a science of nature and it is a science of environment and society. In this article we are going to deal with geography and environment, their scope, different branches of geography and the importance of geography as a subject.

At the end of this article, we will be able to:

• Explain the idea of geography and environment.

• Describe the scope of geography.

• Explain the importance of studying geography and environment.

• Explain the inter-relationship among different elements of geography and environment.

Concept of Geography

The word geography is derived from two Greek words 'geo' (earth) and 'graphy' (description). But the discipline does not simply describe the earth, it explores the planet as peoples, habitat. Eratosthenes was the first Greek scholar who used the term 'geography' as the study of earth as human habitat. Professor E.A Macnee said, 'geography is the study of environment of man both physical and social, particularly in its relation to human activites.' Professor L. Dudley Stamp has defined geography as, 'A description of the world and of its inhabitants.' Professor Carl Ritter said, that geography is concerned with the objects on the earth's surface around man. Geography is the science of nature, environment and social science. According to Richard Hartshorne, 'geography provides accurate, orderly and rational description and interpretation of the variable character of the earth's surface.'

Academy of Science of Washington D.C. gave a definition of Geography in 1965. According to them, Geography searches for how the sub-management of natural environment of the surface and how human beings adjust themselves with these natural phenomena or physical body.

People live in this world and lead their life on it. The natural environment influences their way of living. Climate, physical features, natural vegetation, animals, rivers, seas, and mineral resources which influence the life of the people in different ways. Activities of man change the environment, such as, their homes, roads, ports and cities change the nature and environment in different ways. Settlement is built by cutting trees, by filling up canals, wetlands, and ponds. There is interaction between man and environment.

The main function of geography is to find out the cause of interaction between man and environment.

Concept of Environment

People live in an environment. An environment is made up of rivers, oceans, mountains, forests, settlements, roads, plants, animals, water, soil and air. All activities of human beings have profound effect on natural and man-made features of the environment. Environmental scientist Arms said, 'environment is the surrounding organic and natural situations of animals.'

C.C. Park says, environment means the sum of all the situations of humans at certain point of place and time.

Environment changes with the change of time and place. For example, at the beginning of mankind, water, air, plants and animals made up the environment. Later, human interference, social, economic, cultural and political activities developed a new environment i.e. human environment.

Elements of environment

Environment is made of two kinds of elements – living and non living elements.

Those who have life, take food, have intelligence, have birth/death and growth are living things/elements. Trees, birds and animals, insects, humans and other animals are living things. These are the living elements of environment. Earth, water, air, mountains, rivers, seas, light, temperature, moisture are the non living things/elements. They make non living environment.

Task : Make inter-relationship among different elements of environment.

Scope of Geography

Science and technological expansion, new inventions, innovations, expressions of thoughts, change of social values have extended the scope of geography. So, various subjects such as Geomorphology, Climatology, Oceanography, Soil Science, Botany, Sociology, Economics, Politics and History etc. have been included in Geography.

Branches of Geography

Branches of Geography

(a) Physical Geography : Physical Geography is that branch of Gerography dealing with the natural features of the earth, the home of human beings. Physical Geography deals with water, air, animals, and the land of the planet earth i.e. everything that is part of the four spheres-the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere.

1. Geomorphology : Geomorphologists study the landforms of the planet, from their development to their disappearance through erosion and other processes.

2. Climatology : Climate geographers investigate the distribution of long term weather patterns and activities of the earth's atmosphere.

3. Biogeography : Biogeography studies the distribution of plants and animals on or near the surface of the earth.

4. Soil geography : Soil geographers study the upper layer of the lithosphere, the soil of the earth and its categorization and patterns of distribution.

5. Oceanography : Oceanography discusses the transport and communication among continents through ocean, the rise and fall of ocean surface and the management of ocean resources.

(b) Human Geography: Human geography is a major branch of geography that studies people and their interaction with the earth and with their organization of space on the earth's surface.

1. Economic Geography : Economic geography examines the distribution of production of goods, the distribution of wealth and the spatial structure of economic condition.

2. Population Geography : Population geographers are concerned with the distributions, migrations and growth of population in geographic areas.

3. Regional Geography : Regional geographers focus on areas as large as continents or as small as an urban area.

4. Political Geography: Political geography investigates all aspects of boundaries, country, state and national development, international organizations, diplomacy, internal country sub divisions, voting and more.

5. Quantitative Geography : Quantitative Geography uses quantitative techniques and models to test hypothesis. Quantitative methods are often used in many other branches of Gerography but some geographers specialize in quantitative methods only.

6. Transport Geography : Transport geographers study both public and private transport networks and the use of those networks for transporting people and goods.

7. Urban Geography : Urban Geography deals with the orgm, evolution, classifications, environment, and different areas of cities and towns.

8. Disaster management : Disaster management focuses on how to reduce loss during disaster and how to protect environment and ocean from disaster.

Whatever branch we discuses, environment is always an issue. At present Geography and Environment are taught in integrated way. Natural and social environment bear equal importance in geographical science.

Types of environment

There are two types of environment--natural environment and social environment.

Earth, water, air, mountains, rivers, seas, light, trees, birds, animals and insects, constitute natural environment. On the other hand human behaviors, rituals, education, values, economics and politics constitute social environment.

Importance of Studying Geography and Environment

The disciplines deal with:

•  The environment of the world, the nature of a particular place, the origin and structure of particular landforms i.e. hills, mountains, river, sea, plains and deserts.

 Origin and evolution of the earth along with the evolution of plants and animals.

•  Plants and animals of different environments--their behaviors, food habits, and their habitats.

•  How social environment has changed due to the development of agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, transport and communication.

•  How natural calamities occur, how to control them and what harm they do to the human beings.

 • How human interference spoils the environment-- the intensity of the damage, the cause of the rise of temperature and the greenhouse effect as well as their influence on the environment and how to minimize the loss.

• How to develop human resources for economic development by utilizing natural resources.

• Ocean and the management of its resources.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post