Essentials Of Physical Geography
Earth, with its life-support system for humankind, is a wondrous and complex place, yet it is also enigmatic. In many ways our planet is robust and adaptable to environmental change, but in others it is fragile and threatened. In our modern day-to-day lives, our use of technology tends to insulate us from fully experiencing our environment, so we can become lulled into forgetting about our direct dependence on Earth’s natural resources. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that as you read this you are also moving through space on a lifegiving planetary oasis surrounded by the vastness of space— one that is empty and,as far as we know,devoid of life.Yet having knowledge of our planet, its environments, and how they operate is as critical as it has ever been for human society. For as long as humans have existed, the resources provided by their physical environments have been the key to survival. Preindustrial societies, such as those dependent on hunting and gathering, or small-scale agriculture, tended to have small populations and therefore exerted relatively little impact on their natural surroundings. In contrast, today’s industrialized societies have large populations, demand huge quantities of natural resources, and can influence or cause environmental change, not only on a local scale, but also on a global one. As human population has increased, so have the scales, degrees, and cumulative effects of its impacts on the environment. Unfortunately, many of these impacts are detrimental. We have polluted the air and water.We have used up tremendous amounts of nonrenewable resources and have altered many natural landscapes without fully assessing the potential consequences.Too often, we have failed to respect the power of Earth’s natural forces when constructing our homes and cities or while pursuing our economic activities. In the twenty-first century, it has become evident that if we continue to fail to comprehend Earth’s potential and respect its limitations as a human habitat, we may be putting ourselves and future generations at risk. Despite the many differences between our current lifestyles and those of early humans, one aspect has remained the same: The way we use our physical environment is key to our survival.
- Publication Date
- Jul 11, 2021
- Science & Medicine
- All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
- By (author): Brooks Cole