is the expanse in which things exist. People utilize a variety of
environments on Earth for living space, working space, and recreational
space. Certain environments are more suitable for these uses than others.
We may consider one location suitable for living space because the climate
is mild, while another location is perhaps best suited for recreational space
because heavy snowfall and mountains make for great skiing
opportunities. In many cases, the way we use a location brings us into
conflict with the physical environment. People may decide, for example, to
live adjacent to a river and so must respond to floods. Not only does the
environment have an impact upon people, we also have an impact upon
of the rainforest may contribute to
increasing global temperatures, for example.
You can start to see then that how we use, or ought to use, space is
determined to some extent by the physical environment. The geographic
therefore, will be important in this course. Before we
discuss that concept, let's first consider the field of geography as a whole
since many other geographic concepts will be relevant in this course.
The common perception of Geography is that it focuses entirely on the
locations of countries, states, and cities. While the location of places is
certainly a part of Geography, the field encompasses MUCH more.
Geography can be simply defined as the study of spatial relationships. This
means that geographers study how characteristics of the physical
environment (climates, plants, soils, etc.) and the social environment
(culture, language, religion, etc.) vary over physical space (Earth). Then
geographers try to explain the patterns of, and the interactions between,
Geography is, therefore, both a physical and social science that answers
two basic questions: