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Human environment interaction

Geography Themes:

Human Environment Interaction

  • The environment means different things to different people, depending on their cultural backgrounds and technological resources. In studying human/environment interaction, geographers look at all the effects—positive and negative—that occur when people interact with their surroundings. Sometimes when we do things, such as damming a river to prevent flooding or to provide irrigation, we need to look at the potential consequences. The construction of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, for example, changed the natural landscape, but it also created a reservoir that helps provide water and electric power for the arid Southwest. Studying the consequences of human/environment interaction helps people plan and manage the environment responsibly. When we interact with our environment, we forever change it.
  • There are some fun things you can do to help you learn what Human-Environment Interaction is all about...
    • The Lorax. Read the book The Lorax (by Dr. Seuss) How do you feel about each of the characters? Who does each character symbolize? How is each character affected by the Once-ler? Who is the Somebody?
    • Your town's growing population. Collect population statistics for your town as far back as they are available. Create graphs to show how the town's population has changed over the decades. How has population change affected the town?
    • Wants and needs. Can you make a list of the things you would want to have to have a good life. Which of those things do you really need? How many of those things you really need can be found in the natural environment? Which things must be made by people?
    • A picture is worth ... Help students collect pictures of your town over the years. How is the town different in appearance today from the way it looked many years ago? 
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