This text offers readers a short and highly accessible account of the ideas and concepts constituting geography. Drawing out the key themes that define the subject, What is Geography? demonstrates how and why these themes - like environment and geopolitics- are of fundamental importance. Including discussion of both the human and the natural realms, the text looks at key themes like environment, space, and place - as well as geography's methods and the history of the discipline.Introductory but not simplified, What is Geography? will provide students with the ability to understand the history and context of the subject without any prior knowledge. Intended Audience: Designed as a key transitional text for students entering undergraduate courses, this book will be of interest to all readers interested in and intrigued by the "geographical imagination."
Chapter 2: To Know the World: People and Nature
To Know the World: People and Nature
It is oddly easy to imagine: the view from space; the blue earth, loosely veiled with white cloud. Satellites take us closer. They begin to pick up the marks of human activity, clots of cities, vast irrigated plains, rivers channelled, straightened and damned. Almost everywhere the Earth's surface reveals the imprint of a numerous and highly organised species.
Our experience of the world is both of something made by humans and as something we call ‘natural’ (i.e., not made by humans). Because we are self-aware creatures we see ourselves as above nature or, at least, as acting upon it as if it was apart from us. Yet this is a troubling distinction. For ...