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Ms. Jind Kaur, Associate Professor

Department of Geography
Government College for Girls
Sector 11, Chandigarh
The relationship between mankind and the
environment is a theme that has held the
attention of man from the beginning of
civilization. The general assumption over the
world is that nature sets the stage for human
development. The approach to nature – man
relationship varied from one society to another
depending upon whether nature of the habitat is
friendly or the natural conditions are hard from
the view-point of the mechanics of living.
• The relationship of humans to their earthly
environment is the core-concept in
• The phrase “Man and the Land” is often used
to convey the essence of Geography.
• Equally important idea is that the relationship
has a certain distribution in space.
• Geographers recognizes that the quality of life
layer varies from place to place in terms of
richness or poverty of life forms, capable of
being supportive.
Geographers recognizes environmental
regions each with a potential set of
qualities of life support. A given
environmental region has certain definite
locations on the globe in terms of:
– Latitudinal Positions
– Continental Positions
– Altitudinal Positions
Environmental regions have a
characteristic combination of:
– Terrain Type
– Soil Type
– Native Plant Cover
– Climatic Type
– Resources Type
and offers a set of opportunities to man to
desire vital supply of Food, Clothing and
• It is the sum total of all the objects, situations, and the forces
which surround the man and governs man’s activities.
• To understand the environment we need to study each of the
global realms:
– Atmosphere
– Hydrosphere
– Lithosphere
– Biosphere
• Two important factors that is heredity and environment
influences man and his activities – the central figure among the
living organisms.
– Heredity affects the inherent potential qualities past from generation to
– Environment brings these qualities to the surface.
• Physical environment: is made up of various
elements constituting biosphere and bio-
geographical regions. So it includes such
components as:
– Geographical Locations
– Soil Surface
– Soil Quality
– Ground Water
– Natural Fauna and Flora
– Micro-organism
• Cultural Environment: refers to the
processes which help the establishment of
relationship between human beings and the
natural environment. So it includes such
elements as:
– Economic Activities
– Religion
– Settlements
– Living Conditions
– Political Situations
• Each environment physical or cultural comprises:
– Forces
– Processes
– Elements
• Forces of physical environment are:
– Gravitation
– Tectonics
– Nuclear
– Magnetic
– Thermal Power
• Processes of physical environment are:
– Mountain Building
– Generation of Earth-quakes
– Volcanic Activity
– Circulation of the Atmosphere
– Ocean Currents and Waves
• Forces of cultural environment are:
– Population
– Domestic Animals
• Processes of cultural environment are:
– Migration
– Accommodation
– Reproduction
• Elements of physical and cultural environment
– Industries
– Biological Patterns
– Economic Patterns
– Language
– Religion
– Various Social and Political Organizations

• Phenomenal Environment: is the bio-physical or real

environment and is visualized by ecologist.
• Operational Environment: is constituted by
innumerable political, technological and cultural factor
and institutions.
• Behavioural Environment: is an outcome of the
perception and preferences of man and human groups.
It indicates that man is not only an organism but a
socio-ecological organism living and interacting in a
bio-ecological milieu.
• Geographical Environment: comprises all the above
three kinds of environment and the interaction between
the phenomenal and behavioural through the
operational environment.
• Environmental Determinism: beliefs that environment
impacts on human behaviour.
– Miss Semple a staunch follower of determinism advocated that humans
are solely the product of their environment. She elaborated that man is
not only a child of the earth, the earth has mothered him, set his tasks,
directed his thoughts, confronted him with difficulties that have
strengthened his body and sharpened his wits, given him problems and at
the same time whispered hints for their solutions. Man is the plastic form
which nature moulds.
• Processes of determinism are:
– Climate – major determinant of the state of health and mind.
– Religion
– Physical Setting
– Cultural Setting
• Environment Possibilism: Beliefs that man is in the first place.
Nature does not drive man along one particular road, but it
offers a number of opportunities among which man is free to
select. Nature is an advisor. There are no necessities but
everywhere possibilities and man as the master of these
possibilities is the judge of their use.
• The processes of possibilism are:
– Technological advancement
– Human skills

A survey of man-environment relationship studies bring out

that there are four approaches in the analyses of
environmental problems:
– Spatial Approach
– Systems Approach
– Ecological Approach
– Behavioural Approach