Discuss the similarities and difference between human and physical geography

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Introduction

Discuss the similarities and difference between human and physical geography Geography is the study of the locational and spatial variations of physical, biological and human phenomena on earth. Geography is split into two disciplines. Physical geography involves the understanding of processes and landforms of the physical environment. Human geography's main intellectual contribution is to understand the relations between humans and the natural world of which we are part, as well as how all components of human life are linked together. Both share the fundamental common ground in that geography is about the relationship between humans and the environment. However, as a deeper understanding of an increasing range of topics develop, the two disciplines have to go to greater lengths to find the mutual underlyings which bond the subject. At a younger age, it is difficult to distinguish between human and physical geography at all. In school, students are taught geography as a whole up until AS level, meaning lessons are solely based around the fundamental aspects covering both disciplines. There is no difference between the subjects here and the core principles are closely linked together. From 6th form and onto degree intensity, fields of study are much more varied, including many more topics, thus distancing the areas.

Middle

[Holden.J. Introduction to physical geography and the environment]. The use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) and the drastically increased usage of cars, which in themselves are becoming less economic in regards to fuel consumption, is have a catastrophic effect on the biosphere and everything included within this such as ecosystems. CFC's are also the major component involved in the destruction of the ozone layer. Human actions increase the rate at which nutrients and organic substances enter water ecosystems. These substances can over stimulate the growth of algae, creating conditions that interfere with the recreational use of lakes and estuaries, and the health and diversity of indigenous fish, plant, and animal populations. Sustainable development and economic growth are another two key issues which are closely linked with the physical environment. Basically, the environment 'sustains' human growth. However, it has reached a point where people are destroying so much of the physical landscape that we cannot be sustained at this rate for ever. "They mean economic growth without inflation rather than without environmental degradation" [Cloke et al. Introducing human geographies, second edition.]. As far as differences between the two disciplines are concerned, there seems to be much more evidence for the idea that the two are separating and moving apart, than for actual differences.

Conclusion

This is an enormous difference considering the scale. This year was not a freak anomaly occurring just in 2003/04, but a gradual trend, which has shown how physical geography is becoming the much preferred option among higher education students. [www.hesa.ac.uk] I feel that, after presenting the principle similarities and differences between human and physical geography, there is not absolute conclusion at to whether they are or are not similar or different. The arguments have shown that the similarities, though difficult to find sometimes, are more apparent than first thought. However, most of the similarities between topics within each discipline came not so much from actual 'common ground' but from linkages. For example, the importance of the relationship between humans and the biosphere illustrates a strong connection between human and physical geography, but not necessarily a similarity between the two. The same principle can be applied to the differences side of the argument. It is very clear that there is much dissimilarity, but the bigger issue seems to be the actual separating of the disciplines. As the areas are studied in more detail, covering a greater range, there is certainly less 'common ground' but the growing distance between human and physical is, I believe, of more concern. Cloke.P, Crang.P, Goodwin.M Introducing Human Geographies. 2nd edition. 2005 Holden.J An introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment. 2005 www.rgs.org www.hesa.ac.uk www.statistics.gov.uk Word count: 1335 ?? ?? ?? ?? James Eacott 26/11/05 - 1 -

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