‘Five themes of geography‘ divides our information into five general categories: location, place, human environment interaction, movement and region. Human Environmental Interaction can be described as the connections between human beings and the entire ecological unit. The human social systems and environment are intricate adaptive systems. They are intricate since ecological units and human social systems have a lot of elements and correlations between them. The adaptiveness is because of the feedback systems that support survival in a continuously changing surroundings.
Human environment interaction is the way people adapt and modify the environment. There are 3 types of human environment interaction:
- The way people depend on the environment for food, water, timber, natural gas etc
- The way people adpat the environment to fulfill their own needs
- The way people modify the environment positively or negatively like drilling holes, building dams
The following explanations are notable examples of different kinds of human environment interactions.
Examples of Different Kinds of Human Environment Interactions
1. The use of natural resources
People use different kinds of natural reserves like timber, metals, and oil in the day to day lives. There is also a dependence on food and water for a continued existence. People also require energy for various reasons such as cooking at home and industrial purposes. From clothes, transport services, constructions, electronic devices and other items that are used all need different resources so as to be produced.
The demand for natural resources keep on increasing as the populace keeps on growing and utilization per individual rises with socio-economic advancement. Exhaustion of natural resources through extraction and exploitation is particularly a worry for resources that cannot be renewed.
One exacting predicament that is a result of too much misuse of natural resources and also representing human environmental interaction is deforestation. It happens when forests get cut down and the trees are not replaced or permitted to grow back. Countries such as Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, America, Congo, and India have cleared a lot of its forests for economic and agricultural purposes to meet the food demand, fuel and building materials.
These activities have led to a steady loss of areas with forests and it still continues. Deforestation has a lot of unwanted results. First, they are home to different species of trees, plants and extensive variety of animals from small insects to birds, mammals and reptiles. Converting forests to agricultural areas decreases biodiversity which is essential for human beings since they use other living organisms in providing a number of requirements such as:
- Food: plants such as wheat, rice and maize and animals such as fish, chicken and cows are used as sources of food.
- Medication: A lot of customary medicines are extracted from plants and animals, brand new ones are developed from them.
- Ecological processes: Organisms such as plant life and micro-organisms have a crucial role of maintaining people’s lives and the ecosystem by giving air, purifying the air, decontaminating the water, decomposing wastes and preventing soil erosion.
Deforestation is a major contributor to soil erosion. The moment trees are chopped down, the land below gets exposed, without trees which bind the soil together to intercept; the soil has a higher probability of being carried away during the rainy seasons. Losing forests also has a huge influence on the water supply.
When trees are available; they have the ability of reaching deep into the ground and create room between the constituents, in return, the soil permeability increases, permitting rain water to immerse itself and replenish the floor water.
3. Energy resources
Using of renewable or non-renewable sources demonstrate human environmental interaction as the energy is used to power transport and communication systems, electrical equipment, and our homes as well as offices.
Fossil fuels, for example, have been the key ingredient in the world’s globalization, but since they cannot be renewed, the amount is eventually inadequate and their usage is not sustainable in the long-run. Because of its downside, burning of fossil fuels is the major reason for the climate modification.
There are a number of renewable energies that can be used instead of fossil fuels like wind power, hydroelectric power, and solar power that work by converting the wind’s, water, and sun’s energy into electricity respectively.
4. Oil and gas drilling
Humans extract oil and gas for a lot of uses. However, the extraction of oil and gas has a lot of negative effects to the ecosystem. Oil spills have huge financial effects; they interrupt transportation and injure inhabitants, when birds get oiled they lose their potential of hunting for food enabling their survival.
Spills also expose individuals to seafood that is not safe for consumption. Offshore drilling generates waste substances that when they get into the water, end up poisoning aquatic animals. The possibility of getting injured and succumbing to death is always there while drilling for oil. Countless people have ended up dying from storms and drilling accidents.
The activities from oil and gas drilling equally leave behind deep-seated effects to the scenery. The heavy machinery such as bull dozers and the construction of roads in the process end up destroying the environment, sometimes permanently. The main product from drilling, methane, also contributes to climate modification and the result is global warming which consist of modifications in rainfall patterns, melting of glaciers, and increase in sea levels.
5. Water resources
The use of water resources highly signifies human environmental interaction. Water has a lot of uses, from domestic to agricultural and in industrial processes. The relative quantities of the three groups differ in various parts of the universe. However, agriculture generally uses the largest quantity of water. The rising demand in water is leading to unsustainable use of water sources.
Recycling of water means it gets replenished, but taking extreme quantities of water from water bodies for use whether domestically, agricultural or industrial reduces the percentage of water accessible for present and upcoming generations. Universally, withdrawals of water have tripled over the decades because of the growing populace and also the rise in usage per individual.
6. Relationships between human activities and the surroundings
People start interrelating with the environment from the moment they are born. For instance, individuals have been chopping down trees to clear ground to plant crops for years, in doing so, the ecosystem gets modified. On the other hand, the environment has an effect on the people as well. A straightforward case in point is the way individuals tend to change clothes in responding to the weather – either when it is cold or hot.
Water that is clean and accessible, productive soil, and optimal atmospheric conditions are characteristics of the physical environment that allows individuals to live and prosper. Nonetheless, harsh surroundings like a very scorching weather, lack of enough water, and infertile land make it hard for people survive.
People also get influenced by major environmental occurrences for example floods, wildfires, drought, pollution, earthquakes, and tornadoes. They are capable of causing dislocation of families and even hurting people, death and destruction of homes. Additionally, occurrences like earthquakes destroy water, pipelines and other transport systems that lead to pollution of water and inaccessibility to crucial public services.
7. Vehicle production
It is obvious that cars enable people to move faster, travel a longer distance and also able to access resources that used to be far away. Despite all that, cars have been changing the universe in a negative way, transport services are responsible for over a third of the globe’s greenhouse gas emissions. Air pollution has become so deadly and is responsible for killing about 800,000 people annually.
Not forgetting accidents caused by vehicles which take over 1.1 million lives every year. Constructing roads end up destroying the ecological units, in addition, there is a lot of noise pollution caused by vehicles, the noise ends up chasing numerous animals away from their natural habitation, thus putting them in danger of extinction.
Litter has a lot of negative effects; it can cause the interference of water paths. Dumping of plastics improperly causes them to flow towards water paths following heavy rainfall and gradually end up in drainage pipes and sewer ways. After some time, the litter ends up clogging up the filters placed in the pipes, consequently, the pipes end up bursting. Another effect is that it gives disease vectors grounds for hiding, breeding and multiplying. Eventually, the vectors increases in numbers, spreading diseases to animals and humans.
9. Graffiti and the use of aerosols
The use of graffiti and aerosols is poisonous to the environment and gives out fumes that get into the air promoting global warming. Moreover, research has shown that the Modern-day, CFC-free aerosol sprays also emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that add to ground-level ozone levels, a main ingredient that causes asthma.
Although the modern day paint are harmful to the environment, more often than not, the substances that are used for removing paint off the walls are exceedingly dangerous. There is a high probability of destroying the ecosystem when using and throwing away of chemicals that are used in graffiti.