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Human-Environment Interaction. Human-Environment Interaction: The study of the interrelationship between people and their physical environment. Why study Human-Environment Interaction?.

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Human-Environment Interaction: The study of the interrelationship between people and their physical environment.
why study human environment interaction
Why study Human-Environment Interaction?

By understanding how the Earth’s physical features and processes shape and are shaped by human activity, geographers help societies make informed decisions.

two important questions
Two Important Questions?

1. How Does the EnvironmentInfluence Human Behavior?

2. How Do Humans Influence Their Environment?

humans respond to their environment in 2 ways
Humans respond to their environment in 2 ways:
  • Adapting to the environment
  • Modifying the environment
adaptive behaviors
Adaptive Behaviors:
  • Settlement patterns
  • Housing materials
  • Agricultural activity
  • Recreational activity
  • Transportation patterns
modifying behaviors
Modifying Behaviors:
  • Diverting water: dams, canals, polders
  • Changing the landscape: terrace farming, deforestation, desertification
  • Changing the environment: acid rain, pollution
aswan high dam
Aswan High Dam


Built in 1979

Control Flooding

Nile River

Aswan, Egypt

Lake Nasser


Helped with Irrigation

Decreased soil fertility

aral sea
Aral Sea


Located in Central Asia

Between the countries of Uzbekistan


Formerly USSR: Diverted water to grow cotton/rice on nearby farms.


Water for irrigation and poisonous runoff from the fields have caused the sea to shrink and increased desertification.

colorado river
Colorado River


1450 miles

Through SW U.S. and NW Mexico

Source – Rocky Mtns.

Mouth – Gulf of California


More than 20 dams

Water diverted to the Imperial Valley for farming and growing population

No longer reaches the Gulf of California

polders in the netherlands
Polders in the Netherlands


Located in Northern Europe

Most of the country is below sea level.

Sea walls/dunes protect it from the sea.


Areas of Deforestation

Brazil – SA

Nepal – Asia

Malaysia - Asia

Rainforest FACTS:

Contain more than ½ the world's 10 million species of plants, animals and insects

One-fifth of the world's fresh water

20 percent of the world’s oxygen


Once covered 14 % of earth.

Now cover 6%

1-1/2 acres lost every minute


Spread of desert-like conditions

Greatest Areas of Impact:

Africa – Sahara Desert

Asia – Gobi Desert

Central Asia

SW United States





Poor Farming Techniques


Natural Climate Patterns

acid rain
Acid Rain

Given the causes, where might you find acid rain the most?

acid rain1
Acid Rain

Developed Countries: US, Europe, China

most polluted cities
Most Polluted Cities:
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Beijing, China
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Karachi, Pakistan
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Los Angeles, California USA
mexico city
Mexico City

Mexico City reports unhealthy ozone emissions nearly 85% of the year. Mexico's geographical location--in the center of a volcanic crater and surrounded by mountains-- locks in the air pollution, causing smog to sit above the city.


Chernobyl, Ukraine - Chernobyl is now infamous for the 1986 nuclear disaster that killed 30 people, forced 35,000 to evacuate their homes, and left a 19-mile radius around the plant that is still uninhabitable to this day.