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👨‍🌾  Unit 5: Agriculture & Rural Land-Use

1.5 Humans and Environmental Interaction



⏱️  2 min read

written by

Sana Fatah

sana fatah

April 30, 2020


Earth’s resources can be:

  • A renewable resource: quickly produced in nature, unlimited supply of this resource

    • Solar energy, wind energy, trees

  • Nonrenewable resource: slowly produced in nature, humans can run out of it 

    • Examples include petroleum, natural gas, and coal

To make sure we do not run out of the resources we depend on, humans incorporate sustainability. This includes recycling, decreasing pollution, planting trees….

The United Nations have identified three pillars of sustainability including:

  1. The environment: conservation efforts are crucial to monitoring resource depletion

  2. The economy: natural resources are collected and sold for money. The market and supply and demand affects resource depletion.

  3. The society: the majority of humans are consumers. With humans being more environmentally conscious and decreasing their carbon footprint, they are practicing sustainability. 

Humans and the Environment

The Environment

Pioneering German geographers believed the natural environment shapes the development of our societies. This idea is called environmental determinism. To understand this Human-Environment relationship, the science of the Earth has to be understood. 

An abiotic system is the nonliving or inorganic matter. Earth has four abiotic systems that we interact with: 

  1. Hydrosphere: all of the water on Earth’s surface (Water)

  2. Lithosphere: Earth’s crust and the upper mantle (Earth)

  3. Biosphere: all living organisms on Earth 

  4. Atmosphere: thin layer of gas surrounding Earth (Air

Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. 

Well, we are missing fire, but we have the three elements and the biosphere. Each one provides for the biosphere and provides for the organisms. 

The Humans

We have manipulated those abiotic systems and use them to support ourselves. Here’s how:

  1. Hydrosphere: provides all of the water humans and other organisms need

  2. Lithosphere: most plants and animals live and obtain food and shelter

  3. Atmosphere: provides oxygen and protects us against the Sun’s ray

  4. Biosphere: interrelated environment, we consume and depend on byproducts from other animals

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