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What is Geography?

Geography is the study of Earth spaces and places. Geographers study the distribution and pattern of physical and human phenomena occurring over the surface of the Earth, including the nature and magnitude of human impact on the natural environment. Protecting the environment and managing the Earth's valued resources - land, water, air, ecosystems - in a sustainable manner are of vital interest to geographers. The geographic concepts of place and landscape provide a framework for understanding the role of culture in the evolution and development of urban and rural landscapes. Political, social, and economic processes, when examined from a spatial (geographic) and temporal (historical) perspective, enable everyone to appreciate and understand the dynamic processes associated with the development of local and regional landscapes.

Why Study Geography?

Geography StudentsGeography is a fascinating field of intellectual inquiry and applied activity. The term geography comes from the Greek word "geo" meaning "Earth" and the Latin word "graphein" meaning "write". Geographers, therefore, engage in "writing about the Earth" - a challenging but stimulating task! As geographers approach "writing about the Earth" - they ask a basic question: "What is located where and why?"

As humans we need to know who we are, where we are, where we are in relation to others, and why we are located where we are. Human geographers extend these spheres to include how human activities and behavior shape physical landscapes and why humans create unique spaces and places on the Earth?s surface. Physical geographers concentrate their studies on how natural processes shape the Earth's surface to create differing physical landscapes. The study of physical and human geography is framed within a spatial context - identifying and explaining why physical processes, patterns and distributions are located where they are and why humankind is located where it is and why distinct cultural groups are found where they are.