Globalization plays an increasingly significant role in the development process, although the blending, culturally transforming effects of globalization should not be overstated. We also examined how long-term development requires a commitment by people to understand the environments of which they are a part, and to act creatively in directing the impulses that determine whether human habitats will be carelessly degraded in the interest of short-term gain or planned in favor of long-term benefit. The combination of landforms, climate, vegetation, soils, and resource endowments create positive places that favor development. Humans tend to concentrate in these places, and over time these places reflect millennia of cultural diffusion and inheritance from initial culture hearths. They also reflect a continuing accumulation of technological innovations and cultural practices that shape the development settings of countries and regions.
Sustainable development promotes change that leads to improved well-being in people’s lives, takes into account the needs of future generations, is based on principles of stewardship, and is compatible with local cultural and environmental contexts. Sustainable use of the planet in support of peoples’ lives—environmental stewardship—requires knowledge of the physical and cultural setting of development.
Per capita income, agricultural employment, energy use, and other measures are potential indicators of development, but each measure has drawbacks. Although a number of theories exist to explain the development process, each is limited in its explanatory power and none is a complete explanation of development.
Key Terms acculturation 36
Agricultural Revolution 7 alluvium 25 birthrate 11 calcification 25 climate change 28 creative destruction 40 culture complex 32 culture hearth 32 culture realm 32 culture trait 32 death rate 11 demographic transition 11 development 5 ecosystems 21 environmental stewardship 24 evapotranspiration rate 23 fossil fuels 26 friction of distance 8 frost-free period 23 globalization 14 global warming 20 greenhouse gases 34
Green Revolution 8
Gross National Income in Purchasing Power Parity (GNI PPP) 43
Human Development Index (HDI) 47
Industrial Revolution 8
Information Revolution 9 land degradation 39 landscape modification 21 laterization 24 lingua franca 37 loess 25