Geography is many things; it is the study of everything that can be mapped on the world.
Geography contains a broad assortment of subjects within it since “almost anything can fall into
the realm of geographic study” and “it involves the examination of the physical and cultural
factors that interact to make up the diversity of the earth”. (Sherer, Thomas E. Jr. The
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geography. New York: Macmillian, Inc. 1997. Print) First, there is
the physical science aspect of geography, physical geography which studies the natural
environment. Then, there are the social sciences, human geography and cultural geography.
Human geography focuses on human societies and activities while cultural geography focuses on
the actions of human cultures.
The word geography first came as “geo” and “graphia” in Greek, essentially meaning
“writings about the earth”, which were about where and why. Where, as in “where are people
and activities located across Earth’s surface,” and why as in “why are they located in particular
places.” (Rubenstwin, James. An Introduction to Human Geography. New Jersey. Prentice Hall.
1999. Print.) (Corbin, Barry, John Trites and Jim Taylor. Global Connections: Geography for the
21st Century. Oxford University. 2000. Print.) The humanistic aspect of geography is all about
how people affect their surrounding environment and how their surrounding environment affects
them. Why things happen based on where they are and why things change as people move is why
maps are created, to analyze and portray the world. Human geography is about making sense of
how places and regions are interconnected and interdependent all the while being unique and
individual in their own way. It also comes up with surprising connections with behaviour and
environment, environmental changes and historical events, and political developments and
And then, there is the physical aspect of geography, which is “about spatial patterns and
spatial processes,” and “the art and science of location, or place.” (Demko, George J. Why in the
World: Adventures in Geography. New York: Anchor Books) Physical geography is about “the
processes of the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere,” geographical elements
that can be analyzed separately, but are in reality all interdependent. (Clark Audrey N. The
Penguin Dictionary of Geography. 1998. Print) It is about how regions are created through
similar qualities, but each different to each other through one way or another. Physical
geography shows us how the whole world and its phenomena are all interconnected and explores
why things are where they are and what things make it change its locations. It examines the
environment, why things like global warming are occurring, why winds blow the way they do,
why mountains form where they do, why things in nature happen the way they do. And this also
applies the way cultures behave too.
When geography focuses on cultural features such as