When the word Geography comes up, people often think of studying maps and capital cities or perhaps landscapes and the forces which created them. But there is so much more to Geography than first meets the eye. Although it is unlikely that you know anyone who is actually called a Geographer as a job title, the subject’s full applications are more important and more widespread than you might think.
Study Geography to Understand Our Planet
In its broadest sense, Geography provides an understanding of the planet that we call home. It takes in ever changing phenomena such as meteorology – the study and prediction of weather – as well as such hot topics as global warming and climate change. It allows us to understand the slow, powerful forces which have shaped our planet’s landscape. It also gives an insight into how the natural world affects politics and human movement and is the key to understanding everything from mass migrations to localised street planning.
Studying Geographical Regions
Although history can explain a region’s past and politics its desires, or at least the desires of those who lead it, it is Geography which helps us understand the true nature of a place. Culture, foods, language, architecture, religion and landscape all fall under the umbrella of Geography, and it takes in both the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of an area, shedding light on rural concerns and urban development.
Building The Future
The most widespread application of Geography is in town planning which again takes in not just the physical nature of a town and its surrounding but helps to predict how people respond to man-made changes too. Geographers build theoretical models to predict everything from the building of new mines and industry to road planning and even the habits of shoppers and it is in this area that Geography perhaps has its most easily understood applications. A town might not directly understand its carbon footprint or notice the benefits of more green policies but a poorly planned road system or the opening of a landfill site in the area will have immediate and often unexpected effects. Those in the planning departments of town councils use Geographic studies to try to predict such outcomes.
Importance of Geography
Geography has been called “The Mother of All Sciences” as it was one of the first areas to develop through scientific principles. From ancient times people made maps, searched for water sources, considered the best place to settle and exploited natural resources, all of which still comes under the study of Geography. The methods and technology may have changed but it is to Geographers that business and organisations look even to this day to understand and predict the outcomes of these same concerns.
And even if you are not thinking of studying Geography at anything more than a casual level, a knowledge of the world around you, its countries and their capitals, the landscape and its exports, national boundaries and cultural groups are all fascinating insights to have.
The world is a complex, varied, fascinating and ever-changing place. Geography, perhaps more than any other subject you can choose to invest time in, is the one that will help make the most sense of it.