Why geography is important to the economy
Geography - a discipline introduces itself
There is a more compact explanation in the short version
eography deals with the surface of the earth, with landscapes, with people, with locations as well as with the material and spiritual environments of people. In very general terms, geography is about the world in which we live.
A special feature and strength of geography lies in the combination of natural and social science perspectives and methods. The scientific "physical geography" examines the structure and dynamics of our physical environment and the forces and processes that work in it. The sociology-oriented “human geography” (also called “anthropogeography”, “cultural geography” or “economic and social geography”) deals with the structure and dynamics of cultures, societies and economies and the spatial orientation of human activity.
Geography puts the knowledge about physical and social processes in the concrete context of places and regions and thus conveys a differentiated picture of the different cultures, economic forms, political systems, environments and landscapes that shape our earth. Modern human geography tries to show not only the diverse spatial differences and processes of socio-economic structural change, but also the causes and effects of social inequalities.
Physical geography and human geography have developed into relatively independent branches of the specialist discipline with different questions and methods. However, both branches work closely together to solve numerous problems. In view of the great importance attached to the physical environment as the natural basis of human life, and in view of the fact that this basis is increasingly impaired and threatened in its functionality by human interventions, a consideration of the multifaceted interrelationships is undoubtedly of particular importance . This overarching approach can be called the core of geography.
Geography, however, is not only a form of scientific preoccupation with our social and physical environment, it is also an integral part of the life of every single person. It can help to make our everyday life more interesting and to awaken or increase our commitment to the world and people.
We gain fundamental geographical experiences at an early stage, for example by learning to create a framework for our everyday actions. This framework is expanded in many ways in the course of our lives, for example through travel or through insights that the school and especially the geography lessons convey. Both experiences can have a lasting effect, and in many they arouse a strong interest and commitment to the natural environment, their home environment or foreign countries and cultures.
This interest mostly justifies a feeling of respect and responsibility for the natural foundations of human life and the diversity of human forms of existence.
Excursions into near-natural rural areas convey a much deeper experience when we can understand how the landscape was shaped and how humans influenced its design. Geographical knowledge allows us to recognize the various threats to this landscape, e.g. from soil erosion or nitrate pollution. Even the route between home and work provides numerous clues about the types and times of movement, the distances that are covered, the energy used and the resulting environmental pollution. If such data is collected systematically, it provides us with initial indications of how traffic and cities should be planned in terms of sustainable spatial development. The quality of our local and global environments is significantly influenced by how we use resources such as drinking water and fossil fuels. It is therefore important that each individual becomes aware of the consequences of his or her own lifestyle and thinks about how he can contribute through his personal actions to reducing the environmental pollution caused by him, such as the heating of the atmosphere caused by humans.
The increase in international tourism shows how close individual places have already "moved together" globally. Because modern means of transport and global information and communication media allow space to “shrink”. However, these developments do not lead to a global standardization and thus to the often invoked "end of geography", but rather create new inequalities, conflicts and political challenges. In the age of globalization, we not only live in a globally networked economy, but also in a global community of responsibility.
Geography provides education for life. Geographic knowledge and geographic engagement are essential for the 21st century, a century in which our earth will be shaped by sustained population growth, far-reaching global environmental changes, social and economic inequality and an increasing scarcity of natural resources. These problems are a serious challenge for the peaceful coexistence of people, for cultural tolerance, for a just earth policy and especially for the task of sustainable management of habitats, natural resources and landscapes.
In view of these challenges, geographers play a key role. They impart knowledge about problem contexts, awaken understanding and commitment to issues of securing the future of human life on planet earth and, within the scope of their professional competence, make well-founded contributions to solving problems. This common concern connects the geographers working in different areas of our society: in schools and education, in science and research, in business and administration.
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