In this post, we will look at different examples of Human-Environment Interaction.
There are both positive and negative examples to explore. We will begin with exploring negative human-environment interaction examples, and then have a look at positive human-environment interaction examples.
You can learn more about the theme of Human-Environment Interaction in more detail at What is Human Environment Interaction in Geography?
But we will give a quick definition here.
Human-Environment Interaction Definition
The definition of Human-Environment Interaction is the way humans interact with their surroundings or ecosystem.
It’s the way they interact with the earth and its environment and make changes to that environment. (Learn more about these ways at Ways Humans Interact with the Environment)
At the same time, the environment can have an impact on humans. The environment can change what we eat, wear, build or do in everyday life. So, the environment impacts us and we impact the environment.
Human-Environment Interaction in a sentence, is the way that humans interact with and modify their environment.
Another definition might be, how humans adapt to their environment.
Here are some human-environment interaction geography examples.
Negative Human-Environment Interaction Examples
Use of Natural Resources
Humans use natural resources for everyday life. Humans need food and water from the environment in order to survive.
Natural resources such as wood, metal, oil, diamonds, gold, and other resources are also used for human survival and advancement. Wood might be needed to build fires and cook food for example.
The problem is that humans can overuse resources, and some of those are non-renewable such as fossil fuels. Also, the use of resources such as oil leads to pollution and climate change. The mining of some minerals might destroy millions of acres of land in the extraction process and cause the leaking of toxins into areas nearby.
All of these are big negative impacts on the environment and the sustainability of the earth for future generations as well as having negative effects on the health of nearby people who are exposed to these practices.
Building and Expansion of Cities and Roads
The building of homes, cities and businesses sometimes requires the use of cutting down trees and altering the land and environment. This also creates spaces where animals and plants can no longer live.
This is especially true in bigger urban cities such as New York City where so much has been covered with cement, and barely any natural green space exists anymore. This is not only destructive to the environment and animals, but it also can take a mental toll. It’s been found that green spaces and water can have a positive impact on mental health.
Roads also run through natural habitats and can alter the environment and scare away or hurt animals. Also, the exhaust caused by cars traveling on these roads has a huge negative impact on the environment. Flying as well, in airplanes as a means of transportation, produces a lot of emissions.
Cars and factories all create pollution and toxic chemicals that are harmful to our health and the environment and the ozone layer. One of the biggest causes of concern is carbon emissions.
Transportation contributes to a third of greenhouse emissions and is responsible for killing around 800,000 people per year.
The earth’s forests are being cut down at alarming rates. This is usually for buildings and industrial equipment, or the raising of livestock for animal food or products. This is one reason it helps to eat a Plant-Based Diet which lowers the demand for animal foods and minimizes the use of land for raising livestock.
This deforestation leads to the extinction of certain species of animals. Also, trees are useful in keeping the air clean and improving the health of the environment. The fewer trees left, the less they are able to improve the climate.
Deforestation also contributes to soil erosion. When trees are chopped down, the soil below is exposed and easily washed away by the rain.
Drilling for Oil
Drilling for oil releases methane gases which contribute to climate change. Also, oil spills can happen and are massively disruptive to the environment, killing animals and wildlife.
Using up Water Resources
Accessible and clean water is running out and being used up. This clean water is also unevenly distributed throughout the planet. For example, if you look at the Human-Environment Interaction impact in Mexico, the water supply is something that is being affected.
Litter and Trash
Waste from trash, litter, and plastics can get into oceans and natural environments and harm animals.
The increased use of boats on the water can have a negative impact on ocean life.
Illegal Hunting and Poaching
Illegal hunting and poaching, especially excessively and for sport, can contribute to the extinction of certain breeds of animals.
Overfishing in the world’s oceans is becoming a problem, due to too much fishing and the removal of too many fish from their environment.
Positive Human Environment Examples
What is a positive human-environment interaction? Do any exist?
Well, it’s hard for humans to have a positive impact on the environment, that is, making it better than it was before. But there are some practices that minimize the negative effects or neutralize any effects. (For more details, you can view the post at Positive Human Environment Interaction Examples)
Renewable Energy Sources
By using renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind, we don’t need to use unrenewable and environmentally damaging energy sources such as oil and fossil fuels.
Here are seven types of renewable energy.
Recycling can help to prevent waste from the trash in the environment, as well as minimize the need for more resources such as plastics.
Building National Parks
Preserving areas of nature is a great practice for the environment. Unfortunately, this is not practiced as much in underdeveloped countries for the time being.
China is planning to make a National Parks system as well.
Building Green Spaces
Some cities work to build new green spaces which are areas of trees or nature for residents to enjoy.
Water Management and Reuse
Managing water usage can play a part in helping to conserve water sources. Also the use of rainwater harvesters can help as well.
You can find more info at Positive Human Environment Interaction Examples – 8 Ways to Help
More Human Environment Examples
An example of Human Environment might be the building of buildings and roads. Another might be the drilling of oil or the excavating of natural resources.
You can learn about Human-Environment Interaction with our Human-Environment Interaction Articles.