Department of
Forbidden City, Beijing, photo by E. LeppmanGeography

Why Geography

Why Geography?

People need to know about the nature of their work and their place in it. Geography provides the concepts, skills, and tools for learning about the world.

Geography is important: we must know about the places, peoples, regions and environments of the Horn of Africa, for example, in order to understand what is happening in Darfur or Somalia and we must know about tropical storms and global wind patterns to understand the hurricanes that impact the southeastern United States.

Geography is useful: it lets us understand the location of fast food restaurants in our neighborhood or analyze the potential impact of global warming on coastal cities.

Geography is powerful: with tools such as GIS, we can create maps of the shortest route home or the changing spatial distribution of tropical forests.

Geography is fascinating: we can learn about the connections among traffic volumes and the incidence of childhood asthma in cities or the way that William Faulkner used Mississippi as the basis for his Yoknapatawpha County.

Geography is integrative: its great strength lies in its overarching qualities as a bridge between the humanities and the physical and mathematical sciences.

Geography is fun: we can make our own maps of Tolkien’s Middle Earth or of the spread of starlings from a breeding pair released in New York City’s Central park a hundred years ago.

Geography enables people to understand their place in a complex and ever-changing world, to comprehend the connections between places, to recognize how local actions affect the global environment and vice versa, and to bring a spatial view of life to situations. A geographically informed person is empowered to make wiser decisions in life contexts ranging from the school and family, the local community and society at large, and the workplace and civic government. Geography is for life: lifelong, life-sustain, and life-enhancing.

 

 

 

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