Introduction to Geography: People, Places, and Environment (2nd Edition)

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9780130460370: Introduction to Geography: People, Places, and Environment (2nd Edition)

The Updated Second Edition contains materials about recent world events triggered by the September 11th attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. KEY FEATURES:This book covers numerous topics, including Cultural Geography, The Geography of Languages and Religions, A World of States, and an examination of world affairs after the events of September 11. For those in the field of geography.

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About the Author:

Edward F Bergman stands beside the stone wall that is the very eastern edge of the North American tectonic plate, where it is exposed in Iceland (see Figure 3-5).

Professor Bergman was born in Wisconsin and studied at the University of Wisconsin (Madison), the University of Vienna (Austria), and the University of Washington in Seattle. Today he teaches at Lehman College of the City University of New York and widely across Europe. When not lecturing or writing, he enjoys Manhattan's cultural and social life, although, he warns, nobody should come to his house for dinner expecting great food.

William H. Renwick earned a B.A. from Rhode Island College in 1973 and a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University in 1979. He has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Rutgers University, and is currently Associate Professor of Geography at Miami University. A physical geographer with interests in geomorphology and environmental issues, his research focuses on impacts of land-use change on rivers and lakes, particularly in agricultural landscapes in the Midwest. When time permits, he studies these environments from the seat of a wooden canoe.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Many readers of this textbook may not have studied geography since grade school, where geography may have meant simply memorizing place names. Knowing where places are, however, is not all there is to geography. Knowing place names is a tool for studying geography, just as counting is a tool for studying mathematics and reading is a tool for studying literature. In geography as in any other field of study, we begin by gathering some basic information—in the case of geography, this is the where.

Once we know the names and locations of environmental features, people, and activities, then geography can proceed to the challenging questions of significance: What forces created the physical environment that characterizes various places? Why are people and activities located where they are? How do the features and activities at any one place interact to make that place unique, and what are the relationships among different places? What factors or forces cause these distributions of human populations and activities? And how and why are these environmental features and human distributions changing? Exploring these questions stretches your mind and imagination. Geography helps you understand current events, and it can provide you with information that is useful in deciding where to live, in seeking or building a career, and in forming your own position on political issues.

This book introduces the principal content of geography, as well as the major tools and techniques of the field. Geography is sometimes subdivided into physical geography, which studies the various attributes of the physical environment such as climate, plants and animals, and landforms, and human geography, which studies the geography of human groups and activities. Humans and the environment, however, interact; neither can be completely understood without the other.

The contents reflect our sense of logic and our experience of the surest way to accumulate understanding. Instructors may wish to vary the order of the chapters, but many students find it easier to understand certain topics after other topics have already been covered. For example, in order to understand why the world's cities are growing fast, it helps if you have already studied changes in world agriculture and in various national farm policies. Many rural people migrate to cities to escape poverty. Therefore, the discussion of agriculture (Chapter 8) logically precedes that of urbanization (Chapter 10).

Three Themes in this Textbook

This textbook emphasizes three themes throughout the study of geography. First, geography examines the interrelationships between humans and their natural environment; second, many basic principles of human geography can be studied and demonstrated in your own hometown; and third, geography is dynamic.

Geography Explores the Interrelationships Between Humankind and the Environment

The study of Earth's climates, soils, vegetation and physical features is called physical geography, and physical geography sets the stage upon which humans act out their lives. A great deal of human effort is spent wresting a living from the environment, adjusting to it, or altering it.

The first few chapters of this book, therefore, offer an overview of Earth's physical environment. The discussion emphasizes processes operating in the landscape, such as atmospheric circulation, landform change, and vegetation growth. An understanding of these processes is necessary to comprehend the mechanisms whereby humans transform Earth's environments. The theme of human-environmental interaction then weaves through the book. People interpret and evaluate possibilities in their environment, and they alter natural conditions. Any alteration in one of Earth's natural physical and ecological systems, however, will trigger changes throughout the entire system. Because these systems are tremendously complex, many changes may be unexpected or even harmful. For example, people "tame" rivers and build on their floodplains, but that construction can increase damage during a flood. People redistribute plants and animals around the Earth, but relocated species can cause unexpected ecological damage. Chapter 10 discusses how cities change local climates; these changes affect human health. Pollution threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we till. Chapter 13 emphasizes that environmental protection is one issue that today challenges all humankind, requiring international collaboration for a positive goal.

One of the unique features of this textbook is the number of its maps on which relief shading indicates Earth's major mountain chains and plains. This shading consistently keeps before our eye the underlying variations in the configuration of Earth's surface—the stage on which human activities take place. Shading is omitted from those maps where it might obscure the principal subject of the map.

Geography Is Not Restricted to the Study of Exotic Lands and Peoples

The basic principles of geography can be studied in your hometown and even on campus. How do local temperatures and rainfall vary throughout the year? What processes shaped the landforms, and how are these processes changing the land today? What natural hazards affect people in your area? Where have new arrivals in your community come from, and why did they move? Where are local food crops and manufactured goods sold? Are the boundaries of city council districts manipulated to give one group an unfair advantage in elections? How many religions are represented by houses of worship in your town, and are these centers of identifiable residential communities? Can you map the rents on commercial properties in your town, and how do these values reflect accessibility or, perhaps, perception of which neighborhoods are the most elegant?

Study of geography introduces a great range of careers, even though the professionals at work in many fields may not call themselves geographers. People studying or "doing" geography include planners designing new suburbs, scientists working to reduce water pollution, transportation consultants routing new highways, advertisers targeting "junk mail" to zip codes where residents have specific income levels, diplomats negotiating ,treaties to regulate international fishing, and still more various occupations.

Modern Geography Is Dynamic

It is important to know the current distributions of landforms, people, languages, religions, cities, and economic activities, but none of these patterns is static. Earth's surface is constantly changing, sometimes slowly as when erosion wears down a mountain chain over millions of years, and sometimes spectacularly and rapidly as when a new volcano explodes and builds on Earth's surface or a flood prompts a river to change its course. Transportation and communication ties among peoples and regions have multiplied, so social, political, and economic forces constantly redistribute human activities. Maps of these activities reveal only temporary balances between forces for change and forces for stability. What happens at places depends more and more on what happens among places, and we can understand maps of economic or cultural activity only if we understand the patterns of movement that create them. Modern geography explores the forces at work behind the maps.

Each day the news reports on events in which what happens is directly related to where it happens, and these events trigger changes in geography: A volcano erupts in Mexico; a bountiful harvest in Argentina reduces food prices and thus improves the diet available to Africans; Canadian scientists synthesize a substitute for a mineral previously imported; a new government in Africa redirects international alliances, economic links, and migration streams. American movies and music diffuse U.S. language and culture around the world, while Americans themselves adopt new foods and words such as sushi. Developing countries join the already-developed world in sprouting new industrial sources of air pollution, poisoning their own citizens and changing the chemical composition of Earth's atmosphere sufficiently to change Earth's climate. Protestant Christianity wins converts throughout Latin America; women are accepted into the priesthood, and governments open family planning clinics. Meanwhile, in some African and Asian countries, Islamic fundamentalists win political power and curb women's rights. These events remap world cultural, political, and economic landscapes. Today's dynamic geography doesn't just exist; it happens.

Contemporary Issues in Geography

What you learn in your reading and in your geography classroom can help you better understand current events and form your own opinions on important questions of the day. Each chapter of this book provides background material for understanding the news. Any number of topics in the book demonstrate this benefit, but here we might mention just two: the treatment of the topic of development, and the treatment of the issue of gender justice.

Development and Environmental Protection

Each one of Earth's billions of people aspires to a high level of material welfare, yet today many people live in conditions of deprivation. The world distribution of wealth and welfare does not coincide with the world distribution of raw material resources. If the possession of raw materials were the key to wealth, then the Republic of Congo and Mexico would count among the richest countries in the world, and Japan and Switzerland would count among the poorest. In fact, the Republic of Congo and Mexico are poor, and Japan and Switzerland are rich. An understanding of the resolution of this paradox is essential to understanding the world today.

This book goes beyond merely describing where there is wealth and where there is not. It weaves together a number of threads of understanding, making clear the why of the where. Relevant economic principles are individually introduced in the text where appropriate, including adding value to raw materials, sectoral evolution, locational determinants for manufacturing, various nations' economic policies, and the patterns of world trade. New considerations arise virtually every day, such as the discovery of new resources, new technologies, and new governments with new policies. These changes redistribute advantages. Chapter 12 suggests how and why the balance among the factors that support economic development is continuously shifting, and Chapter 13 highlights how these geographic shifts redistribute global sources of pollution. New industries in developing countries generate pollution. Furthermore, those new industries allow rising standards of living, and that in turn allows increased consumption of consumer goods and increased production of waste products.

Economic development is only one aspect of development. Human development includes adequate nutrition, education, political liberty, and the opportunity to live in a healthy, unpolluted environment. Chapter 5 analyzes the geography of health, and Chapter 8 explains the distribution of world food production and trade. Chapter 9 discusses problems and challenges in the consumption of natural resources and the treatment of wastes and disposed items. Chapter 11 maps world education and freedom. In each case, the text not only describes the distribution but explains it and suggests what factors might redistribute it in the future.

Gender Justice

Almost everywhere, women are worse off than men. They have less power, less autonomy, less money, more work, and more responsibility. The issue of discrimination against women—gender justice—is emerging as a major question of our time. This text does not separate this issue in an isolated chapter, but examines it as it plays a role in each topic through the book.

Chapter 5, on population, notes how discrimination against women can begin even against children in the womb. Some countries record higher rates of abortion for female fetuses than male fetuses. We see that in some countries females get less health care and nutrition; the result is unexpectedly low ratios of females to males in the overall national population. Discrimination against female farmers, discussed in Chapter 8, lowers agricultural productivity and the levels of nutrition in many countries. Chapter 7 examines the differing attitudes toward women taught by various religions. The ramifications of those teachings reach from the issue of priesthood for women into the treatment of women in national laws. Chapter 11 notes the variations in the percentages of males or females in school around the world, women's role in politics, and other issues of legal rights.

This text readily admits that we do not know the answers to all questions. It invites you to learn what we know and then to join the world of scholarship by increasing the knowledge that we have today. For example, Chapter 10 notes that vast slums are growing in many cities in developing countries largely because of migration from rural areas into the cities. High percentages of people living in cities are uncounted, living in unregistered properties, and performing unrecorded economic activities. The vitality of these urban slums astounds observers and confounds economists, who struggle to understand and measure what is going on. This textbook explains what is happening as we understand it, but acknowledges that we need to devise new methods of measuring and accounting for this activity. Similarly, many of Earth's physical processes are incompletely understood. The process of global warming is frequently in the news today, and yet the number of variables that might cause it and their exact interactions are beyond the range of even the greatest supercomputers. We encourage you to take up the challenge of investigating some of these issues—and, if possible, improving conditions—as possible research topics for your own careers.

Maps, Cartograms, and GIS

A great variety of maps illustrate this book. As noted above, many of them include relief shading. You will probably be familiar with traditional maps that illustrate distributions as mosaic patterns of color. On other maps, called flow maps, arrows represent movements of people or of goods, and on these the widths of the arrows often convey the quantity of each flow—the numbers of passengers flying major airline routes across the United States, for example (Figure 1-20).

Several cartograms have also been specially designed for this book. A cartogram is a visual device much like a map, but on a cartogram physical distance is replaced with some other measure in order to convey a visual impression of the magnitude of something. Cartograms of such things as countries' populations, for example (Figure 5-3), or of countries' economic output (Figure 12-5), visually convey the relative population or wealth of different countries better than standard land area maps do.

Today maps are drawn and rapidly updated using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and digital cartographic tools. GIS have become essential and ubiquitous on geographers' desks, and their importance is clear in this book. An expanded discussion of GIS technology has been added in Chapter 1, and we have illustrated how GIS is used in geographic problem-solving throughout the book.

A variety of other visual devices includes tables, bar graphs, and pie graphs, with which you are probably familiar. In each case the captions have been carefully written to help you read these sophisticated images. Each contains a great deal of information.

Special care has been taken in preparing the captions for all illust

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