"Where are we?" is the question that the theme Location answers.
Location may be absolute or it may be relative. These locations, whether
relative or absolute, may be
of people or places.
An absolute location in a latitude and longitude (a global location) or a
street address (local location).
Florence, AL is 34°46' North latitude and 87º40' West longitude
Paris, France is 48°51' North latitude and 2º20' East longitude
Marshall Islands are 10°00' North latitude and 165°00' East longitude
Relative locations are described by landmarks, time, direction or distance
from one place to another and may associate a particular place with
What kind of place is it? What do you think of when you imagine China?
Japan? Russia? Saudi Arabia?
Places have both human and physical characteristics, as well as images.
Physical characteristics include mountains, rivers, soil, beaches,
wildlife, soil. Places have human characteristics also. These
characteristics are derived from the ideas
and actions of people that result in changes to the environment, such as
buildings, roads, clothing, and food habits.
The image people have of a place is based on their experiences, both
intellectual and emotional. People's descriptions of a place reveal their
values, attitudes, and
How is your hometown connected to other places? What are the human and
physical characteristics of Florence? How do these shape our lives?
How do humans and the environment affect each other? We change the
environment and then sometime Mother Nature changes it back. For example,
floods in the mid-West, Hurricane Emily (Hatteras), and earthquakes and
mudslides in California.
There are three key concepts to human/environmental interaction:
Humans adapt on the environment.
Humans modify the environment.
Humans depend to the environment.
People depend on the Tennessee River for our water and transportation.
People modify our environment by heating and cooling buildings for
comfort. People adapt to the environment by wearing clothing that is
suitable for summer and winter; rain and shine.
All places on Earth have advantages and disadvantages for human
settlement. One person's advantage may be another person's disadvantage.
Some like the excitement of large cities whereas others prefer remoteness.
Environment is not just trees, spotted owls, and rain forests. Environment
is a feeling. What is the environment of a big
city? Boston? Los Angeles? Dallas?
Given the choice, where would you live? Why? What is the environment? How
do people interact with the environment? How do the physical features
How have we adapted to or changed our landscape? For example, in the Sudan
even though everything is seemingly barren, the land sustains farmers and
nomadic herders. People and animals have adapted to a hot, dry climate.
The movement of people, the import and export of goods, and mass
communication have all played major roles in shaping our world. People
everywhere interact. They travel from place to place and they communicate.
We live in a global village and global economy.
People interact with each other through movement. Humans occupy places
unevenly on Earth because of the environment but also because we are
social beings. We interact with each other through travel, trade,
information flows (E-Mail) and political events.
Not only do humans move but also ideas move; fashions move; fads move.
What is an example of an idea that moves? Fashion? Fad? How do we depend
on people in other places? How would our lives change if our movement
options changed? What would happen if we traveled by camel or horse? How
do we move from place to place? How do
we actually get food?
A region is the basic unit of study in geography. A region is an area that
displays a coherent unity in terms of the government, language, or
possibly the landform or situation. Regions are human constructs that can
be mapped and analyzed.
There are three basic types of regions.
Formal regions are those defined by governmental or administrative
boundaries (i. e., United States, Birmingham, Brazil). These regional
boundaries are not open to dispute, therefore physical regions fall under
this category (i. e., The Rockies, the Great Lakes States).
Functional regions are those defined by a function (i. e., TVA, United
Airlines Service area or a newspaper service area). If the function ceases
to exists, the region no
Vernacular regions are those loosely defined by people's perception (i.
e., The South, The Middle East).
What region do we live in? What type of region is it? What are its
characteristics? South, North Alabama, the Shoals, the University
community? What states do you
define as the South? The Northeast? The Bible Belt? What characteristics
and perceptions go along with these regions?