How does the physical environment affect human activities?


Quick Answer

Access to water bodies, climate changes and land formation affect agriculture and concentration of human settlements. Soil fertility and a balanced ecosystem influence interaction between humans and the environment.

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Full Answer

Humans require water for survival, so they tend to settle near areas with access to large amounts of water. Rainfall and water bodies such as rivers and lakes provide humans with clean water for drinking, cleaning, agriculture and recreational activities. Pollution of water supplies and population growth depletes aquifers leading to competition and waterborne diseases, especially in developing countries.

Climate patterns around the world influence human settlements. They live in conditions that favor their lifestyles and alter their clothing and housing in accordance with climate. In addition, extreme weather leads to sparsely populated areas and limit agricultural practices; for example, harsh and cold weather favor plants that can adapt to that environment.

Land formations such as mountains and hills shape transportation routes and networks, while the movement of tectonic plates on the Earth's surface sometimes causes hazards like earthquakes that destroy habitats, displace humans and affect the availability of water.

Fertile soil carries out numerous functions such as supporting life, recycling nutrients, regulating water and providing structural support for buildings. Humans extract minerals and perform recreational activities on the soil. Infertility creates deserts and leads to the migration of settlements.

A balanced ecosystem relates to better agricultural produce and less air pollution. Provision of food, safe water and clean air improves the well-being of living organisms.

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