The Physical Environment
The term environment is used in many ways. This book is about issues that arise from the physical environment, which is made up of the living (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) things and conditions that characterize the world around us. While this is the central theme, the main reason for the topicality of the issues covered here is the way in which people interact with the physical environment. Hence, it is pertinent also to refer to the social, economic and political environments to describe those human conditions characteristic of certain places at particular times, and to explain why conflict has arisen between human activity and the natural world. This chapter looks at some of the basic features of the physical environment, while Chapter 2 is concerned with the human factors that affect the ways in which the human race interacts with the physical world.