The Human Environment
Knowledge of the physical environment only illuminates one-half of any environmental issue, since an appreciation of factors in the human environment is also required before an issue can be fully understood. Relationships between human activity and the natural world have changed greatly in the relatively short time that people have been present on the Earth. A very large increase in human population, along with widespread urbanization associated with advances in technology and related developments of economic, political and social structures have all combined to make the interaction between humankind and nature very different from the situation just a few thousand years ago. This chapter is concerned with these aspects of humanity, which together provide the human dimensions of environmental issues.