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What is the difference between geography and human ecology?

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Geography is defined as the study of the earth, and the relationships that human beings have with the earth. It is an extremely broad field, and a geography project could include anything from looking at the way landmasses have changed due to global warming to an analysis of why a volcano erupted or an earthquake took place.

Human ecology looks at similar topics related to the relationship between earth and humans, but takes more of a birds-eye view. By looking at the relationship between man and the earth in the context of a variety of fields ranging from economics and sociology to anthropology and biology, human ecology provides the big picture answers that are needed in our quest to treat our planet better than we have been doing.

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The study of geography looks first at the physical planet Earth, including landforms, the makeup of different layers of the Earth, the oceans, climate, and the lifeforms that exist in different geographic regions. Geographers might study the ways in which the Mississippi River has changed, for example, by looking at the layers of rock and soil that have been eroded away or by measuring the distance between river banks to appreciate how the level of water in the river has decreased over time.

Human ecology is concerned with the relationships between humans and other forms of life, and with how those relationships impact the environment. Human ecology addresses issues such as pollution, depletion of natural resources, overpopulation, endangered species, and more. Human ecologists might analyze changes in water quality in the Mississippi River, looking at how those changes are impacted by industrialization and/or shipping on the river and at how the changes are affecting the plants and animals that live in or near the river.

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