Human geography as an academic discipline seeks to understand the interconnectedness of space, place and landscape over time, and in doing so it is primarily concerned with the relations between human beings and the natural world (Daniels et al., 2008). Subsequently, both human and physical geographies are inherently linked - human geography works to understand the effects of physical geographical changes, such as climate change, on humanity. It is this greater understanding of climate change and its social implications which can enable human beings to respond on a variety of local, national and global scales to mitigate or solve problems. This essay will explore the relevance of human geography in the study of climate change, how it will help society understand the problems it faces and also why human geography can influence our behaviour and key policy-makers in terms of responding to climate change.
Traditionally, the term 'climate ' has been orthogonally defined and as a result it has been solely related to the natural sciences (Hulme, 2008). In an academic sense, 'climate ' has long been associated with disciplines such as meteorology and climatology; however, Hulme (2008) believes this purely scientific interpretation of climate and climate change is false. Harvey (1974) also demands an alternative approach when researching climate change, arguing that only researching through the medium of spatial science which is concerned with measurement and analysis of the Earth 's physical features is an outdated and inappropriate method. Instead 'climate ' should be seen as a manifestation of both nature and culture due to the influenc...
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...e natural world and society and operate between them. It has been shown by Hulme (2008), Thomas et al. (2005) and Harvey (1974) that climate change is no longer just a scientific issue - due to the effects climate has on society, climate change should be viewed as both a physical transformation and a cultural entity; therefore an understanding of the social implications of climate change is needed. Human geography is also relevant not only because it improves understanding but also because it can be used to formulate policy which can work to regulate climate change. The work of human geographers in formulating policy has been limited in the past according to Massey (2001) and Martin (2001), however, due to the increasing threat that climate change poses it is likely that key policy-makers will look to human geographers in the future to help shape and improve agendas.
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