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Why study Geography?

By Danny Harrington

Geography literally means “earth description” but in the modern sense it is so much more and we can more properly think of it as “earth study”. Thus everything in our world comes under its remit. Humanity lives Study Geographygeographically. Our diverse Earth is an awe-inspiring and ever-changing home. Studying geography allows and encourages us to participate more fully in the excitement and challenges presented by this dynamic world. By drawing on personal experience and linking it to the collective experience of humanity down the ages, Geography brings about a better and more thorough understanding of the places we live in and why they matter. By considering these places in the context of the wider world we can hold out great hope that not only can we lead better lives as individuals and communities of the present, but that we can set the foundations for the betterment of generations to come. 


 Geography synthesizes factual information and established theory from across the natural, social, cultural, economic and political spheres to identify and attempt to illuminate key issues for the present and the future. It does so at a variety of spatial and temporal scales – local to global, present to prehistoric – requiring us to acknowledge and appreciate the diversity of landscapes and peoples. It is therefore a vital subject of study for 21st century students and indeed all citizens alike as it enables us to deal with questions of what it means to live sustainable lives in an interdependent world and within the context of an understanding of stewardship.  


 Geography facilitates the investigation of the complexities of places and spaces and demands that we think critically and creatively about these intricacies and the different views and feelings that their indigenous peoples hold relating to them. Geography is studied through enquiry, which requires the formulation of effective questions, and through the practical collection of data in fieldwork studies which give legitimacy to the ideas that it postulates. In doing so, students develop significant elements of the skills framework. While there is a strong emphasis on the use of maps and visual images as well as new technologies including Geographical Information Systems, geographers are exposed to a variety of other subjects and the skills therein. Geography is the true umbrella discipline, drawing together humanity’s knowledge to a framework which allows its most valuable use. Geographers are amongst the most broadly trained thinkers our society has to offer and can contribute to an incredibly diverse number of tasks.  


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