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Why Is Geography Important? There’s More Than You Think


There’s More To Geography Than You Think

When you think of geography, what comes to mind? Memorizing maps and capitals? That’s not all geography is! It’s actually much more. Geography is the study of humans and people through space, throughout time, and how those spaces have shaped history. It’s a fascinating field of study, and important too. Why is geography important? Let’s find out!

What Is Geography?

According to National Geographic, geography is the “study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.” So, you can already see that geography is much more than just studying maps and knowledge of country capitals.

Connecting With Space And Place

Geography is all about connections of humans with spaces and places. Physical properties of the earth, such as mountain ranges and bodies of water, for example, can dramatically impact the way humans move, think, and act. Geography seeks to understand how physical landscapes shape human history.

Studying Geography To Understand Our Planet

Geography can help us understand the planet’s movement, changes, and systems. Topics that are relevant to today such as climate change, water availability, natural resources, and more are much easier understood by those who know geography well.

Studying Geographical Regions And Cultures

Human geography is an important part of geography. Knowing the relationships between cultures, and why they exist at all is vital in our increasingly global world.

People walking on colored mountain
Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

Why Study Geography? 11 Reasons

Why is geography important? Why study it? There are so many reasons why geography is still a vital part of the curriculum. Here are just a few:

1. Space Vs. Place Awareness

Studying geography helps us to have an awareness of a place. All places and spaces have a history behind them, shaped by humans, earth, and climate. Studying geography gives a meaning and awareness to places and spaces. It also helps students with spatial awareness on the globe. Understanding direction and where things are in the world is still a vital skill, despite having easy access to this information online.

  • Physical Geography: This is the study of the physical makeup of a land. It can include climate, landforms, soil and growth, bodies of waters, and natural resources.
  • Human Geography: Human geography, on the other hand, includes the study of people and culture and how they are distributed across the globe.

2. A Global Community

When a child or adult studies geography, they are further on their way to becoming a global citizen. Those who understand geography and how it has made the world the way it is today have a higher likelihood of understanding our global interdependence. They are more likely to participate in the global community.

Girl on bed studying old maps
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

3. Nonfiction Reading Skills

For students of all ages, studying geography helps to develop nonfiction reading skills — not only in the studying of maps, but also in the reading materials that are associated with geography. Geography often involves first-hand accounts, reading of research studies, and analysis of data sets.

4. Learn The Course Of History

Geography puts history in context. It helps us see the why, when, and how of what happened in history. You’ll learn history better by learning geography.

5. Travel Smart

Study the geography of a place before you travel. Learn about its natural landscapes, cultures, and their influence on one another. This will not only help you plan a better travel experience for yourself, but you’ll make the most out of your time while you’re there.

6. Understand Globalization

When companies go global, they are contributing to globalization. When you travel abroad, you are participating in globalization. Globalization is the process of cultures travelling globally and having an effect on others. Studying geography helps us understand where globalization might lead.

7. Global Interdependence

Global interdependence is the idea that areas of the world are all interdependent on one another. Each country, continent, and region depends on another for resources and peace. Those countries depend on others, and so on — we are all connected and depending on one another in some form.

8. Putting The News In Context

If you don’t know where something is or the physical context it’s in, how can you understand what is being reported on the news? Studying geography will make you better understand current events.

9. Navigation Skills

You can know whether you’re headed north or south after studying geography. Studying geography can enhance your navigation skills, no matter where you are.

Child pointing finger on a globe
Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

10. Making Sense Of Cultures

Studying geography will help you make sense of and appreciate different cultures around the globe. Learning about land, resource availability, and how that has shaped a culture to be the way it is today helps you understand the uniqueness of a culture.

11. Vast Employment Opportunities For Geography Grads

If you decide to study geography in college, your opportunities after graduation are vast. Many geography grads go into urban and regional planning, a field that is growing fast. Other geographers work in environmental management and consulting and can have a direct impact in the fight against climate change. Also, the skills learned during a geography degree, such as cartography, data representation, and research writing, transfer well into the workforce and can make you a standout applicant!

Importance of Geography

The study of geography helps us to understand relationships between cultures. Ultimately, this leads to a more accepting and culturally aware society.

Person standing in sunny field holding globe against body
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Geographers Make A Difference In The World

Those who study geography have a unique perspective — one that comes with the knowledge of many cultures and spatial awareness that is not replicated in other disciplines. This mix of knowledge can help geographers come up with significant and unique solutions that others may not be able to see.

Another way geography can have a positive influence in the world is by creating awareness of the effect of climate change. Geographers have intimate knowledge of weather patterns and climate changes throughout the course of history on areas of land. They also have studied how those changes have affected humans in those areas. That knowledge is shared with others to hopefully bring an understanding and global awareness of the effects of climate change on human society.

University of the People is committed to making a change towards sustainability as well. As a fully online university that also uses only free, open-source textbooks, University of the People cuts the need for printed and shipped materials, the need for fuel usage for transport of people and materials to campuses, and promotes quality education for people all over the world, no matter their physical location.

Become A Global Citizen

Being an educated global citizen starts with the study of geography. Global citizens are conscious-minded of the world around them, understand others, and work towards making the entire globe a better place. That all starts with the study of geography!

So, once again, why is geography important? It’s more important than you think — learning geography will help you better understand news, help fight climate change, be a part of a global community, understand cultures, and learn history. At the end of the day, geography will help you become a better overall global citizen.