Environmental Geography

Karl S. Zimmerer, Kendra McSweeney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Environmental geography is centered on the interactions and relations of the biogeophysical environment with human societies. Environmental geographers are interested in environmental sustainability and well-being involving a wide range of human interactions that include political economy, social power, cultural identities, and others. A triad of features is introduced as distinguishing environmental geography from the related, synergistic fields within geography, in linked interdisciplinary fields, and beyond the discipline. Five principal categories of knowledge and practice are then identified as integral to environmental geography: overarching or high-level theory; intermediate or mid-range theory; specific concepts; methodologies and methods; and major, widely recognized topics and issues that are galvanizing for science, scholarship, policy, and public interest. This new model of knowledge–practice is used to examine six of the major focus areas: (i) environmental resource management and biodiversity conservation amid development and social change; (ii) climate change adaptation, natural hazards, vulnerability, and resilience; (iii) urban environmental systems; (iv) multiscale deforestation and reforestation; (v) food, agriculture, environment, and health; and (vi) energy and society transitions. Examples are detailed in the first pair of focus areas in order to discuss how environmental geographers assemble networks of knowledge–practice in order to create general understanding and useful insights. These knowledge–practice networks enable environmental geographers to work across theories and concepts, methods, and analysis in areas of urgent social need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Second Edition
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780081022955
ISBN (Print)9780081022962
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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