It is very important to get acquainted with the works of scientists working in a field close to yours. In this case we are talking about the work of "UNIFYING GEOGRAPHY. Common heritage, shared future". My direction is General Geography. Therefore, it makes sense to compare these variants of vision.
UNIFYING GEOGRAPHY. Common heritage, shared future. Edited by John A. Matthews and David T. Herbert. First published 2004 by Routledge. – link.
The citation. In the preamble, the authors state the following: It is argued that the differences in content and approach between physical and human geography, and within its subdisciplines, are often overemphasized. The result is that Geography is often seen as a diverse and dynamic subject, but also as a disorganized and fragmented one, without a focus.
My position. This cannot disagree. Indeed, over the decades, different directions have emerged, which their supporters considered to be almost independent. First of all, we are talking about the so-called physical geography and economic geography, then - socio-economic geography (in the West - human geography), which required serious discussion. But representatives of these directions were reluctant to debate, and the points of view that questioned such a division of geography were simply ignored. For many years, I have shown that geography cannot be divided into such directions and is a holistic discipline, the structure of which must reflect the presence of different levels of organization of the geographical environment - abiotic, biotized and anthropized. They should be matched by geomorphology, biogeography and anthropogeography (human geography). Unfortunately, this was not supported by geographers. This is different from the position of the authors of the book who write that «Unifying Geography focuses on the plural and competing versions of unity that characterize the discipline, give it cohesion and differentiate it from related fields of knowledge».
And then: «Space, place, environment and maps are identified as the essential core components of Geography derived from its common heritage».
My position. I can't agree with what geography space, place and maps «are identified as the essential core components of Geography». When it comes about the environment (geo-environment), it already includes space and places, and the maps are nothing to do with it because it is a way of displaying data that is used not only by geographers but also by agents of many scientific fields.
I cannot disagree that the authors write in the foreword. Unfortunately, Sir Halford Mackinder's work is unknown to us, and what he offered back in 1887 is very important. Like the authors of this book, I have repeatedly raised the question of the likelihood of geography losing its independence as a scientific discipline. At the same time, unlike the authors, I think that there must be one aspect that connects all branches of geography to a heap, and that is the organization of the geographical environment that is the core of Geography. This is that serves as the object of study, ensuring its integrity and requires new notions. Such notions were introduced: geoholon, geoorg, geoholarchy: they reflect the integrity of those entities that geography must explore. This corresponds to what we have in other scientific disciplines: biology studies the forms of biological organization, sociology - social, chemistry - chemical and so on. We can also highlight geographic sections on different scales - micro-level, meso-level, macro-level, etc. Regarding the level of development of geography in Ukraine, it is rating in comparison with other scientific directions, there is nothing to talk about - they are extremely low. I totally agree that «most emphatically, the book makes the case for Geography and geographers to aim for greater unity, by building on our common heritage. We can only benefit from that. Alternative scenarios, it is argued, will lead Geography towards an unsustainable future in an increasingly interdisciplinary world»
Roots and continuities
David T. Herbert and John A. Matthews
The citation. «Human and physical geography have diverged because they deal with fundamentally different subject matter (Johnston, 1986) and find their inspirations from different bodies of knowledge» (p. 14).
My position. It really was and is considered today. But this is precisely the mistake: after the section of geography disappeared the understanding that everything was happening and is happening in a single environment, which gradually evolved and transformed under the influence of biota and anthropota (this term was introduced by analogy with the term "biota").
The citation. «There are trends that would subsume Geography under larger collectives such as environmental sciences on the one hand and social sciences on the other. These moves formalize the divisions between human and physical geography» (p. 15).
My position. Geography is not subdivided into areas such as environmental sciences and social sciences, because human beings, society as a whole are part of the geographical environment - its existing entities. Geography is not subdivided into areas such as environmental sciences and social sciences, because human beings, society as a whole are part of the geographical environment - its existing entities. To separate a person, society from a geographical environment means to take them beyond its boundaries, which is what destroys the integrity of geography. Thus, the differentiation of geography, which originated at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, was clearly artificial and had no serious grounds. The main root of the existence of geography as a holistic discipline is the integrity of the geographical environment in which the abiota, biota and anthropota interact with each other, forming the entities of different scales nested in one another. In such a consideration, the notion of "place" but of the concept of "entity" having a geographical level of complexity is the leading one.
John A. Matthews and David T. Herbert
I would like to draw the attention of geographers to the position of the authors mentioned in this paragraph: «Maps and cartography are probably the most evocative of what Geography is about. This is expressed rather well in the jingle of Edmund Clerihew Bently: ‘The art of Biography is different from Geography. Geography is about maps, but Biography is about chaps’ (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 1964: 22). However, as Haggett (1990: 8) reminds us, maps, mapping and spatial structures are necessary to Geography but not sufficient to describe its methods or objectives. Geographers have evolved their own ways of viewing the world, which can be summarized as three methodological ‘traditions’:
• the cartographic tradition;
• the fieldwork tradition;
• the holistic tradition» (p. 21).
My position. In the past, maps and mapping methods were indeed perceived as defining the essence of geographical research, but over time it became clear that this was not the case, although we know of many examples where maps were called geographical. And Hagett's (1990: 8) statement demonstrates this. The fact is that cartography is an independent discipline, and its methods are used in a wide range of disciplines. But it should be noted that geographic maps do not exist today, because such maps should reflect entities that have a geographical organization, geographical level of complexity. Today, this question is one of the keys: the task of geography is to study the forms and levels of organization of the geographical environment as a whole and its parts, which means that the leading aspect is not spatial but organizational. Such approaches are currently under development. I completely agree with the authors' statement that «third, the ‘holistic tradition’ captures the attempts of geographers to understand the totality of the Earth’s surface. These traditions have evolved considerably through time and provide the bases of the new spatial methodologies» (p. 22), and: «as a unifying force within the discipline of Geography, maps both represent spatial variation in Earth-surface phenomena and serve as interpretive procedures» (p. 22). I also want to point out that the common GIS abbreviation is not correct because there can be no geographical information, we can only speak about the data used in geography. Accordingly, we are talking about "Space Data Systems" - SSD.
As far as field research is concerned, I fully agree with the authors: geography will always rely on such data sources. Unfortunately, today there are many examples where "researchers" use data from the Internet, maps and directories, and write their "dissertations" without even visiting the relevant territories.
The third methodological tradition is the embodiment of holistic views. The authors write: «There are many dimensions to the comprehension of the Earth’s surface as a whole, rather than in terms of its many parts. These include consideration of: (1) the Earth’s surface in its totality with all relevant factors (be they biophysical or human); (2) the range of scales from local to global, which are manifest in both patterns and processes over the Earth’s surface; (3) the multidimensional nature of space and time, including the interaction of spatial variation and temporal change; (4) the interdependence of people and environment; and (5) inclusive objects of study such as landscapes, places and regions», accompanying his point of view with a drawing.
Figure II.1 Dimensions of the holistic tradition in Geography.
Consider the scheme.
. Covers the range of scales from local to global. This is a very important point that is true. But I note that poly-scale is not only a geographical feature, it is also known in other cases, such as biology, sociology, economics, etc.
. Focuses on the interdependence of people and environment. This seems a bit strange because the authors have for some reason ruled out the interdependence between abiota and biota. Even more important is the fact that humans, human society are components of the geographical environment, so it is not entirely correct to focus on the interdependence between humans and the environment. The biosphere is embedded in the abiotic sphere, and the anthroposphere - in the biosphere, together they form a unity and mark the macro-stages of its formation.
. Involves a multidimensional approach to space and time. I can't agree with that. First, space and time do not exist by themselves, they are abstractions produced during the formation of civilization, and are used in the scientific field as dimensions that facilitate reflection, especially dynamics. Secondly, if there is already a range of scales from local to global, then this already includes a multidimensional approach to space and time.
. Investigates inclusive objects of study: landscapes / places / regions. Here, it all depends on how to determine the "landscape", "place" and "region", which relationship to establish between these concepts. I'll start with the landscape. "Landscape" is not a territorial unit, it is an image of a certain terrain, which is formed in our mind, so "landscape" can not be put in line with "place" and "region". "Place" is not space (often the earth's surface), it is a site that is occupied by something, and without that "something" can not be said about the place. "Region" - Region (English region, German. Gebiet n, Region f; from Latin. Regio - kingdom, kingdom) - ancient land, land, principality, etc., today - a large territorial unit (Wikipedia: https: // uk.wikipedia.org / wiki /% D0% A0% D0% B5% D0% B3% D1% 96% D0% BE% D0% BD). This means that the region also has its place.
. Studies the Earth's surface in its totality. I do not use the term "earth's surface" because it is not straightforward. We examine the day (visible) surface like a board on which processes form their text-mappings in the form of a certain structure. This is what is important. The integral image of such a surface is the landscape. In most cases, geographical research begins with the structure of this surface.
NEW SPATIAL METHODOLOGIES
In this section, the authors look at straightforward approaches in geography: Spatial statistics (geostatistics); Earth observation (remote sensing); Geographic information systems (GIS).
. Spatial statistics (geostatistics). The name "Spatial statistics" is correct, but "geostatistics" is not, because these methods are applied not only in geography, but wherever there is a need for statistical processing of data distributed in space.
. Earth observation (remote sensing). This approach is used in many different spheres of society, including geography.
. Geographic information systems (GIS). I mentioned above that GIS abbreviation is not correct, it is better to write “"Space Data Systems" – “SSD”.
EXPLORATION, DISCOVERY AND THE CARTOGRAPHIC TRADITION
Peter Vincent and Ian Whyte
The authors note the following: «In this chapter we argue that the cartographic expression of geographical information is a tradition that is far from moribund, in spite of the fact that cartography as such has almost completely disappeared from the undergraduate curriculum. In our view cartography, in all its many guises, plays, and should play, a pivotal role in modern geographical discourse» (p. 33).
My position. The authors do not distinguish between "information" and "data", considering that data is information. This is not correct. Information is the formation or change of behaviour and structure as a result of receiving signals, messages, and condition data. This is a significant point. Again: there is no geographical information (as well as biological, sociological, chemical, etc.), there are signals, messages, data used by geographers, biologists, sociologists, chemists, etc. I agree that historically cartography has been closely linked to geography, but that does not mean that it is «the very lifeblood of modern Geography» (p. 34). Geography is not a science of places; it is a science of the forms of organization of entities that have their place.
EXPLORATION, MAPS AND GEOGRAPHY
IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
MAPS, POWER AND POLITICS
According to the authors, «Maps acted as expressions of human power over the physical environment; to record it accurately was to begin to control it» (p. 37). In this approach, a person is brought out of the formation of which he is. This is a false vision.
My position. I want to express my point of view on the physical geography that has already been published. Physical geography is a view of the geographical environment in terms of physics. It doesn't matter what level of organization you are talking about. If there is an opportunity to provide a physical picture of these entities, it will be a physical and geographical picture.
The citation. «Plant and animal distribution maps are an important tool in biogeography and have been so for more than a century (Vincent, 1990). Understanding
a species’ range and its determinants can only really be understood by a visual examination of the recorded spatial data» (p. 39).
My position. I do not question the importance of maps as a way of presenting data, but I reiterate that they are ancillary. I cannot agree that the distribution in the space of animals and plants is related to biogeography. This is an outdated view of this discipline. Biogeography is a large section of geography, and its field of study is not the distribution of species (estimated at around 10 million), but the forms of organization of biotized geographic formations of various scales up to and including the biosphere.
MAPS AND SOCIETY
MAPS, ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
FIELDWORK AND UNITY IN GEOGRAPHY
David R. Stoddart and William M. Adams
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
I am very impressed by Felix Driver's point of view: «In a recent editorial in the Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Felix Driver (2000) notes how seldom geographers have reflected on the place of fieldwork in the geographical imagination. We would agree wholeheartedly. For both of us, the field is central to the way we have experienced Geography, both as the discipline within which we have lived and worked since our first degree, and as a context within which to begin to think about the way the world works. As Driver points out, the field is a subject in itself worthy of historical enquiry. Geographical knowledge needs to be understood as something that is constituted through a range of embodied practices (such as travelling, seeing and recording). ‘The field’ is not a self-evident place, somewhere ‘out there’ to be ‘discovered’ in an unproblematic sense, it is produced in the ideas and the recorded or remembered movements of geographical actors, created through their discourse and shared through the networks of academic (and amateur) exchange» (p. 46). I think that students of geography departments should begin their studies by reading these lines.
I am very impressed by the following: «Geography seemed to be what emerged when you tried to explain what was there and how things worked …» (p. 48), onwards: «Being in places, and being there with people, has both punctuated our lived experiences (years are classified in our minds by the work done and the places visited) and provided the engine for geographical writing. It would be impossible (should anyone wish to engage in such a thankless task) to explain either what we have done research on, or the ideas and issues we have chosen to write about, without knowing how they have emerged from the desire to be in places, or the desire to explain what we thought was going on there to others on our return. Without the field there would have been, for both of us, no Geography to write home about» (p. 48).
AND THE FIELD
The citation. «… ‘development studies’ has held an unquestioned position in contemporary Geography, offering, despite itself, a capsule of the exotic in a matrix of ‘normal’ mainstream Geography, comfortable in the normalized categories of the ‘political’, ‘economic’, ‘cultural’ or ‘historical’ Geography of the developed world» (p. 51).
My position. I do not think that the introduction of such directions as "political", "economic", "cultural", "historical", as well as "social" geography is correct. This leads to a blurring of the integrity of the research domain of geography. It is not necessary to mix geography with political science, economics, cultural studies, history, and sociology. This also applies to soil geography, geography of climates and other directions, the emergence of which indicates a fuzzy idea of the domain of geography as an independent science. This has led to a decrease in its importance.
Very good question and the answer: «Where is the division between physical and human geography in such studies? Indeed, where does the Geography start and stop? It is not easy (or perhaps useful) to say, but the centrality of fieldwork to such research, and the relevance of geographers’ contributions to those outside the subject, cannot be doubted» (p. 52).
GEOGRAPHY, FIELD SCIENCE AND
I was interested in the work of T.H. Huhlei "Physiography: An Introduction to the Study of Natura". Unfortunately, the term "physiography" is now little used by geographers, although fields and research begin with physiographic observations. On the Internet, we have the following definition (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/physiography): The subfield of geography that studies physical patterns and processes of the Earth. It aims to understand the forces that produce and change rocks, oceans, weather, and global flora and fauna patterns. I think that the physiographic structure of the day (visible) surface is the basis for the formation of the landscape as an image of this surface.
FIELDWORK AND GEOGRAPHICAL
This text demonstrates how so-called interdisciplinarity destroys geography and students cease to understand what to look for and what geography is all about. «In human geography, the Quantitative Revolution at first led research away from the field, towards the quantitative analysis of aggregate human behaviour ... To quantitative human geographers, fieldwork was a source of the all-important ‘data’, particularly through quantitative questionnaire surveys, and the rigorous of sampling design provided a suitable opening gambit for arcane statistical wizardry. The advent of socio-economic data in electronic form, latterly online, has allowed research analysis to be detached from the mundane complexities of data collection» (p. 54 - 55). Neither aggregate human behaviour nor socio-economic data is the subject of geographical exploration. It so happened that representatives of the so-called social, economic or socio-economic geographies departed from field research and ceased to include in their developments the basis on which anthropized forms of organization of the geographical environment are formed: they went the simplest way. Therefore, we have the following: «The repeated shocks and aftershocks of social and cultural theory have led human geography towards more abstracted and theoretical concerns derived from elsewhere in the social sciences and humanities. In their efforts to establish relations with a diversity of fields, and in the process to make Geography seem more scholarly, some human geographers have tended to deplore the lack of scholarly expertise (and patrician style) implied by a reliance on fieldwork. Some human geographers have come to use the field as a theatrical arena, to put theory through its paces and show off its delights and drawbacks. Travel literature, art and social theory, for example, have become important subjects for human geographical enquiry in their own right; indeed the discursive construction of ‘the field’ itself is recognized as an important subject for geographical enquiry» (p. 55). I think it is worth talking not about human geography, but about anthropogeography, especially since such a name has long existed.
It is difficult to disagree with the final conclusion of the authors: «We believe that the field is fundamental to geographical enquiry and understanding. It is one of the keys to understanding geographers, and why they cannot simply be split up into cognate departments. It is not a guarantee of unity» (p. 57).
THE POTENTIAL OF GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS
AND EARTH OBSERVATION
Paul A. Longley and Michael J. Barnsley
INTRODUCTION: THE (GRADUAL) END OF GEOGRAPHY?
I would like to draw your attention to the following message from the authors: «More generally, this chapter takes the perspective that Geography is losing its way precisely because so many of its practitioners have retreated from the quest of creating robust, defensible generalizations about spatial patterns and processes. This is increasingly translated into our teaching. Most Geography students experience courses in ‘geographical concepts’ that, in practice, turn out to be long on how to think about scientific method, but short on the ‘doing’ of Geography» (63).
My position. The emphasis is on spatial patterns, which may not be a feature of geography. The spatial dimension is present in most scientific fields, and this does not mean that geography is relevant to their subjects of study. I think this is one of the largest delusions of geographers, because such a vision has for many decades blocked the search for a truly geographical vision - the organization of geographical entities. And the authors also emphasize this point: «This is perhaps all more astonishing because the spatial dimension is viewed as inherently important by researchers and problem solvers working in a wide range of other academic and professional disciplines» (p. 64).
SO WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT SPATIAL?
I want to discuss the following statements of the authors: «In the broadest sense, ‘geographical’ means ‘pertaining to the Earth’s surface or near surface’ and, in their most basic forms, EO and GIS allow us to construct inventories of where things (events, activities, policies, strategies and plans) happen on the Earth’s surface, and when. They also provide tools to analyse events and occurrences, across a range of spatial scales from the architectural to the global, and over a range of time horizons from the operational to the strategic» (p. 65).
My position. I cannot agree that the geographical domain, at least its empirical section, is closely related to the day (earth) surface or in her neighbourhood, but the events that take place here, the processes and structures that occur here, are not only geographical. Moreover, each individual process is not geographical. Geography deals with their combined action, which leads to coherence through mutual influences. Therefore, this is not a defining point for geography. Another thing is the emergence of geographically organized entities that should be revealed as wholeness. The task of geographers is to identify entities that, while complex, exhibit behaviours inherent in holistic objects. And where and when they are formed is additional.
The authors discuss issues of law in geography. At one time, such laws were formulated (primarily under the influence of physics), but later it became clear that they were invented or not just geography (such as the so-called Tobler’s ‘First Law of Geography’). It should be borne in mind that the law can be deduced if we deal with the regularity of what is constantly being reproduced. But in the geographical environment everything is constantly changing and the states are never repeated, which makes it impossible to carry out laboratory experiments. This fact denies the possibility of deriving geographical laws. Tobler’s ‘First Law of Geography’ is not a law but a generalization. The authors also hint at this: «Yet regularities that can attain the status of laws are rare, if not entirely absent, from Geography, and it is usually the case that the best that we can hope for is a robust and defensible ability to generalize, based upon observed distributions of events and occurrences» (p. 67). At the same time, I cannot agree with the expression "spatial process" because it means that there are non-spatial processes. Also, I cannot agree with the authors' assertion that «The geographer’s art is fundamentally about understanding how and why significant events may be unevenly distributed across space and time; the geographer’s science is fundamentally concerned with generalizing effectively between and about them» (p. 67).
WHAT ARE GIS AND EO, AND HOW ARE THEY RELATED?
WHY ARE EO AND GIS IMPORTANT?
UNIFIED APPROACHES TO EO AND GIS:
AN ILLUSTRATIVE APPLICATION
A FOCUS ON ENVIRONMENT
John A. Matthews and David T. Herbert
The citation. «Although curiosity in geographical aspects of the Earth’s surface has greater antiquity, modern Geography began when interactions between the biophysical and human worlds were perceived as important enough, and different enough from other fields of knowledge and understanding, to constitute a separate discipline» (p. 83).
My position. This idea is important to understand when modern geography began. This happened when society was aware of the fact that human society is not an excluded formation but a natural stage of evolution occurring in a geographical environment. The consequence is the origin of the anthroposphere, which is formed in the process of co-evolution of all components of the geographical environment. Therefore, we can no longer talk about relations in the system "environment - human" (this relationship is important when considering the dynamics of society), within geography it is a holistic formation. Geography is not a space-time discipline, as Turner (2002) points out, it is the science about the forms of organization of formations with the geographical level of complexity and space and time are the parameters intended for display. The scheme is interesting: (Figure III.1) «Some ways in which environment–human interactions have been conceptualized» (Source: adapted from Knight (1992)), which geographers should pay attention to.
On p. 86 authors cite aspects that are of interest to physical geographers and human geographers. But this does not mean that these aspects are relevant to geography. This applies to both climate change (the field of climatology as a constituent of atmology), and changes in vegetation (botany, palaeobotany), and soil (soil science). Even more troublesome is the list of aspects of interest to human geographers. «Human geographers have carried out parallel studies on shifting populations and new forms of settlement, and changing economies or political systems …» (p. 86). Issues such as population migration and changes in population, new forms of settlements, changes in economic and political systems are not geographical in essence. These are domains of study of demography, economics, and political science. There is no geography of the population, economic and political geography; there are artificial directions, the existence of which adversely affects geography as a science, which has its own separate domain of study. By the way, the dilution of research domains of physical and human geography does not contribute to the formation of geography as a holistic science with a single object of study.
ENVIRONMENTALISM AND GEOGRAPHY
The great debate?
Peter Beaumont and Chris Philo
Environmentalism is an extremely interesting scientific and practical branch, which I take as a transition to General Geography. This trend already requires the emergence and spread of a special culture - geoculture. The definition of environmentalism given by K. Miltor is indeed correct: «‘For those who espouse its principles, environmentalism is essentially, though not uniquely, a quest for a viable future, pursued through the implementation of culturally defined responsibilities’ (1993: 2)» (p. 94). The authors write: «By ‘environment’ in this context is usually meant the surrounding world of objects and processes, principally as contained in the ‘physical landscape’ of oceans, mountains, forests, deserts and so on, but also, for some at least, as contained in the ‘human landscape’ of cultivation and built forms. The human–environment relation of interest here includes a material/technical aspect, an ethical bond and even a spiritual one. Human beings react to their environment, are influenced by it, and equally for some they have a responsibility towards it. At the same time, they cannot but think about the environment, maybe feel things quite deeply about it too, and so there is both an external dimension to how humans relate to the environment (the actions of one on the other) and an internal dimension (filtered through the thought-worlds of the humans involved)» (p. 94 - 95).
THE FACES OF ENVIRONMENTALISM IN
A (POST)MODERN CONTEXT
A world environmentalist agenda?
Environmentalism and new political and social groupings
The contested ‘nature’ of environmentalism
The citation. «A study of the ‘nature’ of environmentalism reveals that one is indeed dealing with a mass of interconnecting materials that can be assembled in many different ways to elucidate a particular point of view. Given this, environmentalism is best seen as a multidimensional space within which people can select a variety of ideas, themes and issues to produce a personal view or model of the world. When viewed from such a perspective, it becomes obvious that rigid definitions of environmentalism fail to encompass the rich variety of the subject matter that falls within it. Within this space certain areas or combination of ideas and themes appear to have become fashionable at particular times, but given the complexity of the system it is not surprising that new areas of interest within this complex space are constantly being explored» (p. 98).
My comment. What is within environmentalism is «a mass of interconnecting materials that can be assembled in many different ways to elucidate a particular point of view» and «environmentalism is best seen as a multidimensional space within which people can select a variety of ideas» demonstrates how it differs from geography in its future version: geography has one purpose - to study the forms of organization of the geographical level of complexity, which include the three main actors - abiota, biota and anthropota, whose action over time becomes more coherent and concerted. The main aspect is the organization based on the interaction between the components, as well as the production of information in the form of behaviour and structure. So, if environmentalism is ecocentric, then geography is organizational-centric. In addition, ecology is biocentric, it is a section of biology.
Environmentalism in the academy
MEETING GROUNDS BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTALISM
AND ACADEMIC GEOGRAPHY
I really like the saying: «Sometimes, it is even difficult to decide who is a geographer» (p. 102). This question is related to another question: what is geography exploring? Some believe that the terms "geographical" and "spatial" are synonymous and, accordingly, when it comes to spreading something (anything), it is already geography. This is a huge mistake. Geography has nothing to do with this. And the geographers themselves are to blame because they have not yet clearly defined their area of study.
Geographers studying ‘environmentalisms’
Geographers studying the (post)modern environmentalist movement
Geographers inspired by environmentalism
Geographers conceptualizing their identity in terms of environmentalism
The following text contains valuable meanings:
«Environmentalism has always been with us. It speaks for the human condition. Humans are optimistic and interventionist, but we fear our prowess and are constantly reminded of our ignorance of nature’s ways. So we are also cautious and caring. Environmentalism has always captured this ambiguous anxiety and this flaw in our sense of anthropogenic distinctiveness. At its root environmentalism is a stimulant to extraordinary bursts of innovation in technology, management, valuation and participation. It is also a reminder that we may never know our true selves and our ultimate purpose on this extraordinary planet.
For the geographer, environmentalism permits an open examination of cultural bonding and social division. Most societies seek to survive, to design rules and customs in order to co-operate. Most societies also exploit the land and their neighbours, and create political structures that lead to division and dissent. For geographers nowadays, the trick is to work with communities to establish practices that restore nature and social well-being, that are culturally resonant with history, yet realistic in the face of local power relations» (p. 117).
But I emphasize that geographic research must proceed from the integrity of the geographical environment, without removing any single component beyond its boundaries. It is valuable that the author demonstrates the connection of humanity with nature, with the cosmos and the general process of evolution. Equally significant is the "second model": «Another model lies between the rational and the ideal. This is the distinction in science between knowledge and knowing. Rational analysis is still the basic of much Geography training. Helping to understand how people ‘know’ and how social intelligence is constructed also lies in the domain of Geography. We need to nurture both ‘styles’ of knowledge and to help to blend them for planetary citizenship» (p. 118).
The authors show further that the effect of environmentalism as a way of thinking has become: «Enter sustainability. Here we see a protean notion that is still in its early budding. Sustainability became the buzz phrase of the 1990s, and the transformational politics of the twenty-first century. Sustainability is genuinely revolutionary, striking at all aspects of our souls, our social purpose and our future lifestyles. Sustainability seeks to unite the planet and the human family in one supportive and inextricable embrace. Sustainability is a new politics and a new humanity. We have barely begun to see how and why sustainability might manifest itself. This is because our outlooks, our economic and political institutions, and indeed our social relations are all inured in non-sustainability perspectives. We cannot see out of our historical prison bars» (p. 118). I think that implementation of this approach should be based on the concept of coherence of human activities with the functioning of the biosphere. This idea became the basis of my conception of the "Biosphere Country" developed in 1997, the essence of which is in the following: human society is inserted into the biotized environment of the planet, therefore, its sustainable functioning should be ensured through the allocation of territories that are not included in the states. Such territory should be inseparable in order to ensure the migration processes of the biota.
THE HUMAN IMPACT
I can't help but hold these thoughts: «The planet is remarkably resilient: the evidence of systematic breakdown of global environmental support systems is patchy but increasingly persuasive. Marginal and vulnerable peoples do remarkably adapt and survive, but they should not be placed in a position to do so» (p. 119).
Human development issues should not have to do with geography.
Land and food
This question lies outside the geographic research domain.
One of the most important regimes that have been and continue to be in the geographical environment.
One of the most important indicators that make possible to evaluate the state of the biosphere as a macro-actor of the geographical environment.
Natural component, which presence determines the possibility of life existence and development but water is the domain of hydrology research as an independent discipline.
It has nothing to do with geography.
THE LEGACY OF ENVIRONMENTALISM
It is an interesting and useful section. Issues of environmental ideologies should be considered by geographers.
I would like to draw your attention to this statement: «Holism is admired but is not considered practical. Intrinsic natural rights are professed but rarely put into practice. Integrity of life worlds of leisure and work and social identity shift and shoal, but do not coalesce around environmental well-being» (p. 126). In my opinion, it is more correct to speak not of ecocentrism, but of biosphere-centrism. And the fact that this ideology has not yet been put into practice indicates that world society has not yet reached the required level of culture and consumer attitudes towards nature remain a priority. What is given in an open letter to the UN Secretary-General points to this:
«Despite the fact that the past 50 years have seen a five-fold increase in world economic growth and a nineteen-fold increase in the volume of world trade, the world during that time has experienced unprecedented poverty and environmental chaos, globalisation of economic development could not have failed more dramatically, yet the agenda for the Summit demands acceleration of the same disastrous policies.
(The Ecologist, 2002: 4)» (p. 127).
Humanity produces too much waste, which consumes a lot of resources. We have bloated production, and this issue is not under control unless we take into account the mechanisms of economic crises. The text of the next paragraph is just that:
«The Swedish Environment Advisory Council Study (2002: 7) on socio-ecological resilience urges a new form of governance. This should be networked, participative, co-operative, burden sharing, learning and adapting. It should encourage self-organization and ensure that ecosystem-based science have a basic right to provide the nurturing functions on which all life depends. The use of scenarios and adaptive management techniques to accountable responsiveness in new democratic forms is also vital. Policy should recognize the coupled independence for human and natural forms and functions, and stimulate socio-ecological resilience by recognizing ecological thresholds, uncertainty, purpose and precaution. Governance should create platforms for adaptive management processes and flexible multiple-level forms of dividing, that can learn, generate suitable knowledge and cope with change. Such patterns create management
diversity» (p. 127).
FROM ENVIRONMENTALISM TO SUSTAINABILITY
From the position of geographer I would not write «from environmentalism to sustainability» but «from environmentalism to geographism as the basis of sustainability» and the following text matches this: «So we should begin with the self. Environmentalism is a state of being, an expression of self-awareness, and the recognition of the obligations of citizenship. Looking at ourselves as conscious individuals, we are, essentially, the product of the remotest chance. First, we exist on a planet that may have no equal in the cosmos. The fact that there is life on a planet which is in deep chemical and physical disequilibrium, is in itself remarkable. Then we should ask: how did our parents meet? And their parents in turn? In almost every case, they met through unexpected or unanticipated circumstances. Any given sperm has only a remote chance of fertilizing. So, the evidence that each of us exists, has consciousness, at this momentous moment of planetary and human history is, at least, a marvel, and may indeed have deeper meaning» (p. 128). At the same time, I note that "sustainability" it cannot be considered as just steadiness, because development requires fragility.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GAIA THESIS
Wonderful words by James Lovelock. Scientists will have to prove for a long time that his mind has seized at the same time. «He brings together the huge literature on the coupling of biotic and abiotic processes to suggest that, as we probe deeper and deeper into the workings of the planet, the evidence of auto-regulation across space, time and process mounts up» (p. 129). This concept is deeply geographical.
SUSTAINABILITY AS AN UNFOLDING PROCESS
«The Gaian perspective underlies the principles of sustainability. A healthy planet will support, and will be supported by, healthy people. Healthy people are at peace with each other, share each other’s joy and despair, and work to create a reliable and secure economy for themselves, their families and their neighbourhoods. This healthiness is permanent, both established and won by innovation and revelation. The transition to sustainability is a process of exploration and learning in which everyone has to be consciously engaged» (p. 131).
THE BRUNDTLAND REPORT
ADDRESSING GOVERNANCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Undoubtedly, the issue of sustainable (in my opinion better coordinated) development is deeply geographical. As the author points out, «Sustainable development is nearly always characterized as a ‘triple bottom line’ (TBL) of amalgamating environmental, social and economic well-being into a common audit» (p. 132), and further: «The very notion of a ‘bottom line’ suggests a business mentality of profit and loss and net gain, demonstrable to the shareholders and still palatable to the consumer. What is missing in this metaphor is the governance dimension. Even if we buy a triple bottom line, how do we measure it, organize ourselves to achieve it, evaluate our successes and failures, and prepare the ground for a participatory democracy that may still embrace sustainability with purpose and joy?» (p. 133). But, as the author rightly implies, «In practice, sadly, the world does not deliver governance for sustainability. There is no truly participatory democracy: only variants of power-based governing where legitimation of consultation and inclusion play their hands» (p. 133), and: «The task for the geographer is to find more equitable political theory to allow this to flourish beyond rhetoric» (p. 133). The author makes an important conclusion: «But, as yet, there is no administrative structure tested or visualized that could do this job. This is certainly the task of the open-minded geographer of the future» (p. 133), and «The aim is to get away from single pattern solutions for meeting environmental, social and economic needs where such needs are highly variable at the local level» (p. 133).
BEYOND THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SUSTAINABILITY
MARKING THE SUSTAINABILITY CARD
This is an important statement by the author, who emphasizes that geography should lead the way in addressing the threshold of transition to sustainability: «Sustainability appraisal will appear. It is inevitable if we are to cross any threshold to sustainability. It is also intensely interdisciplinary and highly appropriate for sustainability science. Above all, it necessarily links socio-ecological systems thinking to new forum of governance for sustainability. This is certainly an arena that is crying out for involvement and leadership from geographers» (p. 138).
PERSPECTIVE ON THE UNITY OF GEOGRAPHY
The citation. «Sustainability should reunify Geography. It carries at its core ecosystem functioning, the values of such functions aesthetically, economically and biologically, and the need to resonate them for adaptation and learning about the human condition. It equally carries the principles of peace, justice, resilience and reciprocity. These are core geographical outcomes of how people relate to themselves in a habitable world. It carries through the notions of ecological resilience to social well-being and adaptability, and to economic well-being and ecological reliability. All these are core notions in the perspective of Geography ... . Even more, sustainability is about governance, i.e. patterns of managing, accommodating, sharing and acting that generate the goals of resilience, well-being and livelihoods» (p. 138).
My position. I think it is not to reunite geography, but to become a goal that will allow geography to finally show its distinctiveness and significance in a cohort of scientific disciplines. This is a chance for geography to demonstrate their ability to solve complex problems. And the author states: «To be successful, the ‘sustainability’ geographer will be:
• analytical but fair;
• conscious of values but not value projecting;
• sensitive to the politicization of science, yet not afraid of facing politics;
• able to engage stakeholders and detects those who should be stakeholders and make them so;
• link economics to sociology, to psychology, to natural sciences in the rounded valuation of ecosystem services;
• form partnerships with government, business and civil society to move the agenda forward;
• be ready for even more adventurous pilot and participatory approaches to governance and have the capacity to monitor and evaluate this against sustainability appraisal indicators;
• recognize trust and build on it» (p. 139).
Here I want to draw attention to point 3:
«Sustainability is a matter of new forms of governance, not just the linkage of the economic, social and environmental dimensions. The new forms of governance are multilayered, operate across a divergent and unified space at times, create partnerships between the public, private and civic spheres, and demand new forms of evaluation and appraisal. The opportunity to examine the push for and the elements of these new forms of governance are immense» (p. 140).
My position: So these are new forms of governance, and I think they should be directed at managing the organization.
HUMAN VULNERABILITY, PAST CLIMATIC VARIABILITY
AND SOCIETAL CHANGE
David Taylor and Anna R. Davies
It is a very nefarious chapter, which, however, has no direct relation to geography, because it does not cover the whole geographical environment.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PLACE
David T. Herbert and John A. Matthews
The citation. «Terms such as place, area, territory and region have always occupied a prominent position in geographical thought. Regionalism gave the discipline one of its founding paradigms and its significance has not so much diminished as changed in character over the years (see, for example, Whittlesey, 1954). The concept of the region suggested that there were identifiable segments of the Earth’s surface that took on special meaning. That meaning could be acquired from a variety of sources. There were physical regions such as the Alps, the Steppes or the Ganges delta where the defining features were topographic or climatic. Perhaps more tellingly there were human geographical regions made particular by some facet of their history and culture that gave them a sense of identity. When Vidal de la Blache (1926) developed the concept of regionalism in France, it was based on these kinds of interpretations; regions were set apart form each other by the interaction between people and nature and by the role of human agency on landscape. Hartshorne (1939) expressed support for the regional theme in rather more ‘mechanical’ ways in his concept of areal differentiation or the recognition of different areas on the surface of the Earth» (p. 163).
My comment. I like the authors' view of these terms, but in some cases, the definitions may be different. It is important that they are not regarded as taxonomic units (as is the case, for example, in Russian geography for the term "locality"/"terrain") and scale is taken from the meso- to the micro-scale. The structure of the daytime (visible) surface can be complicated. Yes, some areas may be embedded in larger areas, as shown in the figure.
Nilots on the Sudud swamp (South Sudan).
The citation. «Place is more than that; it has an added value in experiential terms. The term place then is one that ranks highly in the lexicon of geographical terms and is in many ways unique among the key concepts of Geography, though especially in human Geography. The word itself has a depth of meaning and can stand alone without embroidery, amplification or modification as a meaningful geographical concept» (p. 164).
My remark. The notionі ‘place’ ‘area’, ‘territory’ and ‘region’ are used not only geographers, but it is also used widely. The presence of a place means the presence of something and allows you to determine its relation to other things: there is no empty place. Therefore, it is not a geographical concept (like the others above) but one that is used in geography.
The citation. «Space has limited independent meaning and is in effect a relational concept (Sack, 1972). It has to be qualified by time, context, and a range of economic, social and political factors» (p. 164).
My remark. There are some difficulties with the concept of "space" (as well as time). There is no space (like time) as such. Therefore, to write that «It has to be qualified by time, context, and a range of economic, social and political factors» is incorrect. Rather, the image of space is formed by the context, the heterogeneity of the environment. The processes that take place in the environment and the structures they generate are the basis for shaping the image of space in the human mind. So the leading concept is a changing environment that allows you to enter the concept of time. The authors write: «Environment is another concept that needs to be qualified in a number of ways. The dominant assumption is that the term refers to the natural environment but there are other ‘relational’ interpretations, such as social environments, built environments and political environments that are studied by geographers» (p. 165). I don't think so. Geographers should study part of the earth's environment, which is characterized by a geographical level of complexity - a geographical environment, and all other variants are not relevant to geography.
The citation. «The unique quality of place is that it goes beyond the objective and has affective meanings. Over and above the allied concepts, or properties, of area, territory and region, place engenders emotions. There is a sense of place, of belonging and identity that finds their full expression in the concept of place. Place embodies the harmony of a defined territory and the meanings and experiences that are attached to it»
My remark. I think that emotions are caused not by a place, but by the fact that it, so to speak, underlies - a certain formation together with the context and, accordingly, other places. But there is one question that creates the "magic" of the place: why is it that this place is appearing here? Is it possible to speak of a certain tension between places, and if so, what is its nature? And what about the expression "quiet place"? The authors give the opinion of R.D. Sack, which is considered original: «He used the metaphor of the loom and argued that ‘place, like a loom, has a structure and dynamic that are indispensable to undertaking projects by helping us to weave things together’. ‘Places in this sense are the geographical instruments we construct that allow us to transform nature and culture, to combine and interweave the two’» Sack R.D. (2001: 107). But I do not think that such a metaphor is correct. Then the place becomes a feature of complex physical education, which is not true. Often, "place" is defined as space (often the earth's surface) occupied or occupied by anyone. // Space (item, point) where something is placed, happens, etc. // A definite point, a plane intended for anyone, anything. // A specific area specially designed to accommodate it. (https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D1%96%D1%81%D1%86%D0%B5). At the same time, they forget that all this is placed and happens not only in space but also in time (if you take these parameters into consideration) because everything has its length and duration. And, of course, geographers cannot act as place makers.
And on: «Place catches the very basis of the Geography around which we build our lives. Home and neighbourhood, a sense of roots, localities that are imbued with memories and rich with experience, are all concepts that can be expressed through the idea of place. Geographers have long worked on or around the concept of place and it is in that sense a true unifying bond. Other key words such as landscape, area and region have integral connections with place; it embodies them and adds something of its own» (p. 165). It is interesting thoughts, although ordinary people, perceiving the place, feeling it, do not mention geography. There are also questions about the relationship between the terms "place" (on the one hand) and "landscape", "area", "region" on the other. First, it seems to me that "space" has some major limitations. For example, when we are discussing the nature of Andes Mountains, we do not use the term "place". Secondly, I don't think that "landscape" and "place" are interconnected, because "landscape" is an image of the terrain. So these issues are debatable.
The authors used a very important quote from Tuan's work: «How mere spaces became an intensely human place is a task for the humanistic geographer. It appeals to such distinctly humanistic interest as the nature of experience, the quality of the emotional bond to physical objects, and the role of concepts and symbols in the creation of the place identity. (Tuan, 1976: 269)» (p. 165). I think the problem of "place" is philosophical.
As for physic-geographers (in the traditional use of the term), I think for them the "place" has a normal meaning in life, and that's normal. As for geographers, many of them like the term "place", and they have decided to make it a geographical term, but it gives nothing because this term has a common usage.
Very complicated and interesting paragraph! «Place is a fundamental concept in Geography. For human geographers, it embraces components of land and territory, history and rootedness, values and meaning, endowing it with qualities to which many disparate lines of enquiry can relate. Place can be interpreted as a visible territory, as a palimpsest of time and change, as a receptacle of meanings and experience. It can be represented as a measurable area, as an artist’s portrayal of landscape, as a group’s sense of identity and as an individual’s memory of ‘home’. Figure IV.1 attempts in a simple way to capture the ability of place to feature in a diversity of geographical perspectives. As a concept it is interpreted in a variety of ways yet retains its essence as a core component in the practice of Geography. In that sense it is a powerful unifying bond. We study places that have a degree of boundedness however variable that may be. An acceptance of the concept of place is not to accede to some unqualified doctrine of spatial fetishism; it is to recognize reality for what it is» (p. 167).
My remark. "Place" cannot be a fundamental concept in geography; it is a concept used by geographers, often in a rather vague sense. And it is not necessary to divide geographers into physical and human because they all explore the same environment. The aspects highlighted by the authors concern more anthropologists and culturologists. I cannot agree that the place can be imagined as visible territory, as a measured area (not in the same sense), but I agree that the place can be imagined as a palimpsest of time, as the content of meaning and experience, as a memory of the individual about "home". Definitely, "place" cannot be considered not only the main but also generally as a component in the practice of geography, because "place" is an information pool, rather a mental construct than something physical. As for Figure IV.1 - Alternative geographical interpretations of place, I take it for fictional.
Here is another difficult paragraph to consider: «Place then is an important concept for Geography. It overlaps with and sometimes substitutes for other key terms such as region, area and landscape but still adds a dimension of its own. Place can be studied in its own right as an identifiable segment of the Earth’s surface with a particular set of identifying features. It can also be seen as a mirror of society, reflecting both the history and the distributions of power of the context in which it has emerged. Place for geographers is part of the Earth’s surface with a spatial identity and boundaries that separate it from other places. Some places are very clearly defined in these terms; others are more opaque. Is this spatial fetishism? To accuse geographers of having a fetish with space is like accusing dentists of having a fetish with teeth! Of course, we can see place in the context of society, time and change, but it is an essential concept for the practice of Geography» (p. 168).
My remark. I cannot agree that the place «overlaps with and sometimes substitutes for other key terms such as region, area and landscape but still adds a dimension of its own». If that were the case, we would be dealing with terminological redundancy. I also don't think places are being explored as «an identifiable segment of the Earth's surface with a particular set of identifying features». The authors define "place" as a «part of the Earth's surface with a spatial identity and boundaries that separate it from other places», but so defined "locality"/"terrain". The authors wonder: «Is this spatial fetishism?» and they say, «To accuse geographers of having a fetish with space, is like accusing dentists of having a fetish with teeth!». Well, comparing geographers to dentists is an exaggeration. Regarding the fact that geographers suffer from a spatial fetish, so it is, although this is not common to all.
 The authors cite the following publication: Haggett P. (1990) The Geographer’s Art, Oxford: Blackwell.
 The book T.H. Huhlei can be accessed at:
 The authors refer to the following Turner’s work: Turner B.L., II (2002) ‘Contested identities: human–environment Geography and disciplinary implications in a restructuring academy’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 92: 52–74.
 The authors cite the following publication: Milton, K. (1993) ‘Environmentalism and anthropology’, in K. Milton (ed.) Environmentalism – The View from Anthropology, London: Routledge, 1–17.
Milton, K. (1996) Environmentalism and Cultural Theory, London: Routledge.
 The authors refer to the following work: Whittlesey, D. (1954) ‘The regional concept and the regional method’, in P.E. James and C.F. Jones (eds) American Geography: Inventory and Prospect, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 19–68.
 The authors refer to the following work: Vidal de la Blache, P. (1926) Principles of Human Geography, London: Constable.
 The authors refer to the following work: Hartshorne, R. (1939) ‘The nature of Geography: a critical survey of current thought in the light of the past’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 29: 173–658.
 The authors refer to the following work: Sack, R.D. (2001) ‘The geographic problematic: empirical issues’, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift, 55: 107–116.
 The authors refer to the following work: Tuan, Y.F. (1976) ‘Humanistic geography’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 66: 266–276.
 This scheme raises a number of questions, including the existence of historical geography. I think that there is a historical aspect in geography, but there is no historical geography, it is fiction.