Environment as Determinant vs. Environment as Irrelevant? A False Dichotomy and an Alternative

  • William B. Meyer
  • Dylan M.T. Guss


To say that the environment does not operate on human societies in a deterministic way is by no means to say that it does not matter for them. Geographers since the 1920s have emphasized, though, that how it matters cannot be understood apart from an understanding of the societies themselves. “Natural hazards” and “natural resources,” for example, are not natural factors external to society, but co-creations of natural and social processes.


Environmental determinism Geography Natural hazards Natural resources Nature–society interaction 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • William B. Meyer
    • 1
  • Dylan M.T. Guss
    • 2
  1. 1.Colgate UniversityHamiltonUSA
  2. 2.New YorkUSA

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