Social Studies - 2019-20

WG.2 b - Humans and the Environment

The student will analyze how physical and ecological processes shape Earth’s surface by 

b) describing how humans influence the environment and are influenced by it; 

Adopted: 2015


Theme- Environment & Interaction

What makes up the Earth's environment?

How do humans affect their environment?

How does technology help humans adapt to their environment?


Physical and ecological processes shape Earth’s surface. 

Humans both influence and are influenced by their environment.


Physical and ecological processes 

  • Earthquakes 
  • Floods 
  • Volcanic eruptions 
  • Erosion 
  • Deposition 

Human impact on environment 

  • Water diversion/management 
    • Aral Sea
    • Colorado River 
    • Dams (e.g., Aswan High Dam, Three Gorges Dam, Itaipu Dam) 
    • Canals 
    • Reservoirs 
    • Irrigation 
  • Landscape changes 
    • Agricultural terracing (e.g., in China, Southeast Asia) 
    • Polders (e.g., in the Netherlands) 
    • Deforestation (e.g., in Nepal, Brazil, Malaysia) 
    • Desertification (e.g., in Africa, Asia) 
  • Environmental changes 
    • Acid rain (e.g., forests in Germany, Scandinavia, China, Eastern North America) 
    • Pollution (e.g., in Mexico City, Chernobyl; oil spills) 
    • Potential climate change (e.g., changes in sea level, temperature, and weather patterns)


Updated: Jun 13, 2018