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Why Environmental geography

Why study environmental geography?

Environmental geography is the branch of geography that describes the spatial aspects of interactions between humans and the natural world. It requires an understanding of the dynamics of climatology, hydrology, biogeography, geology and geomorphology, as well as the ways in which human societies conceptualize the environment.

Montreal and the river

Environmental geography represents a critically important set of analytical tools for assessing the impact of human presence on the environment by measuring the result of human activity on natural landforms and cycles. This program draws on courses within physical geography, including a distinctive strand of courses dealing with environmental issues, resources and management. Teaching and learning methods are diverse, ranging from lectures and tutorials through to a variety of practical work in cartography, GIS, remote sensing and statistics.

Environmental geographers are familiar with how natural systems function, but they also know that humans are a dominant agent of change in nature. They realize that it is not possible to understand environmental problems without understanding the physical processes as well as the demographic, cultural, and economic processes that lead to increased resource consumption and waste. Environmental geographers fan out along a variety of academic paths, and these paths will cross, mingle, or converge with those of other disciplines. By its very nature geography is a discipline that seeks to integrate and synthesize knowledge. Therein lies its strength. The geographer’s world is your world: it is the earth as the home of humans.

Why study environmental geography?

Environmental geography prepares students for careers in environmental planning, design, and restoration, as well as in environmental assessment and monitoring, resource management, natural areas preservation, and outdoor and environmental education. Students completing the program will develop competencies in a broad array of subjects spanning the natural and social sciences, as well as complementary analytical techniques.

Hall building in winter

Environmental geographers ask a diverse set of questions such as:

  • Can the global environment cope with anticipated population growth?
  • What will be the extent and impact of global warming?
  • Should we protect tropical forests and why are they being destroyed?
  • What causes famine and why do people die from it?
  • Should we allow Hydro Quebec to dam the rivers entering James Bay?

Much of what happens in our daily lives is influenced by events beyond our ‘local world’ – events often beyond our borders and outside the control of our national governments. As the world’s nations and environment become more interdependent, the need to understand how our lives are interconnected across the globe increases. With it the role of geography and employment opportunities for geographers will continue to grow.

Environmental geography at Concordia

You will find the department on the twelfth floor of the Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve West). Concordia geography is fortunate in having its own distinct quarters – few other departments can boast such good facilities, such as a computer lab., G.I.S. lab., physical sciences lab., cartography lab., reading room, and student lounges.

The professors in the geography department have a wide range of research interests. You can learn more about these by turning to the section called Faculty.

  • Curriculum focused on the Environment
  • New multidisciplinary Environmental Science
  • An emphasis on techniques and skill building in cartography, computer design, geographic information systems, statistics, field work
  • Student centred teaching
  • Strong emphasis on undergraduate teaching
  • Courses taught by dedicated full and part-time faculty
  • Courses given in both the day and evening to accommodate students who work
  • We cater to non-conventional students
  • Excellent Student Advising Program
  • Active Geography Student Association
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