What is Human Environment Interaction?

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Human Environment Interactions (HEI) are interactions between human-social-systems and ecosystems.


According to Wikipedia, “a social system is the patterned network of relationships that exist between individuals, groups, and institutions“.

Some human-social-system characteristics include cultural-values, population size, education, technology and economical-finance.

These characteristics can be further broken down into more specific lifestyle examples such as recycling versus not recycling, cycling versus driving, shopping online versus sourcing goods locally.

Humans have and continue to reshape and change the environment in order to obtain resources and economic benefits. According to Uni-Kiel, these benefits are known as “ecosystem services“. Fishing, timber-construction, crop-harvesting, and energy-retrieval are examples of ecosystem services.

At this point we can observe the overlap between human-social and ecosystems.


According to National-Georgraphic, “an ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscape, work together to form a bubble of life“.

Examples of ecosystems include aquatic, coral, forest, agro, desert, forest, and human ecosystems.

Both of the human and eco system typeforms are complex since they are made up of various behaviors and elements. Both systems are extremely flexible, robust and adaptive.

Regarding human-social-interaction, behaviors and activities such as those outlined above may lead to environmental modifications. Ecosystems are reshaped as a result of supply and demand human-social mentality, which may alter the natural rhythm of the ecosystem.

Here you can read more about the link between ecosystem services and human wellbeing/poverty reduction.

What examples of Human Environment Interaction exist?

Human-environment-interaction can be broken down into two categories:

Human behavioral changes as a result of environmental factors

  • Protection from climatic consequences such as flooding
  • Growing specific crops for specific types of locations (i.e. hot vs cold climates)
  • Irrigation in farming

Human behavior changing the environment

  • Pollution
  • Animal extinction
  • Reforestation
  • and many more

Coevolution and coadaptation are terms used to describe environmental modifications that occur as a result of human social systems and environmental interaction.


Why is Human Environmental Interaction important?

Rather than being important, humans simply need to interact with the environment in order to obtain various necessities such as food, water, medicine, and materials – the list goes on.

As a result of large-scale, industrial resource-retrieval, environmental damages have and continue to occur. These damages directly impact human survival.

This is where the focus on positive human-environmental-interactions becomes essential for all forms of life on earth.

Some examples of important or positive human environmental interaction in order to create a sustainable human-social and ecosystem include:

  • Renewable Energy
  • Composting
  • Water Management
  • Protection Of Nature
  • Recycling

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