“Environmental possibilism and determinism are theories, put forth in order to comprehend and understand the role played by the physical environmental conditions in the emergence and progress of any human culture or society in a particular location.”
This article outlines differences between environmental determinism and environmental possibilism. Authors such as Robert Kaplan (Revenge of Geography—see a review here) and Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) have been accused of being too environmentally deterministic. Read Jared Diamond’s retort to his critics here.
Questions to Ponder: In what ways does the environment shape human culture(s)? Why is Jared Diamond critical of skeptics who use the phrase ‘environmental determinism?’Why might some of Kaplan’s ideas as well as the ideas of classical geopolitics be considered ‘environmental determinism?’ Can the role of physical geography be overstated in culture, economics or politics? Give three examples when it might be inappropriate.