What are Human Environmental Interactions?

Human interaction with the environment happens on different levels. In fact we interact with our environment in almost everything we do or say. Have you ever thought about how possible or real this could be? Well, in this post “What are Human Environmental Interactions?”, we bring you vivid explanation about this. We also talked about Definition and Overview of Human Environmental Interactions, and the Types. As well as the Benefits and positive impacts of humans on the environment.

As humans, it is no news that our environment affects our actions. It is for this reason that one needs to know how to freely move and relate in the environment and with it as well. When we say Human Environmental Interactions, we simply mean the ways or methods through which man interacts with the society. It is simply the dynamics that exists between humans and their natural habitat/environment. Seeing that the society has an obviously strong hold on individuals, it is important that we learn how to navigate through it’s claws. We shall now go further to discuss the topic in a broad manner for better understanding.

Definition and Overview of Human Environmental Interaction?

In very simple terms, Human Environmental Interaction is the relationship between human social system and the ecosystem. It refers to the kind of connection a person has with the environment they find their selves in. The concept of interaction with the environment is quite complex. This is because both humans and the environment as a whole are made up of different components. In addition, the concept of this interaction can also affect human lives just like society impacts environment. From things as occasional as driving to your day to day activities, the society affects it.

More often than not, the relationship between humans and the environment is seen as toxic. This is as a result of the damages humans do to the society for their own selfish desire; to survive. It is for this reason that it is important for nature and society to come together. By so doing, human environment interactions keep going on without fear of less resources. This is however only achieved through sustainability. To improve the relationship between humans and the environment, sustainability must be maintained.

Further more, research has shown that there are three main elements of Human Environmental Interactions. That is there are 3 things humans do to aid their interaction with the environment. These things are: Dependence, Adaptation and Modification. Humans depend on the environment to survive, after which they learn to adapt to it. The final stage of their interaction is majorly modification. They modify it to their taste.

Types of Human Environmental Interactions

Having established that the relationship between man and his environment is mostly toxic, lets see how. We shall now discuss the things man do to the environment to harm/damage it. Some of these interactions are as follows;


This is basically referred to as the felling down of trees and clearing of forest. Through deforestation, we can see how humans truly depend, adapt and modify their environment. As much as there are reasons for deforestation, it is still a harmful act to the environment. This is because deforestation destroys the natural habitat of certain creatures in the world.

Energy Resources

These basically means all renewable and nonrenewable energies that are utilized by the society. These energies are usually uses to generate power for buildings, transport and electrical and communication systems. However the extraction of these energies have proven to be quite detrimental to not just the society, but also human health. It is however also important to note that the harm caused by renewable energy is less than nonrenewable energy. Examples of renewable energy include Solar, Wind, Hydropower, Geothermal. Examples of nonrenewable energy are Coal, Oil, Gas, Nuclear.

Water Use

There’s a popular saying that goes “Water is Life”. Well, this isn’t far from the truth as water is an essential need to man, very essential need. More than any other natural resources, Water has proven to be quite versatile as it serves many purposes. As a result of how essential water is, many people have modified their environment to have better access to it. However, by doing so, they have rid every other person of that privilege to get water easily. This in turn eventually leads to water scarcity, thereby affecting the society as well as humans.

Waste Products

When waste is produced by humans or living things, it is usually deposited right back to the earth. In fact, waste is so inevitable that it increases with the world’s population. Waste however, is quite harmful to humans as well as the environment as a whole.


There are different kinds of pollution and every single one of them affects the environment. We have air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and even pollution that occur as a result of waste. Pollution in general is harmful to the ecosystem thereby making it a disturbing fit.

Environmental Expansion

As the world population increases, there is a need for space in the society. For this space however to be created, a lot of modification need to be done thus leading to deforestation. More often than not people staying in rural areas will have to suffer from lack of water due to modifications. Expansion also means less green space as well as loss of natural habitat for the animals.

Benefits of Human Environmental Interactions

We said earlier that it is important for humans to interact with their environment if they want to survive. However, there are reasons why this is really crucial. Interaction with our environment have lots of benefits and is quite advantageous to humans. We shall now quickly look at some benefits of Human Environmental Interactions. They are;

Improved mental health

Better ability to function and perform tasks

Creation of better learning opportunities

Reduction of stress

Positive effect on Physical health and wellness

Facilitate social interaction

Aids social empowerment

Positive impacts of humans on the environment

Although the general notion is that the relationship between humans and the environment is a toxic one, however humans can also positively impact the environment. The most positive impact a human can have on the society is sustainability. If humans inculcate the ability to sustain natural resources and landscape, then it will be less dangerous for the environment. Other positive impacts humans can have on the society include;

Planting of trees

Recycling of waste products

Reduction of all forms of pollution

Conservation of natural resources

Monitoring their energy consumption

Cutting back on water usage

Establishing wide life reserves

Human Environmental Interaction VS Environmental Determinism

The concept of Environmental Determinism was started by a German Geographer, Friedrich Ratzel. We have established that human environmental interactions basically has to do with the interaction between man and his society. Environmental Determinism however opines that this human environmental interactions happen in different ways. Just like the former, environmental determinism also has 3 major components/elements. They are; Climate, Ecology and Geography, all of which influences humans economically, culturally and socially.

Environmental Determinism argues that the environment is a major determinant of human culture and development. People that support this argument believe that human beings are shaped according to their environment. For example, a person can be involved in gang activities and theft simply because they grew up in a violent environment. Environmental Determinists believe that factors like climate can affect a human’s behavioral pattern.

Environmental Determinism VS Possibilism

While the former states that the environment affects human actions, the latter opines that people can overcome the environment. The major difference between both is the perspective. From the perspective of an environmental determinist, human actions should be judged and weighed by their environment. Possibilists however believe that the environment is no excuse for human behavior as it can be overcome. In other words, determinism is basically when nature dominates man while possibilism is when man dominates nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

What question does Human Environmental Interaction answer?

It answers the question “How do people depend on, adapt to and modify their environment?“ That is following the elements of HEI which are Dependence, Adaptation and Modification.

What are the two main interaction between humans and their environment?

They are; How our actions affect our environment and the use of natural resources.

What are the 3 major things that helps human adapt to their environment?

The three things that helps human adapt are; Bipedalism, Opposable thumbs and our complex brains. These are the 3 features that have given humans the ability to survive in different climates and habitats.

What are the types of man made environment?

There are 4 types of man made environment. They include; Bridges, Roads, Buildings and Monuments.


The importance of nature to humans can not be overemphasized and it is for this reason that sustainability is advised. Humans should make effort to care if the environment as much as they do themselves. It is also important that the interaction between man and his society be less negative and more healthy. For more enlightening posts, follow our website and comment below.

See also: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_impact_on_the_environment

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