Civilization and Climate

Civilization and Climate

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Civilization and Climate

Civilization and Climate

Read FREE!

Excerpt

This volume is a product of the new science of geography. The old geography strove primarily to produce exact maps of the physical features of the earth's surface. The new goes farther. It adds to the physical maps an almost innumerable series showing the distribution of plants, animals, and man, and of every phase of the life of these organisms. It does this, not as an end in itself, but for the purpose of comparing the physical and organic maps and thus determining how far vital phenomena depend upon geographic environment. Among the things to be mapped, human character as expressed in civilization is one of the most interesting and one whose distribution most needs explanation. The only way to explain it is to ascertain the effect of each of many coöperating factors. Such matters as race, religion, institutions, and the influence of men of genius must be considered on the one hand, and geographical location, topography, soil, climate, and similar physical conditions on the other. This book sets aside the other factors, except incidentally, and confines itself to climate. In that lie both its strength and weakness. When the volume was first planned, I contemplated a discussion of all the factors and an attempt to assign to each its proper weight. The first friend whom I consulted advised a directly opposite course, whereby the emphasis should be centered upon the new climatic facts which seem to afford ground for a revision of some of our old estimates of the relation between man and his environment. In writing the book I have growingly felt the wisdom of that advice, and have been impressed with the importance of concentration upon a single point, even at the expense of seeming . . .

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