Not least in importance is the contribution made recently by aerial surveys, which, besides speeding mapping, frequently reveal previously unknown features and are often used in the detection of valuable mineral deposits.All this vast range of knowledge serves, among other things, to emphasize the great physical diversity of the home of man. The pattern of human activity on the earth's surface is the result of the initiative and mobility of man operating within a frame of natural forces. Without denying the limits every environment sets to man's ambition, they emphasize the scope of man's action rather than these limits.Long ago the Greeks introduced the concept of a threefold division of the world into torrid, temperate, and frigid zones. In broad outline the Greek division remains substantially correct, but modern knowledge has brought about many refinements of this concept and has fostered the growth of regional geography, which seeks to define distinct areas which are commonly identified with physical conditions. Hence geomorphology, oceanography, climatology, and biogeography are recognized as essential parts of geographical studies in so far as they explain the physical aspect of human environments, and various classifications of regions have been based on the findings of their exponents.Earth facts do not determine the form and nature of human society in development. They condition it. New earth facts are continually being discovered and old earth facts given new significance as human knowledge thought and social action develop. The relations are reciprocal.
According to Brunhes, "The power and means which man has at his disposal are limited and he meets in nature bounds which he cannot cross. Human activity can within certain limits vary its play and its movements; but it cannot do away with its environment, it can often modify it, but it can never suppress it, and will always be conditioned by it (p. 603).
Human societies, like those of the vegetable and animal world, are composed of different elements subject to the influence of environment. No one knows what winds brought them together, nor whence, nor when; but they are living side by side in a region which has gradually put its stamp upon them. Some societies have long been part of the environment, but others are in process of formation, continuing to recruit members and to be modified day by day. Upon such, in spite of all they can do, surrounding conditions leave their impress, and in Australia, at the Cape, or in America, these people are slowly becoming saturated with the influence of the regions where their destinies are to unfold.
This final paragraph from Bowman.
While the 'physical laws' to which mankind responds are variable in their application and in degree of effect, yet this is also true that all men everywhere are affected to some degree by physical conditions. The drought of 1930 in the United States threw into strong relief the fact that it is only in regions of optimum climatic conditions that men may say 'I am free of those extreme conditions that have more nearly continuous effects upon man elsewhere.' How circumscribed are such optimum areas, and how much history, and what deep cultural relations have flowed out of the contrast between well-favored and ill-favored regions.
The limits set by Nature to man's action vary from place to place on the earth's surface and from one historical period to another. In marginal environments, such as the hot and cold deserts, and at low stages of culture man's choice may be extremely restricted. In the more favorable areas of the warm and cool temperate zones, and in periods when man's techniques are highly developed the possibilities are more numerous. But however many skills man