Environmental Determinism and Possibilism

Topics: Natural environment, Environment, Environmental determinism Pages: 2 (582 words) Published: March 26, 2013
Environmental Determinism and Possibilism:
Shaping and Reshaping Life Since the Beginning of Time

Possibilism and Environmental Determinism, both completely different in theory, and yet so very linked in purpose. Environmental Determinism is the idea that the environment shapes its inhabitants, and will --or will not-- provide for them to accomplish their goals. While Possibilism is the idea that mankind –for this example it will be routinely mankind and not another species—can accomplish their goal(s) because it is possible or could become possible with assistance, such as training, tools, equipment, specialized environmental gear, etc. These two ideas can be almost as conflict-ridden as Creationism and Evolution, with both sides of the fight drawing lines in the sand and rallying behind them. Hopefully the reader of this essay will find that Environmental determinism and Possibilism may have different theories, but are not so different when considered towards a problems beginning and ultimately its end. Examples of Environmental Determinism could be tropical viruses that cannot flourish outside tropical zones, bananas and their inability to thrive naturally in Vermont, humans not being able to breathe under water, and amusingly: pigs not being able to fly. All of these examples are limited to where and what they can do because they cannot escape their environment, as it has shaped them as much as they it. Humans are a terrestrial species, meaning we live and exist on solid land above sea level. Our bodies have shaped themselves to this environment and we will shape the environment back to continue this trait, thus the chances of humans developing gills for water breathing are ridiculously unlikely without a decidedly massive environmental change and a possibly forced evolution to adapt to said new environment. Being concerned with environmental changes and the need to change or adapt, the theory of Possibilism comes into view. Possibilism revolves around...
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