Essay on Types of Environment – “‘Environment‘, as the term itself indicates, is anything immediately surrounding an object and exerting a direct influence on it”. – P. Gisbert. According to Kimball Young, environment refers to “those forces, situations or stimuli which influence the organism from outside”.
The role of environment is so great that it can affect our society and our behaviour. The environment is more than a “conditioning” factor of life. As MacIver says, “It interpenetrates life everywhere. It directs or diverts, stimulates or depresses man’s energies. It moulds his speech; it subtly changes his frame.
Nay, more it lives within him. It is entirely inseparable from life”. “Life and environment are, in fact, correlates”. “Furthermore, every change in a living creature involves some change in its relation to environment, and every change in the environment, some change in the response of the organic being”. It is, indeed, a factor of great complexity. It consists of various aspects.
Types of Environment:
Environment is a complex totality of many things. It has been divided into different types. (i) MacIver and Page have mentioned of two types of environment: (a) Outer environment, and (b) Inner environment, (ii) Marshall Jones has spoken of three kinds of environment: (a) Physical Environment, (b) Social Environment, and (c) Cultural Environment, (iii) P. Gisbert has divided environment into four types: (a) Natural Environment, (b) Artificial Environment, (c) Social Environment, and (d) Psychological Environment, (iv) Kimbal Young divided it into only two types: (i) Geographic Environment, and (ii) Social-Cultural Environment.
For our purpose of study we may speak of two types of environment namely: (i) Geographic Environment, and (ii) Man-made Environment.
(i) Geographical Environment:
This can be called ‘natural environment’ for it consists of things that are provided by nature, this can also be called ‘physical environment’ for it includes the physical conditions of life. The geographic or physical conditions exist independently of man’s existence. Man has limited and sometimes no control over them.
This environment includes; the surface of the earth, natural resources, land and water, mountains and plains, fertile lands and deserts, oceans, storms and cyclones, weather and climatic factors, seasons, etc. It also includes biological conditions such as plants, animals with all their complexities.
(ii) Man-Made Environment:
In order to control the conditions of his life man has created a new environment which can be called ‘man-made environment’ and some have called it ‘social- cultural environment’. It can be subdivided into two types: (a) outer environment, and (b) inner environment.
(a) The Outer Environment:
Man, through the introduction of science and technology has tried to modify the conditions of physical environment. It can be understood as ‘outer environment’. We, what we are today, are because of the modifications of physical environment introduced by man’s technology.
It includes our houses and cities, our means of transport and communication, our comforts and conveniences. It also includes the vast, systems of industry and machinery created by man. It covers, in brief, the whole apparatus of our civilisation. Some anthropologists have called this part of socio-cultural environment, ‘material culture’.
(b) The Inner Environment:
The inner environment is the society itself. It is the social environment and endures only so long as the society endures. It consists of the organisations and regulations, the traditions and institutions. It includes the folkways and mores and customs which every human group provides for man.
This environment is also known as ‘social heritage’, and sometimes referred to as the order of ‘non-material culture’. The social heritage is the necessary condition for human social life to arise and to continue. It has a profound influence on man’s life.
The so-called ‘artificial environment’ which refers to the modified form of physical environment and the economic environment, which refers to all the things of human creation that have great economic value—can be understood as nothing but two aspects of the man-made environment.
In should be noted that man cannot separate the outer environment as one order of the things from the social environment. The outer and the inner environments are blended. For example, the land which we bring under cultivation is more than a land; it is a form of property. It is often worshipped also, as the Hindus do.
The houses are also homes that represent the institution of family. Thus the various factors of the total environment (the physical, the inner and the outer) are merged together in our experience.