Summary And Conclusion
An attempt to bring the subject together, after a long hiatus, is Geography: A Modern Synthesis by Peter Haggett. This is suggested by the titles of a selection of chapters of his book: "The Fertile Planet"; "Environment Risks and Uncertainties"; "Ecosystems and Environmental Regions"; "Resources and Conservation"; "Spatial Diffusion"; "Toward a Regional Convergence"; and "Outer Space, Inner Space." Analysis may give partial answers, but syntheses is essential to provide cohesion to the reality that is geography. The holistic view of the Earth as seen from space should be imperative for geography as a unified discipline, concerned with ecosystems on a fragile planet.
As indicated above, in recent decades the study of geography has suffered a decline in institutions of higher learning in the United States, and it is opined that there will only be improvement by the re-establishment of the subject in high schools. The abysmal ignorance of most Americans about the world, which may be a legacy of isolationism, contrasts with the situation in other (even so-called Third World) countries where geography is taught at all levels. In those colleges and universities in the United States where the subject continues to be taught it is often necessary to recruit faculty worldwide. If wars in the Middle East and elsewhere are not enough to goad Americans into giving more attention to the subject, then perhaps increasing dependence on resources from overseas will provide the impetus to achieve this end.
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Clark, Michael J., Kenneth J. Gregory, and Angela M. Gurnell, eds. Horizons in Physical Geography. Basingstoke and London: Macmillan Education, 1987. See especially: Roger G. Barry, "Perspectives on the Atmosphere"; Keith M. Clayton, "Perspectives on the Geosphere"; and Richard J. Chorley, "Perspectives on the Hydrosphere."
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Norman J. W. Thrower
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