The Big Questions In Geography

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In The Big Questions in Geography by Cutter et al. (2002), two questions stand out as the most important to geography as a discipline: (1) “How has the earth been transformed by human action?” and (2) “What role has geographical skill played in the evolution of human civilization, and what role can it play in predicting the future?” Although the list of questions is extensive, there is a key query that was excluded: How do geographers effectively communicate their research with the public? Addressing the aforementioned questions not only benefits the discipline of geography, but also humanity, as many of the anthropogenically-induced environmental problems we currently face are unprecedented; effectively analyzing, predicting, and communicating …show more content…
(2002) contend, “Historians often tell us that understanding the past is the key to knowing the present and to successfully predicting the future” (p. 314). Contextualizing the role geographical skill played in the evolution of human civilization will allow geography as a discipline to better interpret its current place and predict its future (Heffernan 2009; Richards 2009). Furthermore, geographical skill and related technology (e.g. GIS) are often used for consequential predictions (e.g. future global climate) and implementing related policies, but models are ultimately heuristic (Oreskes et al. 1994; Zahran et al. 2006; Debnath and Amin 2015). Assessing the role geographic skill and related technology can play in predicting the future will help further prediction capabilities and develop related models via acknowledging variations inherent in the spatial and geographic realm (Cutter et al. 2002). Effectively communicating the science related to geographic skill and technology with the public is critical (Church 2009; Scheufele 2013; Baram-Tsabari and Osborne …show more content…
Communicating science with the public influences three points that are essential to the discipline of geography: it (1) informs non-scientists and allows them to make informed decisions at all levels; (2) furthers the social reach of geographic research; and (3) measures the validity of the specific research inquiry (Church 2009; Scheufele 2013; Baram-Tsabari and Osborne 2015). Unless they can be properly conveyed to both scientists and non-scientists, answers to all of the questions mentioned in The Big Questions in Geography by Cutter et al. (2002) would only be clear to the scientific community. It is worth noting that the authors briefly mentioned communicating geographic research with the public, but an official question was not included in their

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