When Riya was on the way home from school one day, she heard some people nearby talking. One of them said,” It is so sad seeing our natural environment change. All the trees will be cut down.” Riya quickly looked at her mother and asked, ” What is a natural environment, mother?”. “Everything around us that is not human-made is our natural environment”, said her mother. Riya was confused. Let’s help Riya understand what natural and human-made environments are.
Our environment is everything that surrounds us- from the trees, mountains, roads, buildings, things and even people. It is a combination of both natural and human-made elements. These elements are divided into two types: Biotic and Abiotic. Biotic elements are all the living organisms. Abiotic elements include all the non-living things.
Everything that is not human-made comes under natural environment. Land, air, water, plants and animals all comprise the natural environment. Let us learn about the different domains of the natural environment. These are the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
- The lithosphere is the solid crust or the hard top layer of the earth. It is made up of rocks and minerals and covered with a thin layer of soil. The lithosphere is an irregular surface with mountains, plateaus, plains, valleys, landforms, etc. It is the domain that provides us with forests, grasslands for grazing, land for agriculture and housing. It is also a source of minerals.
- Hydrosphere is the domain of water. It comprises of the various sources of water and different types of water bodies like rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, estuaries, etc. It is essential for all living organisms.
- The atmosphere is the thin layer of air that surrounds the earth. It is held by the gravitational force of the earth. The Atmosphere protects us from the harmful UV rays from the sun by blocking them out. It contains a number of gases like oxygen, which is essential for life, dust and water vapour. Changes in atmosphere bring changes in weather and climate.
- All life makes up the biosphere. It is the zone of the earth where land, water and air interact with each other to support life.
What is an ecosystem? All plants, animals and human beings depend on each other. The relation between living organisms, as well as the relation between living organisms and their environment, form an ecosystem. An ocean is an example of an ecosystem because it comprises of living organisms, land, air ( in dissolved form) and water of course.
Human environment is the man-made environment. It has been modified by humans according to their needs. Before technology evolved, human beings would adapt themselves to the natural environment. They led a simple life and fulfilled their requirements from the nature around them. With time, their needs grew and became more varied. Human learnt new ways to change their environment according to their needs.
They learnt to grow crops, domesticate animals and build houses. They invented the wheel, barter system, trade and commerce. Transportation became faster. Large-scale production was possible through Industrial revolution. Communication became easier and speedy across the world. They have formed an artificial ecosystem.
A perfect balance is necessary between the natural and man-made environment. If we use the sources provided by environment wisely, we can establish a healthy balance. We should use our resources wisely and learn to conserve them. natural resources like wood, minerals, water, air are precious and essential for survival. If we do not use them wisely, we may run out of them one day. We should think about our future generations.
Here’s a Solved Question for You
Q: Which is not a natural ecosystem?
a) desert b) aquarium c) forest
Solution: b)aquarium. An aquarium is a man-made ecosystem.