The physical environment involves all things that make up the area. This includes the mountains, rivers, forests and all other natural components in the environment. The area of South and East Asia is one consisting some of the most remarkable physical features in the world (Shaw, 1). South and East Asia can be classified into three main regions; the highlands, which include the mountains such as the Himalayas, the plateaus and the basins formed by the rivers such as the Ganges river (Hobbs, 266).
The physical environment of South and East Asia is one that has undergone the most changes (Hobbs, 243). The major reason for these changes is human activities. Human activities have had an impact on every faucet of the environment, especially after colonialism in South and East Asia (Shaw, 1). Some of the activities that have affected the physical geography were for the benefits of the environs of the area, but they had a negative toll on the environment.
For example, building of the Three Gorges dam had very positive results on the people of the people of China (Hobbs, 266). Being the biggest dam in the world, it provides water to millions of people who otherwise could suffer. Another advantage of the dam is that it provides electricity. This electricity could be used to power a variety of projects that offer a livelihood for this people. This project has been advantageous to the people of the area but on the environment it has taken a toll; thousands of trees had to be cut and rivers had to be directed to the dam (Hobbs, 268).
One change to the environment leads to a domino effect on other branches of the environment that in turn affects the people causing the change. For example, cutting of the trees for the dam project caused soil erosion on the Himalayas that drifted down the mountain to the river basins (Hobbs, 220). This fertile soil was used by the locals for subsistence and commercial agriculture. This was a plus for the people of the area. The same positive was a disadvantage to the people who depended on fishing for a living. The soil from the Himalayas and other areas that filled the river. As a result, the quality of life in the waters was reduced.
Most of these changes could have been done without seeing the bigger picture. The physical environment is important to the lives of all those that live within the South and East Asia region. From the very first inhabitants of the area, it was clear to see that they were dependent on the environment for survival in countries such as Vietnam (Hobbs, 259). Farmers needed the fertile soil for farming crops and rearing animals. The fishermen depended on the rivers for fish. These are some of the occupations that were directly reliant on the environment, and that could have showed that the physical environment was fundamental for the livelihoods of the people of South and East Asia (Hobbs, 228).
Policies have been put in place also to ensure that what people are doing for a living does not harm the environment. In countries like Japan where fishing is a large contributor to the economy, fishing has been regulated to ensure that endangered species of fish are not at risk. Also methods of agriculture such as shift cultivation (Hobbs, 219) that do more harm than good to the environment are being replaced.
The institutions are putting measures in place that help the students coming out of the schools learn how they can contribute to making the environment a better place. The students are also being equipped with the knowledge of rehabilitation and better farming practices (Hobbs, 248). This is in a bid to rehabilitate the areas of the environment that have undergone too much damage under the activities of man to rejuvenate themselves naturally. An example of such a country is Japan where forests have undergone intense logging for commercial purposes (Hobbs, 278).
The physical environment has played a major role in the lives of the people of South and East Asia. In a bid to transition into the future, changes have to happen to the environment. It is the duty of the environs of the region to ensure that these changes affect the natural balance of the environment to the very least extent. Equally important is to note that the changes made can be reversed, and the man should strive to restore what has been ruined in the name of progress.
Hobbs, Joseph. : Fundamentals of World Regional Geography. California: Brooks/Cole, 2010. Print.
Shaw, Rijab. "Cumulative Impacts of Human Interventions and Climate Change on Mangrove Ecosystems of South and SouthEast Asia: An Overview." Cumulative Impacts of Human Interventions and Climate Change on Mangrove Ecosystems of South and SouthEast Asia: An Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. <http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeco/2013/379429/>.
"South and East Asia." University Of Minnesota Deluth. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2014. <http://www.d.umn.edu/~lknopp/geog1202-1/Lecture%20Notes/Chapter%2010%20%28detailed%29.htm>.