Geography (science)

   All the hundreds of millions of people in our world live on less than one-third of the surface of the ball-shaped earth. Water covers more than two-thirds of that huge curved surface.
   The regions where people live differ in many ways. A homeland may be level or mountainous, wet or dry, hot or cold. The soil may be fertile or poor. The region may be crowded with people or there may be very few. It is clear that in different homelands people do not face the same problems. The people of Tibet, high in the Himalayas, cannot live just as the Indians live along the Amazon. The way of living the Eskimos have worked out in the Arctic would not fit the Sahara.
People change the lands where they live by adding such things as buildings and roads, bridges and dams. They cut down forests, plant fields, and mine for minerals.
   In geography we learn about differences in the lives of people in different homelands and about things which help us understand those differences. About any homeland we ask questions such as: What ways of making a living have people found here? What changes have people brought about? How do the skills and ideas they have gained in trying to meet their needs and solve their problems differ from those of people in other lands? How do people in other lands depend on them and help them?
   Maps are very important in geography because they tell many facts which are needed in answering such questions. In their special sign language maps show how such things as highlands and lowlands, rainfall, farmlands, forests, minerals, and people are distributed.