Chapter 1-Environment

What is an environment?

  • Humanity’s entire life support system depends on the well-being of all the environmental factors. Environment play an important role in regulating air and climate. Another reason the environment is so important  is because it is a source of natural beauty, and it is necessary for proper physical and mental helath too.
  • An Environment is everything that is around us, which includes both living and nonliving things such as soil, water, animals and plants, which adapt themselves to their surroundings. It is nature’s gift that helps in nourishing the life on the earth.

Word Origin

  • The word ‘Environment’ is derived from the French word “Environ” which means “surrounding”.
  • Our surrounding includes biotic factors like human beings, plants, animals, microbes etc… And abiotic factors such as light, air, water, soil etc…

    Types of Environment
  • Environment mainly consists of atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. But it can be roughly divided into two types such as –

           (a) – Natural(Biotic) Environment

           (b) – Man-made(Abiotic) Environment

Biotic & Abiotic Environment

  • Biotic

           The world of living organisms.

           e.g. Plants and animals.

  • Abiotic

           The world of  non-living elements.

           e.g. land.

Components of environment

  • Environment is our basic life support system. It provides the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat and the land where we live.
  • Human beings make cars, mills, factories and manufacture containers. This is how human beings modify natural environment.

Environmental changes

  • Environmental change is a change or disturbance of the environment most often caused by human influences and natural ecological processes. Environmental changes can include many number of things, including natural disasters, human interferences, or animal interaction.


  • Natural environment means all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning not because of humans.
  • The universe is natural, but often the term “natural environment” only means nature on Earth. Two aspects are usually included:: Ecological units which are natural systems without much human Interference.
  • Land, water, air, plants and animals comprise the natural environment.

Lithosphere & Environment

  • A lithosphere is the rigid, outermost shell of a terrestrial-type planet, or natural satellite, that is defined by its rigid mechanical properties.
  • On Earth, it is composed of the crust and the portion of the upper mantle that behaves elastically on time scales of thousands of years or greater.
  • It is the solid crust or the hard top layer of the earth. It is made up of rocks and minerals and covered by a thin layer of soil. It is an irregular surface with various landforms such as mountains, plateaus, plains, valleys, etc.
  • Landforms are found over the continents and also on the ocean floors.
  • Lithosphere is the domain that provides us forests, grasslands for grazing, land for agriculture and human settlements. It is also a source of mineral wealth.

Domains of the environment  –  Hydrosphere

  • The domain of water is referred to as hydrosphere. It comprises various sources of water and different types of water bodies like rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, etc. It is essential for all living organisms.

Domains of the environment  –  Atmosphere

  • The atmosphere is the thin layer of air that surrounds the earth. The gravitational force of the earth holds the atmosphere around it. It protects us from the harmful rays and scorching heat of the sun.
  • It consists of a number of gases, dust and water vapour.
  • The changes in the atmosphere produce changes in the weather and climate.

Domains of the environment  –  Biosphere

  • The biosphere, also known as the ecosphere, is the worldwide sum of all ecosystems. It can also be termed the zone of life on Earth, a closed system, and largely self-regulating. 
  • Plant and animal kingdom together make biosphere or the living world. It is a narrow zone of the earth where land, water and air interact with each other to support life.

What is ecosystem?

  • All plants, animals and human beings depend on their immediate surroundings. Often they are also interdependent on each other. This relation between the living organisms, as well as the relation between the organisms and their surroundings form an ecosystem.
  • There could be an ecosystem of large rain forest, grassland, desert, mountains, lake, river, ocean and even a small pond.


  • Human beings interact with the environment and modify it according to their need.
  • Early humans adapted themselves to the natural surroundings.
  • With time needs grew and became more varied.
  • Humans learn new ways to use and change environment. They learn to grow crops, domesticate animals and lead a settled life.
  • The wheel was invented, surplus food was produced, barter system emerged, trade started and commerce developed.
  • Industrial revolution enabled large scale production. Transportation became faster. Information revolution made communication easier and speedy across the world.
  • A perfect balance is necessary between the natural and human environment. Humans must learn to live and use their environment in a harmonious way.