Environmental Determinism vs. Environmental Possibilism

Environmental determinism and environmental possibilism are beliefs affecting the way humans live today. In some way or another, these two concepts have a great influence on people’s point of view of how they will plan for their future.

What is Environmental Determinism?

Environmental determinism is the idea that our environment shapes who we are. This belief has been around for a long time, but it became popular in the 20th century as more and more people moved from rural to urban areas. As they encountered different types of people, new technologies, and job opportunities, many began to wonder if their pasts were as crucial to shaping them as they thought.

Environmental determinism is the belief that our environment shapes our behaviour. There are two types of environmental determinists: cultural determinists and technological determinists. Cultural determinists argue that the social aspects of a person’s environment determine what kind of person he will become. In contrast, technology determinist s say that technology, particularly media, is most responsible for shaping our values and behaviors.

How Do Cultural Determinists Think?

Cultural determinists believe that we get much of who we are from the groups or cultures we belong to. They think that a person’s gender, race, and social class impact how he behaves and develops. They are interested in how a person’s environment experiences influence his values, attitudes, and behaviors.

How Do Technological Determinists Think?

Technological determinism is based on the idea that technology determines who we are. Today, technological determinism is a significant concern for critics of popular media, such as television and video games, because they argue that these technologies affect people in ways that the inventors never intended. Popular culture tends to breed similar tastes, which shows how quickly new technology can change our behaviors.

What is Environmental Possibilism?

Environmental possibilism is the idea that there is more than one kind of environment. Unlike determinism, which limits our education and development to “one way,” possibilism expands it to include alternatives.

Possibilities are interesting because they let us explore different ideas and new experiences without feeling afraid or limited, as we do with a specific belief in an ideological determinism.

Possibility usually begins in the mind. It’s before something concretizes into certainty, as a classic determinist may think. Environmental possibilists argue that if there are many possibilities, then it’s good for us to be open-minded about choices so that we don’t feel trapped by even the best possible situation out of fear of being wrong.

Environmental possibilism is an alternative to two other ways of thinking about the world. The first is called “soft determinism,” which argues many possibilities, but they’re all determined by our past experiences and genetic heritage. The second, known as “hard determinism,” says that there is only one possibility for each person because his genetic inheritance and past experiences predetermine his behavior.

Environmental possibilism is about the idea that all people are free to choose what they want to do and how they want to live. Humans do not simply have one set fate determined by their genetics or society, but they can choose which fate they want. They can be the masters of their own lives and create what they want, not just accept it.

Environmental possibilism isn’t just about believing in a possibility. It’s also about making that belief come true through our actions. For example, if you’re an environmental possibilist parent and your child will take piano lessons, then it’s okay with you if he wants to learn drums instead. The important thing is that you support whatever your child chooses as long as it isn’t hurtful or harmful to himself and others.

Examples of Environmental Determinism

An example of determinism is a person’s love of Tai Chi. It has been in their family for three generations, and they are the fourth generation to practice it. They may also love Tai Chi because they are exposed to the knowledge of its benefits or what it can do for them.

Another example is a person who has never played the violin but sees others play and decides they have to learn how to play. These examples show that all of our lives are affected; by what we inherit from others, such as social status and genetic factors.

Examples of Environmental Possibilism

Urbanization is an example of environmental possibilism. It is the process of more and more people moving to cities every year. This process ensures there is a healthy balance between nature and humans. 

Why is Environmental Determinism Declining?

Environmental determinism is declining because people can now see that they have the ability to shape their environment. They don’t need to give up on their hopes and dreams and accept their fate. They can live in an environment that makes them happy and see that they can have the life that they want.

Another reason is that there are more resources, so it’s easier for them to achieve what they want. With these resources, it has become more accessible for people to go after what they want, and if something doesn’t work out, then try another thing.

Also, as time goes on, there are more opportunities available for people. With these opportunities to make choices, it has become more accessible for people to choose what they want in life instead of just letting their environment decide.

Environmental Determinism and Climate Change

Environmental determinism and climate change are connected because the environment impacts humans, and human populations change the environment. Changes in either can lead to changes in the other.

The correlation between the two is that the one affects the other. For example, as natural resources are depleted by industry and population growth, the environment suffers in various ways; like resources for city dwellers to grow fresh produce might be cut off; pollution from factories and automobiles may increase.

As changes happen in the environment, humans are affected. A group’s cultural or genetic inheritances will not assure their needs are met. The human population is projected to increase further during the 2050s, putting more significant pressure on natural systems such as water supply.

Environmental determinism and climate change are also connected because they both affect each other through what humans do. Humans make choices that impact how the environment is and create more human populations, affecting what happens to the environment. We need to make decisions that we will live with no matter what happens, so we don’t have to change our actions later.


This article has demonstrated how environmental determinism and possibilism are interconnected in the way that they affect humanity. This article emphasized the importance of making decisions for ourselves because we can create a better environment for our future generations.

There is no rule what’s best. Both concepts presented advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on how you want your life to be and where you want to head in the future.

The bottom line is you now know the difference between the two, and it’s time to take action on how this concept will impact your life.

What is Environmental Determinism

Environmental Determinism
Environmental Possibilism