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Abstract

The Author discusses the present state of Polish geography against the background of the traditional position, and the rapid development taking place after the Second World War. The introduction of new methods and new directions, as well as new organization are considered to have been reflected in the rising international position of Polish geography. Further topics here include the relationship between physical and human geography, the growing de facto separation of these two branches, and the development of several independent sciences rooted in geography but now existing apart from it (like geomorphology, climatology, hydrology, etc. on the physical geography side, with the element of the environment as a subject of study). On the other hand, social economic geography examines the effects of human activity in the environment, thereby synthesizing spatial management and bridging the gap between the earth sciences, the economy and the social sciences. The degradation of environmental resources, explosion of the human population and climate change have all forced geography (and other sciences) to head in the global direction, as well as towards interdisciplinary cooperation, likewise on the level of the world as a whole. If we are to meet the challenges this all entails, we will need to think about creating interdisciplinary problem teams, as well as activating existing organisational structures in science (notably the geographical sciences), with full benefit taken from research centres that run studies on differing spatial scales, in conjunction with international global programmes like the Future Earth. The geography of the future should not be a closed science, but should draw on the knowledge of scholars of various specialisations, seeking environmental solutions that require intervention on both the global and regional scales. Polish geography should participate in this activity, inter alia as part of Future Earth, as a new venture. It can also be regarded as our task to ensure that society is aware of all the above issues.
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