Human activity refers to something that people do or cause to happen in order to achieve certain goals . Human activities contribute to climate change by causing changes in Earth’s atmosphere in the amounts of greenhouse gases, aerosols (small particles), and cloudiness. The largest known contribution comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere

Concept of Human Activities


  • Human activities refer to what people do or cause to happen in order to achieve certain goals in life.
  • Also human activities can be defined as acts or processes of production as intended by people in a certain place. Which can be a country, region, district or a village.
  • Human activities are also referred to as functions or tasks or work carried out or done by human beings over time for achieving certain purposes or goals.

Therefore human activities are carried out with certain goals or purposes; these purposes can either be:

  • Production of food crops.
  • Production of cash crops.

Construction of infrastructure that facilitate movement of goods, services and people; cleaning the area to avoid pollution and outbreak of diseases like cholera, amoebic dysentery, etc.

Human activities use up resources to produce products and services.
These activities combine to form business processes.

Major Types of Human Activities

Identify major types of human activities
Human activities may be classified into four types namely:

  1. Primary activities
  2. Secondary activities
  3. Tertiary activities
  4. Quaternary activities

Primary activities

Primary activities involve exploitation of nature in the production of materials. Production in this kind of activities largely depends on the earth’s natural resources. Examples of primary activities include:

  • Farming (Agriculture)
  • Mining and Quarrying
  • Fishing
  • Forestry (Lumbering)
  • Hunting, gathering and livestock keeping
Fishermen, Fishing, Sea, Asia, Vietnam, Fishing Net


Most products from primary activities are raw materials for industrial activities. For example cotton from agriculture is used in textile industries, timber for paper industries and leather for shoe-making industries.

Corn, Cornfield, Agriculture, Arable, Field, Harvest

Agricultural activities involve growing and harvesting of crops from farms. It is an important activity since it contributes to the provision of food and other raw materials. Some of the crops are used as sources of food, examples: maize, millet, sorghum, soya, bean and peas.

Mining leads to the extraction of minerals like gold, copper, diamond, platinum and uranium. These materials act as raw materials for the industries. Some minerals such as coal and uranium are the sources of power, uranium leads to the production of nuclear energy that is highly demanded all over the world due to its importance.
Open Pit Mining, Raw Materials, Bucket Wheel Excavators

These materials act as raw materials for the industries.
Some minerals such as coal and uranium are the sources of power, uranium leads to the production of nuclear energy that is highly demanded all over the world due to its importance.

Fishing leads to the supply of food. (Some fish remains are used in preparation of animal food).
Lumbering leads to the production of timber that is very important in construction and furniture making.
Food, Salmon, Teriyaki, Fish, Eat, Dish, Restaurant

Hunting leads to provision of food, decorations and tourism.
White Tailed Eagle, Adler, Bald Eagle, Raptor, Flying

Livestock farming leads to supply of meat, milk for food and commercial purposes.
Quarrying leads to the supply of stones used for construction of roads, bridges and foundation of buildings and houses.
Myanmar, Woman, Cow, Female, Happy, Outdoor

Secondary activities

These are human activities that involve a process of manufacturing raw materials into useful products.
Secondary activities involves processing of raw materials such as ginning cotton from raw cotton and heating crude rocks to get precious stones.
Other secondary activities include cloth-making, construction of houses, car assembling, making dyes and making glue.

Secondary activities are of great importance as they lead to fast economic development since they produce products that have immediate demands in the society.

They also accelerate development of primary activities by providing a market for raw materials produced through lumbering, agriculture and mining.

Tertiary activities

These are the activities that involve the provision of services that are needed in the society.
Examples of tertiary activities include:

  • Trade (restaurants, hotels, lodges, supermarkets)
  • Schools (Teachers)
  • Hospitals (Doctors)
  • Transportation (Driving)

Others include plumbing, mechanics, entertainment, water supply, waste management, advertising, legal services, in court clerical services or religious services.

Quaternary activities

These are activities that involve provision of intellectual services and information
These activities were formally included in the tertiary activities.
Quaternary activities include high-tech industries with information technology, scientific research, consultancies and library services. Computer based activities like making software are part and parcel of quaternary activities.
In general quaternary activities are considered to be new and started in the last decade.

Quinary activities

These are activities that are done by top executives or officials in fields such as governments.
They involve the highest level of planning and decision making in the society or economy.
Quaternary and quinary activities e.g. research and information are important in the development of farming, mining, tourism and trade.

Importance of human activities

Below is the importance of human activities:

  1. They facilitate the development of manufacturing industries by producing raw materials such as cotton for textile industries.
  2. Helps in creating employment in the country. People are employed in industries and become managers, technicians, drivers and engineers.
  3. Human activities such as agriculture and fishing lead to production of food.
  4. Activities like construction of roads contribute to the development of transport and communication networks.
  5. Recreation/ activities attract tourists who in turn bring about foreign currency in the country and facilitate development of the country.

Environmental problems caused by human activities

Car, Non, Panne, Bad Luck, Uitaatgassen, Pollution

  1. Air pollution: This can be caused by Industrial emission, burning of agricultural wastes and grains when cleaning the land for cultivation and mining.
  2. Water pollution:Caused by dumping of untreated materials into the water bodies. Waste materials may come from industries, farmyards and tourist centres.
  3. Soil pollution: Can be caused by dumping of radioactive materials on the ground, applying chemicals in the farms, irrigation using saline (salt) water and acid iron fall in heavily industrialised areas.
  4. Deforestation: This can take place when trees excessively cleared during preparation of large farms lumbering. Overgrazing and development of settlements.
  5. Soil erosion: This takes place easily because of cutting of trees for lumbering, construction and establishing extensive farms.

Measures for controlling environmental problems caused by human activities

Image result for Improper dumping of waste


  1. Undertaking agricultural activities using modern methods such as crop rotation, inter cropping, fallowing strips, contour ridging.
  2. Planting trees where the land is bare and restricting people from cutting down trees unnecessarily and excessively.
  3. Excessive use of chemicals in the control of pests should also be discouraged. Accumulation of chemicals in the soil can lead to soil pollution, which can disrupt the soil structure.
  4. Improper dumping of waste in the soil or water should be discouraged.
  5. Population control should be encouraged so that people can not excessively clear vegetation for establishing settlement and farms.

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