Human activities refers to the sum of all things that human beings do to modify the environment, as well as the exploitation of the environment for the resources needed to survive or 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.

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.

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 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


These are human activities that involve a process of manufacturing raw materials into useful products. 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.


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

1. Trade (restaurants, hotels, lodges, supermarkets)

2. Schools (Teachers)

3. Hospitals (Doctors)

4. Transportation (Driving) Others include plumbing, mechanics, entertainment, water supply, waste management, advertising, legal services, in court clerical services or religious services.


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.


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

1. Helps in generation of government revenue

2. Helps in producing raw materials such as cotton for textile industries.

3. They provide employment to peoples in the country..

4. Human activities such as agriculture and fishing lead to production of food.

5. Activities like construction of roads contribute to the development of transport and communication networks.

Environmental problems caused by human activities Human activities has great impacts to the environment hence the following is the environmental problems that caused by human activities.

These problems include Air pollution, Water pollution, Soil pollution, Deforestation, and Soil erosion.
Measures for controlling environmental problems caused by human activities

1. Discouraged the improper dumping of waste in the soil or water

2. The use of modern methods in agricultural activities such as crop rotation, inter cropping, fallowing strips, contour ridging.

3. Encouraging Afforestation and restricting deforestation 4. Excessive use of chemicals in the control of pests should also be discouraged.

5. The government should Enact strict laws.


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