What is Environmental Science?

Environmental science is the dynamic, interdisciplinary study of the interaction of living and non-living parts of the environment, with a special focus on the impact of humans on the environment. Environmental science studies include circumstances, objects, or conditions surrounding an organism or community and their complex interactions. 

Why Study Environmental Science?

The need for equitable, ethical, and sustainable use of Earth’s resources by a global population that nears the planet’s carrying capacity requires us not only to understand how human behaviors affect the environment but also the scientific principles that govern interactions between living and non-living. Our future depends on our ability to understand and evaluate evidence-based arguments about the environmental consequences of human actions and technologies and to make informed decisions based on those arguments.

From global climate change to habitat loss driven by human population growth and development, Earth is becoming a different planet—right before our eyes. The global scale and rate of environmental change are beyond anything in recorded human history. Our challenge is to understand better Earth’s complex environmental systems, systems characterized by interactions within and among their natural and human components that link local to global and short-term to long-term phenomena, and individual behavior to collective action. The complexity of environmental challenges demands that we all participate in finding and implementing solutions leading to long-term environmental sustainability.

Everything You Need to Know About Planet Earth video:

Everything You Need to Know About Planet Earth
Kurzgesagt-In a Nutshell. (2018). Everything You Need to Know about Planet Earth. https://youtu.be/JGXi_9A__Vc


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Introduction to Environmental Sciences and Sustainability Copyright © 2023 by Emily P. Harris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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