This paper aims to explore and analyze the fundamentals and basics of environmental science. It talks about what all environmental science and its study constitute of. It takes an holistic view of environment and its study and explores the problems facing our environment, the proposed and applied solutions, effects of technological advancements and human activities and the evolving process of sustainable environment.
‘Environmental science is the study of the environment and the interconnecting systems it contains, as well as the way people interact with their natural surroundings and use natural resources.’ (wiseGeek, n.d). The definition above very intelligently explains environment science and the dimensions it consists of. It is a multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional subject that not only teaches of what our environment and surrounding atmosphere consist of but also about how we are supposed to protect and sustain our natural resources.
Over the last century human beings have made long strides in the field of science and technology. New inventions and innovations have eased our lives considerably, make them much more comfortable. But the progress and advancement has come at a cost, a heavy cost indeed. Our environment has suffered extensively due to reckless and uncontrolled human activities, which he has often attributed to advancements. Automobiles, Industries, Factories; all direct outputs of science and technology have degraded our environment to a great deal. Waste from industries have polluted our water, air and land resources equally and the result is quite visible in the form of problems like Global Warming, Depletion of Ozone layer which have become a great headache for countries and governments across the globe and pose a threat to human life on earth.
Having said that it cannot be ruled out that science and technology has even contributed to maintenance of our environment and even saving it by the means of various technologies and solutions which it has provided to curb and control the ever growing pollution and degradation of human resources. Technology has provided us with ways to recycle waste, water so that they could be used over and over again. On the more ambitious end, technology aims at coming up with solutions like Sulphur Blanket, Mirrors, Cloud Shields, Synthetic trees, forests of the seas to fight some of the most prevalent and appalling problems which our environment faces. Thus the technology has had flip effects on our environment, though on one hand it has been the prime reason behind environment’s degradation, it has started acting as a savior now.
The discussion drives us to an important topic of Environmental Sustainability. ‘Environmental sustainability involves making decisions and taking action that are in the interests of protecting the natural world, with particular emphasis on preserving the capability of the environment to support human life. It is an important topic at the present time, as people are realizing the full impact that businesses and individuals can have on the environment’ (nsw, n.d). Environmental sustainability is these days the talk of the town. It has gained immense importance in today’s era where human attention towards environment preservation has increased manifolds. Environmental sustainability, in the simplest terms, is about making decisions in cognizance with environment. It is about taking steps to ensure that least harm is caused to the environment because of any human activity whatsoever. Even though environment sustainability is popular now, it is not something new. Researches reveal that old civilizations were very concerned about their environments and used to take its utmost care. It was in the 20th century, from the recent past, that this approach took a drastic change from sustainable to unsustainable growth. 20th century acted as the ‘Great Acceleration’ and saw sharp rise in human population, economic activity, and extensive resource consumption leading to unchecked environment exploitation. This was the phase, right up to the start of 21st century that sustainability of environment was ever discussed. It was only when these the degradation reached an unprecedented and alarming level that the people, countries and governments woke up to environmental sustainability and understood the importance it holds and commands. In last one decade environmental sustainability has been at the center of all major meets and summits across the globe, which highlights its importance.
Sustainability is not a phenomenon just restricted to countries and continents. It holds a broader perspective and better importance when talked about in the context of communities and individuals. Human values shed an important and significant affect on environmental sustainability. While some value environment and their surroundings over economic benefits, some merely give importance to their economic circumstances and in such cases sustainability takes a back seat. It is a matter of priorities and different individuals prioritize things based on their values. Sometimes, it is not just about the economic status but also about the culture that one grows up in. As an example, though America traditionally has been a wealthy nation, still it contributes to excessive pollution. According to estimates America contributes around 25 percent to the total world pollution. Hence human values do play an imperative role in shaping one’s views about sustainability.
There have been many affects due to excessive environment degradation, but one of the most significant is the environmental health hazard for human beings. Increased level of air pollution has contributed to various respiratory problems for human beings. Harmful intoxicants have lead to increased cases of Asthma and Lung Cancer across the globe. Water pollution, which forms an important environmental hazard, leads to problems like Diarrhea and other water-related diseases. According to a study, over 3 million people die each year due to water borne diseases which are primarily caused due to misuse and over exploitation of water resources (WorldSavvy 2012).
wiseGeek (n.d). What Is Environmental Science? Wisegeek.org. Retrieved January 9, 2013,
nsw (n.d). Environmental Sustainability. Nsw.gov.au. Retrieved January 9, 2013,
WorldSavvy (2012). Water Pollution and Contamination. WorldSavvy.org. Retrieved