The importance of environmental science has never been greater than it was then. With climate change becoming an even bigger problem than ever, we must explore all the means we can use to solve environmental problems. Environmental science is an academic field that combines several scientific disciplines to explore and better understand the environment. It merges the biological, physical and information sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, zoology, oceanography, geology and many more.
Environmental science aims to solve problems such as the extinction of specific animal or plant species and to address important issues such as climate change. It also tries to understand human relations with nature and its various aspects by integrating the social sciences among all the other disciplines that it encompasses.
The discipline began to gain traction in the 1960s and 1970s when people realized they needed to focus more on environmental issues. There are five major areas of environmental science; each made up of several smaller disciplines. These five fields are atmospheric sciences, ecology, environmental chemistry, geosciences and social sciences.
5. Atmospheric sciences
Atmospheric sciences study the Earth’s atmosphere and its relationship to other systems, primarily its relationship to the environment. The atmosphere and all the processes that occur in it have a big impact on the environment, so it is extremely important to learn as much as possible about it. Several sciences fall under the atmospheric sciences, including meteorology and studies of atmospheric contaminants, greenhouse gas phenomena and even sound propagation phenomena.
The latter is linked to noise and light pollution, which have recently started to gain attention as issues in modern society. Atmospheric sciences mainly deal with global warming and its effects. Scientists can create special computer models that describe how the atmosphere circulates, how chemicals react to it, and how animals contribute to carbon dioxide emissions. This is only a small part of the contributions made by the atmospheric sciences.
Of course, ecology plays a big role in environmental science. Ecology is defined as the study of how living organisms on our planet interact with each other. This includes humans, animals, plants and their environment. Environmentalists research a plethora of things, including how a specific species or group of living creatures are influenced by their environment or some specific aspect of it.
They can also research how several different types of organisms interact with each other and try to explain their relationship in more detail. These types of relationships can have a significant impact on our environment. Ecology is an interdisciplinary field and can combine many other disciplines such as chemistry, physics, geology and biology. All of these areas have a way of dealing with the topics explored by ecology and can approach the same problem from different angles and explore various aspects of that problem.
3. Environmental chemistry
As one might conclude, just looking at the name of this field, environmental chemistry explores various chemical processes and the changes they make to the environment. This area mainly deals with water pollution and soil contamination. This makes sense because chemical processes and various chemicals can play an important role in these processes.
Environmental chemistry goes into more detail and explores such things as chemical effects on different plants, chemical degradation of the environment, and how chemicals are transported in the environment. This field is also able to create computer models that serve as examples for research. These models allow scientists to visualize the molecular structure of chemicals and explore their impact on the environment. This impact is most often seen on the soil, on various plants and in some cases on animals.
Geoscience is also known as Earth Sciences and is a field that deals with and connects all scientific disciplines that directly explore our planet. These include geology, exploration of volcanic phenomena, environmental soil science, and research into the development of the earth’s crust.
Geoscience is often considered a branch of planetary science, and it explores the chemical and physical makeup of our planet, but also its atmosphere. Four main branches fall under the geosciences, divided by their field of study, and these fields are the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere and the biosphere. Each of these branches is further divided, creating more specialized branches. Geoscience also collects perspectives from various other sciences such as physics and biology.
1. Social sciences
Social sciences in the context of environmental sciences are more easily defined as specific fields that deal with the relationship between humans and nature. They are mainly divided into three larger fields, geography, anthropology and sociology. Geography studies the different ways in which human populations can affect many features of our planet; it deals with specific data and is mainly based on quantitative research.
Anthropology seeks to examine how many different facets of humanity interact with each other and with the environment. It includes the biology, geography, culture and history of mankind. Finally, sociology explores the different dynamics of human society and provides environmental sciences with many crucial statistics.