A researcher in environmental science takes samples of water.
Environmental science is the study of interactions among the physical, chemical, and biological components of the environment. It provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems. It includes such diverse areas as geology, agronomy, meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, soil chemistry, water chemistry, systems modeling, and biological responses of systems to anthropogenic influences.
Environmental scientists monitor the quality of the environment (air, water, and soil), interpret the impact of human activities on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and develop strategies for restoring ecosystems. In addition, environmental scientists help planners develop and construct buildings, transportation corridors, and utilities in ways that protect water resources and reflect efficient and beneficial land use. Given the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science, teams of professionals commonly work together to conduct research or produce environmental impact statements, as required by governmental laws and regulations. In addition, various professional organizations engender work in environmental science and aid in interdisciplinary communications.
Development of environmental science
The environment has been studied for at least as long as scientific investigations have been carried out. However, the recent interest in putting the pieces of understanding together to study environmental systems came alive as a substantive, active field of scientific investigation starting in the 1960s and 1970s. It has been driven by the need for a large, multi-disciplinary team to analyze complex environmental problems, the arrival of substantive environmental laws requiring specific protocols of investigation, and growing public awareness of a need for action in addressing environmental problems.