Environmental science embraces all fields concerned with physical, chemical and
biological settings under which different organisms live (Allaby, 2000, P.2). Environmental science should not be confused
with ecology. Ecology is the study of interrelations between different organisms at different levels while environmental science
is rather broad area of study that include meteorology, atmospheric chemistry and such diverse fields. Environmental sciences
in its widest meaning cover all the aspects of natural sciences. As far as the nature is concerned, environmental science
is concerned with pollution and the human hand in environmental degradation and the impact on biodiversity and sustainability
(wikipedia 2007 [online]). The main issues that environmental science deals with are climate change, conservation, biodiversity,
water, soil, natural resource use, sustainable development, air and noise pollution. These aspects of environmental science
have been controversial as they have some political implications. Stakeholders in a particular activity will no doubt resist
efforts to designate their activity as environmentally unacceptable by environmental science especially by the state or its
Environmental science concerns connected with human activity have always been
with us since antiquity only that this time the scale of environmental related activities is so huge than ever before. This
can be explained by the fact that the world's population has been growing at a fast rate. Nowadays, it takes just under 47
years for the population to double, meaning that there could be 12 billion of us living on earth by 2040. The rapid growth
leads to an increased demand for energy and consumables, creating considerable pressure on the world's natural resources.
This situation did not start recently, and the accumulation of the environmental unfriendly activities has only made things
worse. Securing the environmental future for the coming generations will require concerted efforts from numerous disciplines,
and environmental science will be in the forefront of this battle. Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of environmental
skeptics, who refuse to acknowledge the immense environmental problems the world is currently facing by providing appealing
but misleading rhetoric (Ehrlich, 1998, p.2). There are many supposedly "factual" explanations of environmental problems which
typically overlook how people value environmental science.
Some of the questions asked by children as well as autodidacts are whether the
air that we breathe nowadays was still the same that dinosaurs inhaled. The oxygen that we breathe these days has been used
by so many organisms to provide energy and the elements that make up our bodies have undergone many different cycles that
move from place to place (Allaby, 2000, p.4). Clearly, there is need to understand the complex social and political influences
over environmental science and how it operates, and only after that can the aforementioned explanations be termed as factual.
People often concerned with environmental science are so often baffled at the way the widely known environmental issues are
explained to the public. For instance, the media has chronicled bitter disagreements over whether global warming is happening
or not, or who is responsible (Forsyth, 2003, p.25). In addition, many other environmental science factors that are often
taken as factual and conclusive are argued over. Perhaps the greatest challenge for environmental science is to clear the
air in these issues because if the disagreements were to be allowed to continue, they
can have serious implications on how we tackle immediate concerns such as global warming.
1. ALLABY, M (2000). Basis of Environmental Science. Oxford.
2. FORSYTH, T, (2003). Critical Political Ecology: The Politics of
Environmental Science. Oxford,
3. EHRLICH, P.R, EHRLICH, A.H. (1998). Betrayal of Science and Reason.
Washington D.C, Island Press.
4. URL, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_science. Last accessed on
8th November, 2007.