“ The environmental crisis is an outward manifestation of a crisis of mind and spirit. There could be no greater misconception of its meaning than to believe it is concerned only with endangered wildlife, human-made ugliness, and pollution. These are part of it, but more importantly, the crisis is concerned with the kind of creatures we are and what we must become in order to survive.”
~ Lynton K. Caldwell
What is environmental science? A useful definition is simply …the study of Earth’s various environments including the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. It should emphasize knowledge and awareness of: • major environmental problems in the United States and the world; • factors relating to human interaction with the environment; • human-environmental interaction, global habitability and environmental change, and sustainable human societies.
Environmental Science Animal and vegetable life is too complicated a problem for human intelligence to solve, and we can never know how wide a circle of disturbance we produce in the harmonies of nature when we throw the smallest pebble into the ocean of organic life. ~ George Perkins Marsh
The term ‘ environmental health ’ is used to describe problems that arise in the relationship of the environment and health of populations within the environment.
Diagram makes it clear that environmental science is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. That is, “it takes all kinds” of observations and inputs to “do” environmental science. If you really got a hold of anything in the Universe, you find out that it’s hitched to everything else .—John Muir, Founder, Sierra Club
The following is from an insert to a solicitation letter from the group Zero Population Growth .
In the seconds it takes you to read this sentence, 24 people will be added to the Earth’s population. Before you’ve finished this letter, that number will reach 1,000. Within an hour ... 11,000. By day’s end ... 260,000. Before you go to bed two nights from now, the net growth in human numbers will be enough to fill a city the size of San Francisco. It took four million years for humanity to reach the 2 billion mark. Only 30 years to add a third billion. And now we’re increasing by 95 million every single year. No wonder they call it the human race.
Living in an exponential age That was 1999, it’s 6.46 billion now The environmental problems we face – population growth, wasteful use of resources, destruction and degradation of wildlife habitats, extinction of plants and animals, poverty, and pollution – are interconnected and are growing exponentially.
As future decision-makers, you may have to deal with many local and global problems. Learning about and understanding public sentiment regarding such issues can help put your own values into perspective.
Because human health is intricately bound to weather and the many complex natural systems it affects, it is possible that projected climate change will have measurable impacts, both beneficial and adverse, on health.
“ For the first time in the history of the world, every human being is now being subjected to dangerous chemicals from the moment of conception to death.” ~Rachel Carson
Including the oft ignored…pathogens! Pathogens can: kill native species - humans spread new diseases and parasites to native species
Since our focus will be human health… Direct – STDs Indirect – Touching contaminated surfaces Droplet – Ears, nose or mouth Airborne – Influenza or pneumonia Fecal-oral – Digestive Vector-borne – (Flies, Rats, Mosquitoes) Pathogens invade new hosts in two ways. Most are transported by humans or animals (either on purpose or accidentally), but some make their own way (e.g., blown by a storm). Methods of transmission include: