15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science
We live in an age that has a lot of environmental challenges threatening the existence of living and non-living things. This Earth in which we breathe, eat and live, is not as healthy as it was in the distant past; this is the major reason why you should be motivated to study environmental science, and become more aware of happenings in the Earth’s environment; furthermore, you’ll keep yourself updated on environmental issues affecting our world, and which may likely continue to do so throughout our lives.
It’s understandable if I sound biased by stating that environmental science is the most important subject because it cuts across all human beings, animals and non-living things in the world. It is important to understand how the Earth works, how our activities affect its life-supporting capability, and how we can reduce negative environmental impacts on it, and probably on the wider and ever-expanding cosmos. Numerous environmental problems have shown that humans might have taken natural resources for granted; in fact, facts in recorded history have shown that for over a century, humans have lost some connection with nature.
People seem to think that mankind is smarter than nature, and that nature doesn’t have the ability to handle anything or everything—which is not true. The recent rise in the application of green technology has shown that nature has the capacity to do a lot of things without harming life to the extent that most non-green scientific and technological developments have. By studying environmental science, you’ll be aware of the role you have to play in protecting Mother Nature; with regard roles, some countries moved some steps further by including environmental science education at all levels in their curricula. For example, the study of environmental science is compulsory in India, regardless of your course/subject of study.
The Earth, its environment and human life are interwoven, and go together—hand in hand. Imagine what would happen if all natural resources are extinguished; would anyone survive? No! The truth is that we need the environment and are completely dependent on it; therefore, it is our collective responsibility to be aware of world-threatening issues like global rise in temperature, exploitation and depletion of natural resources, excess pollution of air, water and land, and many other issues that appear on TV, print and social media.
It seems that people have left issues related to environmental degradation in the hands of business owners and governments, and there will be no significant positive impact on the world’s environment if we leave such a great responsibility in the hands of governments and business owners without making any personal input. We cannot assume that clean air, water and soil will be sustained when we stand and stare at the ways in which they are being polluted without doing anything to protect them. Everyone must join hands to protect and sustain our planet’s resources because we are the ones who pollute it, and overuse and mismanage its resources—and we are the only living creatures who are highly capable of taking actions to halt the negative impacts our actions/activities.
Why awareness is important: Studying enhances awareness
• Awareness is important because it helps us to be proactive rather than retroactive. If you haven’t been creating time to think or read about the environment, then you need to start doing so consistently so that you will enhance and sustain your awareness about it. All you need to do is turn on the TV or watch environmental news online, or read environmental articles—similar to the one you are reading now. Take about 20 or 30 minutes out of each day and find out what’s happening in relation with the environment.
• Awareness is important because it keeps you from remaining/becoming ignorant. Ignorance is a barrier against progress. The only way we can fight it is by studying/acquiring knowledge, and always ensuring that we are up-to-date with current information and trends. Studying should go hand in hand with asking questions and looking for answers.
Evolution of the world, and impact of human activities on environment
Based on a lot of research and evidence from carbon dating, it is believed that the Earth was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, and the evolution of life started about 4 billion years ago. During this period, life continuously evolved and numerous changes occurred on the Earth and gradually transformed it from a primitive hostile environment into a technologically advanced and civilized environment that has faced a lot of negative impacts of civilization.
The human specie is the one that has drastically modified the Earth for the past thousands of years in order to fulfill its desires and aspirations to become “more comfortable”. While plants and other animals usually undergo gradual physiological and genetic changes to adapt to weather and environmental changes, human beings can change their behavior and adapt to newer environmental conditions within a few years.
Within the last 50 years there has been a drastic increase in population, depletion of natural resources, excessive pollution of the environment, and an exponential increase in bye-products resulting from human activities. Scientific/technological developments helped mankind to “progress” in the areas of education, technology, health, food security, luxury, etc., but at the same time the natural resources of the Earth have been exploited beyond the capacity of the Earth to “replenish” or “regenerate” them. In summary, while mankind has advanced scientifically, mankind has also contaminated water bodies, air, soil, and the natural environment with products generated as a result of development. These products along with certain activities have degraded and destroyed habitats, and threatened biodiversity and human existence.
Now, back to the title of this post: “15 reasons why you should study environmental science”
1. So that you will realize that environmental problems (new, old, past and present) are not only local, but global too. It’s quite funny that many laypeople don’t know what “global warming” is, especially in many cities and rural areas in Africa. The study of environmental science will keep you informed about environmental problems such as global warming, climate change, depletion of ozone layer, acid rains, and negative impact of microplastics on marine environment and biodiversity, which are not only national/local problems, but global problems as well. Efforts from experts and each of us will be needed to tackle these problems head-on.
2. So that you will understand how the impact of development, increase in population, infrastructures, and transportation systems negatively affect the environment and natural ecosystem; knowledge of these will make you more concerned about the environment and think about how to protect it more than you’ve been doing.
3. So that you can familiarize yourself with available solutions to different environmental problems caused by poor hygiene, energy waste, etc., and apply them in ways that will create and preserve a healthier environment for future generations.
4. So that you will be aware of the environmental implications of your activities/actions, and use that knowledge to prevent/control further pollution, and efficiently utilize the resources you come in contact with on a daily basis.
5. So that you will know how to use different methods of preventing/controlling pollution and create a less-polluted or pollution-free environment containing clean air, water, food, and land.
6. So that you will use resources such as water, land, minerals and fossil fuels in an efficient manner, and with maximum utility and minimum wastage—by using conservation, reuse and recycling strategies.
7. So that you will be aware that the environment can be sustained through a combination of different disciplines or inter-disciplinary knowledge, and you will show more concern/care for all elements of nature, in every walk of your life, and in an all-encompassing manner.
8. So that you will be ever-conscious of our collective responsibility to pass a more comfortable and livable world into the hands of the next generation. In order to do this, each one of us has to figure out how to live more sustainably as a collective society so that there will be no threatening negative impacts on the environment.
9. So that you, like specialists, could enhance the knowledge you have and adjust its application in ways that will help you and the world to mitigate environmental changes, or halt them completely. It’s possible for anybody (a layman, a scientist, or a specialist) who reflects deeply on the environment to come up with ideas to tackle problems associated with it.
10. So that you will have a specialist’s understanding of the world around you. Do you know what could/would happen if garbage is littered indiscriminately around your house? Do you know how soil microbes affect the health of people? Do you know how climate change negatively influences the health of animals and trees around us? Do you know how environmental policies impact sustainability and alternative energy? Well, the study of environmental science will provide answers to these questions, and more.
11. So that you will be aware about other sustainable ways of living that have been discovered by scientists, specialists and some laypeople: Environmental sustainability doesn’t propose that people should not live a luxurious lifestyle, but it does advocate that people be aware about how to minimize use/consume resources, and control the disposal of waste; this includes minimizing the consumption of energy in houses, using disposal bins to dispose waste, reusing and recycling more waste/materials/products that are reusable or recyclable, utilizing eco-friendly and green products, etc. With the way natural resources are currently being depleted, they will dry up in no time, and this will affect the survival of future generations.
12. So that you can be a practitioner of/advocator for conservation of biodiversity: Biodiversity can be referred to as the variety of life forms on Earth. The current rate of biodiversity loss and extinction of living species is at an all-time high. Studying environmental science can make you be aware and become an advocator against this incessant trend.
13. So that you will understand how humans and other living organisms depend on each other: The study of environmental science will help you understand the relationship between humans and other living organism. Human beings breathe out carbon dioxide which is used by plants for photosynthesis. On the other hand, plants release oxygen which humans use for respiration. Animal droppings are used as fertilizer and nutrients for the growth of plants and other microorganisms. Also, humans and animals use plants as food. In summary, Mother Nature has made plants, human beings and microorganisms to depend on each other for survival.
14. So that you will be aware of the importance of renewable energy sources which can be easily reproduced, unlike non-renewable energy sources (like petrol, diesel, etc.) which can’t be easily produced and are the major causes of global warming and climate change.
15. So that you will be aware that the Earth is for mankind, and all other living things which morally deserve our care and respect. None of us have the right to take all resources and kill whole species for our own use. We do not have the right to drive other living things into extinction: all species have a right to exist.