What is Environmental Science?

3 months ago

What is Environmental Science?

It’s National Science Week! Something we at Edge Group like to celebrate in honour of all the fantastic environmental scientists we work with. If you're interested in environmental science, it's important to understand what this field covers. Environmental science is a broad discipline that includes several scientific areas relating to the environment. It covers aspects of biology, earth science, environmental health, sustainable development, green chemistry and ecology. Some environmental scientists study how humans interact with their environment in order to help devise ways to protect it from human-generated pollution and waste. Still others may focus on remedying past damage done by humans by conducting risk assessments to determine if certain areas are hazardous due to contamination from chemicals (like asbestos), waste products or other contaminants such as heavy metals or radioactive materials.

Environmental scientists can study how environmental changes affect plants and animals. They also study how humans affect their environment and how people can use natural resources in a more efficient ways so we don’t run out of them thinking of future generations (some call this environmental sustainability). Some examples of topics studied by environmental scientists are climate change (how much CO2 will be released into our atmosphere if we continue using fossil fuels?), ocean acidification (will coral reefs survive if they have less carbonate?), and renewable energy sources (are solar panels better than wind turbines?) 

How do environmental scientists protect the environment?

Environmental scientists also devise ways to help protect the environment from human-generated pollution and waste. Human-generated pollution occurs when materials are released into the environment by humans, such as carbon emissions or toxic chemicals. Waste is any material that has been used up and discarded.

Some examples of human-generated pollution include:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions from burning fossil fuels
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like pesticides, which are absorbed by living organisms or accumulate in the soil after being released into air or water
  • Heavy metals like cadmium and mercury, sometimes found in industrial processes such as smelting or mining

Some examples of waste include:

  • Food scraps thrown away instead of composted (composting converts organic matter into fertilizer)
  • Household waste such as electrical light bulbs, batteries and discarded medicines

An environmental scientist might also focus on remedying past damage done to the environment by humans by conducting risk assessments to determine if certain areas are hazardous due to contamination from chemicals, asbestos or waste products. A risk assessment identifies potential problems and helps determine how to deal with them. It is also a key component of environmental management and consulting services such as those provided by Edge Group.

Risk assessments can be used to identify ways to reduce or eliminate risks associated with various situations that may be harmful for humans or other living organisms in an area. The results of these studies are presented in report form  so that decision makers can make informed choices about how best to proceed when dealing with potential problems like these.

Here at Edge our team works with companies and organisations seeking environmental certification for their products or processes. We consult on issues such as air quality, occupational and environmental noise pollution, water quality, asbestos assessments, contaminated land management and soil testing and remediation to name a few.

What industries do environmental scientists work in?

Environmental scientists may work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing and construction. They could also be employed by federal, state or local governments; non-government organisations (NGOs); international bodies; academia; or private business.

In addition to providing advice on how to manage waste and improve waste management practices, environmental scientists can also advise on how to meet environmental compliance obligations, provide general guidance on workplace health and safety issues (or OH&S) which might arise from chemical use within company manufacturing processes (such as exposure to fumes), or assist with other potential workplace health and safety concerns such as slips/trips hazards caused by disposing of hazardous materials incorrectly.

Many environmental scientists and consultants also provide advice about meeting environmental compliance obligations as part of corporate governance - especially in organisations engaged in environmentally sensitive practices such as mining and petroleum extraction. This will require a combination of scientific expertise and an understanding of government policy on the issue, areas in which Edge regularly consults for its clients.

The field of environmental science is growing and offers many career paths for people interested in conservation, remediation and sustainable development. 

Environmental science is a growing discipline that offers many career paths for people interested in conservation, remediation and sustainable development. In this article, we've explored some of the different fields within environmental science and looked at some of the career options available. As you can see from these examples, there are lots of interesting jobs that don't just involve saving animals or cleaning up pollution. Environmental scientists also have an important role to play when it comes to helping companies meet their corporate social responsibility (or ESG) goals by finding ways to reduce their impact on the environment, while still making profit margins high enough to keep them profitable!

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