Environmental studies

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Environmental studies is a multidisciplinary academic field which systematically studies human interaction with the environment in the interests of solving complex problems. Environmental studies brings together the principles of the physical sciences, commerce/economics and social sciences so as to solve contemporary environmental problems. It is a broad field of study that includes the natural environment, the built environment, and the sets of relationships between them. The field encompasses study in basic principles of ecology and environmental science, as well as associated subjects such as ethics, geography, anthropology, policy, politics, urban planning, law, economics, philosophy, sociology and social justice, planning, pollution control and natural resource management. [1] There are also many degree programs in Environmental Studies including a Master's degree and a Bachelor's degree.

Human behavior is the response of individuals or groups of humans to internal and external stimuli. It refers to the array of every physical action and observable emotion associated with individuals, as well as the human race. While specific traits of one's personality and temperament may be more consistent, other behaviors will change as one moves from birth through adulthood. In addition to being dictated by age and genetics, behavior, driven in part by thoughts and feelings, is an insight into individual psyche, revealing among other things attitudes and values. Social behavior, a subset of human behavior, study the considerable influence of social interaction and culture. Additional influences include ethics, social environment, authority, persuasion and coercion.

Natural environment All living and non-living things occurring naturally, generally on Earth

The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. This environment encompasses the interaction of all living species, climate, weather and natural resources that affect human survival and economic activity. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished as components:

Built environment environment created by humans

In the engineering and social sciences, the term built environment, or built world, refers to the human-made environment that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from buildings to cities and beyond. It has been defined as "the human-made space in which people live, work and recreate on a day-to-day basis."



The New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University established a BS in environmental studies degree in the 1950s, awarding its first degree in 1956. [2] Middlebury College established the major there in 1965. [3]

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry specialized, doctoral-granting research institution

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is a public university in Syracuse, New York. It is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. ESF is immediately adjacent to Syracuse University, within which it was founded, and with whom it maintains a special relationship. It also operates facilities in the Adirondack Park, the Thousand Islands, elsewhere in central New York, and Costa Rica. The college's curricula focus on the understanding, management, and sustainability of the environment and natural resources.

Middlebury College private liberal arts college located in Middlebury, Vermont in the United States

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college in Middlebury, Vermont. It was founded in 1800 by Congregationalists, making it the first operating college or university in Vermont. The college currently enrolls 2,526 undergraduates from all 50 states and 74 countries and offers 44 majors in the arts, humanities, literature, foreign languages, social sciences, and natural sciences.

The Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC) was established in 1993"to further research and teaching activities in areas related to environmental studies in Canada". [4] ESAC's magazine, A\J: Alternatives Journal was first published by Robert A. Paehlke on 4 July 1971. [5] [6]

A\J: Alternatives Journal is a not-for-profit environmental magazine and website based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It is the national Canadian magazine exploring environmental science, issues, policy and debate, and has been the official publication of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada since 1995. The publication has touted itself as a journal/magazine hybrid, providing scholarly researched and peer-reviewed articles alongside articles with broader appeal. David McConachie is the publication's editor.

The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) was founded in 2008 as the first professional association in the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies in the United States. In 2010, the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) agreed to advise and support the Association. The Association's scholarly journal, the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (JESS), commenced publication in March 2011. [7] [8]

In the United States, many high school students are able to take environmental science as a college-level course. [9] Over 500 colleges and universities in the United States offer environmental studies as a degree. [10]

See also

The Conservation Commons is the expression of a cooperative effort of non-governmental organizations, international and multi-lateral organizations, governments, academia, and the private sector, to improve open access to and unrestricted use of, data, information and knowledge related to the conservation of biodiversity, with the belief that this will contribute to improving conservation outcomes. At its simplest, it encourages organizations and individuals alike to ensure open access to data, information, expertise and knowledge related to the conservation of biodiversity. The goal of the Conservation Commons is to promote conscious, effective, and equitable sharing of knowledge resources to advance conservation.

Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers extending the traditional boundaries of ethics from solely including humans to including the non-human world. It exerts influence on a large range of disciplines including environmental law, environmental sociology, ecotheology, ecological economics, ecology and environmental geography.

Environmental communication is the study and practice of communication about the environment and human interactions with the environment. This includes a wide range of possible interactions, from interpersonal communication and virtual communities to participatory decision-making and environmental media coverage. From the perspective of practice, Alexander Flor defines environmental communication as the application of communication approaches, principles, strategies, and techniques to environmental management and protection.

Related Research Articles

Social science The academic disciplines concerned with society and the relationships between individuals in society

Social science is a category of academic disciplines concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. The disciplines include, but are not limited to: anthropology, archaeology, communication studies, economics, folkloristics, history, musicology, human geography, jurisprudence, linguistics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. The term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to the field of sociology, the original "science of society", established in the 19th century. For a more detailed list of sub-disciplines within the social sciences see: Outline of social science.

Environmental science The integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems.

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological and information sciences to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Environmental science emerged from the fields of natural history and medicine during the Enlightenment. Today it provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems.

Frederick Howard Buttel was the William H. Sewell Professor of Rural Sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. A prominent scholar of the sociology of agriculture, Buttel also was well known for his contributions to environmental sociology.

Outline of academic disciplines Overview of and topical guide to academic disciplines

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to academic disciplines:

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to environmental studies:

Michael D. Mehta Canadian sociologist

Dr. Michael D. Mehta is an environmental social scientist who specializes in science, technology and society with a focus on environmental and health risk issues. His recent work focuses on community resistance, resiliency and social innovation with a particular emphasis on citizen science. He was co-founder and coordinator of Help the Kelp Project, and was co-founder and a Director of community-based electrical non-profit society GabEnergy on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. In 2015 he formed three new organizations; namely, the Salish Sea Marine Ecosystem Society, Western Canada Renewable Energy Association, and the Gabriola Island Clean Air Society. He is a founding Director of an international organization called Doctors and Scientists Against Woodsmoke Pollution.

Advanced Placement Environmental Science is a course offered by the American College Board as part of the Advanced Placement Program to high school students interested in the environmental and natural sciences. This course is designed to provide students with scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies necessary to comprehend the relationships abundant within the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems, to evaluate relative risks associated with these identified problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing similar problems facing the global environment. The percentage of students scoring a grade of "5" was only 7.4% in the 2016 testing administration. It remains one of the lowest "5" scoring AP Exams to this date right under AP Art History, AP English Literature & Composition, AP English Language & Composition, and AP World History. The AP Environmental Science exam was first administered in 1998.

Chonbuk National University university

Jeonbuk National University is a national research university founded in 1947, located in Jeonju, Republic of Korea. As the flagship national university for the Jeollabuk-do province, Jeonbuk National University has been ranked 501–550th in the world by QS Top Universities Ranking in 2016.

David Allan Sonnenfeld is an American sociologist and Professor of Sociology and environmental policy at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, known for his work in the field of ecological modernisation.

Policy studies is a subdisicipline of political science that includes the analysis of the process of policymaking and the contents of policy. Policy analysis includes substantive area research, program evaluation and impact studies, and policy design. It "involves systematically studying the nature, causes, and effects of alternative public policies, with particular emphasis on determining the policies that will achieve given goals." It emerged in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.

Robin Wall Kimmerer is Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University French public university created in 1991 member of the Université Paris-Saclay

Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University is a French public university created in 1991, located in the department of Yvelines and, since 2002, in Hauts-de-Seine. Consisting of eight separate campuses, it is mainly located in the cities of Versailles, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Mantes-en-Yvelines and Vélizy-Villacoublay / Rambouillet. It is one of the five universities of the Academy of Versailles.

Sustainability science emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline. This new field of science was officially introduced with a "Birth Statement" at the World Congress "Challenges of a Changing Earth 2001" in Amsterdam organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The field reflects a desire to give the generalities and broad-based approach of “sustainability” a stronger analytic and scientific underpinning as it "brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives from north and south, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine". Ecologist William C. Clark proposes that it can be usefully thought of as "neither 'basic' nor 'applied' research but as a field defined by the problems it addresses rather than by the disciplines it employs" and that it "serves the need for advancing both knowledge and action by creating a dynamic bridge between the two".

Brett Clark is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Utah. From 2008-2012, he was an assistant professor at North Carolina State University. His areas of interest are ecology, political economy and science.

The Escola Superior Agrária de Coimbra (ESAC), in English the Agrarian School of Coimbra, is a state-run polytechnic higher education school of agriculture, based in Coimbra, Portugal. The oldest of the Coimbra Polytechnical Institute's (IPC) autonomous institutions, it has also IPC's largest campus.

Environmental social science

Environmental social science is the broad, transdisciplinary study of interrelations between humans and the natural environment. Environmental social scientists work within and between the fields of anthropology, communication studies, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology; and also in the interdisciplinary fields of environmental studies, human ecology and political ecology, social epidemiology, among others.

William Robert ('Bill') Freudenburg, was an environmental sociologist and social theorist, best known for his work in rural sociology on the topics of risk perception, social disruption, and the causes of environmental degradation. Born in Madison, Nebraska, raised in West Point, Nebraska, he was educated at the University of Nebraska and Yale University. Freudenburg was a professor of sociology at a number of universities; his ultimate position was as Dehlsen Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He died at his home in Santa Barbara, of cholangiocarcinoma.

<i>Organization & Environment</i> peer-reviewed academic journal

Organization & Environment (O&E) is a peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the fields of "sustainability management, policy and related social science". The editor-in-chief is Maurizio Zollo. The journal was established in 1987 and is published by SAGE Publications; it is sponsored by the Group of Research on Organizations and the Natural Environment (GRONEN).


  1. National Center for Education Statistics. Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP 2000)- (03) NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION Archived 12 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine . Institute of Education Sciences, United States Department of Education. [Accessed 29 January 2010]
  2. "About Environmental Studies at ESF," Archived 1 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine SUNY-ESF website. Accessed 28 November 2017.
  3. "Environmental Studies - Middlebury". middlebury.edu. Archived from the original on 5 November 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "A Brief History of ESAC". Accessed 12 March 2012.
  5. Alternatives Archived 6 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "The Alternatives Story" Archived 6 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Association for Environmental Studies & Sciences AESSonline.org". AESSOnline.org. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  8. "The History and Development of AESS". Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences. Archived from the original on 6 November 2016.
  9. "AP Environmental Science". Collegeboard. Retrieved 4 October 2018.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. "Major: Environmental Studies". Collegeboard. Retrieved 4 October 2018.