When entering my first environmental class in college, I was pleasantly surprised being posed the question of “What are the boundaries of ENVS?” One of the reasons for my interest in the field was the fact that it was so intertwined with other disciplines and aspects of society and science. So what are the boundaries of environmental science? Heres my guy Mr. Anderson with a graphic from one of his videos:
So you might think, gosh that’s so many things to worry about! And you are right, it is, and I am anxious. However, each of these subjects holds an essential role in environmental studies, and each must be considered in relationship with each other.
A commonly discussed example of the breadth of environmental studies is the issue of coal burning and mining in the US. Coal is a widely known source of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as well as the mining processes themselves contributing to pollution from chemical runoff and the degradation of natural landscapes. Already this scenario includes ecology, chemistry, and geology. However, environmental studies reach beyond that, accounting for the economic effects of not using coal, as well as the social and political impact of having a sizeable unemployed working class.
All in all, the span of environmental studies is something I am very attracted to, and I feel it works well with the idea of a liberal arts education. I hope college doesn’t kill me!