Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary course covering a wide variety of topics including biology, physics, geology, ecology, chemistry, geography, astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, and engineering. The course also considers ways in which human populations affect our planet and its processes. Of special emphasis is the concept of sustainability as a means of using resources in a way that ensures they will always be around us.
The unifying concepts that tie the different areas of environmental science together are as follows:
- Science provides a way to learn more about the world and influences how we understand it.
- Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes.
- The Earth is one interconnected system.
- Humans change natural systems.
- Environmental issues have a cultural and social context.
- Human existence depends in part on increasing practices that will achieve sustainability.
Students at this level should show development in their understanding of scientific inquiry. The course provides hands-on labs and research to aid in arriving at a deeper understanding of the environment and the impact of humans on it today and in the past. The labs will call upon students to analyze many different processes and systems, arrive at conclusions, and determine ways in which every person can positively influence the environment.
Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
- Define environmental science and describe the field of environmental science studies;
- Identify the other fields of study that contribute to environmental science;
- Identify ways in which humans depend on the environment;
- Give examples of renewable and nonrenewable resources and distinguish between them;
- List the five general causes of environmental degradation;
- Explain what is meant by sustainability;
- Define energy;
- Describe different forms of energy, and give examples of each;
- Understand energy transformation, energy efficiency, and the law of conservation of energy.