Environmental science is a hot topic right now. This study largely encompasses aspects of physical, biological, and information relating to the environment and the solutions of the problems these topics entail.
When you study environmental science, you commit to learning about subjects like the understanding of earth processes, evaluating alternative energy sources, the effects of climate change, and controlling pollution.
But why should you invest your time in learning about these topics? Why is environmental science important, and what can you even do with a degree in this discipline?
Because the damage we’ve done to the world will only be reversed by professionals who fully understand the extent of the problem and want to work hard to fix it.
Why is Environmental Science so Important?
The environment is a vital part of our everyday lives. It affects everything we do, from climates to animal survival, to air quality, and much more. Let’s take a look at some of the Earth’s main environmental problems:
- Public Health
- Land Management
- Waste Disposal and Pollution
- Endangered Species
- Climate Change
That is a long list of concerning issues that affect us all. To get a better understanding of why these things are so important, we’re going to take a closer look at a select few of them.
Take the concept of climate change. This is a topic that you have probably heard about in one way or another, whether it was an angry post online or an organized debate in a public forum. Due to a number of factors, the Earth has been experiencing extreme changes in its various climates.
In the Northeast, we see heat waves and a rise in sea levels that pose risks and challenges to communities.
In the Northwest, the ocean is growing in acidity, causes erosions and changes to the timing of streamflow. Things like this negatively impact water supplies—an essential part of all lifeforms.
Climate change has caused global temperatures to rise, ice caps to melt, droughts, wildfires, and massive hurricanes. All of these phenomena have serious implications and cause incredible damage to human life as well as animals and their homes.
It’s no surprise that deforestation is a problem since we use trees for a large variety of products. National Geographic reported that since 1990, it is estimated that 500,000 square miles of forest have been destroyed around the world. Whether trees are being cleared for agricultural or building purposes or to use in wood products, chopping down forests has some big negative effects.
Trees produce oxygen as well as absorb carbon dioxide. Due to deforestation, there are fewer trees to complete these tasks.
Additionally, cutting down forests leaves many animal species without homes. Without a home to survive in, many animals die. When a large number of animals are displaced or die out, it seriously disrupts ecosystems that accomplish important tasks for our Earth and our human population.
Our world is polluted with a variety of forms and facets. Pollution comes in the form of air pollution, soil pollution, and water pollution. Even the concept of noise pollution has been proven to have a negative effect on the environment.
Cars, trash, gases, smoke—these are all everyday things that negatively impact the Earth and pollute what were once pure, natural things. Pollution can contaminate water, weaken the ozone layer, and destroy habitats. 6.5 million tons of litter enter the world’s Ocean each year, creating an issue that is growing at an alarming pace.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree?
The United States Department of Labor says Environmental Science is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S., with job employment rising 11% by 2026. While many people may not understand how you could make a successful career with a degree in environmental science, clearly it’s not a declining job market.
There is a growing need for experts in this field. The specific names of jobs you can get may be unknown to you, so take a look at this list of environmental science jobs:
- Environmental Lawyer
- Coral Reef Sanctuary Manager
- Environmental Science Professor
- Solar Panel Engineer
- Laboratory Technician
- Wastewater Technician
- Antarctic Researcher
- Agricultural Engineer
- Park Ranger
Basically, the positions you can choose from as a graduate of an environmental science program can be divided into five different career sets:
- Environmental Science
- Agriculture and Forestry
- Environmental Policy and Planning
- Sustainability and Green
- Public Health
If you have an interest in any of the above topics, you could be an excellent candidate for an environmental health science program.
The great thing about this field is that the sky’s the limit (literally). It takes a special kind of person to have the desire and curiosity to ask the right questions and develop sound and productive policies.
In these fields, you have the options of spending time in a lab developing and performing tests and finding answers, researching the unknown, or restoring damaged environments to working, healthy conditions.
There are needs within social sciences, physical sciences, and policy-making. While the degree is in environmental sciences, you are not stuck to just one option. If you’re wondering, “is an environmental science degree worth it?” remember that there’s a bit of something for everyone in this field.
What Does it Take to Succeed in the Environmental Science Industry?
Many professionals in this field of study have a similar skill set that has allowed them to succeed in their chosen sectors. If you are interested in this field but aren’t sure if you have what it takes, glance over this skill set list. You may find that you are more qualified than you think.
- Analytical skills
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem-solving skills
Whether or not you have direct experience in any of these fields before going into college, these are all traits you can learn and develop in this discipline. The study of environmental science is full of passion and hope, with those within this industry spearheading movements to end pollution and get our world back to what it used to be. This career is for the hopeful and for those who believe in movements and change. With the continuation of pollution across our world, this career choice ensures job stability and guarantees a long career fighting for the cleanliness of our planet.