7 Reasons Why You Should Dive into Environmental Sciences

Picking a major is a momentous decision for a student. Sure, guidance counselors may tell you that you can always change your course of study at any time, but we all know that a shift in subject matter can seriously alter your college career. Wasted college credits. Changes in teachers. Delayed graduations. Increased tuition. No wonder students want to start their college careers with a focused plan of study — whatever it may happen to be. 

But not all majors are created equal, and some majors can do more than simply ensure that you enjoy a comfortable life. Some can change the future for good and beneficially impact the whole world — and we think that an environmental science degree is one of those. Read on to learn seven reasons why you should consider getting a Bachelor of Environmental Science degree! 

Scientist researching within a rice field

Environmental Science Is Incredibly Important

Environmental studies courses aren’t engaged in merely mental academic gymnastics. You’ve heard how medieval scholastics such as Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas liked to argue about the exact number of angels that could dance on a pin? Well, if you wonder, “Why do we study environmental science?”, then know it’s for entirely practical — and very important — reasons.  

What exactly are those reasons? We will get into some of them below, but here are a few general points as to why we study environmental sciences. According to Georgetown University

  • Over the past 170 years, we’ve added 2.4 trillion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and half of that occurred in the last 35 to 50 years. 
  • The famous hole in the ozone layer is expected to fully recover over the next half century, the result of banning chlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons. 
  • We lose 100 acres of rainforest every minute. 
  • One glass bottle requires 4,000 years to fully biodegrade. 

You can see why we need to study environmental sciences: The decisions we make today can last for eons.  

Promote Public Health

When looking at the importance of environmental science, studies discuss issues such as carbon emissions and melting glaciers and biodiversity loss and coral reef death. These areas matter, but many don’t realize that you can give two reasons why environmental science is important: It helps the planet, and it helps people. 

In fact, public health is inextricably linked with environmental science topics. The CDC explains, “Public health is really about protecting populations—tribes, communities, cities, states, and nations—from threats to their health, safety, and well-being. Therefore, environmental public health focuses on protecting groups of people from threats to their health and safety posed by their environments.” 

The natural environment directly impacts human wellbeing — and its misuse disproportionately harms indigenous and disadvantaged communities. Wondering what is the importance of studying systems in environmental science? Consider the quartet of environmental catastrophes that ravaged Japan from 1912 to 1961: 

  • Cadmium dumping from a mining company led to the development of skeletal disorders in Toyama Prefecture. 
  • Two separate sites subjected to long-running methylmercury dumping caused neurological damage and, in the case of unborn children exposed to the substance, cerebral palsy. 
  • A host of respiratory illnesses arose in Yokkaichi due to a petroleum refinery that wasn’t fitted with proper sulfur dioxide scrubbers. 

In these cases, environmental issues directly impacted the health of local people. 

Ensure Waste Disposal and Pollution Compliance

What do you learn in an environmental science class in high school? You almost certainly studied the impact of human waste. “Virtually every resident, organization, and human activity in the United States generates some type of waste,” the EPA notes. “EPA is interested [in waste management efforts] because gas emissions can be affected by recycling and changing product use.” 

Consider how the open dumping of plastics throughout Asia has led to a worldwide oceanic crisis. Other forms of pollution also impact everyone. In fact, understanding how local conditions impact waste and pollution generation is vital. Sometimes students ask, “Why is geography so important in the study of the environmental sciences today?” This is the reason. Given that waste and pollution are universal human activities and that many countries struggle to properly manage it, training professionals who can help is of utmost importance. 

Mitigate Deforestation

Over the space of thousands of years, the world’s forests have begun to disappear. National Geographic states, “About 2,000 years ago, 80 percent of Western Europe was forested; today the figure is 34 percent. In North America, about half of the forests in the eastern part of the continent were cut down from the 1600s to the 1870s for timber and agriculture. China has lost great expanses of its forests over the past 4,000 years and now just over 20 percent of it is forested.”  

When we asked our credentialed NREPSM members, “Why did you choose to study environmental science?”, many point to the impact of deforestation. In addition to contributing to climate change, deforestation leads to the loss of precious biodiversity and the advancement of erosion. 

Help Fight Climate Change

An essential reason why we need to study environment issues is the problem of climate change. This carbon-dioxide driven shift in our atmosphere has become evident in almost all of earth’s natural systems as a recent study published by the journal Earth System Dynamics shows. Climate change is a self-evident problem — and one that’s remarkably difficult to tackle. From political to economic to natural considerations, it’s a multi-faceted issues that needs to combine swift action with environmental acumen and cultural sensitivity. If you want to make a big change, then this is why you study environmental science. 

Protect Ecosystems and Endangered Species

According to Technology Networks, “Extinction rates today are much higher than would be expected due to natural background rates, a situation thought to be a result of increasing human driven environmental pressures such as deforestation and climate change. Currently, more than 38,500 species are threatened with extinction, representing 28% of all assessed species.” 

That news is positively shocking: More than one-quarter of all the earth’s species find themselves facing eradication. In addition to the loss to humanity should these animals vanish, there’s also the dignity of the animal kingdom itself to consider. Humans should safeguard other species — not eradicate them. It’s the job of those in the environmental sciences to educate, persuade, and care for endangered species and their ecosystems. 

Distribute Resources to Combat Overpopulation and Hunger

It’s a tricky thing to project population growth into the far future, but one thing seems certain: We will likely have many more people on the planet over the next 100 years, and that fact poses a challenge for everyone. Consider that the United Nations projects that “the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100.” Those people will need access to food, water, and shelter, and environmental science students will be poised to help provide it. 

Environmental science professionals stand poised to help the globe in a unique way, and graduates with National Registry of Environmental Professionals® certifications represent the best of the best in the environmental field. To learn more about NREPSM certifications, contact us at (847) 260-9563.