Environmental science is a very broad field that studies interactions of the biological, chemical and physical components in the environment, as well as the effects and relationships of all these components with the organisms that exist in the environment.
What is environmental science?
Environmental science involves various fields of study; most often, these services include the study of natural resources, pollution, energy, climate change and various environmental issues. Ecologists that conduct environmental experiments study the manner in which animals and plants interact with each other. As part of these studies:
• Chemists study various non-living and living components
• Biologists study the region’s biodiversity
• Geologists study the history, formation and structure of the earth
• Biomedical professionals study the impact of various environmental issues on our social lives and
• Computer scientists handle technical innovations computer modeling
How environmental science is an interdisciplinary field
Environmental science is looked upon as an interdisciplinary field as it incorporates ideas & information from different disciplines. As discussed above, within natural sciences, fields such as geology, chemistry and biology are an integral part of environmental science. When people talk about environmental science, the aspects that come to minds are related to these natural sciences.
But this is a very broad and complex field that also includes aspects of humanities and social sciences. Modern day environmental problems are becoming increasingly complex; this has created a need for experienced and expert scientists that have very strong training in various disciplines of environmental science.
Environmental specialists and scientists use their deep knowledge of the different natural sciences to develop solutions that will help protect human health as well as the environment. They also need to have a strong background in subjects such as political science, sociology and economics.
The relevance of environmental science
Environmental science teaches us how to use natural resources in an efficient manner by:
• Using the right tools in exploring resources
• Appropriately putting into practice various environmental conservation methods
• Making sure that machines are maintained appropriately
• Adding value to our resources
• Thorough training of human resources
• Using appropriate techniques to minimize exploitation
• Provision of efficient and effective supervision
• Understanding the behavior of organisms in natural conditions
What is an environmental scientist?
An environmental scientist conducts extensive research to identify and either eliminate or control hazards and pollutants affecting the public or environmental health. The research they conduct typically involves determining the different data collection methods; analyzing environmental data that’s been gathered by others and collecting and analyzing water, soil andair samples.
Aside from this the research helps in analysis for correlations to various human activities. The scientist then prepares detailed presentations and reports that provide comprehensive explanations of their findings. These scientists also develop detailed plans to control, fix or prevent environmental problems such as air pollutions.
They may also work very closely with governmental agencies in an advisory role to help the officials design policies and regulations thatbusinesses need to follow toimprove their practices. Some scientists also conduct environmental assessments and inspections of businesses. They assess and provide reports on the potential effects of development projects which helps prevent new problems from surfacing.
Most environmental scientists work forvarious local, state or federal governments; others work for companies providing technical, scientific and management consulting solutions. They help private organizations comply with the regulations set by the government. Some scientists also specialize in other interrelated fields and provide environmental engineering services.
Some scientists may work in laboratories while others monitor conditions and gather data as part of field work; however, this task may sometimes be exclusively handled by technicians and the scientists provide plans and solutions and oversee the project. Working in the field can be quite demanding as they may have to work in inclement weather conditions as well.
Duties that an environmental scientist performs
Since environmental science is an interdisciplinary field, the duties that an environmental scientist performs, spans various responsibilities such as:
• Development of research methodologies and systems that are best suited for the environment thatis
• Review the current scientific literature on a consistent basis to stay on top of allthe
developments in this field.
• Use samples, observations, and specimens to collect comprehensivedata.
• Develop modern, effective systems to better analyze data.
• Record & store observations, specimens and samples in the lab as well asin fieldwork
• Communicate with administrators and senior scientists through formal and informal reports
• Present their research findings to external and internal stakeholders via a range of media
Senior environmental scientist duties
A chief researcher or senior environmental scientist may have some additional responsibilities; this would be dependent on the objectives of the project. In most instances, these additional tasks arefocused on budgetary and project management and include:
• Ensure quality, project organization and integrity
• Create detailed project timelines & budgetary metrics
• Track field and laboratory data
• Manage the communications from the work group to senior administrators stakeholders, and the
• Train and supervise the administrative support staff
• Supervise field and laboratory lab work as well as overlapping workgroups and project segments
• Construct grant applications for funding
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