What Is an Environmental Science Degree?
Environmental science encompasses more than just the study of the environment. Environmental science studies both biological and physical sciences and their impact upon each other – positive and negative. Environmental scientists are concerned with the human perception and interaction with the environment, as well as the environment itself and finding ways to sustain it.
Environmental science gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, as the world began to understand more about how our way of life was impacting the environment around us, and, as a result, how the environment was changing and impacting us. Environmental science needed to become a more active science during this time to begin to lay the groundwork for environmental study and policies.
Activists began to draw attention to the destructive human actions that were causing pollution and the extinction of ecosystems, animal and plant life. This, coupled with some manmade disasters, gave people an awareness they never had before – modern technology was as destructive as it was beneficial.
Legislative bodies began to realise that a change was in order if we were to save the very planet we lived on. Environmental scientists were called upon to gain a greater understanding of exactly how the earth’s environmental processes functioned. Once the understanding was developed, environmental scientists were then tasked with ways to control pollution of all types, find alternative sources of energy and ensure the management of natural resources to mitigate global climate changes.
Despite great strides in environmental studies and the new legislation that has resulted from them, the environmental scientist’s work is far from complete. With every birth of new technology, taxation upon the environment occurs. Our planet is changing rapidly, and not for the better. Student’s wishing to study and find ways to preserve our precious Earth should pursue an environmental science degree.
Environmental Science Job Opportunities
Graduating environmental scientists oftentimes contract with commercial companies or the government to work as environmental consultants. These consultants are tasked with testing and analysing various environmental concerns, such as assessing the contamination of air, land and water and conducting environmental impact assessments. Environmental consultants begin earning £18,000 to £22,000, with the opportunity to earn £20,000 to £30,000 after two to five years on the job. Senior consultants with five to 10 years of experience can expect to earn £30,000 to £40,000, and consultants with 10 or more years of experience typically earn £35,000 to £50,000.
Another crucial environmental science position is the waste management officer. History has shown how deadly waste can be to both humans and the planet. Waste management officers manage the collection and disposal of waste and recycled material. This position must not only find ways to safely dispose of waste to protect the environment, it must also work within the confines of government regulations. Waste management officers begin earning a salary in the range of £21,900 to £25,000, with salaries increasing to £28,000 to £45,000 once the officer has gained enough experience to reach senior level status.
Graduating students concerned with the world’s water sources should consider beginning their career as a water quality scientist. As the title suggests, these scientists study water quality and find ways to ensure all water meets legislative and safety standards. The water quality scientist is concerned with one of three facets of water quality: drinking water, bodies of water or groundwater. Water quality scientists begin earning a salary ranging from £18,000 to £25,000; experienced water scientists earn £25,000 to £34,000; senior scientists earn £30,000 to £50,000.
Environmental Science Curriculum
Because environmental science concerns itself with both the biological and physiological aspects of science, the curriculum is heavy in biology, chemistry and geology. Additional curriculum includes sociology and physiology, because human attitude toward, and interaction with, the environment is extremely important to this particular science. Classroom, field and lab work are all a part of the environmental science curriculum.
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