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Applying Environmental Science

Applying Environmental Science

Author: Jensen Morgan

This lesson gives examples of how environmental science is applied.

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Hi, I'm Jensen Morgan. We're going to talk about some great concepts in environmental science. Today's topic is applying environmental science. So let's get started.

We're going to talk about environmental science and technology, what applying it looks like in different contexts, and what scientific application can look like in the big picture. Science is the process of understanding or a way of knowing the world around us. Technology is a way of applying what we know. Science addresses and observes what exists in the natural world, while technology deals with what can be manipulated in the natural or non-human environment to meet human needs and wants.

Let's discuss what applying environmental science looks like in a few different realms. Scientists apply environmental science by doing things like measuring pH levels in various states to understand acid rain deposition and which regions are being impacted. Scientists have measured sea level rise over time around the world to understand if global climate change has impacted sea levels, which it has.

Government agencies use environmental science to do things like the BLM studied the impacts of motorized vehicles on elk populations and determined that Slate Creek in Wyoming needed to be shut down to motorized vehicles to protect wildlife in the winter. The EPA researched the impacts of industry activities in wetland ecosystems and made it illegal to dredge wetlands through the Clean Water Act, which resulted in certain companies having to pay reparations.

Private organizations utilize environmental science to make decisions. The outdoor gear manufacturer Patagonia researched the impacts of manufacturing and shipping on global climate change and structured their supply lines to minimize CO2 production. Monsanto used scientific research to state that GMO produced was not dangerous to human health. Nonprofits like the Natural Resources Defense Council studied the human and ecological impacts of water resource degradation and decided to promote safe drinking water in developing nations. The Nature Conservancy studied the importance of undeveloped land to ecosystem health and spent time and money securing a wilderness area in Maine for protection.

The public can use environmental science to inform their decisions, such as a person studying the impacts of climate change and then donating to a candidate running on the platform of regulation to reduce climate change. People could discover through a scientific report that a nearby company's practices were polluting waterways and get others to sign a petition to make that company stop their pollutive activities.

In the end, science can point us to the facts, but it is up to humans to interpret and take action on those facts. For example, science discovered electricity. But it was the ingenuity and initiative of people that turned that discovery into a power source for lighting, created a grid system to power entire countries, as well as led to countless other technologies, like computers.

Now let's have a recap. We talked about science and technology, what it means to apply environmental science in various contexts, and what the difference between science and human application is. Well, that's all for this tutorial. I hope these concepts have been helpful. And I look forward to next time. Bye.