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2 Tutorials that teach Environmental Science
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Environmental Science

Environmental Science

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Classify an element as either biotic or abiotic.

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what's covered
In this tutorial, we are going to cover the topic of environmental science. We will discuss the definition of environmental science and explore how interdisciplinary it is. We will also discuss the importance of technology to the discipline of environmental science.

Our discussion breaks down as follows:

  1. What is Environmental Science?
  2. Interdisciplinary
  3. Technology

1. What is Environmental Science?

Environmental science is the study of the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world. When we say the rest of the natural world, we mean both biotic and abiotic environments.

  • Biotic, or living, environments include microorganisms, plants, fungi, algae, and animals.
  • Abiotic, or non-living, environments include temperature, rainfall, air, water, rocks, soil, and human-built elements.


The image of this forest swamp below has both abiotic and biotic elements. The water, rocks in the water, amount of sunlight, and humidity are all abiotic elements. Any fish swimming in the water, algae growing, or trees and grasses are all biotic factors.

Forest Swamp

term to know
Environmental science
The study of the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world.

2. Interdisciplinary

Environmental science is interdisciplinary in nature. There are hundreds of different fields that intersect with it, such as natural sciences and social sciences.

Natural Sciences Social Sciences
Atmospheric Sciences
Political Science

These are just a few types of natural and social sciences, so there are many others as well.


An example of an environmental science topic which involves many other disciplines is human population growth.

It exacerbates global climate change, which is an environmental science and ecology issue.

It is determined by economics because it can be expensive to have many children.

It can also be determined by sociology and culture because in certain countries having many children is encouraged for religious or retirement reasons.

It is a demographic issue because the rate of growth in certain historical time periods determines the size of each age cohort.

3. Technology

Technology plays an important role in environmental science in the world today. Almost every subject within environmental science is dependent on various technology and instruments, for measurement and other uses.

Examples of such technologies include:

  • Satellites which can measure global temperatures
  • GPS mapping of terrain
  • Devices for measuring water quality
  • Computer models which can project future scenarios of climate change.

We talked about environmental science, how interdisciplinary it is, and how important technology is to environmental science today. The key term is environmental science, the study of the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world.

Source: Adapted from Sophia instructor Jensen Morgan, SWAMP FOREST CC HTTP://BIT.LY/1M1H755

Terms to Know
Environmental science

The study of the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world.