Basics of Environmental Science
Basics of Environmental Science is an engaging introduction to environmental study. The book offers everyone studying and interested in the environment, an essential understanding of natural environments and the way they function. It covers the entire breadth of the environmental sciences, providing concise, non-technical explanations of physical processes and systems and the effects of human activities.
Basics of Environmental Science
Basics of Environmental Science will introduce you to most of the topics included under the general heading of ‘environmental science’. In this text, these topics are arranged in six chapters: Introduction; Earth Sciences; Physical Resources; Biosphere; Biological Resources; and Environmental Management.
Within these chapters, each individual topic is described in a short section. There are 62 of these sections in all, numbered in sequence. All are listed on the contents pages. You can dip into the book anywhere to read a chapter that interests you. Each is self-contained. It is not quite possible to avoid some overlap, however.
This means you may find in one section a technical term that is not fully explained. In the section ‘ Energy from the Sun ’ (section 11), for example, you will come across a mention of the ‘greenhouse effect’, but without a detailed explanation of what that is. When you encounter a difficulty of this kind, refer to the contents pages. In this example you will find a section, number 13, devoted to the ‘greenhouse effect’, in which the phenomenon is explained fully.
If there is no section specifically devoted to the term you find troublesome, look in the index. Almost certainly the term will be explained somewhere, and the index will tell you where to look. Some of the terms that you may find less familiar are defined in the glossary.
At the end of each chapter, you will find a list of sections that contain explanations of terms you have just encountered. This procedure may seem cumbersome, but it would be impractical to provide a full explanation of terms each time they occur.
What is environmental science?
There was a time when, as an educated person, you would have been expected to converse confidently about any intellectual or cultural topic. You would have read the latest novel, been familiar with the work of the better-known poets, have had an opinion about the current state of art, musical composition and both musical and theatrical performance. Should the subject of the conversation have changed, you would have felt equally relaxed discussing philosophical ideas.
These might well have included the results of recent scientific research, for until quite recently the word ‘philosophy’ was used to describe theories derived from the investigation of natural phenomena as well as those we associate with philosophy today.
The word ‘science’ is simply an anglicized version of the Latin Scientia, which means ‘knowledge’. In German, which borrowed much less from Latin, what we call ‘science’ is known as Wissenschaft, literally ‘knowledge’. ‘Science’ did not begin to be used in its restricted modern sense until the middle of the last century.
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