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What is environmental science?

Environmental science is an academic discipline that began on college campuses in the early seventies to focus on issues that cross the boundaries of other scientific disciplines such as biology and chemistry or civil engineering. Scientists and engineers traditionally focus on "systems" - organizations of matter and energy that have naturally occurring or rationally designed structures and functions. However, systems operate in "environments" - that which surrounds systems. Environmental scientists are concerned with how environments affect systems and how systems affect environments.

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires all building and manufacturing projects that are funded by the government to be reviewed for environmental impacts in a document called an environmental impact statement. Environmental Science grew up as a response to the need for scientists and engineers who are trained in environmental impact assessment techniques.


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