Why Study Environmental Science?

We humans are currently undergoing a non-sustainable population explosion, numbering over 6.5 billion people and growing. Most scientists are convinced that this is an unsustainable population size and that we must reduce our growth rate. While many developed countries have reduced their population growth rates, most developing countries have high birth rates. The United States is the only developed country that is still rapidly increasing in population size, mostly due to immigration rates.

The prodigious increase in the human population has had and is still having devastating effects on the environment. This is especially true of non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels, and the output of excessive carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as a consequence. And there is great inequity in the amount of resources used by developed versus developing countries. In the U.S., for example, the per capita use of energy and other resources is approximately 15 times that of a developing country such as Mexico, and five times that of most European countries. Thus, what we humans do, especially those of us in developed countries, will have a big impact on the future of humanity and the world.

Environmental Science offers the opportunity to study and work with these and other exciting, rewarding, and often controversial topics. The study of Environmental Science promotes the development of problem-solving skills. Also, because solving our environmental problems requires a broad knowledge base, teams of specialists also must be able to work together. Team skills, including leadership abilities, are vital to the environmental scientist and are developed by participation in the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Hartwick College. Both problem-solving and team/leadership skills enhance success in all professions.

The study of Environmental Science and Policy prepares students for careers in industry, consulting, research, and academics, as well as federal, state, and local government and many other areas. The Hartwick College program prepares you for further graduate study, which often is required for many of these professions. Working in the field of environmental science provides a wide variety of subjects and problems to challenge and expand your skills, as well as the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to improve the quality of our lives and of the planet.