Science and technology have been a major part of human development and evolution ever since mankind started using their intelligence and manipulating the environment to their advantage. The very first inventions by human beings were meant to make their lives easier through the discovery of fire and the wheel. Human beings started making tools for hunting, agriculture, and weapons for protection against wildlife and also for shelter and comfort with the resources available around them. Human civilization has come a long way since the early man stage and now we have developed into complex intelligent beings.
We humans evolved and developed into intelligent beings and the world that we live in went through a series of rapid changes. We can sense some of these changes now in our environment, such as change in climate and weather patterns, and also the patterns in ocean and wind systems. Although these changes are very gradual, if we take a certain period of time into consideration, we can clearly see that some of these changes are human induced. Since the time of the industrial revolution, we have been adding a considerable amount of carbon into the atmosphere. With the rapid growth of industries, automobiles, and through deforestation and depletion of the natural resources, and in many cases the steps we took towards economic development or technological advancements also impacted the ecosystem, and diminished the natural environment. Technology has always made our lives easier and improved the standards and quality of our lives, but it has been at the cost of our environment and ecosystem.
Energy source and environment
The advancements in civilization and industrialization led to the quest for energy sources to power our factories, automobiles, and homes for heating and cooling. Most countries throughout the world relied on coal and oil during their industrial revolution as a source of energy and some countries still depend on oil or coal as their major source of energy. Burning fossils led to some of the major negative impacts on the environment and the most obvious ones are increased amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere with emission of carbon and other harmful gases associated with combustion of fossils. As a consequence, we are facing some critical issues around the world such as greenhouse effect, global warming, polar ice-cap melting, sea level rising, depletion of ecosystem, loss of habitat of wildlife, deforestation, and in extreme cases we are having more natural disasters, forest fires, floods, cyclones, and more extreme weather patterns around the world.
Science and sustainability
Human beings have been using technology without understanding the far reaching consequences on sustainability. The modern concept of science is to reduce or even try to reverse the negative impacts on the globe. Technology and sustainability go hand in hand today. Modern science and technology work towards getting the maximum use of resources, maximizing productivity with minimum inputs and waste. Science also works to reduce environmental impacts, clean up the environment, and conserve resources by finding alternate clean and reusable source of energy. Taking advantage of modern technology would enable the globe to become more sustainable. Some parts of the globe will become more technically advanced than others and therefore will become more efficient than others causing a global imbalance. Therefore, it is also necessary to bring all parts of the world under the same light of modern sustainable technologies.
Role of environmental science in sustainability
Environmental science and sustainability are two disciplines in science that are integrated and interdisciplinary fields that allow scientists to solve current global problems that human beings are faced with regarding sustainability. Environmental science allows the scientists to solve social and ecological problems. An environmental scientist finds solutions in sustainable manner and makes decisions involving resource management, environmental policy, and biodiversity conservation. These issues are very serious today in conserving our ecosystem and sustainability.
Environmental scientists have played a major role in sounding the alarms and increasing awareness among the general population as well as government agencies, farmers, industrialists and businesses around the world about the dangerous, potentially irreversible and long-term impacts and changes in the life support system of the world that we live in.
Time is running out. Each one of us can contribute in meeting the global challenges and stop negative impacts on the globe. Please join us and help us promote global sustainability.