Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


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What is Environmental Studies?









What Is Environmental studies?
Environmental Studies, as an academic discipline, is the interdisciplinary study of the societal causes and effects of environmental problems with focus on the creation, evolution, implementation and effectiveness of environmental policy solutions to these problems. The 12 courses in this major at Fordham either provide natural scientific data and methodological tools required for the study of environmental problems and policies (statistics, basic economic theory, basic environmental science), or else directly study environmental policies (e.g., environmental history, economics, design, politics, ethics). Click here for an explanation of the structure and unity of interdisciplinary course work in the major, i.e., of how all the courses fit together.

Note the following more detailed definitions of basic terms.

Policies are general practices, rules, strategies, or plans that guide particular decisions and actions toward given goals. The term may apply to government, private sector organizations and groups, and individuals. Examples of policies are presidential executive orders, the laws of a country, corporate privacy policies, the policies of a community service organization, or an individual citizen’s practices.

Policy Studies, as an academic discipline, involves the interdisciplinary study of the nature, causes, and effects of alternative public policies, with particular emphasis on determining the policies that will achieve given goals. It also examines the conflicts and conflict resolution that arise from the making of policies in civil society, the private sector, and most commonly in the public government sector. It is frequently focused on the public government sector but is equally applicable to other kinds of organizations and social groups.

Environmental policies are practices, rules, strategies, or plans in government, private sector organizations and groups, or individuals that guide human activities with a view to the goals of preventing, reducing or mitigating harmful effects on nature and natural resources, and ensuring that human-made changes to the environment do not have harmful effects on humans.
 
Environmental Studies, as an academic discipline, is the interdisciplinary study of the creation, evolution, implementation and effectiveness of environmental policies. It addresses environmental problems mainly from the perspective of their societal causes, effects, and solutions in the realms of government, law, economics, business, education, design, environmental organizations, media, ethics, religion, literature and the arts, and individual citizens. While it uses data from the natural sciences about environmental problems, its main focus is not on the production of this scientific data; rather, it uses this data, and especially the methods of the social sciences, humanities, and applied arts, to analyze, evaluate, and inform environmental policy. 
 
Environmental Science, as an academic discipline, is the interdisciplinary study of environmental problems that brings together and applies the physical, chemical and biological sciences. It has as its main focus the production of scientific data on the anthropogenic physical and biological causes and effects of environmental problems, even though it includes some consideration of policies and their underlying social values as studied in the social sciences and humanities.
 
 

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