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Dr. Beraki Woldehaimanot (ENV SCI 1)
(310) 287-4524

Dr. Michael (Tony) Recht (ENV SCI 2)
(310) 287-4316 



Environmental Science


CLASSES: See class schedule & catalog 


LEARN MORE about careers related to Environmental Science.



ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE  is an interdisciplinary science that integrates physical and biological sciences, (including but not limited to Ecology, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Soil Science, Geology, Atmospheric Science and Geography) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. In the current semester, the program offers two environmental science courses: (1) "The Human Environment: Physical Processes" (Environmental Science 1), and  (2) "The Human Environment: Biological Processes" (Environmental Science 2). Environmental Science 1 fulfills a non-laboratory physical science requirement, whereas Environmental Science 2 fulfills anon-laboratory life science requirement.


A brief description of the courses is given below.


The Human Environment: Physical Processes (Environmental Science 1)

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 1 is a 3-unit course that introduces students with the basics of environmental science. It emphasizes the effects of humans on their physical environment. Topics include: the fundamental elements of the physical environment (with emphasis on atmosphere & oceans), types and sources of air pollution, global climate change (global warming and global dimming), acid rain/deposition, types and sources of water pollution, environmental impacts of producing & using energy from fossil fuels and radioactive materials, environmental impacts of mining and mineral processing procedures, renewable energy sources (solar, wind, water and geothermal) as alternatives to fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources, and thoughts on sustainable living.

TEXTBOOK: Raven, P.H. & Berg, L.R., Hassenzahl, D.M. (2010). Environment, 7th ed.; John Wiley Pub.; ISBN 978-0-470-52598-2




Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  • Describe the natural (i.e. unpolluted) chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere, water, & soil.
  • Define air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution; describe what chemical compositional changes happen when the atmosphere, water, & soil get polluted.
  • Explain how each of the following impact the environment: mineral exploration, mining and mineral refining processes; extraction and burning of fossil fuels; industrial and agricultural activities; nuclear energy production procedures and nuclear wastes.
  • Discuss the main factors that cause global climate change (global warming & global dimming) and discuss ways of mitigating global climate change.
  • Discuss methods and ways of harnessing renewable energy resources for a sustainable living: solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, running water, and ocean waves.


The Human Environment: Biological Processes (Environmental Science 2)

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 2 Environmental Science 2 is a three-unit course in basic ecology and natural history that fulfills a non-laboratory science requirement. This course discusses Man’s place in Nature: How we use Natural Capital (natural resources and natural processes that provide life services), the Degradation that often results from the use of that capital, the Solutions to solving that degradation, and the Tradeoffs that result from those solutions (advantages and disadvantages).  Topics include energy flow through, and structure of ecosystems, types of biomes, aquatic ecology, population dynamics, human population growth, food resources, and how we protect our food from pests.  Other topics discussed include; energy use and the pollution produced, climate change and ozone loss, and sustaining species and their terrestrial and aquatic systems.  Throughout the course, we will look at what you can do to live more sustainably (Individuals Matter). 


TEXTBOOK: Living in the Environment, Seventeenth Edition, 2012, by G. Tyler Miller & Scott E. Spoolman. Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning

EXERCISE: Methodology of Science Exercise (Available at the bookstore)


STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to demonstrate a firm understanding of:

  • Scientific Methodology
  • Energy and matter
  • The principles and terms of ecology
  • The examples of ecology presented in class and from the text
  • The applications of the ecological examples to the human impacts on our environment, including but not limited to, impacts caused by overpopulation, resource use, pollution, overhunting/overfishing, habitat loss and similar political/economic decisions as presented in class.
  • Sustainability and what each individual can do to achieve it