Template talk:Environmental science

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Geosciences redundancy[edit]

The Geosciences link takes you to Earth sciences which lists oceonography, hydrology and atmospheric sciences, three of the other four entries in the main disciplines. This is redundant. Paleorthid 23:13, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

atmospheric science should be on a parallel with earth sciences, not subordinateAnlace 03:13, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Alan Liefting 08:51, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Topics too broad?[edit]

Environmental science is increasingly the study of the effects of humans on ourselves and the natural environment. I feel that the template should not include biology, physics, Atmospheric sciences, Geosciences, Hydrology these Oceanography. These are all fields in there own right. Alan Liefting 23:53, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

but geosciences, hydrology and atmospheric sciences are the building blocks and inherent components of environmental science. oceanography doesnt belong on the template since its a clear subfield of hydrology....biology and physics are legitimate related fields. cheers Anlace 03:33, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Science is also a building block of environmental sciences. Environmental science is any science that studies human effects on the environment. Alan Liefting 09:08, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Should there be a template at all?[edit]

I agree with Paleorthid about the redundancy, and partially with Alan Liefting regarding the inclusion of the harder sciences - some yes, some no, there's no well-defined partition. Frankly, among the pages I peruse, I think this template detracts from their content. Cheers, Daniel Collins 20:23, 23 February 2006 (UTC).

I vote that we delete the template. The category system acheives a similar goal. Also, since environmental science is poorly defined we should not attempt to place too many boundaries on what is included. Alan Liefting 02:37, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
i agree that the present template is distracting and has some unneeded elements. in particular i propose:

, since

  • a.to eliminate oceanography
  • c.to delete environmental design as a related field. its obviously connected, but so is environmental disposal, or environmental lots of things
  • d.to delete political science, as the link is weak....certainly no stronger than geography or taxonomy or lots of other fields that are somewhat related
  • e.probably to delete environmental law for same arguments as c and d above.
  • f.to delete environmental economics as too contrived

overall i think the template idea would be very useful for many readers who are navigating, but i think the template will be more credible and useful if we move in directions ive outlined....hope to hear from others on this, regards Anlace 03:28, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Anlace's (b) thru (e). Oceanography is not part of hydrology though - I say this an a hydrologist. These two topics make me edgy about the template. In the broadest sense of environmental science (my position), hydrology is included, but in the focused sense of human's interactions with the environment, neither hydrology nor oceanography fit well. As for (f), forgive me if I misunderstand, but environmental economics is a big field, whatever Wikipedia may say. Ecological economics is different, growing in popularity, though less widespread. In as much as environmental science deals with the human-environment interactions, I'd be inclined to include an economics link.
From my usage - more science than environment - I'd prefer to rely on a combination of "Related Topics" and "Categories" than a template. However, I don't use this information, so I don't know how others prefer to navigate. I still think templates are glitzy and detract from the content. Cheers, Daniel Collins 04:52, 3 March 2006 (UTC).
thanks for your thoughtful comments daniel collins. i can live with your response to environmental economics to leave it provided there are some articles that populate it. regarding oceanography, i see your point and wont press to subordinate oceanography to hydrology, but i still vote to delete it from the template; otherwise we would have to add limnology, glaciology, geography and lots of other specialties...i also share your thought that most templates are garish, like the governmental ones, but i think readers in environmental science can benefit from a template guide. we are getting pretty close to agreement here :) cheers, Anlace 05:07, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Thinking further, I'd be inclined to remove hydrology, oceanography and atmos, because they are all subsets of geoscience. Keep ecology, add enviro chem. In related fields, remove the pure sciences, and keep the useful specialties. Et voila. Daniel Collins 05:31, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the comments from Mbeychok below. Ecology and Environmental science are both subsets of Science. Ecology is NOT a subset of environmental science. Alan Liefting 08:51, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

I am very new to Wikipedia and I am not sure I know exactly what a Template is used for. Just looking at Environmental Science template, it seems to be just a tool for navigating to various categories related to Envoronmental Science. Looking at it from that viewpoint ... a navigational tool ... then it can't hurt if it is somewhat redundant. Better that than to be too narrowly defined and too limited.

I am have been an engineer all of my working career and my last 20 years or so were spent as an environmental consultant ... so I am probably biased toward the engineering and technical side of environmental science. One thing I am totally convinced of is that environmental science and ecology are two totally unrelated fields and never the twain shall meet.

To me, environmental science includes those sciences and technologies which deal with diagnosing problems, measuring the extent of their impacts, and using science and technology to do something about (a) air pollution, (b) water pollution and (c) solid wastes. As such, I believe that the environmental science template must include atmospheric science since it includes the study of air pollution. Similarly, the template should include those sciences and technologies that study water pollution and solid waste pollution.

On the other hand, it has been my experience that ecology and ecological websites tend to attract non-scientific people who think and react emotionally rather than scientifically and are very concerned about the abstract concept of "saving the planet" with no idea of how to go about it ... and with even more esoteric concepts such as "environmental justice" and "environmental sustainability" which no one can really define and which involve more "social engineering" than real science and real engineering. I fully agree that true ecology is in fact a real science that deals with the various life forms and plant forms on our planet and how they evolve and interdepend upon each other. None the less, it is a distinctly different science than is environmental science ... in my opinion. Hence, I believe it should be removed from the environmental science template. - mbeychok 06:43, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Since there is no consensus the template should be removed since it creates more confusion and provides little in the way of useful navigation within environmental sciences topics. Alan Liefting 08:51, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
thanks for your very thoughtful comments Mbeychok. being a physicist i have a lot of empathy for your remarks; however, i dont think we can dismiss ecology so easily. in any case lets see where we all have agreement on changing the status quo,,,i think we all agree on items a, b c d e....some of us would like to make further changes, but why dont we implement what we concur on as far as changes to the existing template and we can continue the debate perhaps a little later when others might weigh in...in any event thanks to all who participated in this wrenching intellectual exercise, best regards, Anlace 14:26, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Alan, with all due respect, i think there is majority agreement on changes a b c d e above. further i think there are sentiments herein that the tamplate serves valuable navigation aid. i think that is true especially for novice readers (having been a professor in environmental sciences, i feel strongly about this) ...basically i think we have a much stronger agreement to make the changes a through e above for now than sentiement to scrub the template,,,,why dont we just live with the tmeplate with these modest revisions for a month or so and we can revisit this stimulating dialog, best regards, Anlace 14:26, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Confronted with such variability of experience, and being the scientist that I am, I sought out some data. Here are links to a research lab and three universities with different amount of teaching/research.
Hydrology is mentioned, as is ecology, etc, etc. It is only a portion of these fields that are lent to environmental science, env sci being multidisciplinary.
I currently favour waiting a while for others to chime in, and taking samples of how templatephobic the waters are, before considering deletion. I agree if there are consensus changes to be made, that they are made. Cheers, Daniel Collins 15:16, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
i think daniel collins offers some good insights ...what i got from his links and others i visited correspond with my 22 year experience in running an environmental research firm, that the baic elements are geosciences, environmental chemistry, ecology and atmospheric science. one important point about keeping atmospheric science is that is embraces Noise pollution which is a huge part of environmental science, as it is practiced in the USA regards Anlace 23:38, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Science versus Environmental Science.[edit]

Note that Science is about everything in the environment and Environmental science is about everything within science that studies the anthropogenic affect on the environment. Alan Liefting 03:57, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

No, that's absolutlely wrong and absurd. --Hard Raspy Sci 15:46, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

How about this as a template?[edit]

Environmental science

Environmental chemistry - Environmental physics - Environmental ecology - Environmental geology - Environmental geography

Related topics

Environmental engineering Environmental technology Environmental sociology

Main topic

Science - Biology - Chemistry - Physics - Ecology


  1. It obviously requires conversion into the template when sorted out.
  2. Environmental ecology gets 60,000 google hits (could also be called anthropogenic ecology?). This would justify an article on environmental ecology.
  3. This proposed template puts the emphasis on the enviro sciences by placing them first. The seperate divisions are redundant due to the categories and portals.
  4. The missing articles should be created before making the template.

Alan Liefting 04:34, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

this is not a bad proposal. i can write the article on Environmental physics if we go this route. my main questions are "do we really need Environmental geography in such a high profile? seems like it would be subordinate to Environmental geology or even two notches down. ive managed preparation of over 600 environmental impact statements and environmental geography has never had a major section and not usually a mention...the only other problem is where is Atmospheric science ?? that is a huge part of environmental science (including environmental noise studies that are subordinate to atmospheric science). if we can fix these two concerns i have , im on board.Anlace 04:53, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
I am trying to avoid having any discipline that is not all about anthropogenic effects. If there was an environmental atmospherics discipline I would incorporate that. There are too many disciplines that are related to environmental science to be easily set out in the template. Atmospheric science is a sub-field of science. It is across the physics and chemistry disciplines. I do not agree that envionmental geology and envionmental geography are the same. Admittedly, they do not rank as importantly as environmental chemistry which is why i put them at the end. Alan Liefting 05:47, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
i guess we need to understand the ensuing hierarchy. so do you envision atmospheric science and acoustical science (noise pollution) to fall under environmental physics in the ultimate tree? im still having a lot of trouble with environmental geography...it just doesnt have the stature of the other broad fields you ve laid out...and besides whats under it??....by the way i cant really believe anyone gets as many hits as you ve suggested on "environmental ecology" is that for real?

as an alternate top tier i still like geosciences, environmental chemistry, atmospheric sciences and ecology,,,dont your think these are more descriptive and cover about the same turf?...your bottom two rows could remain in tact. cheers Anlace 06:31, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

As I see it, Alan uses the following logic to build his case. We're dealing with "environmental science", where "environment" is a qualifier of the type of "science". There are different types of "science", such as geology, ecology, etc. The template is to expand on these sciences, and in so doing we would attach the same qualilfier. Thus we get "environmental geology", "environmental ecology", etc. This makes sense, but does it serve the purpose that the template is geared towards?

In an academic environment, I peruse a lot of the sciences, and am interested in the "environmental" aspect of them, but I don't universally attach that qualifier. I don't recall encountering "environmental ecology" ever before. A search for the term on Web of Science (titles and abstracts) yields only 11 articles. "Environmental geography" returns 19 articles. ("Environmental geology" 167; "environmental physics" 25; "hydrology" and "ecology" 373.) I'm inclined not to use the term if it is used in refereed articles so infrequently. In fact, I think it would demean environmental science to use such obscure themes.

Many people do environmental science without calling it such. They also do plain science, and move smoothly between the two. I am one of them. I would not just research human impacts on erosion without researching natural erosion processes too. I feel that to understand what environmental science is, one needs to understand the sciences that form the backbone of the field (ecology, geology, etc), as well as the type of questions being asked by the field (eg. how do humans change erosion rates?).

Switching gears a bit, what would you think if this template were on pages such as ecology or geology. I thought it odd that the template was on hydrology, and yet there was no geoscience template. Does it help the reader of hydrology understand how hydrology fits into other sciences? I added "Subfields of Hydrology" and "Related Fields" to achieve this. In the intro I wrote that hydrology is a component of environmental science, as well as other fields. I imagine the ecology and geology pages would benefit from similar contents, but not from a template such as the one that exists now. However, it would benefit pages such as environmental geology.

This leaves our template in limbo. It is perhaps most useful to illucidate the specific sciences that form the backbone of our topic, and yet the template may not fit on those specific pages. Daniel Collins 18:45, 4 March 2006 (UTC)


First, don't compare the template to what is not there on a particular page (Hydrology perhaps). It may mean the geoscience people are behind or something... I made the template as a basis for future modification to help navigation for people that are less educated(experienced) in the field as ourselves. I am all for it being made into a correct form.

Second, it is my contention that links get edited more correctly rather than being targets for random vandal edits. Templates give us that medium. Also, regular text links get lost from novice editors frequently. I hate re-editing the same thing over and over.


On the topic of forming a backbone, I just wrote a test question asking for 12 academic subjects that support the topic of environmental science. I personnally came up with about...well let's say I stopped at 45. Yeah I know that doesn't help. - Hard Raspy Sci 05:16, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Soil science[edit]

Geosciences, aka earth sciences, is an efficient term which covers geology, soil science, atmospheric sciences, Oceanography and hydrology. The top line of the environmental science template is intentionally redundant in showing geosciences, hydrology, oceonography, atmospheric sciences, and, by implication, geology. How can we wikipedians single out for exclusion as critical a geoscience a soil science. Or for that matter geography, another of the geosciences. My humble opinion is, that to be consistent, the top line of the environmental science template should include simply ecology and geosciences. I have added soil science at the top line as a necessary interim measure needed until the merits of simplification are more widely recognized. 15:16, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

as a scientist i agree with the above. however i am more concerned here about the value of a navigation tool to the largest number of readers. in that light i think the top line should read:
atmospheric sciences, geosciences, ecology, hydrology, simply because most readers will not understand that atmospheric science and hydrology are (technically) a part of geosciences. thus the template may become a deadend for thousands of readers trying to find information on air quality, noise, water quality etc. hope to hear from others on this Anlace 17:21, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Howsabouts the more important subfields of geosci in brackets? eg:
Ecology - Geoscience (hydrology - soil science - atmos - etc)
Daniel Collins 21:16, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
not a bad idea but the bracketed list could get pretty long :). i think we could also run into a problem of inconsistency with all other wikipedia templates. Anlace 06:00, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Revamping this template[edit]

I do think that Environmental Science deserves a template. I like what you suggested above, Alan, although I'll add Environmental health, pollution, and possibly some other topics. I may go ahead and work on it. ImpIn | (t - c) 04:58, 14 June 2008 (UTC)