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Encyclopedia > Environmental

An environment is a complex of external factors that acts on a system and determines its course and form of existence. An environment may be thought of as a superset, of which the given system is a subset. An environment may have one or more parameters, physical or otherwise. The environment of a given system must necessarily interact with that system.

Generally, the environment or milieu of some object or action consists of the substances, circumstances, objects, or conditions by which it is surrounded or in which it occurs. (Although the two terms are usually synonyms, some sciences prefer the less common milieu to avoid confusion with the more well-known meanings of environment in ecology, politics, and sociology.)

Either word may be used with specialized meaning in various contexts:


Life science

  • In biology, Environment may be defined as the complex of climatic, biotic, social and edaphic factors that acts upon an organism and determines its form and survival. It, therefore, includes everything that may directly affect the metabolism or behavior of a living organism or species, including light, air, water, soil, and other living beings. See environment (biology).
  • In architecture, ergonomy, and work safety, it is the ensemble of elements of a room or building that affect the well-being and efficiency of its occupants—including dimensions and arrangement of living spaces and furniture, light, ventilation, temperature, noise, etc..; see living environment.
  • See geography for a subject that is a study of the environment. (Terms like SOSE (Studies of Society & the Environment) not only refer to environmental studies, but also social sciences.)
  • In psychology, environmentalism is the theory that environment (in the general and social sense) plays a greater role than heredity in determining an individual's development.

Physical science

Liberal arts and social science

  • In non-technical contexts, such as politics, it often refers to the natural environment, that part of the natural world that is deemed valuable or important by human beings, for any reason.
  • In literature, history, and sociology, it is the culture that an individual lives or was educated in, and the people and institutions with whom he interacts; see social environment.
  • In fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy it can refer to any fictional universe or setting in which different stories are set. Thus the Star Wars sagas are all in one milieu while the various Star Trek series, movies, and books are in a different milieu. This meaning is also relevant to fantasy roleplaying games.
  • In any kind of organization or enterprise, it may also refer to the social and psychological conditions that are felt by its members; see work environment.
  • In any kind of meeting or congress, it may signify the prevailing mood or preferences of the participants.

Computer science and informatics

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Environmental scientists and hydrologists (2739 words)
Environmental scientists and hydrologists use their knowledge of the physical makeup and history of the Earth to protect the environment, study the properties of underground and surface waters, locate water and energy resources, predict water-related geologic hazards, and offer environmental site assessments and advice on indoor air quality and hazardous-waste-site remediation.
Environmental scientists and hydrologists in research positions with the Federal Government or in colleges and universities frequently are required to design programs and write grant proposals in order to continue their data collection and research.
Environmental scientists and hydrologists have extensive training in physical sciences, and many apply their knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics to explain certain phenomena closely related to the work of geoscientists.
Environmental movement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1679 words)
Environmental Science is the study of the interactions among the physical, chemical and biological components of the environment;
Environmental health is also seen as an indicator for the state of the natural environment, or an early warning system for what may happen to humans.
Environmental Justice is a movement that began in the U.S. in the 1980s and seeks an end to environmental racism and prevent low-income and minority communities from an unbalanced exposure to highways, garbage dumps, and factories.
  More results at FactBites »



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