Learn to handle an environ-mental breakdown.


The Earth is pretty important. After all, that's where we keep our stuff.

There was a time when people didn't worry about pollution and overpopulation. Before people learned that drinking the same water you were putting sewage into was a bad idea. That's how we came across things like cholera, typhoid, and those weird magic eye paintings that are supposed to have a sailboat on them.

As more and more people are born and need places to live, we humans have had to get together to figure out a way to avoid drinking sewage water. That's pretty important. It tastes terrible. More than that, we're ensuring people have all the kinds of space they need: to live, to grow food, to get water, and to dispose of waste. For animals, too, since no one wants to live in a world without cool stuff like lions, penguins, and honey badgers.

This is where it gets really cool.

Engineers see a problem and then solve it by building something. Need to get across a river? Build a bridge. Need to attach boards together without hurting your hand? Try a hammer. Maybe even a nail. Engineers are the practical problem-solvers of the tech majors.

Environmental engineers kick it up a notch. Several notches. All the notches, really. Their problem? Planet Earth. Their solution? Planet Earth.

How awesome is that? These people have a science fiction profession. Seriously. In literature, they're called terraformers. They literally change the landscape to help humans, lions, penguins, honey badgers—everything, really—to live as comfortably as possible.

They also measure environmental impact. As it turns out, we're a pretty filthy species. Who knew dumping poisons into our water wasn't a good plan? Environmental engineers have to measure this, because it's one thing to have a vague idea that there's a problem. It's another to have concrete figures.

For this reason, there's a solid case to be made that environmental engineers are some of the most important people, well, ever. Every human currently lives on Earth. Sorry to just say it outright like that. We are just as disappointed as you are.

Collecting data on how climate change, acid rain, car exhaust, toxic waste, and Chris Brown are hurting the environment is just the first step. The next is flexing those big, earth-saving muscles. We're not talking about shrinking violets who hide from a challenge. These are the people who have gazed upon the unparalleled grandeur of this remarkable planet, and gone, "Meh. I could do better."

Hubris? Maybe. Awesome? Definitely.

Famous People who majored in Environmental Engineering

  • Ellen Swallow Richards, pioneer in sanitary engineering
  • Braden R. Allenby, a sustainability scientist
  • Ashraf Choudhary, agricultural engineer and New Zealand politician
  • George Pinder, master of groundwater remediation design.
  • Sudhakar Kesavan, CEO of ICF International

Percentage of US students who major in Environmental Engineering:


Stats obtained from this source.