The environment refers to anything existing in the universe including space, time, space travel, gases, vapor, light, radioactive elements, subatomic particles and biotic life. In this context, the natural environment refers to anything living or non-living that occurs naturally within the Earth’s atmosphere, taking place in such places as the earth, the atmosphere, or on other planets in the universe. The word is usually used in conjunction with the Earth, the sun, or any other celestial bodies in the solar system. The environment may also be used in relation to the human environment. The term environment can be used to refer to the processes and materials that control the state of the environment, including the climate, landforms, ecosystems, political systems, communication systems, and technological systems.
The term environment encompasses a very large number of disciplines affecting the Earth and its processes, including anthropology, botany, ecology, eco-acology, evolutionary biology, geography, meteorology, astronomy, political science, psychology, physical sciences, and technology. It is not a term that directly pertains to biology since life forms do not have an internal environment. However, the term does encompass biological processes and materials in the environment. For instance, plants grow from living things in their environment, but a plant’s environment may be defined by the type of rocks, soil, and sunlight it is exposed to. An extremely different environment from that of a leafy green algae could be defined by a different set of reference materials. Therefore, the environment refers to a collection of reference materials and it is usually utilized to describe a set of objects and circumstances that are typical of a specific environment.
In this broad sense, the environment can be thought of as the sum total of all physical and biological factors that are encountered in and around an individual’s environment. This environment may take on many different shapes and forms and it may be composed of very different components, depending on the species of organisms that exist. Examples of environments include biotic, abiotic, physical, and synthetic environments.
The term “biosphere” refers to the external environment in which living organisms live. For instance, the atmosphere of the earth consists of the concentration of gaseous molecules (like oxygen and carbon dioxide) within the earth’s atmosphere. Because of this concentration, there is an alkalinity to the atmospheric content, which is what gives it the ability to sustain life. The composition of the atmosphere of the earth also ensures that the ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun has an alkalinity and thus is able to be absorbed by living organisms.
The external environment includes all the living organisms and all the non-living elements present in or on the Earth’s surface. These non-living elements are known as being “abiotic” or living in conjunction with other living organisms. They are distinguished from the living organisms by their lack of ability to reproduce, their dependence on other organisms for survival, and their ability to change. Abiotic organisms do not have the same metabolism as living organisms and they cannot change either. The environment includes the entire range of the planet’s ecosystems-all the habitats on earth including water, air, land, and space-and is very complex, with many interacting collectively to maintain the global balance of nature.
The major parts of the environment are terrestrial, aquatic, geological, and aquatic-both the living and the non-living surfaces. The most common types of terrestrial environments are the biosphere, which are made up of non-abiotic habitats such as rocks, soil, coral reefs, and other organisms, and the abiotic, which are defined as living systems that derive support from other living organisms. There are three major categories of terrestrial environments: ecologies, habitats, and ecosystems. Ecosystems are those that co-exist together in a complex network or web. Many examples of ecosystems are forests, oceans, fish populations, and ecohydrologic systems. On the other hand, the key characteristic of an ecosystem is that these living complexes form a self-sustaining cycle of life and death that has no influence over other living organisms.