We hear a lot about the environment and environmentalists but the popularization of those terms do not provide an understanding of just what is the environment.
Our current understanding of these terms has more to do with ecology and keeping a particular ecological system relatively constant and sustainable for humans as well as stabilizing geo-political structures. It is not the environment in total, but a small and incomplete part of it.
What is the Environment?
Everything. Everything around you and inside you is the environment. There is nothing else. It's not just the trees and the seas and the farms and the cities and the pollution and the second-hand smoke. No, it's everything everywhere around you. In some ways it is another term for the universe itself.
The Earth orbits the Sun which in turn orbits the galactic center and our galaxy the Milky Way is itself moving within the environment of the universe.Cosmic rays bombard our solar system from across the universe. However negligible and distant the effects of these millions of light-years away particles, they and the Universe are part of our environment - just not one that impacts us the same way as a hurricane, a tidal wave or a spring shower might.
The Sun provides most of the electromagnetic radiation that is as much as a part of our environment as the air we breathe and the ground we walk upon.
Luckily or logically for us, the Earth's atmosphere filters out a lot of the most deadliest forms of radiation.
For the purposes of this discussion though, let's stick to what's on and above the Earth's crust. That place where we live.
Ahh, the sweet Earth. Rolling hills, raging seas, vast oceans, blue skies, green trees, hot afternoons and warm city nights. Just some of things that make life in the upper crust worth living.
The physical world around us is an important part of our biology. We are but one result of the billions of years of evolution on Earth.