The AP Environmental Science course is designed to engage students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships within the natural world. The course requires that students identify and analyze natural and human-made environmental problems, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary, embracing topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography.

BIG IDEA 1: ENERGY TRANSFER (ENG) Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes. Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere. As energy flows through systems, at each step, more of it becomes unusable. 

BIG IDEA 2: INTERACTIONS BETWEEN EARTH SYSTEMS (ERT) The Earth is one interconnected system. Natural systems change over time and space. Biogeochemical systems vary in ability to recover from disturbances. 

BIG IDEA 3: INTERACTIONS BETWEEN DIFFERENT SPECIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT (EIN) Humans alter natural systems and have had an impact on the environment for millions of years. Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both the rate and scale of their impact on the environment. 

BIG IDEA 4: SUSTAINABILITY (STB) Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems. A suitable combination of conservation and development is required. The management of resources is essential. Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is vital to the development of solutions.