Changes to the environment are challenging our ability as humans to adapt. Those changes are occurring across a wide range of scales and at unprecedented rates. Consider planetary issues such as global climate change, the appearance of ozone holes and the emergence of new diseases. At regional scales, witness depletion of resources such as fisheries stocks and forests or the reduction in biodiversity. At local scales, air pollution threatens urban development and human health while water and soil pollution remove options for agriculture and environmental preservation.As the scale of environmental issues increase, the dynamic of undergraduate education
changes. There is a growing realization that issues of the environment, such as sustainable development and management of global and regional resources, are not solely ecological problems, or economic, nor social, but rather a combination of all three.And yet actions based on disciplinary approaches inevitably short-change solutions. Sustainable designs driven by conservation interests ignore the needs for an adaptive form of economic development that emphasize enterprise andflexibility. People driven by economic and industrial interests act as if the uncertainty of nature can be replaced with human engineering and management controls, or ignored altogether. Those driven by social interests act as if community development and empowerment of individuals are all that matter, and that there are no limits to the imagination and initiative of local groups. As investments fail, the policies of government, private foundat ions, internat ional agencies and non- governmental organizations shift from emphasizing one kind of myopic solution to another. Over the last three decades, such policies have switched from large investment schemes, to narrow conservation ones to, at present, equally narrow community development ones. The point here is that the theories, methods and practice that lead to resolution of environmental issues no longer falls neatly into a single discipline- be that ecology, anthropology, biology, economics or political science or any other departmental groupings found in universities. Environmentalists, world-over, are of consensus that that unsustainable management of natural resources hampers the development of humankind and contributes to the unequal distribution of economic welfare. Pollution, depletion of resources and disintegration of ecological functions are of global, regional and local concerns. To prevent continued environmental degradation and the decline of human society, interaction between human and the environment have to be in harmony. This is achievable through an integrated, holistic approach encompassing natural sciences, socioeconomic, and political factors with technological, economic and sociocultural interventions. The establishment of Department of Environmental Science (DES) at the University of Haripur with such an interdisciplinary major is, thus, a response to a growing regional need for scientific investigation in threatened environment of Pakistan, in general, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly.