In order to begin our journey in striving to understand the role of climate and energy in building a sustainable future, we must start with a foundation. In order to do this, before diving right into the complex issue of climate change, we will first take a look at some environmental basics. Because all these issues are so closely intertwined, this chapter will deal with the issue of understanding our environment. We will begin with a look at how humans affect the environment, including the issue of overpopulation; how our desire for a higher standard of living is taking a toll on the natural world; why our current lifestyle is polluting and exhausting precious resources, such as the water, land, and the atmosphere; and just what we are doing—informed and less-informed—to contribute to climate change. Next we will examine the most critically important environmental issues of today and look at the reasons why they are important, as well as why those reasons tend to change over time. Coupled with that will be a discussion of environmental ethics and why—although it is not a science per se—it has its place in the scientific community.