Environmental issues are inherently cross-disciplinary. To effectively grapple with them, their economic, social, and political dimensions must be considered. But to truly understand such problems, their underlying scientific aspects cannot be ignored. Basic principles of energy, including thermodynamics and the nature of light and heat, as well the principles that describe structure of matter and chemical reactivity, comprise an essential scientific literacy necessary to thoughtfully engage in the environmental arena. The goal of this course is to provide a foundational understanding of the physical science that underlies many pressing issues: from climate change, to alternative energy, to water pollution. We will use environmental issues as a context to explore fundamental scientific principles, but the ideas we will cover have widespread applicability beyond those. The class will include both lecture and laboratory components. Students will be responsible for a major research project, the possible form of which has wide latitude, as well as review assignments and frequent readings.