Environmental is the adjective form of environment, referring to a surrounding area. The word is usually used to refer to our ecology and the forces that act to change it.
The noun environment, meaning the "state of being environed," first appeared around 1600. The word as referring to our natural surroundings was first recorded in 1827, and the popular idea of environmental concern in an ecological sense first appeared in 1956. In recent decades, the movement toward environmental awareness has grown rapidly. In a 1997 interview, environmentalist Barry Commoner noted that "Environmental concern is now firmly embedded in public life."