The term “environmental geology”, as used in this book, is relatively recent. It dates from the America of the 1960s, and was popularized there in books such as those by P.T.Flawn (1970), D.R.Coates (1971), R. W.Tank (1973) and F.Betz (1975). However, much of the subject matter of environmental geology has a far longer history, most of it grouped as “applied” or “economic” geology. A brief survey of this history is instructive, revealing the roots of geologists’ traditional perception of their rôle within industrial societies. Later parts of this chapter suggest that this perception must change rapidly if geology is best to serve the future interests of society.