Environment and Society : Human Perspectives on Environmental Issues

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-01-01
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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For courses in Environmental Sociology and Environmental Conservation, as well as in Sociology, Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, and Human Geography. This text about human environment relations connects issues concerning the human societies, ecological systems, and environment with data and perspectives from different fields of study in the natural and social sciences.

Table of Contents

Human Systems, Environment, and Social Science
The Earth's Vital Signs and the Human Footprint
The Resources of the Earth: Sources and Sinks
Global Climate Change, Scientific Uncertainty, and Risk
Population, Environment, and Food
Energy and Society
A Sustainable World?
Alternative Futures: Sustainability, Inequality, and Social Change
Transforming Structures: Markets, Politics, and Policy
Environmentalism: Ideology, and Collective Action
Globalization: Trade, Environment, and the Third Revolution
Name Index
Subject Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


Environment and Society: Human Perspectives on Environmental Issuesis intended to provide college students and other interested readers with an introduction to environmental problems and issues. More specifically, it is about the human connections and impacts on the environment--and vice versa. There are many specialized research reports and monographs about particular environmental topics and issues, but I intend this book to work as an integrative vehicle for many different human and environmental issues. It is intended to be usable in a variety of settings that are seriously concerned with the connections between human societies, ecosystems, and the geophysical envir6nment. It is appropriate for upper division undergraduates and, with appropriate supplements, for beginning graduate students. Stimulated by the enormous growth of interest in environmental issues and problems in higher education, the book is addressed to the diverse backgrounds of students in classes and programs that attend to environmental and ecological topics. My own classes have a yeasty mix of students from biology, environmental sciences, the social sciences, and sometimes others from education, philosophy, or marketing. I have tried to write a book that is at least understandable to them all. Its social science perspective is mostly sociological, but readers expecting a narrow disciplinary treatise will be disappointed. I hope it will be intellectually challenging for students, but perceptive readers will note that in some places the book alternates between more advanced and more elementary topics. This is deliberate, because social science students know some things that natural science students do not, and vice versa. The book treats blocks of material that recognizably constitute contemporary environmental concerns, controversies, and discourses. The third edition has new data in many places, new material about human ecology and world political economy that connects human environmental issues to the evolution of ecosystems. That material frames more particular issues. This edition also has much new material--about, for instance, policy concerning climate change, energy transitions in the coming century, community resource management, emissions trading, ecological modernization, environmental movements, and global issues. As with such books, some chapters could be omitted or rearranged, but I have tried to write a book that is truly developmental and ties the topics of different chapters together. A pervasive theme is that disciplinary scholars bring very different intellectual views (paradigms) to the understanding of human-environmental issues. I argue that these different views are not ultimately irreconcilable. But if you do not like attention given to different points of view, this is probably not the book for you. This is a book about "big issues," but it is, I hope, written in a way that engages individual readers. I had intended to include an epilogue to examine the connections between big issues and the personal life, but reviewers suggested that I do so in smaller installments at the end of each chapter instead of at the end of the book. So each chapter is followed by some questions and issues ("Personal Connections") that attempt to make macro-micro links between large-scale issues and the lives of persons. These are not "review questions" that summarize chapter content, but rather they provide opportunities for dialogue between the book and its readers. They may provide points of departure for discussion and argumentation. I hope they are useful, but they are clearly not everybody's cup of tea, nor will they be useful for every setting in which the book is used. Every intellectual work is in some sense autobiographical. My early college education (of many years ago!) was in biology and the physical sciences. But I subsequently pursued graduate studies in sociology, and for year

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