Scientific American Environmental Science for a Changing World

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-01-07
  • Publisher: W. H. Freeman
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Following real people and real science, Environmental Science for a Changing World provides a unique context for showing students how science works and how to think critically about environmental issues. Chapters don’t merely include interesting stories they are examples of science journalism at its best, combining Scientific American-style writing, layout, and graphics to tell compelling stories that exemplify important concepts and issues. This approach has proven so effective that instructors using the book report a dramatic increase in the number of students who read the assignments and come to class ready to participate.

This updated new edition features new stories, updated scientific coverage, and enhanced Infographics—the book’s signature visual study tool that combines memorable images, step-by-step callouts, and questions that foster scientific literacy. The book is organized into 11 chapters, each consisting of multiple modules focused on different aspects of environmental science, from ecology and evolution, to human interactions with the environment, to land, water, and energy resources. Although each module tells a compelling and relatable story, it is built on a core pedagogy of Guiding Questions that help students extract the scientific concepts that form the basis for the story. This edition also has its own dedicated version of Macmillan’s online course space, LaunchPad, which is filled with Video exercises, animations, graphing exercises, and assessments, including LearningCurve adaptive quizzing that help students apply the science, debunk misconceptions, and prepare for exams.  

Author Biography

Susan Karr, MS, is an Instructor in the Biology Department of Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, and has been teaching for over 15 years. She has served on campus and community environmental sustainability groups and helps produce an annual “State of the Environment” report on the environmental health of her county. In addition to teaching non-majors courses in environmental science and human biology, she teaches an upper-level course in animal behavior where she and her students train dogs from the local animal shelter in a program that improves the animals’ chances of adoption. She received degrees in Animal Behavior and Forestry from the University of Georgia.

Jeneen Interlandi is a science writer who contributes to Scientific American and The New York Times Magazine. Previously, she spent four years as a staff writer for Newsweek, where she covered health, science, and the environment. In 2009, she received a Kaiser Foundation fellowship for global health reporting and traveled to Europe and Asia to cover outbreaks of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Jeneen has worked as a researcher at both Harvard Medical School and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds Masters degrees in Environmental Science and Journalism, both from Columbia University in New York.
Anne Houtman, PhD, is Professor and Head of the School of Life Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, which includes programs in Environmental and Biological Sciences. Her research interests are in the behavioral ecology of birds, and currently research in her laboratory focuses on the ecology and evolution of hummingbird song. She also has an active research program in science pedagogy. Anne received her doctorate in zoology from the University of Oxford and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of

Table of Contents


1. Environmental Literacy and the Goal of Sustainability
On the Road to Collapse: What lessons can we learn from a vanished Viking society?

2. Science Literacy and the Process of Science
Science and the Sky: Solving the mystery of the disappearing ozone

3. Information Literacy:
Toxic Bottles? On the trail of chemicals in our everyday lives


4. Human Populations
One Child China Grows Up: A country faces the outcomes of radical population control

5. Environmental Health
Eradicating a Parasitic Nightmare: Human health is intricately linked to the environment


6. Ecological Economics and Consumption
Wall to Wall, Cradle to Cradle: A leading carpet company takes a chance on going green

7. Managing Solid Waste
A Plastic Surf: Are the oceans teeming with trash?


8. Ecosystems and Nutrient Cycling
Engineering Earth: An ambitious attempt to replicate Earth’s life support systems goes awry

9. Population Ecology
The Wolf Watchers: Endangered gray wolves return to the American West

10. Community Ecology
What the Stork Says: A bird species in the Everglades reveals the intricacies of a threatened ecosystem


11. Evolution
A Tropical Murder Mystery: Finding the missing birds of Guam

12. Biodiversity
Palm Planet: Production of a common household ingredient is wreaking havoc on wildlife across the globe

13. Preserving Biodiversity
A Forest Without Elephants: Can we save one of Earth's iconic species?


14. Freshwater Resources
Toilet to Tap: A California county is employing a controversial method to
supply drinking water

15. Water Pollution
Into the Gulf: The makings of a dead zone, far upstream


16. Feeding the World
A Gene Revolution: Can genetically engineered food help end hunger?

17. Agriculture
Farming Like an Ecosystem: Creative solutions to feeding the world


18. Coal
Bringing Down the Mountain: In the rubble, the true costs of coal

19. Oil and Natural Gas
The Bakken Oil Boom: Is our next big fuel source our dirtiest?

Air Pollution: Consequences of Using Fossil Fuels

20. Air Pollution
The Youngest Scientists: Kids on the frontlines of asthma research

21. Climate Change
When the Trees Leave: Scientists grapple with a shifting climate


22. Nuclear Power
The Future of Fukushima: Can nuclear energy overcome its bad rep?

23. Sustainable Energy for Stationary Sources
Fueled by the Sun: A small island makes big strides in renewable energy


24. Urbanization
The Ghetto Goes Green: In the Bronx, building a better backyard

25. Environmental Policy
Counterfeit Cooling: In the global effort to thwart climate change, some lessons are
learned after the fact


Mineral Resources and Mining
Rare Earth Elements: A bevy of unfamiliar minerals are crucial for our everyday
technologies—but they come with a slew of problems

Soil and Grassland Resources
Restoring the Range: The key to recovering the world’s grasslands may be a surprising one

Forests Resources
Returning Trees to Haiti: Repairing a forest ecosystem one tree at a time

Marine Ecosystems
Science Under the Sea: Aquanauts explore an ecosystem on the brink


Raising Livestock
A Carnivore's Conundrum: Disease, pollution, and the true costs of meat

Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fish in a Warehouse? How one Baltimore fish scientist could change the way we eat


Sustainable Energy for Transportation

Gas from grass: Will an ordinary prairie grass become the next biofuel?

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