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Environmental Science By Richard T. Wright

Environmental Science
by Richard T. Wright

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This text explores the interactions of humans within the natural environment and probes issues thoroughly examining their scientific basis, their history, and society's response. The authors discuss sustainable development and public policy in terms of how they shape the present and future.
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Environmental Science Summary

Environmental Science: Toward A Sustainable Future by Richard T. Wright

For introductory courses in Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, and Environmental Biology.

Known for its currency and readability, this text focuses on enabling students to critically evaluate the latest environmental issues and to apply that understanding to situations and events in their everyday lives. It explores the interactions of humans within the natural environment and probes issues thoroughly examining their scientific basis, their history, and society's response. The authors discuss sustainable development and public policy in terms of how they shape the present and future.

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About Richard T. Wright

Richard T. Wright is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Gordon College in Massachusetts, where he taught environmental science for 28 years. He earned a B.A. from Rutgers University and a M.A. and Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University. For many years Wright received grant support from the National Science Foundation for his work in marine microbiology and, in 1981, he was a founding faculty member of Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in Michigan, where he also served as Academic Chairman for 11 years. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 1996 was appointed a Fulbright Scholar to Kenya. He is a member of many environmental organizations, including the Nature Conservancy, Habitat for Humanity, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Massachusetts Audubon, and others, and is a supporting member of the Trustees of Reservations. Wright is involved full time in writing and speaking about the environment, and spends his spare time gardening, fishing, hiking, birding and enjoying his 7 grandchildren.

Bernard J. Nebel is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Catonsville Community College in Maryland. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Earlham College and his Ph.D. from Duke University. Nebel was one of the first college professors to develop a comprehensive environmental science course and write a text for the subject. Nebel has recently developed an elementary (K-5) science curriculum designed to help children understand the world, their place in it, and their responsibility toward it. Nebel is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the American Solar Energy Society, and the National Association of Science Teachers. He strives to make a difference in the environment in his personal life; his urban backyard is a small ecosystem complex of pond, fruit trees, and garden that is supported by composted wastes. He is an active supporter of Freedom From Hunger, Habitat for Humanity, the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and other environmental organizations.

Table of Contents

(Most chapters end with Review Questions, Thinking Environmentally, Making a Difference and Web References).


1. Introduction: Sustainability, Stewardship, and Sound Science.

The Global Environmental Picture. Three Unifying Themes. Ethics: What Is the Stewardship Ethic? Earth Watch: Agenda 21.


2. Ecosystems: Units of Sustainability.

What Are Ecosystems. The Structure of Ecosystems. Global Biomes. Implications for Humans. Ethics: Can Ecosystems Be Restored?

3. Ecosystems: How They Work.

Matter, Energy, and Life. Principles of Ecosystem Functions. Implications for Humans. Global Perspective: Lights and Nutrients: The Controlling Factors in Marine Ecosystems. Earth Watch: Biosphere 2.

4. Ecosystems: Population and Succession.

Popular Dynamics. Mechanisms of Population Equilibrium. Disturbance and Succession. Implications for Humans. Ethics: The Dilemma of Advocacy. Earth Watch: An Endangered Ecosystem Act?

5. Ecosystems and Evolutionary Change.

Selection by the Environment. Selection of Traits and Genes. Changes in Species and Ecosystems. Plate Tectonics. Evolution in Perspective. Ethics: Selection: Natural and Unnatural. Earth Watch: What Is a Species? Earth Watch: Preserving Genes for Agriculture.


6. The Human Population: Demographics.

The Population Explosion and Its Cause. Different Worlds. Environmental and Social Impacts of Growing Populations and Affluence. Dynamics of Population Growth. Earth Watch: Are We Living Longer? Ethics: The Dilemma of Immigration.

7. Addressing the Population Problem.

Reassessing the Demographic Transition. Development. A New Direction for Development: Social Modernization. The Cairo Conference. Global Perspective: Fertility and Literacy. Ethics: Additional Incentives for Reducing Fertility. Earth Watch: An Integrated Approach to Alleviating the Conditions of Poverty.


8. Soil and the Soil Ecosystem.

Plants and Soils. Soil Degradation. Addressing Soil Degradation. Ethics: Erosion by Equation. Global Perspective: Three-Strata Forage System for Mountainous Drylands.

9. Water: Hydrologic Cycle and Human Use.

Water-A Vital Resource. The Hydrologic Cycle. Human Impacts on the Hydrologic Cycle. Sources and Uses of Fresh Water. Overdrawing Water Resources. Obtaining More Water. Using Less Water. Desalting Sea Water. Storm Water. Water Stewardship. Earth Watch: Water Purification. Global Perspective: The Death of the Aral Sea. Global Perspective: The World Water Forum.

10. The Production and Distribution of Food.

Crops and Animals: Major Patterns of Food Production. Food Distribution and Trade. Hunger, Malnutrition, and Famine. Global Perspective: World Food Summit. Ethics: The Lifeboat Ethic of Garret Hardin.

11. Wild Species: Biodiversity and Protection.

Value of Wild Species. Saving Wild Species. Biodiversity. Earth Watch: Return of the Gray Wolf. Global Perspective: Biodiversity: Essential or Not?

12. Ecosystems as Resources.

Biological Systems in a Global Perspective. Conservation and Preservation. Biomes and Ecosystems under Pressure. Public and Private Lands in the United States. Earth Watch: Nature's Corporations. Earth Watch: Will Aquaculture Be Able to Fill the Gap?


13. Energy from Fossil Fuels.

Energy Sources and Uses. The Exploitation of Crude Oil. Other Fossil Fuels. Sustainable Energy Options. Ethics: Trading Wilderness for Energy in the Far North. Earth Watch: Cogeneration: Industrial Common Sense.

14. Nuclear Energy: Promise and Problems.

Nuclear Power: Dream or Delusion? How Nuclear Power Works. The Hazards and Costs of Nuclear Power. More Advanced Reactors. The Future of Nuclear Power. Ethics: Showdown in the New West. Earth Watch: Radiation Phobia?

15. Renewable Energy.

Principles of Solar Energy. Putting Solar Energy to Work Indirect Solar Energy. Additional Renewable Energy Options. Policy for a Sustainable Energy Future. Earth Watch: Economic Payoff of Solar Energy. Ethics: Transfer of Energy Technology to the Developing World.


16. Environmental Hazards and Human Health.

Links between Human Health and the Environment. Pathways of Risk. Risk Assessment. Ethics: The Rights of Smokers? Global Perspective: An Unwelcome Globalization.

17. Pests and Pest Control.

The Need for Pest Control. Promises and Problems of the Chemical Approach. Alternative Pest Control Methods. Socioeconomic Issues in Pest Management. Public Policy. Ethics: DDT for Malaria Control: Hero or Villain? Global Perspective: Wasps 1, Mealybugs 0.

18. Water: Pollution and Its Prevention.

Water Pollution. Eutrophication. Sewage Management and Treatment. Public Policy. Earth Watch: Monitoring for Sewage Contamination. Earth Watch: The Algae from Hell. Ethics: Cleaning Up the Flow.

19. Municipal Solid Waste: Disposal and Recovery.

The Solid-Waste Problem. Solutions. Public Policy and Waste Management. Earth Watch: Regionalized Recycling. Ethics: Affluenza: Do You Have It?

20. Hazardous Chemicals: Pollution and Prevention.

Toxicology and Chemical Hazards. A History of Mismanagement. Cleaning Up the Mess. Management of New Wastes. Looking toward the Future. Earth Watch: The Case of the Obee Road NPL Site. Ethics: Environmental Justice and Hazardous Waste. Career Link: Daniel S. Granz, EPA Environmental Engineer.

21. The Atmosphere: Climate, Climate Change, and Ozone Depletion.

Atmosphere and Weather. Climate. Global Climate Change. Depletion of the Ozone Layer. Ethics: Stewardship of the Atmosphere. Global Perspective: Coping with UV Radiation.

22. Atmospheric Pollution.

Air Pollution Essentials. Major Air Pollutants and Their Impact. Sources of Pollutants. Acid Deposition. Bringing Air Pollution under Control. Taking Stock. Global Perspective: Mexico City: Life in a Gas Chamber. Earth Watch: Portland Takes a Right Turn. Earth Watch: The Clean Air Act Brings a Windfall.


23. Economics, Public Policy, and the Environment.

Economics and Public Policy. Resources and the Wealth of Nations. Pollution and Public Policy. Benefit-Cost Analysis. Politics, the Public, and Public Policy. Earth Watch: Green Fees and Taxes. Global Perspective: The World Trade Organization.

24. Sustainable Communities and Lifestyles.

Urban Sprawl. Urban Blight. Moving toward Sustainable Communities. Epilogue. Ethics: The Tangier Island Covenant. Career Link: Brain Hopper, Environmental Law Intern.

ABC Video Case Studies, Volume V.
Appendix A: Environmental Organizations.
Appendix B: Units of Measure.
Appendix C: Some Basic Chemical Concepts.
Bibliography and Suggested Reading.

Additional information

Environmental Science: Toward A Sustainable Future by Richard T. Wright
Richard T. Wright
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Pearson Education (US)
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