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McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Environmental Science: A Global Concern / Edition 8

Environmental Science: A Global Concern / Edition 8

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Environmental Science: A Global Concern, Eleventh Edition, is a comprehensive presentation of environmental science for non-science majors which emphasizes critical thinking, environmental responsibility, and global awareness. This book is intended for use in a one- or two-semester course in environmental science, human ecology, or environmental studies at the college or advanced placement high school level.

We have updated data throughout the chapters in this book. Information and examples presented are the most recent available as of the mid-2009. You will find an abundance of specific numbers and current events – details that are difficult to keep up-to-date in a textbook.

The goal of this book is to provide an up-to-date, introductory global view of essential themes in environmental science along with emphasis on details and case studies that will help students process and retain the general principles. Because most students who will use this book are freshman or sophomore non-science majors, the authors make the text readable and accessible without technical jargon or a presumption of prior science background.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780072439564
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date: 07/28/2004
Edition description: 8TH
Pages: 624
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 11.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

William Cunningham is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Minnesota where he taught for 36 years in the Departments of Botany and Genetics and Cell Biology as well as the Conservation Biology Program, the Institute for Social, Economic, and Ecological Sustainability, the Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, and the McArthur Program in Global Change. He received his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Texas in 1963 and spent two years at Purdue University as a postdoctoral fellow. At various times, he has been a visiting scholar in Sweden, Norway, Indonesia, and China, as well as several universities and research institutions in the United States.

Dr. Cunningham has devoted himself to education and teaching development at the undergraduate level in biology. He began his educational career in structural biology but for the last 10-15 years has concentrated on environmental science, teaching courses such as Social Uses of Biology; Garbage, Government, and the Globe; Environmental Ethics; and Conservation History. Within the past four years, he has received both of the two highest teaching honors that the University of Minnesota bestows — The Distinguished Teaching Award and a $15,000 Amoco Alumni Award. He has served as a Faculty Mentor for younger faculty at the university, sharing the knowledge and teaching skills that he has gained during his distinguished career.

Mary Ann Cunningham teaches geography and geographic information systems (GIS), and environmental studies at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY. Her research involves using GIS to assess landscape-level problems in conservation and biodiversity. In particular, she is interested in understanding the nature of fragmentation in grassland environments and the effects of fragmentation on the make-up of bird communities. The agricultural landscapes where she has been working represent a complex and fascinating interaction of issues concerning working landscapes, resource use, remnant wildlife habitat, and landscape aesthetics. It is at the intersection of these issues that she likes to try and understand the geography of physical environments. Mary Ann earned a PhD in Geography at the University of Minnesota, an MA in Geography at the University of Oregon, and a BA in Geology at Carleton College.

Table of Contents

Part One Principles for Understanding Our Environment

1 Understanding Our Environment

2 Principles of Science and Systems

3 Matter, Energy, and Life

4 Evolution, Biological Communities, and Species Interactions

5 Biomes: Global Patterns of Life

6 Population Biology
Part Two People in the Environment

7 Human Populations

8 Environmental Health and Toxicology

9 Food and Hunger

10 Farming: Conventional and Sustainable Practices
Part Three Understanding and Managing Living Systems

11 Biodiversity: Preserving Species

12 Biodiversity: Preserving Landscapes

13 Restoration Ecology
Part Four Physical Resources and Environmental Systems

14 Geology and Earth Resources

15 Air, Weather, and Climate

16 Air Pollution

17 Water Use and Management

18 Water Pollution
Part Five Issues and Policy

19 Conventional Energy

20 Sustainable Energy

21 Solid, Toxic, and Hazardous Waste

22 Urbanization and Sustainable Cities

23 Ecological Economics

24 Environmental Policy, Law, and Planning

25 What Then Shall We Do?


The Chinese ideogram for "crisis" combines the character wei, meaning danger, with the character ji, denoting opportunity. This is a good description of our global environment situation. We are dangerously close to pushing biological communities and biophysical processes beyond the point from which they can recover. At the same time, our greatly increased understanding of the natural world and how it works gives us an opportunity to repair the damage we have caused and to find new, more efficient, and more environmentally-friendly ways of providing the goods and services we need. British ecologist, Norman Myers points that the current generation of students has the advantage of being the first in history to have the information, resources, and motivation to do something to solve our environmental crisis. Unfortunately, he adds, if solutions to some of our most pressing problems aren't found quickly, this generation also may be the last to have the chance to do so.

I hope that you will find this book a valuable source of information about our global environment, as well as an inspiration for solutions to the dilemmas we face. Everyone has a role to play in this endeavor. Whether as students, educators, researchers, activists, or consumers, each of us can find ways to contribute in solving our common problems.

Who makes up the audience for this text?

This book is intended for use in a one- or two-semester course in Environmental Science, Human Ecology, or Environmental Studies at the college or advanced placement high school level. Because most students who will use this book are freshman or sophomore non-science majors, I have tried to make the text readable and accessible without technical jargon or a presumption of prior science background. At the same time, enough data and depth are presented to make this book suitable for many upper division classes and a valuable resource for students who will keep it in their personal libraries after their formal studies are completed.

Why did I write this book?

I have taught aspects of environmental science in a variety of settings for about 40 years. Although the earliest of these classes focused primarily on natural history and conservation, I found my interests and concerns changing in the 1970s. Two broad areas of environmental science that seemed important to me weren't covered in the existing textbooks. One of these is global concerns. We live in an highly interconnected world; the coal burned in China, or the nuclear waste dumped in the ocean by Russia, or the pesticides used on farm crops in Central America affect all of us. The other area is environmental justice and the human dimensions of environmental issues. Although my original interests in the environment were primarily wilderness and wildlife issues, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s opened my eyes to the conditions in inner cities and the role of economics, health, policy, and law in environmental concerns. Ecology remains the heart of environmental science but students also need to know something about the roles of human institutions and social sciences to be educated environmental citizens. It's gratifying to see that since the first edition of this book was published in 1990, concerns about environmental ethics and social justice are appearing in other textbooks as well.

How important is sustainability and environmental citizenship?

Ultimately the aims of this book are to foster attitudes of stewardship and environmental citizenship, and to encourage the goals of economic, ecological, and social sustainability. In the preamble to the United Nations Earth Charter, the authors declare that, "In an increasingly interdependent world, it is imperative that we, the citizens of the Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, the greater community of life, and future generations." Among the principles proposed by the Earth Charter are:

  • Respect Earth and all life, recognizing the interdependence and intrinsic value of all beings.
  • Care for the community of life in all its diversity as a responsibility shared by everyone.
  • Strive to build free, just, participatory, and sustainable communities.
  • Secure peace and Earth's abundance and beauty for present and future generations.
I hope the readers of this book will come to share those goals and to understand the reasons they are so important.

-William P. Cunningham

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