Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (6th Edition)
You are coming of age at a unique and momentous time in history. Within your lifetime, our global society must chart a promising course for a sustainable future. The stakes could not be higher.
Today we live long lives enriched with astonishing technologies, in societies more free, just, and equal than ever before. We enjoy wealth on a scale our ancestors could hardly have dreamed of. However, we have purchased these wonderful things at a steep price. By exploiting Earth’s resources and ecological services, we are depleting our planet’s ecological bank account. We are altering our planet’s land, air, water, nutrient cycles, biodiversity, and climate at dizzying speeds. More than ever before, the future of our society rests with how we treat the world around us.
Your future is being shaped by the phenomena you will learn about in your environmental science course. Environmental science gives us a big-picture understanding of the world and our place within it. Environmental science also offers hope and solutions, revealing ways to address the problems we create. Environmental science is not simply a subject you learn in college. Rather, it provides you a solid understanding of some of the most important issues of the 21st century, and it relates to everything around you over your entire lifetime.
We have written this book because today’s students will shape tomorrow’s world. At this unique moment in history, students of your generation are key to achieving a sustainable future for our civilization. The many environmental challenges that face us can seem overwhelming, but you should feel encouraged and motivated. Remember that each dilemma is also an opportunity. For every problem that human carelessness has created, human ingenuity can devise a solution. Now is the time for innovation, creativity, and the fresh perspectives that a new generation can offer. Your own ideas and energy can, and will, make a difference.
—Jay Withgott and Matthew Laposata
You perform one of our society’s most vital functions by educating today’s students—the citizens and leaders of tomorrow—on the processes that shape the world around them, the nature of scientific inquiry, and the pressing environmental challenges facing us in our new century. We have written this book to assist you in this endeavor because we feel that the crucial role of environmental science in today’s world makes it imperative to engage, educate, and inspire a broad audience of students.
In Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, we strive to show students how science informs our efforts to create a sustainable society. We also aim to encourage critical thinking and to maintain a balanced approach as we flesh out the vibrant social debate that accompanies environmental issues. As we assess the challenges facing our civilization and our planet, we focus on providing realistic, forward-looking solutions, for we truly feel there are many reasons for optimism. In crafting the sixth edition of this text, we have incorporated the most current information from this dynamic discipline and have tailored our presentation to best promote student learning. We have examined every line of text and every figure with great care to make sure all content is accurate, clear, and up-to-date. Moreover, we have introduced a number of changes that are new to this edition.
New to This Edition
This sixth edition includes an array of revisions that enhance our content and presentation while strengthening our commitment to teach science in an engaging and accessible manner.
• central Case Study Five Central Case Studies are completely new to this edition, complementing the 10 new case studies added in the fifth edition. All other case studies have been updated as needed to reflect recent developments. These updates provide fresh stories and new ways to frame emerging issues in environmental science. Students will compare organic farming with agriculture that uses genetically modified organisms, learn of the approaches California is taking to tackle chronic water shortages, examine how Miami is coping with sea level rise, and visit college campuses to see how students are promoting recycling and sustainable dining.
• Chapter 9: Farm to Table (And Back Again) at Kennesaw State University
• Chapter 10: Can Organic Farming and GMOs Coexist?
Chapter 15: Conserving Every Drop in California
• Chapter 18: Rising Seas Threaten South Florida
• Chapter 22: A Mania for Recycling on Campus
• closing THE LOOP Also new to this edition, each chapter now concludes with a brief section that “closes the loop” by revisiting the Central Case Study while reviewing key principles from the chapter. This new Closing the Loop section enhances our long-standing and well-received approach of integrating each Central Case Study throughout its chapter.
• the Science behind the story Six Science Behind the Story boxes are new to this edition, expanding our library of recently added examples of this feature. These new boxes, along with others that have been updated, provide a current and exciting selection of scientific studies to highlight. Students will follow researchers as they determine whether fracking is inducing earthquakes in Oklahoma; conduct a wideranging analysis of genetically modified crops; use DNA fingerprinting to combat poaching; ascertain if endocrine- disrupting chemicals are present in bottled water; predict the future of drought in the American West; and use toxic by-products of mining to reduce water use in hydraulic fracturing.
• Chapter 2: Are the Earthquakes Rattling Oklahoma Caused by Human Activity?
• Chapter 10: What Are the Impacts of GM Crops?
• Chapter 11: Can Forensic DNA Analysis Help Save Elephants?
• Chapter 15: Are We Destined for a Future of “Megadroughts” in the United States?
• Chapter 15: Is Your Bottled Water as Safe as You Think It Is?
• Chapter 23: Can Acid Mine Drainage Reduce Fracking’s Environmental Impact?
• New and revised DATA Q, FAQ, and Weighing the Issues items Incorporating feedback from instructors across North America, we have examined each example of these three features that boost student engagement, and have revised them and added new examples as appropriate.
• End-of-chapter elements Several new approaches are introduced in our redesigned end-of-chapter material. Our Reviewing Objectives section is now more streamlined and focused on the learning objectives, and also incorporates visual icons as mileposts to help students connect to the material’s location in the chapter. New “Case Study Connection” questions encourage students to craft solutions to issues raised in the chapter’s Central Case Study.
• Currency and coverage of topical issues To live up to our book’s hard-won reputation for currency, we’ve incorporated the most recent data possible throughout, change and energy concerns play ever-larger roles in today’s world, our coverage of these topics has kept pace. This edition highlights how renewable energy is growing, yet also how we continue reaching further for fossil fuels with deep offshore drilling, hydraulic fracturing for oil and shale gas, and extraction of oil sands. The text tackles the complex issue of climate change directly, while connections to this issue proliferate among topics throughout our book. This edition also evolves and improves its coverage of a diversity of topics including the valuation of ecosystem services, invasive species and their ecological impacts, hormone-disrupting substances, fresh water shortages, advanced biofuels, plastic pollution in the oceans, sustainable agriculture, campus sustainability,green-collar jobs, and technologies that help reduce environmental impacts. We continue to use sustainability as an organizing theme throughout the book.
• Enhanced style and design We have significantly updated and improved the look and clarity of our visual presentation throughout the text. A more open layout, striking visuals, and an inviting new style all make the book more engaging for students. Over 40% of the photos, graphs, and illustrations in this edition are new or have been revised to reflect current data or for enhanced clarity or pedagogy.
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