You are here

Understanding Environmental Issues
Share

Understanding Environmental Issues

Edited by:


May 2008 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"Understanding Environmental Issues provides an excellent foundation for developing critical thinking about contemporary environmental concerns and the ways in which these are debated, represented and managed. The book should achieve its aim of stimulating students to engage with how ideas of sustainability and environmental justice can be applied both in policy and in practical action."
- Gordon Walker, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University


"The arena of environmental issues is a minefield for undergraduate students seeking clarity about key problems and solutions. This is where Understanding Environmental Issues will play a major role, providing a stimulating guide through the wealth of material and complex ideas. In particular the unification of social and physical science in the case studies provides a holistic approach to the subject that is essential for students and a refreshing innovation for environmental textbooks."
- Anna R. Davies, Trinity College, University of Dublin


There is now an unprecedented interest in, and concern about, environmental problems. Understanding Environmental Issues explains the science behind these problems, as well as the economic, political, social, and cultural factors which produce and reproduce them. This book:

  • Explains, clearly and concisely, the science and social science necessary to understand environmental issues.
  • Describes - in section one - the philosophies, values, politics, and technologies which contribute to the production of environmental issues.
  • Uses cases on climate change, waste, food, and natural hazards in section two to provide detailed illustration and exemplification of the ideas described in section one. The conclusion, a case study of Mexico City, draws together the key themes

Vivid, accessible and pedagogically informed, Understanding Environmental Issues will be a key resource for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students in Geography, Environment, and Ecology; as well as students of the social sciences with an interest in environmental issues.

Susan Buckingham and Mike Turner
Introduction
 
PART ONE: FRAMEWORKS
Susan Buckingham
Approaching Environmental Issues
Susan Buckingham
The Rise of Environmental Politics and the Environmental Movement
Andrea Revell
Valuing the Environment
Environmental Economics and the Limits to Growth Debate  
Adrian Combrinck, Mike Turner & Rob Wright
Geo-Information Technology and the Environment
 
PART TWO: CASE STUDIES
Susan Buckingham and Phil Collins
Food
Susan Buckingham and Iris Turner
Waste
John Woodward and Susan Buckingham
Global Climate Change
Iain Stewart and Kate Donovan
Natural Hazards
Mike Turner
Mexico City

Understanding Environmental Issues provides an excellent foundation for developing critical thinking about contemporary environmental concerns and the ways in which these are debated, represented and managed. The book should achieve its aim of stimulating students to engage with how ideas of sustainability and environmental justice can be applied both in policy and in practical action
Professor Gordon Walker, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University


'The arena of environmental issues is a minefield for undergraduate students seeking clarity about key problems and solutions. This is where Understanding Environmental Issues will play a major role, providing a stimulating guide through the wealth of material and complex ideas. In particular the unification of social and physical science in the case studies provides a holistic approach to the subject that is essential for students and a refreshing innovation for environmental textbooks
Anna R. Davies, Trinity College, University of Dublin


Straight outta Uxbridge something special emerged from the grim surroundings of Brunel University, a concrete jungle in the London suburbs, in the 1990s - a passionate, committed group of geographers and geologists with a commitment to innovative pedagogy, to the application of knowledge, and to tackling the big environmental issues of the day. This book, written by a Brunel University team that includes at least two media stars, shows that understanding the environment should involve engagement, and reaching out beyond the campus. It also tackles the big issues of the day, and how we value them and approach them as scholars, citizens and activists. A useful set of thematic chapters introduce students to key environmental issues - the food and waste streams, climate change, natural hazards, and urban environments. Highly recommended
Simon P J Batterbury
School of Resource Management and geography, University of Melbourne and ECI, University of Oxford


As I write this brief review of Understanding Environmental Issues a highly damming report from Ofsted 'Geography in Schools - Changing Practice' has just been published. As the Independent reported 'Children are being let down by boring geography lessons which fail to teach them about global issues such as climate change' (17/1/08) in a report entitled 'Geography classes 'ignore key issues''. Probably related to this has been a fall in numbers of 11% of both GCSE and A level students since 2003.

What's to be done about this state of affairs?

Well for a start teachers - both geographers and others - should read this book to be informed and enthused to teach stimulating and up to date lessons on matters of environmental concern. Similarly although the market for the book is the undergraduate student - as with other excellent such books - there is a clear market in the talented A level student here - arguably even for the interested layman as well - and dare I say also parents who might begin to understand the great vehicle that geography is for environmental education!

The book's strengths are to do with the pedagogic backgrounds and commitment of the authors and the spread of expertise revealed. I do like section 1 where some of the big ideas and concepts are explored followed by section 2 where case studies are written by partnerships of scientists and social scientists. The case studies provided are of worldwide environmental significance and the final chapter on Mexico City touches on many of the concepts and cases written about earlier in the text.

A key objective was to stimulate interest and action by the readers - I think it will achieve that and not just for an undergraduate audience. I found it was written and illustrated in an accessible way. Highly recommended
Professor Ashley Kent
Institute of Education University of London


Understanding Environmental Issues will stimulate critical thinking and debate about the inextricable links between the physical and socio-political determinants of our planet's future
Julian Agyeman
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning,Tufts University


In a world where concrete environmental systems are in a state of change at the same time our understandings of these systems are in upheaval, teaching environmental issues has become impossible without meaningful integration of earth systems and political-economic relationships. Buckingham, Turner, and their collaborators accomplish this extremely difficult task and make a range of complex and iterative synergies clear, immediate, and compelling: hydrology and water rights; agronomy and land control; carbon loading and carbon trading; systems of flows and systems of meaning. A terrific teaching text
Professor Paul Robbins
University of Arizona



This book is a great resource for instructors and teachers who are involved in any undergraduate environmental education course. I particularly find case study chapters very helpful. These chapters on food, waste, climate change and hazards focus on wide variety of aspects of the issues such as environmental patterns, environmental and health impacts, moral and ethical considerations.
Although Chapter 1 has some good pointers on the relationship between approaches to the society and environment nexus and talks about environmental justice and ecofeminism, it would also have been nice to read other contemporary approaches such as ecojustice.

Dr Bahadir Namdar
Primary Education/ Science Education Program, Recep Tayyip Erdogan University
March 27, 2015

A good introduction to the issues around. The first half of hte book is stronger than the second. The case studies do not always relate to each other.

Mr Paul Cowie
Newcastle Business School, Newcastle Univ.
July 7, 2014

The book is an excellent read and supplement text for tow modules one at a masters level and another at the undergraduate level. I will recommend that the masters students consider purchasing this book.

Ms Bernadette Snow
Development Studies, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
November 20, 2013

Detailed and informative.

Mr David Ness
Social Science, Moray College UHI
October 23, 2013

An engaging and well-written text useful as an introduction to environmental issues and providing valuable information concerning debates relating to environmental policy debates.

Dr Angus Nurse
Department of Criminology, Middlesex University
May 29, 2013

Gives examples for the practical uses of GIS

Mr Helge Simon
Institute of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
December 11, 2012

This book contains relevant information and advice for students carrying out independent research projects in areas of Physical Geography that overlap with Environmental Science, and as such is valuable reading for many of our students although it is not central to our core teaching.

Dr Peter Knight
School of Physical & Geographical Sci, Keele University
December 8, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One PDF


Preview this book

For instructors

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9780761942368
£35.99
ISBN: 9780761942351
£117.00

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.