Fundamentals of Practical Environmentalism: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Fundamentals of Practical Environmentalism

1st Edition

By Mark B. Weldon

CRC Press

220 pages | 22 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138114777
pub: 2017-05-31
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Hardback: 9781439849286
pub: 2011-06-20
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pub: 2016-04-19
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Environmental decisions present themselves every day in forms large and small. Should I walk to work today? What about global warming—should I write my congressperson and demand that the government do something? Should I put solar panels on my roof? Should I get a different car or turn up the temperature on the air conditioner or get water-saving fixtures for my bathroom? As environmentalism has become more complex, with potentially far-reaching impacts, it seems to be outpacing our individual understanding of the basic issues.

A fresh view of modern environmentalism, Fundamentals of Practical Environmentalism challenges readers to integrate concern for the environment with the necessities of daily living. This book introduces practical environmentalism as a new approach to sustainable environmental progress. It presents a four-part framework that includes environmental degradation, resource conservation, economic progress, and personal benefit as the four pillars to address when attempting to act on behalf of the environment.

The book consists of three main sections. Looking at historical and ethical perspectives, the first section examines the theoretical basis for practical environmentalism. The second section explains each of the four pillars in detail and demonstrates how to combine them into a holistic metric that guides environmental actions. The final section presents a number of case studies that run the gamut from small personal choices to the biggest and most contentious environmental dilemmas of the day. It shows how practical environmentalism via the four pillars can lead individuals toward better environmental decisions and an improved chance for true environmental progress.

This timely book will be of use to activists, policymakers, researchers, resource managers, government agencies, and students alike, as well as anyone confronted with environmental choices in their daily lives.


"… a timely, practical, and well-focused book on the topic of "practical environmentalism." … Good foundational reading for a wide audience including activists, policy makers, researchers, and resource managers in both public and private sectors. Summing Up: Recommended."

— CHOICE Magazine, April 2012

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Practical Environmentalism and the Four Pillars

A Short History of Environmentalism in the United States

The Ethics of Environmentalism

Issue-Driven Environmentalism

Process-Based Environmentalism

Regulatory Environmentalism

Protest Environmentalism

Perspective-Based Environmentalism

The Nonbeliever

The Live Earth

Spaceship Earth

Back to Nature




The Confounding Factors

Competing Objectives


Measures of Success

Fallacy of Prediction

Assumption of Future States

The Problem with Percentages

History of Paranoia

Crisis Mentality

Environmental Degradation—The First Pillar

Resource Conservation—The Second Pillar

The “Human” Pillars of Economic Progress and Personal Benefit

Economic Progress

Personal Benefit

Scoring with the Pillars—A Few Simple Examples to Illustrate the Method

The Pillars in Daily Life

The Pillars and the Really Big Issues

More Really Big Issues—The Sacrificial Ones

The Pillars and Global Warming

Other Measures of Environmental Performance

Carbon Footprint

Carrying Capacity

Life-Cycle Costing

Government and Scientific Reports

Green Accounting—ISEW (Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare)

Simple Monetary Economics

Some Final Thoughts


Most chapters include references.

About the Author

Dr. Weldon is an engineer by training and experience. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering and earned his doctorate in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa. He has spent much of his career working in industrial power plants. His experience includes working for large corporations in the pulp and paper, building products, and food products industries. He has also worked as a plant engineer for a Midwestern municipal electrical utility. His current position is focused on energy conservation and environmental sustainability for a large food manufacturer. Dr. Weldon has been a college instructor and carried out research in the areas of ground source heat pump systems and the association of water quality in Midwestern rivers with agricultural land use patterns. He is married with four children and lives in a wonderful small town in eastern Iowa.

About the Series

Social Environmental Sustainability

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Environmental
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Alternative & Renewable