Fundamentals of Practical Environmentalism  book cover
1st Edition

Fundamentals of Practical Environmentalism

ISBN 9781138114777
Published May 31, 2017 by CRC Press
220 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

USD $84.95

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Book Description

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.

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.

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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.


"… 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