3rd Edition

Society and the Environment Pragmatic Solutions to Ecological Issues

By Michael S Carolan Copyright 2020
    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    376 Pages
    by Routledge

    Without focusing entirely on what is wrong with the world around us, the third edition of Society and the Environment centers its discussion on realistic solutions to the problems that persist and examines current controversies within a socio-organizational context. After introducing “pragmatic environmentalism,” Carolan discusses the complex pressures and variables that exist where ecology and society collide, such as population growth and the concurrent increase in demands for food and energy, and transportation and its outsized influence on urban and community patterns. With further attention given to the social phenomena and structural dynamics driving today’s environmental problems, the book concludes with an important reflection on truly sustainable solutions and what constitutes meaningful social change.

    Each chapter in this interdisciplinary text follows a three-part structure beginning with an overview of what is wrong and why. This leads into a discussion on each issue’s wide-ranging implications and, finally, a balanced consideration of realistic solutions. Featuring updated and expanded examples, discussion points, and coverage of recent developments including the US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, “booming” national economies and wealth distribution, growing global interest in environmental justice—with particular focus on the links between injustice and race and inequality—climate change, and renewable energy, this new edition remains an essential companion for courses on environmental sociology and sustainability.

    Preface to the Third Edition Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: Individuals, Societies, and Pragmatic Environmentalism Part I : Living in a Material World 2. Greenhouse Gases: Warmer Isn't Better 3. Waste: Our Sinks Are Almost Sunk 4. Biodiversity: Society Wouldn't Exist Without It 5. Water: There's No Substitute Part II: At the Intersection of Ecology and Society 6. Population: A Problem of Quantity or Quality? 7. Transportation: Beyond Air Pollution 8. Food: From Farm to Fork 9. Energy Production: Our Sun-ny Prospects Part III: Organizing a Sustainable Society 10. Political Economy: Making Markets Fair and Sustainable 11. Governance: Biases and Blind Spots 12. Inequality and Growth: Prosperity for All Part IV: Shifting the Focus to Results 13. From Our Beliefs to Our Behaviors: Pragmatic Environmentalism in Action Glossary References Index


    Michael Carolan is Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs at Colorado State University, where he teaches courses in environmental sociology and the sociology of food and agriculture. His books include The Real Cost of Cheap Food (Earthscan), No One Eats Alone: Food as a Social Enterprise (Island Press), and The Food Sharing Revolution: How Start-Ups, Pop-Ups, and Co-Ops Are Changing the Way We Eat (Island Press). He also mentors and supervises students in sustainability-related research around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

    An engaging, well-organized, and comprehensive treatment of the core issues in environmental sociology. Carolan’s conversational style and pragmatic focus will help students connect with the subject rather than become depressed. Richard York, University of Oregon

    I think this book is unique in its foregrounding of pragmatism. Even though both Bell and this book are positive, I think the manuscript in progress is more hopeful and accessible than Bell’s book. The special strength that would appeal to my students is its interdisciplinarity, its accessibility, and its lack of social scientific jargon.
    Shaunna Scott, University of Kentucky

    Carolan masterfully presents complex environmental problems (and their solutions) in a concise and lucid manner that will hold students’ attention. The standard framework for considering issues, the inclusion of exceptional case studies and ethical questions that will create a point of departure for many good class discussions, and the consideration of applied and practical efforts to protect the environment and manage resources all contribute to making this an excellent text and the backbone for any course in environmental sociology. Hats off to the author!
    Stephanie McSpirit, Eastern Kentucky University