4th Edition

Society and the Environment Pragmatic Solutions to Ecological Issues

By Michael S Carolan Copyright 2024
    362 Pages 70 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    362 Pages 70 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The fourth 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, shifting focus away from simply explaining what is wrong with the world around us. Introducing this “pragmatic environmentalism,” Carolan discusses the complex pressures and variables that exist where ecology and society collide, with population growth, the 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.

    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 Sunkfcase

    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



    Michael S. Carolan is the Co‑director of the Food Systems Institute for Research, Engagement and Learning, Professor of Sociology, and Food Systems Specialist for the Office of Engagement and Extension. Other appointments include Visiting Professor, Ruralis Research Institute, Trondheim, Norway; Research Affiliate, Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; Co‑editor for the Journal of Rural Studies; Co‑editor for the British Food Journal; and Associate Editor for the journal Sustainability. Professor Carolan has published over 300 peer‑reviewed articles.