This book presents an earth science-based overview of the challenges to sustainability. It provides a detailed study of climate change, as well as energy, food, and water security across different regions. The author uncovers the problems caused by current social and environmental practices, and offers potential solutions. Focusing on systems theory, footprint analysis, risk, and resilience, many examples are given of how to use resources sustainably, especially common pool resources such as the atmosphere, oceans, and groundwater. The book develops its ideas from an array of practical case studies, centering on communal objectives and shared responsibilities.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Sustainability and Human Well-Being. The Environmental ImPACT. Risk, Resilience, and System Dynamics. Sustainable Development: How to Avoid Collapse and Build a Better Society. Nonrenewable Resources: Oil and Minerals. Global Climate Change. Responses to Global Climate Change. Nonrenewable Energy Sources. Renewable Energy Sources. Sustainable Energy Plans. Water. Food. Waste and Pollution. The Biosphere. The Future.
Dr. John C. Ayers is a Professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at Vanderbilt University. John is a geochemist whose research focuses on what controls the movement of elements in natural systems. Current projects include identifying the sources of salts and arsenic in soil and water in the coastal zone of Bangladesh; the geochemistry of soil formation; and measurement of soil gas fluxes of methane in areas where natural gas is mined by hydraulic fracturing. John has published over thirty papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is a fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America. At Vanderbilt he has served as Department Chair and Director of Graduate Studies, and he teaches courses on Geochemistry and Sustainability Science.
Featured Author Profiles
"John Ayers has addressed one of the issues of our time (maintaining human life on earth) and clarified the meaning of the overused word sustainability. Using his experience as a geochemist, he has given us clear descriptions of the issue facing us and logically outlined possible scenarios in an easy-to-read text."
— Frank Elliott, University of Alberta, Canada
"This is a truly outstanding state-of-the-art review of the sustainability literature. The book provides an exceptional and insightful synthesis of theories, observations, and new ideas relevant to the study of sustainability in the context of the environmental sciences. It will inspire a wide community of students, scholars, and practitioners both from the natural and social sciences."
—Paolo D’Odorico, University of Virginia, USA