333 pages | 29 Color Illus. | 65 B/W Illus.
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.
"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
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.