- Whitehead, Mark 2014, Environmental Transformations: A geography of the Anthropocene, London: Routledge
This well-crafted textbook by UK geographer Mark Whitehead introduces the concept of the Anthropocene and reviews major environmental challenges facing the world
- Berry, Thomas and Brian Swimme, 1992, The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era—A Celebration of the Unfolding Cosmos, San Francisco: Harper Collins.
Theologian Thomas Berry and mathematician/cosmologist Brian Swimme spent 10 years developing their joint account of the evolution of the Universe and life on Planet Earth. From this ‘big history’ perspective, they argue that humans should think of all other forms of life as ‘kin’, replacing any sense of human superiority with an understanding that we dwell within a wider community of subjective beings.
- Low, Tim, 2002, The New Nature: Winners and Losers in Wild Australia, Melbourne: Viking/Penguin.
Australian biologist Tim Low has built a reputation for writing rather provocative books aimed at a wide reading audience. In this book, he draws on his own experiences as a consulting biologist to argue that many Australian plants and animals have adapted better to European settlement than most naturalists had imagined. Resilient wild nature is present in our cities, he argues.
- Macfarlane, Robert, 2007, The Wild Places, London: Granta Books.
Cambridge-based English travel and nature writer Robert Macfarlane won multiple awards for his 2003 book Mountains of the Mind. His follow-up book takes the reader on a journey through a range of surprisingly wild landscapes stretching from the bottom of England to the top of Scotland. He argues that wild nature is more resilient in the face of human interference than many had imagined.
- McKibben, Bill, 1989, The End of Nature, New York: Random House.
Vermont-based environmental writer Bill McKibben raised the eyebrows of many environmentalists when he argued in this book that there is nowhere left on Planet Earth where non-human nature is free of human interference. As an ardent conservationist, McKibben concludes that we humans need to take our responsibility for the future wellbeing of Planet Earth much more seriously. McKibben did not invent the concept of the ‘Anthropocene’ but he certainly brought it to the attention of a wide reading audience.
- Mathews, Freya, 2005, Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Nature, Albany NY: SUNY Press.
Melbourne-based eco-philosopher Freya Mathews took a new turn in her work when she began to focus on what people might learn by walking more attentively within urban landscapes. An ardent environmentalist, she has argued that we do not have to go to National Parks or remote locations to encounter wild nature, and this book has attracted international interest.
- Miller, G. Tyler and Scott E. Spoolman, 2012, 14th edition, Environmental Science, Belmont CA: Brooks Cole.
Now into its 14th edition, this is simply the best introduction to environmental science textbook available.
- Thomashow, Mitchell, 2002, Bringing the Biosphere Home: Learning to Perceive Global Environmental Change, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
US environmental educator Mitchell Thomashow rose to international prominence with a 1996 book called Ecological Identity. This 2002 book was highly innovative in the field of environmental education in that it aims to work from the global to the local rather than the other way around. Thomashow’s ecological approach helps to dissolve boundaries between the global and the local.
Annotated Links to Further Web Resources
- United Nations Environment Programme
UNEP was established in 1972 to disseminate information and to support agencies and organisations working to reduce or reverse environmental degradation. Of particular relevance for this chapter is that the UNEP website includes a link to international work on Ecosystem Management.
- United Nations Sustainable Development Commission
The UN Sustainable Development Commission was established within the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 1993 to continue some of the work initiated by the UN Commission on Environment and Development (UNCED), which was responsible for the 1989 Brundtland Report and the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. This website provides access to relevant UN publications, such as the final report emerging from the Rio+20 conference in 2012, The Future We Want.
- Worldwatch Institute
This Washington-based institute was established in 1974 by farmer-turned-agricultural economist Lester Brown. It is probably best known for its annual State of the World reports, but it also publishes other reports which provide a critical perspective on international efforts to prevent further degradation of the natural environment.
- Earth Policy Institute
This institute was set up by Lester Brown after he left the larger Worldwatch Institute in 2002. With a fairly small team of researchers, Earth Policy Institute has published several books by Lester Brown and it aims to provide resources for environmental activists.
- World Wide Fund for Nature
Established in 1961, World Wide Fund for Nature is probably the biggest network campaigning for the protection of nature globally. WWF International is based in Switzerland but the website provides links to the websites for WWF organisations in a wide range of countries.
- Nature Conservancy
The US-based Nature Conservancy began even earlier than WWF, in 1951, and it has also established a presence in many countries.
- Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth
Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth were both established in the 1970s as environmental activist organisations. Both have a presence in many countries. They tend to be more radical in their work than WWF or the Nature Conservancy.
- Green Facts
This non-aligned organisation was set up in 2001 with the aim of picking out key facts from complex scientific reports on the state of the environment for wide dissemination. As well as publishing concise accounts of major scientific reports. the organisation also produces a GreenFacts Digest that enables people to source information on a particular topic.
Annotated Links to Video Clips
- George Monbiot: For more wonder, rewild the world
Acclaimed UK journalist George Monbiot argues that humans have the opportunity and responsibility to reintroduce wild animals that have been excluded from the original habitats by human activities. He makes a passionate call for increased ecological understanding.
- The Water Cycle
An excellent presentation from the US National Science Foundation (2013) on the importance of water and the hydrological cycle.
- The Hydrologic and Carbon Cycles
A fast-moving but informative account of the ecological cycles of water and carbon.
- Why biodiversity matters, David Suzuki
A 2011 video featuring popular environmental writer and broadcaster David Suzuki.
- Wild London, Inclusive London
This video by London Wildlife Trust reports on activities that enabled 13,000 people to learn more about wild places within the city of London. Participants were taught how to increase habitats for wild nature across the city.
- NYC Needs a Wildlife Rehab Center
A 2010 video pointing out that around 355 species of birds live in New York City and that the city is a major stopover point for migratory birds. However, unlike most US cities, it does not have a wildlife rehabilitation centre for injured wildlife.
- Writing Wild Places
Robert Macfarlane and others reflect on writing about wild places in the UK, with footage of some of those places breaking up the focus on the talking heads.
- Global Warming: Do the Math,Bill McKibben
A 2013 television interview with high profile environmental writer and activist, Bill McKibben.
- Thomas Berry and the Earth Community
A 2010 slide show put together by Caroline Webb featuring the words of Thomas Berry.
- Brian Swimme: The New Story
A sample of the many video presentations made by Brian Swimme on the universe story and its implications for the way we live on Planet Earth.