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Environment: Sustainability

Online Resources

Ghana - Apromase Tree Pals - May -2010

Photo Credit: Trees for the Future, CC BY 2.0

Principles of Sustainability: An Exploration of Sustainability
An open course created at the University of Idaho exploring "the primary concepts, principles, and issues of sustainability" with over forty "doculecture" videos.

Sustainability at the EPA
Information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on smart growth, energy and water conservation, and other topics related to the concept of sustainability.

"Sustainability" on GREENR
Brief overview of sustainability, with a collection of selected acadamic articles, statistics, reports, and reference sources. (Requires SFCC login).

Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation
A free, open-source textbook developed by faculty at the University of Illinois aimed at lower-division undergraduates. Available in pdf and epub formats as well as a browser-readable version.

Print Resources at the SFCC Library

The SFCC library has a range of books on sustainability  from various disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches. Below is a small selection of our more recent titles. More can be found on the SFCC library website.


Feeding the Planet : Environmental Protection through Sustainable Agriculture by Klaus Hahlbrock (2009)

"Almost one billion people suffer from malnutrition worldwide. While the global population is still growing dramatically, many starve. At the same time, our environment and climate are threatened, whilst agricultural production is stagnating. Feeding the Planet: Environmental Protection through Sustainable Agriculture promotes conscious and responsible dealings with nature and with ourselves, and poses an important question: how can we maintain a viable and vital diversity of the species--including our own?" -- publisher's description

Greening through IT : Information Technology for Environmental Sustainability by Bill Tomlinson (2010)

"Environmental issues often span long periods of time, far-flung areas, andlabyrinthine layers of complexity. In Greening through IT, Bill Tomlinsoninvestigates how the tools and techniques of information technology can help us tackle environmental problems at such vast scales. Tomlinson describes theoretical, technological, andsocial aspects of a growing interdisciplinary approach to sustainability, ... Tomlinson describes many efforts toward sustainability supported by IT--from fishers in India who maximized the sales potential of their catch by coordinating their activities with mobile phones to the installation of smart meters that optimize electricity use in California households--and offers three detailed studies of specific research projects that he and his colleagues have undertaken ... Taken together, these examples illustrate the significant environmental benefits that innovations in information technology can enable." -- publisher's description

Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth by Juliet B. Schor (2010)

"At a moment of ecological and financial crisis, bestselling author and economist Juliet B. Schor presents a revolutionary strategy for transitioning toward a richer, more balanced life. In Plenitude, economist and bestselling author Juliet B. Schor offers a groundbreaking intellectual statement about the economics and sociology of ecological decline, suggesting a radical change in how we think about consumer goods, value, and ways to live. Humans are degrading the planet far faster than they are regenerating it. As we travel along this shutdown path, food, energy, transport, and consumer goods are becoming increasingly expensive. The economic downturn that has accompanied the ecological crisis has led to another type of scarcity: incomes, jobs, and credit are also in short supply. Our usual way back to growth--a debt-financed consumer boom--is no longer an option our households, or planet, can afford. Responding to our current moment, Plenitudeputs sustainability at its core, but it is not a paradigm of sacrifice. Instead, it's an argument that through a major shift to new sources of wealth, green technologies, and different ways of living, individuals and the country as a whole can actually be better off and more economically secure." -- publisher's description

Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology by Alexis Madrigal (2011)

"Technology journalist Madrigal rises above politics to review the surprisingly long and fruitful history of renewable energy in the U.S. From the water-powered turbines of the Lowell factories to windmills dotting the Great Plains in the mid-nineteenth century, he makes it clear that Americans were eager to utilize green power from the earliest days of industrialization. Readers will likely be startled by hopeful early-twentieth-century declarations that Pacific Ocean wave motors would render Los Angeles a smokeless and sootless city. While the motors were a failure at the time, the enthusiasm for their success is echoed in the current use of tidal power. From modern-day transcendentalists to suburban solar homes of the Ozzie-and-Harriet era, Madrigal disproves any notion that an energy-conscious attitude is a twenty-first-century invention. Rather, it is one that has been as much a part of our national fabric as the frontier ideal itself.." -- Booklist Review

The Story of Stuff : How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health--and a Vision for Change by Annie Leonard (2010)

"We have a problem with Stuff. With just 5 percent of the world s population, we re consuming 30 percent of the world s resources and creating 30 percent of the world's waste. If everyone consumed at U.S. rates, we would need three to five planets This alarming fact drove Annie Leonard to create the Internet film sensation The Story of Stuff, which has been viewed over 10 million times by people around the world. In her sweeping, groundbreaking book of the same name, Leonard tracks the life of the Stuff we use every day where our cotton T-shirts, laptop computers, and aluminum cans come from, how they are produced, distributed, and consumed, and where they go when we throw them out ... Outlining the five stages of our consumption-driven economy from extraction through production, distribution, consumption, and disposal she vividly illuminates its frightening repercussions. Visiting garbage dumps and factories around the world, Leonard reveals the true story behind our possessions why it's cheaper to replace a broken TV than to fix it; how the promotion of 'perceived obsolescence' encourages us to toss out everything from shoes to cell phones while they re still in perfect shape; and how factory workers in Haiti, mine workers in Congo, and everyone who lives and works within this system pay for our cheap goods with their health, safety, and quality of life.." -- CHOICE Review

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