Celebrated by more than 175 countries, Earth Day is held every April 22nd and promotes appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. To help increase awareness, we’re sharing the following books and articles on our top five most researched environmental topics, and making them free for a whole month!
- Global Warming: Characterized by an increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature, global warming is a worldwide phenomenon that has been reported on in everything from media outlets to scientific journals. Evidence of global warming includes an increase of 0.8° C (1.4° F) in the last 20th century with about two thirds of this increase occurring since 1980. Scientists have speculated that increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are a result of human activities such as burning fossil fuels and are responsible for rising temperatures. To lessen the effects of global warming, many countries joined together to form the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to help prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. [Mendelsohn, Robert. The Greening of Global Warming. AEI Press: Washington, D.C., 1999.]
- Water Management: An essential resource for all life on Earth, only 0.08 percent of the world’s fresh water is available to mankind for sanitation, drinking, manufacturing, leisure and agriculture. Therefore, it is important to conserve water and to carefully exercise planning, developing, distributing and managing water resources. Since agriculture is the largest user of the world’s freshwater resources (consuming nearly 70 percent), much of the efforts in water management are directed at optimizing the use of water and in minimizing the environmental impact of water use on the natural environment. [Blumenauer, Earl. 2001. “Water Vision 2001.” Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy. Vol. 16, No. 1, 82]
- Sustainable Development: A term first coined by the Brundtland Commission (formally known as the World Commission on Environment and Development), sustainable development is the practice of meeting the needs of the present in equilibrium with basic ecological support systems. To combat heavy deterioration of human environment and natural resources, sustainable development focuses on the carrying capacity of natural systems and is conceptually broken into three aspects: environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and sociopolitical sustainability. These environmentally-friendly methods promote eco-efficiency and sustain fundamental sources of capital. [Devuyst, Hens, et al. How Green is the City? Columbia University Press: New York, 2001]
- Clean Energy: Rather than have sole dependence upon the use of fossil fuels, many companies are pursuing sustainable energy resources. Energy efficient technologies such as hydroelectricity, solar energy, wind energy, wave power, geothermal energy and tidal power have been pursed as an alternative to energy sources that emit pollutants. Clean energy has gained traction in recent years with the United States investing nearly $243 billion into wind farms, solar power and electric cars as well as other alternative technologies. [Woloski, Andrea. 2006. “Fuel of the Future: A Global Push Toward New Energy.” Harvard International Review. Vol. 27, No. 4, 40]
- Recycling: A key component of modern waste reduction from the popular expression “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” recycling utilizes used materials such as glass, plastics and paper to make new products. The process prevents the waste of potentially useful materials and reduces the consumption of fresh raw materials which reduces energy usage as well as air and water pollution. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency mandates the purchase of oil, paper, tires and building insulation from recycled or re-refined sources whenever possible. [Burkhardt, Oskamp, et al. 1998. “Predicting Three Dimensions of Residential Curbside Recycling: An Observational Study.” The Journal of Environmental Education. Vol. 29, No.2, 37-42]