Today’s current environmental issues provoke a good deal of science, research and controversy. Questia, the premier online research and paper-writing tool, is a terrific resource for exploring the history of complex environmental topics such as climate change, global warming and sustainable development. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the first eight months of 2012 were the hottest ever recorded in the continental United States. Researchers at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center have said a key indicator of climate change, arctic ice, has melted to its lowest level on record this year.
From the Ivory-billed Woodpecker to the Javan Rhinoceros to the Greater Bamboo Lemur, no less than one in ten species could face extinction by the year 2100, according to research by the University of Exeter. How does humanity consider what to save? When do we let go? And is there a fine line drawn somewhere in the sand? To assist students in their research of today’s environmental challenges, we’ve granted access to reference works on some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.
To provide context, Questia is granting access to reference works on five books that explore in detail the complexity of these monumental environmental problems for free for the entire month!
Authors Eric A. Posner and David Weisbach tackle the subject of climate change by arguing for pragmatic constraints constituting a moral vision whereby states cooperatively advance the well-being of their populations, and hence the global population, by agreeing to limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Allocation of burdens will vary given the state of those countries contributing the most to global warming but ethical considerations will play an important role in helping to generate a surplus, in the form of credits or monetary payments among countries. [Posner, Eric A., and David Weisbach. Climate Change Justice. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2010.Questia. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.]
A vast number of people living in developing countries are faced with the continued dilemma of economic prosperity at the expense of environmental degradation. Farmland, forests, wetlands, and coastal areas are under constant threat by industrial development while at the same time form the basis of livelihood for many of its inhabitants. Misguided policies can lead to short term gain but long term harm to the environment and for future generations. Author David Glover’s book explores economic questions on the value of environmental benefits versus the costs of safeguarding them and can we assess the impacts of environmental action (or inaction) on the poor? [Glover, David. Valuing the Environment: Economics for a Sustainable Future. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre, 2010. Questia. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.]
Authors Christine E. Gudorf and James E. Huchingson document recent case studies on the topic of environmental ethics, including water privatization and governmental efforts at mitigating global climate change. Other case studies revolve around the experience that teachers of environmental ethics encounter in the classroom, including such questions as: “Why should we care?” “Why should I put the interests of animals or habitats or future human beings ahead of my personal interests?” Or “What are the values that would oblige us to conserve the natural environment?” These are central questions faced by both students and those who work in the fields of economics and politics. [Gudorf, Christine E., and James E. Huchingson. Boundaries: A Casebook in Environmental Ethics. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Georgetown UP, 2010. Questia. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.]
Author Michael R. Greenberg pores over the experience of what is involved in the creation of environmental policy and practice. Case studies are examined leading readers to a better understanding of how certain factors have driven key environmental health decisions in the United States. Greenberg’s goal is for the reader to recognize that adopting a specific framework and learning key theories and tools will help place you in a better position to respond to new policy issues that emerge. [Greenberg, Michael R. Environmental Policy Analysis and Practice. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2007. Questia. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.]
Author Toddi A. Steelman provides insight into the conditions that impede or facilitate successful innovations. For Steelman, given that public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic organizations invest millions of dollars in promoting innovative programs, it is imperative that we understand the conditions under which these innovations are likely to fulfill their promise. If we can understand these conditions, then we can better target funding, human resources, and political will to support innovations over the long term. [Steelman, Toddi A. Implementing Innovation: Fostering Enduring Change in Environmental and Natural Resource Governance. Washington, DC: Georgetown UP, 2010. Questia. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.]
Visit Questia’s topic page on environmental issues for more information. If not already a member, you can try Questia free for one day and conduct research into environmental issues in our books and journals.