This unique addition to reference literature provides an introduction to the major concepts and contemporary issues that are essential for students of environmental science and environmental studies to know. With over 200 entries authored by world-class names like Anthony Brazel, John Day and Edward Keller, this text is divided into six sections: Environmental Science, Environments, Paradigms & Concepts, Processes & Dynamics, Scales & Techniques, and Environmental Issues.  

Power and Energy

Power and energy

The stages of historical change can be seen as marked by the nature of human access to energy. Hunter-gatherers have to garner energy from a wide area in the form of wild plants and animals, whereas agricultural people concentrate their energy sources in the form of fields of energy-rich crops like cereals and potatoes and herds of domesticated animals like cattle and sheep. With the discovery of how to use steam under pressure, the usefulness of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) became central to many economies and acted as a subsidy to the solar energy which had beforehand powered human societies. Knowledge of how to use nuclear fission to generate electricity added to the repertoire in the post-1950s ...

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