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.
The science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) is often cited as saying that ‘nature is not divided into departments the way universities are’. Sometimes the analogy of a cake is used: the cosmos is a whole and it is we who decide how it is to be divided up in order to try to understand it or to manipulate it. Some divisions appear to be obvious and ‘natural’: rocks are clearly different from the atmosphere, for example; living organisms like plants, animals and bacteria are different from non-living entities like water. But when we get away from a simple classification based on appearance and want to understand how things work, their relationships turn out to be very important: the atmosphere helps to break rocks ...