Environmental Geography


Environmental Geography

People and the Environment

Leslie A. Duram

344 pages
26 photographs, 1 illustration, 25 maps, 2 graphs, 2 charts, index


December 2021


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

People generally think they understand the environment and how humans use natural resources, but these ideas are often understood only superficially. Instead of thinking, I should turn off the light, we should be asking, “Why should I turn off the light?” Using case studies and defining key concepts, Environmental Geography explains exactly how individuals and society as a whole impact the earth.

A flick of a light switch affects the demand for electricity, which is then related to sources of energy, policies about renewable energy sources, and ultimately environmental degradation and climate change. Likewise, a person’s decision to eat a cheeseburger versus a salad also affects the earth, though most of us don’t think about how our daily choices impact the earth.

Leslie A. Duram provides meaningful examples from around the world that demonstrate both the devastating impacts that humans have on the environment and the increasing awareness of these consequences that is bringing hope for a more sustainable future. Likewise, she examines the widening rift of economic inequality, with examples of how poorer people are significantly more vulnerable than richer people to natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and the effects of climate change. Environmental Geography provides concrete information that shows readers how they can learn, advocate, and take action to bring about a more sustainable future.

Author Bio

Leslie A. Duram is a professor of geography and the director of environmental studies at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale. She is the author of Good Growing: Why Organic Farming Works (Nebraska, 2005) and the editor of Encyclopedia of Organic, Sustainable, and Local Food (Nebraska, 2011).


“With complete candor, and sometimes humor, author Leslie A. Duram provides an updated look at the complicated relationship between people and the environment.”—American Reference Books Annual

“A well-researched reference for those who want to learn more about humanity’s impact on the environment.”—Library Journal

“A good introduction to issues related to human interaction with the environment.”—Booklist

Table of Contents


Section 1
Introduction: How Humans Affect the Environment
Case Studies
  1. Cars Rule—American Dependence on the Automobile
  2. Great Barrier Reef—Human Activities Endanger Coral Reefs
  3. Dead Zones—The Gulf of Mexico
  4. Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  5. Nigeria’s Oil Causes Human Rights Abuses and Environmental Degradation
Key Concepts
Food Miles
Air Pollution
Animal Agriculture
Biodiversity Loss
              Agrobiodiversity Loss
Climate Change
Climate Change Policies
Endangered Species
              Corn Ethanol from Mining the Soil
Genetically Modified Crops
Hazardous Waste
              Brownfield Sites
Solid Waste (Garbage!)
Technology: Innovation and Consequences
              Assembly Line Manufacturing
Water Pollution
Water Scarcity
Section II
Introduction: How the Environment Affects Humans
Case Studies
6. Climate Change Is Occurring—Regardless of Politics
7. Climate Refugees—Island Nations Disappear Because of Rising Seas
8. Endangered Snow Leopard in Afghanistan—Local Efforts to Promote Conservation
9. The Power of Hurricane Katrina (2005)—Evacuation and the Aftermath
10. The 2004 South Asian Tsunami Natural Disaster
Key Concepts
              Small-Scale Solar Power in Africa
Ecosystem Services
Global North and Global South
              Environmental Crime
Habitat and Wildlife
Human Modification of Ecosystems
              Global Environmental Agreements
Human Population
              U.S. Global Change Research Program
National Disasters
Parks and Urban Green Space
              Happiness and Sustainability
Protected Areas and National Parks
Section III
Introduction: Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
Case Studies
11. China’s Bold Steps toward Renewable Energy—Better Late than Never
12. Citizen Science—Helping Scientists Understand Migratory Birds
13. Costa Rica’s Peace with Nature: Conservation, Biodiversity, and Sustainability
14. Denmark’s Achievements in Organic Agriculture
15. Great Green Wall of Africa
Key Concepts
Alternative Agriculture
Assessments and “Footprints”
              Zero Waste Communities
Earth Day
Electric Cars
Environmental Justice
              Professor Maathai and Kenya’s Green Belt Movement
Environmental Nongovernmental Organizations (ENGOs)
Environmental Policy
Green Buildings
Green Consumerism
              Fleece Jackets from Recycled Bottles!
Green Political Party
Green Technology
              Zero-Waste Home
Renewable Energy
Sustainable Cities
Sustainable Development
              Auroville, City of Peace
Sustainable Diet
Water Conservation

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