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Environment and Urban Studies

Environment and Urban Studies

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The Unholy Alliance between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups

Food banks and food pantries have proliferated in response to an economic emergency. The loss of manufacturing jobs combined with the recession of the early 1980s and Reagan administration cutbacks in federal programs led to an explosion in the growth of food charity. This was meant to be a stopgap measure, but the jobs never came back, and the “emergency food system” became an industry. In Big Hunger, Andrew Fisher takes a critical look at the business of hunger and offers a new vision for the anti-hunger movement.

Worlding Electronic Waste

The prevailing storyline about the problem of electronic waste frames e-waste as generated by consumers in developed countries and dumped on people and places in developing countries. In Reassembling Rubbish, Josh Lepawsky offers a different view. In an innovative analysis of the global trade and traffic in discarded electronics, Lepawsky reframes the question of the “right” thing to do with e-waste, mapping the complex flows of electronic materials.

How Commuting Is Transforming Our Cities

We spend much of our lives in transit to and from work. Although we might dismiss our daily commute as a wearying slog, we rarely stop to think about the significance of these daily journeys. In Transit Life, David Bissell explores how everyday life in cities is increasingly defined by commuting. Examining the overlooked events and encounters of the commute, Bissell shows that the material experiences of our daily journeys are transforming life in our cities.

Cleantech Entrepreneurship and the Contradictions of Green Capitalism

Entrepreneurs and investors in the green economy have encouraged a vision of addressing climate change with new technologies. In Planetary Improvement, Jesse Goldstein examines the cleantech entrepreneurial community in order to understand the limitations of environmental transformation within a capitalist system. Reporting on a series of investment pitches by cleantech entrepreneurs in New York City, Goldstein describes investor-friendly visions of incremental improvements to the industrial status quo that are hardly transformational.

The Politics of a Global Energy Transition

Wind and solar are the most dynamic components of the global power sector. How did this happen? After the 1973 oil crisis, the limitations of an energy system based on fossil fuels created an urgent need to experiment with alternatives, and some pioneering governments reaped political gains by investing heavily in alternative energy such as wind or solar power. Public policy enabled growth over time, and economies of scale brought down costs dramatically.

Climate change, economists generally agree, is best addressed by putting a price on the carbon content of fossil fuels—by taxing carbon, by cap-and-trade systems, or other methods. But what about the politics of carbon pricing? Do political realities render carbon pricing impracticable? In this book, Barry Rabe offers the first major political science analysis of the feasibility and sustainability of carbon pricing, drawing upon a series of real-world attempts to price carbon over the last two decades in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Over the last fifty years, environmentalism has emerged as a clear counterforce to the environmental destruction caused by industrialization, colonialism, and globalization. Activists and policymakers have fought hard to make the earth a better place to live. But has the environmental movement actually brought about meaningful progress toward global sustainability? Signs of global “unsustainability” are everywhere, from decreasing biodiversity to scarcity of fresh water to steadily rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Biography of an American Technology

The North American power grid has been called the world’s largest machine. The grid connects nearly every living soul on the continent; Americans rely utterly on the miracle of electrification. In this book, Julie Cohn tells the history of the grid, from early linkages in the 1890s through the grid’s maturity as a networked infrastructure in the 1980s.

Why Sustainability Matters

Most people acknowledge the profound importance of sustainability, but few can define it. We are ethically bound to live sustainably for the sake of future generations, but what does that mean? In this book Randall Curren, a philosopher, and Ellen Metzger, a scientist, clarify normative aspects of sustainability. Combining their perspectives, they propose that sustainability can be understood as the art of living well together without diminishing opportunity to live well in the future.

The Global Effort for Open Access to Environmental Satellite Data

Key to understanding and addressing climate change is continuous and precise monitoring of environmental conditions. Satellites play an important role in collecting climate data, offering comprehensive global coverage that can’t be matched by in situ observation. And yet, as Mariel Borowitz shows in this book, much satellite data is not freely available but restricted; this remains true despite the data-sharing advocacy of international organizations and a global open data movement.

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