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Environment and Urban Studies

Environment and Urban Studies

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Sustainable Development Goals as Governance Innovation

In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals built on and broadened the earlier Millennium Development Goals, but they also signaled a larger shift in governance strategies. The seventeen goals add detailed content to the concept of sustainable development, identify specific targets for each goal, and help frame a broader, more coherent, and transformative 2030 agenda.

A History

Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows—ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity—for their civilized existence.

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.

An Insider’s Account of State Power in a Coal Nation

The United States has pledged to the world community a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28 percent below 2005 levels in 2025. Because much of this reduction must come from electric utilities, especially coal-fired power plants, coal states will make or break the U.S. commitment to emissions reduction. In Climate of Capitulation, Vivian Thomson offers an insider’s account of how power is wielded in environmental policy making at the state level.

Efficient Legal Policies for Risk Governance and Compensation

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems inject highly compressed carbon dioxide gas deep into geological formations in order to contain the gas, and its harmful effects on the planet, for the foreseeable future and beyond—for centuries or even millennia. Used effectively, CCS could lessen the impact of climate change while carbon-free energy sources are developed. And yet CCS is not widely deployed. In this book, Michael Faure and Roy Partain offer a theoretical and practical discussion of one of the main obstacles to CCS adoption: complex liability and compensation issues.

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.

Frozen Life in a Melting World
Edited by Joanna Radin and Emma Kowal

As the planet warms and the polar ice caps melt, naturally occurring cold is a resource of growing scarcity. At the same time, energy-intensive cooling technologies are widely used as a means of preservation. Technologies of cryopreservation support global food chains, seed and blood banks, reproductive medicine, and even the preservation of cores of glacial ice used to study climate change. In many cases, these practices of freezing life are an attempt to cheat death.

Social Capital for the Anthropocene

The onset of the Anthropocene, an era in which human actions have become major drivers of change on a planetary scale, has increased the complexity of socioecological systems. Complex systems pose novel challenges for governance because of their high levels of connectivity, nonlinear dynamics, directional patterns of change, and emergent properties. Meeting these challenges will require the development of new intellectual capital.

Edited by David M. Kaplan

Environmental philosophy and philosophy of technology have taken divergent paths despite their common interest in examining human modification of the natural world. Yet philosophers from each field have a lot to contribute to the other. Environmental issues inevitably involve technologies, and technologies inevitably have environmental impacts. In this book, prominent scholars from both fields illuminate the intersections of environmental philosophy and philosophy of technology, offering the beginnings of a rich new hybrid discourse.

Climate Change and Energy Scarcity

The future is not what it used to be because we can no longer rely on the comforting assumption that it will resemble the past. Past abundance of fuel, for example, does not imply unending abundance. Infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible.

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