Environment 1995 Version describes succinctly and lucidly how the ecosystem work, how matter and energy move through the ecosystem, and how the population dynamics affects and is, in turn, affected by the ecosystems. This interdisciplinary approach is conducive to a clear understanding of the concepts that underlie the problems.
Raven et al begin with an exploration of the basic ecological principles and consider the diverse ways in which man affects the environment. The earlier chapters dwell on the current environmental issues that defy easy solutions and the later chapters examine in depth the effects of human activities, including overpopulation, energy production and consumption, depletion of natural resources and pollution. Our inability to solve environmental problems is the result of a struggle between short-term individual welfare and long term Societal welfare.
Graphic illustrations and splendid colour photographs, which elaborate on the relevant issues and add visual detail to them. The 'Focus On' boxes make interesting reading, exciting the readers' interest in current issues. In this section, the Distribution of Vegetation on Mountains, Fertility Rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and Safety of Genetic Engineering boxes are in particular, informative and educative.'Envirobriefs' are rich sources of topical material on the current environmental issues, highlighting comparative data across domestic and international regions. They are based mainly on Eco Source, a Canadian environmental and research and writing group.
The Chapters also have 'Meeting the Challenge' and 'You Can Make A Difference' boxes. The former discuss the pressing environmental dilemmas and how others have responded to them; the latter outline specific courses of action we can take to improve the environment.
A unique feature of the book is eight illuminating interviews with prominent individuals who have made a postitive impact on the environment. They identify the environmental issues that are most vital and emphasise the importance of active involvement in environmental affairs. Worth reading, in particular, are the views of the acknowledged authorities interviewed : Lester Brown on environmental revolution, Anne and Paul Ehrlich on population policy, Russell Train on biological diversity and Edward Asner on Tropical Rainforest protection.
The book concludes with the expert opinions of the authors on social responsibilities for solving some of the most critical issues like population pressure, the rich versus the poor, management of the biosphere and loss of forest and biodiversity, that must be grappled with today for a shining tomorrow.
This book, unlike most other textbooks, keeps the readers' interest alive till the very end, as it seeks their involvement in fighting back the great ecological issues threatening to overwhelm and annihilate the planet. Intended though for the undergraduates, its utility is no less for those in the field of journalism, government, business or education.