Environmental Studies

How Do You Make Electricity?

Ivo van Vulpen— One of the greatest threats to our prosperity and way of life is a shortage of energy. We don’t often pause to think about it, but our Western society is addicted to energy, and without electricity, it would come to a complete standstill in less than a

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Books for Troubled Times

Jean E. Thomson Black— Dear Yale University Press Friend, Our mission at Yale University Press is to publish books that, among other goals, stimulate public debate and enhance cultural life. The following titles represent a modest sampling from our history of science and medicine, environmental issues, and natural history lists. The

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Lessons from a Little Fish

Stephen B. Heard— In northeastern Germany, about seventy-five kilometers north of Berlin, a little lake sits nestled in the woods. In the lake’s depths swim little fish—a dwarf cisco, Coregonus fontanae. In the fish’s name, a story is tucked away. Coregonus fontanae is one of a pair of cisco species

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Human Rights and Human Responsibilities

Kathryn Sikkink— Sometimes we get so enamored with our rights that we forget about our corresponding responsibilities. In order to fully realize our own rights and the rights of others, we also need to embrace and practice responsibilities. For example, people in the United States like to think they have

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Harmonies between Preservation and Production

John M. Marzluff— When I see fences, I immediately wonder what is being kept out. As a wildlife scientist traveling through agricultural lands, I have usually figured fences were keeping cows from trampling sensitive areas, such as stream banks, steep slopes, or seeps. But to my surprise, after traveling over Red Rock

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Putting an End to Pests

John Hainze— The Endangered Species Act is one of the premier environmental laws in the United States. It offers protection for endangered and threatened organisms both large and small—from orchids to insects to bears. That the Act does not differentiate between charismatic animals and those of a lesser pedigree is

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Past and Future Forests

Charles D. Canham— The northeast is one of the country’s most thoroughly forested regions, with forests covering two-thirds of the nine northeastern states. But that statistic belies the extraordinary wave of logging and clearing of land for agriculture that followed European settlement 400 years ago. In the Mid-Hudson Valley where

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Mercury in Fish

Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall— Elemental mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature. Aristotle called it “quicksilver,” a term that captures its strange beauty. But this particular beauty is also deadly. Exposure to mercury can lead to a host of symptoms: sensations of bugs crawling

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Climate Change Street Fighters

Michael Mendez— No other politico in Washington, DC, has moved the issue of climate change to a national platform of prominence so quickly as Democratic Congress member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her “Green New Deal” is a radical proposal to decarbonize America’s economy while tackling inequality. It has stirred passionate reactions from

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Urbanization and Sustainability

Steward Pickett— Sustainability has become one of the touchstones of the twenty-first century. As the human inhabitants of the planet consume an ever-larger share of the Earth’s resources and increasingly tax its capacities to recycle wastes and deal with contaminants, sustainability has become a powerful image. But it is much

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