Sustainability A Comprehensive Foundation Collection Editor Tom Theis and Jonathan Tomkin

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Sustainability A Comprehensive Foundation Collection Editor Tom Theis and Jonathan Tomkin

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Table of Contents

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
1 Introduction to Sustainability: Humanity and the Environment
1.1 An Introduction to Sustainability: Humanity and the Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.2 What is Sustainability? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.3 The IPAT Equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.4 Human Consumption Patterns and the Rebound Eect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.5 Challenges for Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
1.6 Chapter Review Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2 The Evolution of Environmental Policy in the United States
2.1 The Evolution of Environmental Policy in the United States  Chapter Introduction
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.2 The American Conservation Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.3 Environmental Risk Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
2.4 Sustainability and Public Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
2.5 Public Health and Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
3 Climate and Global Change
3.1 Climate and Global Change  Chapter Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
3.2 Climate Processes; External and Internal Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
3.3 Milankovitch Cycles and the Climate of the Quaternary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
3.4 Modern Climate Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
3.5 Climate Projections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
4 Biosphere
4.1 Biosphere  Chapter Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
4.2 Biogeochemical Cycles and the Flow of Energy in the Earth System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
4.3 Biodiversity, Species Loss, and Ecosystem Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
4.4 Soil and Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 135
5 Physical Resources: Water, Pollution, and Minerals
5.1 Physical Resources: Water, Pollution, and Minerals – Chapter Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
5.2 Water Cycle and Fresh Water Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
5.3 Case Study: The Aral Sea – Going, Going, Gone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
5.4 Water Pollution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
5.5 Case Study: The Love Canal Disaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
5.6 Mineral Resources: Formation, Mining, Environmental Impact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
5.7 Case Study: Gold: Worth its Weight? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
6 Environmental and Resource Economics
6.1 Environmental and Resource Economics – Chapter Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 233
6.2 Tragedy of the Commons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
6.3 Case Study: Marine Fisheries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 243
6.4 Environmental Valuation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246
6.5 Evaluating Projects and Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
6.6 Solutions: Property Rights, Regulations, and Incentive Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
7 Modern Environmental Management
7.1 Modern Environmental Management  Chapter Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 267
7.2 Systems of Waste Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
7.3 Case Study: Electronic Waste and Extended Producer Responsibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
7.4 Government and Laws on the Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
7.5 Risk Assessment Methodology for Conventional and Alternative Sustainability
Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 290
8 Sustainable Energy Systems
8.1 Sustainable Energy Systems – Chapter Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 303
8.2 Environmental Challenges in Energy, Carbon Dioxide, Air, Water and Land Use . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
8.3 Case Study: Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333
8.4 Energy Sources and Carriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 338
8.5 Energy Uses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385
8.6 Applications of Phase Change Materials for Sustainable Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397
9 Problem-Solving, Metrics, and Tools for Sustainability
9.1 Problem-Solving, Metrics, and Tools for Sustainability – Chapter Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409
9.2 Life Cycle Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410
9.3 Derivative Life Cycle Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424
9.4 Sustainability and Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 470
10 Sustainability: Ethics, Culture, and History
10.1 The Human Dimensions of Sustainability: History, Culture, Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 476
10.2 It’s Not Easy Being Green: Anti-Environmental Discourse, Behavior, and Ideology
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 478
10.3 The Industrialization of Nature: A Modern History (1500 to the present) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 483
10.4 Sustainability Studies: A Systems Literacy Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 490
10.5 The Vulnerability of Industrialized Resource Systems: Two Case Studies . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 494
10.6 Case Study: Agriculture and the Global Bee Colony Collapse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 498
10.7 Case Study: Energy and the BP Oil Disaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 501
10.8 Sustainability Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 503
11 Sustainable Infrastructure
11.1 Sustainable Infrastructure – Chapter Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 511
11.2 The Sustainable City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 512
11.3 Sustainability and Buildings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 535
11.4 Sustainable Energy Practices: Climate Action Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 551
11.5 Sustainable Transportation: Accessibility, Mobility, and Derived Demand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 566
11.6 Sustainable Stormwater Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . 576
11.7 Case Study: A Net-Zero Energy Home in Urbana, Illinois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 588
Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 591
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 619
Attributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .626

Foreword1

Sustainability is derived from two Latin words: sus which means up and tenere which means to hold. In
its modern form it is a concept born out of the desire of humanity to continue to exist on planet Earth
for a very long time, perhaps the indenite future. Sustainability is, hence, essentially and almost literally
about holding up human existence. Possibly, the most succinct articulation of the issue can be found in
the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. The report entitled Our Common
Future2  primarily addressed the closely related issue of Sustainable Development. The report, commonly
know as the Brundtland Report after the Commission Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, stated that Humanity
has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Following the concept of Sustainable
Development, the commission went on to add  Yet in the end, sustainable development is not a xed state of
harmony, but rather a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments,
the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are made consistent with future as
well as present needs. We do not pretend that the process is easy or straightforward. Painful choices have to
be made. Thus, in the nal analysis, sustainable development must rest on political will. Sustainability and
the closely related concept of Sustainable Development are, therefore, very human constructs whose objective
is to insure the very survival of humanity in a reasonably civilized mode of existence. Here, however, I will
focus primarily on Sustainability.
The seriousness of the issue of Sustainability has become increasingly important and obvious over the last
fty years driven by an increasing human population with increasing per capita resource consumption on a
planet which is after all nite. Note that the World population3 increased from approximately 2.5 billion in
1950 to about 7.0 billion in 2012. Furthermore, total World consumption expenditures 4 rose from about 171
Billion in 1960 to approximately 44,000 billions in 2010 expressed in 2012 U.S. dollars. This is not to say
that consumption is necessarily bad, but rather that there are so many people consuming so many resources
that both the World environment and human consumption will have to be managed with far more care and
delicacy than has been necessary in all of the historical past.
A text such as the one being presented here is of paramount importance because it will help to educate
the next generation of students on the very important subject of sustainability. Now sustainability is not
exactly a discipline such as, for example, physics. Rather it is truly a metadiscipline drawing on nearly all of
existing human knowledge in approximately equal parts and with more or less equal importance. This is not
to say that dierent disciplines have not in the past drawn ideas from each other, creating hybrid disciplines
such as, for instance, biophysics – a fusion of physics and biology. Rather, in Sustainability the range of
ideas and issues reach from the depth of biological sciences to the physical sciences and to the social sciences,
including politics. Additionally, the relative importance of each of these aspects seems to be about the same.
The reasons for this inherent, perhaps unprecedented complexity, is that sustainability is about sustaining
human existence which requires many things to be sustained including functioning economic, social, and
political systems along with a supportive physical and biological environment and more.
Hence, the eort to produce a text covering the breadth of sustainability must by necessity come from
a comprehensive group of specialists as is the case here. This allows each eld of study to bring its own
unique perspective and shed its own light on a very complex and important subject which could otherwise
be intractable. The authors very interestingly point out in the preface that the text does not necessarily
present a self-consistent set of ideas. Rather, a degree of diversity is accepted within the overall rubric of
Sustainability and Science itself. This may be unusual for an academic text, but it is necessary here. The
reason is that environmental problems of our time are both time-sensitive and evolving, and a complete
understanding does not exist and may never exist. But the issues still have to be addressed in good faith,
in a timely manner, with the best science on hand. With the reader’s indulgence, I would like to draw an
analogy to a physician who has the responsibility of healing or attempting to heal patients using the best
available medical science in a timely manner, knowing that a complete understanding of medical science does
not exist and, in fact, may never exist.
It is my sincerest hope this work shared freely and widely will be an educational milestone as humanity
struggles to understand and solve the enormous environmental challenges of our time. Further, the text
Sustainability: A comprehensive Foundation, helps to provide the intellectual foundation that will allow
students to become the engines that move and maintain society on the path of Sustainability and Sustainable
Development through the dicult process of change alluded to in Our Common Future.

Preface

This text is designed to introduce the reader to the essential concepts of sustainability. This subject is of
vital importance  seeking as it does to uncover the principles of the long-term welfare of all the peoples of
the planet  but is only peripherally served by existing college textbooks.
The content is intended to be useful for both a broad-based introductory class on sustainability and
as a useful supplement to specialist courses which wish to review the sustainability dimensions of their
areas of study. By covering a wide range of topics with a uniformity of style, and by including glossaries,
review questions, case studies, and links to further resources, the text has sucient range to perform as
the core resource for a semester course. Students who cover the material in the book will be conversant in
the language and concepts of sustainability, and will be equipped for further study in sustainable planning,
policy, economics, climate, ecology, infrastructure, and more.
Furthermore, the modular design allows individual chapters and sections to be easily appropriated 
without the purchase of a whole new text. This allows educators to easily bring sustainability concepts,
references, and case studies into their area of study.
This appropriation works particularly well as the text is free  downloadable to anyone who wishes to use
it. Furthermore, readers are encouraged to work with the text. Provided there is attribution to the source,
users can adapt, add to, revise and republish the text to meet their own needs.
Because sustainability is a cross-disciplinary eld of study, producing this text has required the bringing
together over twenty experts from a variety of elds. This enables us to cover all of the foundational components
of sustainability: understanding our motivations requires the humanities, measuring the challenges of
sustainability requires knowledge of the sciences (both natural and social), and building solutions requires
technical insight into systems (such as provided by engineering, planning, and management).
Readers accustomed to textbooks that present material in a unitary voice might be surprised to nd
in this one statements that do not always agree. Here, for example, cautious claims about climate change
stand beside sweeping pronouncements predicting future social upheaval engendered by a warming world.
And a chapter that includes market-based solutions to environmental problems coexists with others that
call for increased government control. Such diversity of thought characterizes many of the elds of inquiry
represented in the book; by including it, we invite users to engage in the sort of critical thinking a serious
study of sustainability requires.
It is our sincerest hope that this work is shared freely and widely, as we all struggle to understand and
solve the enormous environmental challenges of our time.