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Introducing Environment takes the reader on a guided tour of some of the major environmental issues of our time. It is the ideal text for anyone new to environmental science and ecology looking to master the essentials in a quick, straightforward way., Our planet is a dynamic network of energy, organisms, and non-living material - generating biodiversity on a global scale. But how does this network operate? How do its key components interact, and how is it regulated? How is human activity affecting these interactions, and at what cost? Introducing Environment takes the reader on a guided tour of some of the major environmental issues of our time. Starting with the thin layer of life upon our planet - the biosphere - it explains ecological concepts such as species, food chain, ecosystem and biodiversity. From that biological basis, it describes interrelationships between plants, animals and the wider environment with short case studies and examples. Then, the reader learns about the unique role of humans, showing the ways in which we have changed the environment to suit our needs, and using historical and contemporary case studies to show the impact of human activities. The later chapters of the book move onto a more technological approach, looking at how we can tell what effect current lifestyles have upon the environment. Next, sustainability is introduced, to indicate a few of the major factors, with examples of successful schemes to reduce environmental impact. The book ends with the question 'what next?', giving the reader a chance to consider the different zones of influence (personal, local, corporate, national and international) that are involved in the complexity of addressing environmental problems. Introducing Environment does not pretend to be an all-encompassing tome, but awakens interest and provokes thought to stimulate further debate and study. It is the ideal text for anyone new to environmental science and ecology looking to master the essentials in a quick, straightforward way. Online Resource Centre: The Online Resource Centre for this book features figures from the book in electronic format, available to download The book also features a free DVD, providing audio and video materials to augment the text itself, and to further engage the reader., 1. Our Environment ; 2. Ecology and Ecosystems ; 3. Energy Flows and Agriculture ; 4. Changing Land, Changing Ecosystems ; 5. Populations and Biodiversity ; 6. Resources and Environmental Impact ; 7. Sustainability and Our Environment ; 8. What Next?, Dr Mark Goodwin has spent fifteen years developing, writing and editing teaching materials for The Open University. He has edited The Sciences Good Study Guide and a number of courses on science, technology, politics and economics. He has worked as an author on the Open University courses Understanding Health, Studying Mammals and Science and the Public. Before joining the University he worked as a Science Publications/Publicity Specialist for the UK Government's Overseas Development Natural Resources Institute.