Earth Resources and the Environment: Pearson New International Edition

James R. Craig / David J. Vaughan / Brian J. Skinner  
Total pages
November 2013
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Earth Resources and the Environment: Pearson New International Edition
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Balanced, broad-based, and up to date, this comprehensive text explores the nature and critical issues of earth resources and the impacts that resource usage has on the earth environment. The authors offer full coverage of all major types of earth resources—energy, metallic, nonmetallic, water, soil. A minimal scientific background is assumed.


  • Comprehensive coverage enables students to comprehend the breadth of resources and their interactions.
  • Several hundred photographs and line drawings are featured, many presenting a clear insight from the past into the future in terms of usage and impacts.
  • A solid geologic foundation provides geologic background of resource formation and occurrence of most of the various types of resources, showing how many resources do not resemble the materials from which they are derived (i.e. plastics from petroleum).
  • An international perspective shows students that resources are international both in extraction, use, and environmental impact.
  • Historical perspectives are provided in an overview chapter as well as in the discussions of all resources, helping students understand not only what is used, but how usage has changed over time.
  • Social aspects are examined; the authors discuss resources not only from the scientific point of view, but also from the point of economic, political, historical considerations.
  • The past and present usage and impacts are examined as a means of predicting future trends in needs usage and further impacts.
  • Environmental impacts are discussed—i.e., how the extraction and use of the resources creates impacts—local or global, immediate or delayed, visible or invisible, singular or cumulative. The goal is that students will be able to make intelligent decisions regarding resources in the future.
  • Discussion of future availability explains that although much concern has been expressed in the past about the decline in resources, in fact most resources have greater reserves today than in the past. The authors examine the trends, but also realistically present the limits that might affect future availability.
  • Special interest boxes cover more than 35 topical discussions/vignettes (synthetic diamonds, the California gold rush, Chernobyl, etc.).
  • Chapter objectives are listed at the beginning of each chapter.

New to this Edition

  • Completely updated information on the resources extracted from the Earth reflects the most recent dates before publication, including diagrams.
  • Emphasis on environmental impacts through the processes of extraction, usage, and disposal is increased throughout the book.
  • Discussion of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere including sources, levels, and consequences is greatly expanded.
  • Discussion of “carbon footprints,” their meaning, impact, measurement, and reduction is now included.
  • New diagrams designed to demonstrate processes involved in the environmental impacts have been added.
  • Coverage of petroleum economics and politics is fully updated.
  • Several data-saturated tables are now simplified.
  • Trend curves are now used in place of dry data tables.
  • Increased emphasis on water shortages/excesses is provided.
  • Expanded discussion of the “greening” of society and more environmentally friendly application of resources is included.
  • Additional discussion of renewable energy sources —wind, solar, hydro, bio-fuels, nuclear, geothermal, ocean generated —is provided.
  • The Resources Calendar, which is presented as an appendix, has been thoroughly updated.

Table of Contents

1. Minerals: The Foundations of Society
2. Plate Tectonics and the Origins of Resources
3. Earth Resources Through History
4. Environmental Impacts of Resource Exploitation and Use
5. Energy From Fossil Fuels
6. Nuclear and Renewable Energy Sources
7. Abundant Metals
8. The Geochemically Scarce Metals
9. Fertilizer and Chemical Minerals
10. Building Materials and Other Industrial Minerals
11. Water Resources
12. Soil as a Resource
13. Future Resources