Resources


New: "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How do we know we're not wrong."  A chapter by Professor Naomi Oreskes, from Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren, edited by Joseph F. C. DiMento and Pamela M. Doughman.  Available Sept 2007, MIT Press. 

This is a wonderful summary of the scientific consensus on climate change, as well as a wonderful description of how scientific discussion and knowledge proceeds in general. 
Used with permission by the author. 


General

Books to Curl Up With (okay, some require sitting up straight and taking notes)

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An Ocean of Air: Why the Wind Blows and Other Mysteries of the Atmosphere by Gabrielle Walker

A lively history of scientists' and adventurers' exploration of this important and complex contributor to life on Earth, from Galileo's early attempts to show that it has weight to the explorations by 20th-century scientists of the ionosphere.  A great history of the chemistry and physics of gases as well.

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Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World by John Sterman

John Sternman, the Director of the System Dynamics Group and the Standish Professor of Management at Sloan Business School at MIT, is the  world’s leading authority on system dynamics, used to analyze problems in organizations,  with analogous applications in engineering, social and physical sciences.  A college textbook, but fascinating. 

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Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming by Mark Bowen

This portrait of NASA climate scientist James Hansen and his decades-long struggle to alert the public about global warming and potential solutions ranges from deeply disturbing and frightening to inspiring. Bowen's in-depth treatments of politics and science give his arguments substance and Hansen's conviction that tools exist right now to mitigate the worst effects is surprisingly hopeful.

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Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

A 20th anniversary edition of the groundbreaking bestseller which introduced to a whole new readership the story of one of the most significant waves of scientific knowledge in our time. Gleick makes the story of chaos theory fascinating but also accessible, and opens our eyes to a surprising view of the universe.

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Climate Change: What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren (American and Comparative Environmental Policy) by Joseph F. C. DiMento (Editor), Pamela M. Doughman (Editor)

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Coal River by Michael Shnayerson

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Debating Climate Change: Pathways Through Argument to Agreement (Science in Society Series) by Elizabeth L. Malone

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Does God Play Dice? The New Mathematics of Chaos by Ian Stewart

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Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet by Oliver Morton

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Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything by Daniel Goleman

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Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Mark Maslin

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Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use by Environmental, and Other External Costs and Benefits of Energy Production and Consumption Committee on Health (Author), National Research Council (Author)

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Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows

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Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos: With Applications To Physics, Biology, Chemistry, And Engineering (Studies in nonlinearity) by Steven H. Strogatz

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Science For All Americans by F. James Rutherford (Author)

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Snowball Earth: The Story of a Maverick Scientist and His Theory of the Global Catastrophe That Spawned Life As We Know It, by Gabrielle Walker

A mix of biography and scientific detective story, this tells the story of Paul Hoffman, the brilliant, cantankerous Harvard professor most responsible for the concept "Snowball Earth." This asserts that 600 million years ago, the planet was encased in ice, thicker and lasting longer than in any previously recognized ice age.  Instantaneously (in geologic time) earth moved from minus 40 degrees centigrade to sweltering heat unlike anything seen since. This extreme climatic change may have led to the origination of multicellular life at the beginning of the Cambrian Era and, ultimately, for life on Earth today.  All will be able to appreciate the importance of the issues while gaining greater insight into the process of scientific advances. An important, provocative book that is a joy to read.

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The Discovery of Global Warming: Revised and Expanded Edition (New Histories of Science, Technology, and Medicine) by Spencer R. Weart

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The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change by Thomas S. Kuhn

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The Hot Topic: What We Can Do About Global Warming by Gabrielle Walker

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The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence M. Krauss

Warp drives, transporters, holodecks and other tools of the fictional future have a deep appeal.  Dr. Krauss  speculates on how they might actually work, and, in other cases, discusses  why the inventions are impossible or impractical even for an advanced civilization.  A great exercise in  running  the numbers!

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The Sea Around Us by Rachel L. Carson

Originally written in 1950, according to Scientific American “Her book remains fresh, in part because of her ability to convey scientific insight in vivid poetic language--but, perhaps more important, because what she has to say is still so relevant today."

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

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The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery (Author)

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The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (Author)

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Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows

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What We Know About Climate Change (Boston Review Books) by Kerry A. Emanuel

Media

Magazines and Newspapers

A weekly news magazine that may be particularly helpful is The EconomistNature is a weekly publication and a primary source for original research.  Summaries of work can be found in the science sections of major newspapers, as well as in the more accessible magazines The New Scientist and Science News. These may be available in print at local libraries; summaries of contents are available online and can lead to ideas for an internet search if you do not have access to a subscription.

The online journal Slate carries a daily summary of major newspapers, as well as commentaries on specific subjects by contributors.

Radio
Many times interview and discussion shows have energy, climate change, or environment as their topic. Check your local stations for broadcast times and topics. Archived broadcasts are often available online and as pod-casts. Examples of NPR shows are the weekly shows Science Friday with Ira Flatow and Living on Earth with Steve Curwood. For example, Lester Brown was a guest on Science Friday on January 13, 2006.

 

Miscellaneous Websites

  • plato.stanford.edu/entries/thought-experiment/ is an entry on the power and contributions of thought experiments.
  • pr.caltech.edu/periodicals/EandS/articles/LXVII3/wouk.html (PDF) has a fascinating and astonishing interview with Dr. Victor Wouk, the “father” of the hybrid car. Dr. Wouk built the first hybrid on a contract from EPA in the early 1970s, as part of the Federal Clean Car Initiative Program (FCCIP).
  • www.viridiandesign.org. A call to arms established by science fiction writer Bruce Sterling, who currently lives in Texas. "A design movement about the Greenhouse Effect".
  • www.worldchanging.com. Recommended by two independent young writers, including one who sometimes works as a "foresight" consultant for the Canadian government. His comment was "If you want a steady stream of ideas on this topic and a daily dose of optimism about the future, just point your web browser."

Partner Organizations

There are too many organizations concerned about clean energy to mention them all. This is a listing of some of the longest established organizations in this field; they can give you an idea of how people are thinking about energy and environmental issues.

  • American Solar Energy Institute.
  • Dark Sky Movement. The dark sky movement was begun by astronomers who were frustrated by the growing light pollution that interfered with seeing the stars. The site contains many articles on improved efficiency lighting. A map of earth at night is available here.
  • Earth Policy Institute. Lester Brown and the Earth Policy Institute have been publishing books on energy, the environment and earth’s economies since the early 1970’s. Brown’s newest book, Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble.
  • ICLEI. Founded in 1990 as the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, ICLEI is an international association of local governments and national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development.
  • Rocky Mountain Institute. RMI was established in 1982 by resource analysts L. Hunter Lovins and Amory B. Lovins, beginning as a small group of colleagues focusing on energy policy.

  • SEPA, The Solar Energy Power Association.

The Solar Electric Power Association is a nonprofit organization with 125 utility, electric service provider, manufacturer, installer, government, and research members. SEPA’s mission is to facilitate the use and integration of solar electric power by utilities, electric service providers, and their customers.  www.solarelectricpower.org

Step It Up 2007! This April 14th, tens of thousands of Americans will gather all across the country at meaningful, iconic places to call for action on climate change. We will hike, bike, climb, walk, swim, kayak, canoe, or simply sit or stand with banners of our call to action: "Step It Up, Congress! Cut Carbon 80% by 2050."

  • Union of Concerned Scientists, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an organization working for practical environmental solutions and policies. They have programs on global warming, clean vehicles, and clean energy.
  • The World Watch Institute. An independent non-profit research organization created to analyze and focus attention on global problems. Also founded by Lester Brown, and publisher of research papers for the general public for more than 30 years.

Government & University Labs

www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment

  • National Renewable Energy Institute, www.nrel.gov. Although all Department of Energy Laboratories have energy as their focus in some form or another, the NREL is the only DOE lab focused on renewable energy research.

Industry Links

Industrial organizations can be very useful for viewpoints on the issues of energy as well as descriptions of technologies and options that are already currently available. Many companies have white papers or other tutorials on energy issues.

 

  • AWEA, The American Wind Energy Association
  • SEIA, The Solar Energy Industry Association

46 Washington Street, Box 874, Ayer, MA, 01432 . 978.391.4479