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Sustainability, the Enviroment, and Green Engineering (SE&GE)  

Last Updated: Jul 27, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Welcome. Sustainability, the environment, and green engineering (SE&GE) are broad topics, and the resources listed will provide launching-off points with some depth for engineering, entrepreneurship & business, and policy & culture resources across SE&GE. If you have any questions or need further help do not hesitate to contact me. My contact information is displayed on the right side of the screen. Enjoy!


Citing Research

Getting Started & Other References

  • Encyclopedia of the Earth
    The Encyclopedia of the Earth is an "electronic reference about the Earth, its natural environments, and their interaction with society. The Encyclopedia is a collection of articles written by scholars, professionals, educators, and experts."
  • Philips Guide to Global Hazards
    The guide provides reading "for those interested in the environment, geophysics and current affairs. It provides clear descriptions of all types of hazard and the threats they pose."
  • Handbook of Environmental Sociology
    Contributors to this reference "introduce and consider the current work available in such areas as the design of built environments, hazards and disasters, risks, the environmental movement, and impact assessment, among others."

Popular & Classic titles in SE&GE

Benyus, Janine M. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Morrow, William & Co., 1998. ISBN: 0688160999

Biomimicry is a book on innovation. The lessons come from nature and are applied to our own processes and techniques. There is no more efficient system than that offered by our natural world, and humans have many lessons to learn. Benyus offers hope and inspiration in this wonderfully written text.

Brown, Lester R. Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth. Earth Policy Institute, 2001. ISBN: 0393321932

Eco-Economy asks the reader to consider whether the environment is part of the economy or whether the economy is part of the environment. The difference in the two views form shifts in perspectives comparative to the much older debate of whether the sun revolved around the earth or the earth around the sun. Brown argues that the economy is part of the environment, and that economists and ecologists need to work together to form a new worldview and economic model. This book is the epitome of the current convergence of social movements. It includes chapters on classic environmental topics such as climate, water, energy, and materials, as well as less directly related topics such as redesigning cities, fertility, poverty and hunger, and the global crisis of obesity. (See more current titles from the Earth Policy Institute, such as the Plan B series on their web site (

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. First published in 1962, many editions available (also in library).

Rachel Carson wrote about the environmental and human dangers of the use of pesticides without regulation. While chemical compaies fought Carson's assertations, her book led to landmark changes in air, land and water laws and is another classic of the sustainable genre. Carson was named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People of the Century."

Elkington, John. Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business. New Society Publishers, 1998. ISBN: 0865712928

The title of this book comes from Polish poet Stanislaw Lec who asked: “Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?” Author John Elkington poses the parallel question of whether it is progress if corporate cannibals turn toward sustainable processes. He argues that, yes, it is progress, and offers businesses a guide toward achieving sustainable goals. Elkington also introduces the concept of the triple bottom line.


Hawken, Paul, Amory Lovins & Hunter L. Lovinis. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Little, Brown and Company, 1999. ISBN: 0316353167

This book explores the possibilities of business, innovation, and sustainable practices. Here are a couple of the possibilities presented: “The automobile industry is undergoing a transformation that will spell the end of the petroleum industry and a shift away from traditional car models to Hypercars – fuel cell-powered vehicles that would be both lighter and safer, produce negligible pollution, cost both the producer and consumer less, and have fuel efficiencies as high as 200 miles per gallon,” and “Atlanta-based Interface Corporation is shifting from selling carpeting to leasing floor-covering services, using a new material that’s more attractive, requires 97% less material, is cheaper to produce, and is completely recyclable.” For more from these innovators, check out the Rocky Mountain Institute’s web site ( or Paul Hawken’s older book, The Ecology of Commerce (Harperbusiness, 1994).

Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. First published in 1949, with many editions available.

Aldo Leopold, who helped found the Wilderness Society, believed that the health of man and the health of the environment were firmly connected. Unique from some of the titles that began to appear with the 1960's environmental movement, which stressed land and wildlife preservation, A Sand County Almanac makes no such separation of man from his environment. This integrated philosophy is once again coming full circle, and Leopold's book is an essential classic in the field.

McDonough, William & Michael Braungart. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way We Make Things. North Point Press, 2002. ISBN: 0865475873

McDonough and Braungart challenge the reduce, reuse, recycle path that describes a cradle to grave production cycle. Using the philosophy that "waste equals food," the authors propose products that are designed to become food for new products after they have lived their useful lives.

Nattrass, Brian & Mary Altomare. The Natural Step for Business: Wealth, Ecology, and the Evolutionary Corporation. New Society Publishers, 1999. ISBN: 0865713847

The Natural Step is an international organization devoted to moving business to the next level – gaining efficiencies and cutting costs, while increasing employee loyalty and improving the health of both planet and people. Nattrass and Altomare’s book provides the practical framework for businesses to use in reaching that next level. (See also Peter Schwartz’s Art of the Long View (Doubleday, 1996) or the Blobal Business Network’s web site at

Ray, Paul H. & Sherry Ruth Anderson. The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People are Changing the World. Harmony Books, 2000. ISBN: 0609604678.

The Cultural Creatives is different from the other books listed here. This is a cultural and demographic story, and a great read. Ray and Anderson relate the history of our social movements, illustrate their convergence, and outline where our priorities are taking us. They also take a look at three different cultural groups, and specifically introduce us to the group that is slowly forming and turning our social tide, the “cultural creatives.”



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    Emily Ferrier
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