Our goal is to help you think through the issues, not tell you what to think. To this purpose, at the end of each chapter, we present “Critical Thinking Issues.” Critical thinking is further emphasized throughout the text in analytical discussions of topics, evaluation of perspectives, and integration of important themes, which are described in detail later.
These key themes, called threads of inquiry, are woven throughout the book. The approach of Environmental Science is interdisciplinary in nature. Environmental science integrates many disciplines, including the natural sciences, in addition to fields such as anthropology, economics, history, sociology, and philosophy of the environment. Not only do we need the best ideas and information to deal successfully with our environmental problems, but we also must be aware of the cultural and historical contexts in which we make decisions about the environment.
Thus, the field of environmental science also integrates the natural sciences with environmental law, environmental impact, and environmental planning. They are also revisited at the end of each chapter and are emphasized in the Closer Look boxes, each of which is highlighted by an icon suggesting the major underlying theme of the discussion. In many cases, more than one theme is relevant.