Environmental Days 2022

Content and resources

We celebrate global environmental days like Earth Day, World Environment Day, World Ocean Day and others, which focus not only on the need to reduce our impact on the planet as we recover from the effects of Covid-19, but also on how we can play a role in repairing the damage we’ve done by exploring natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.

To support and celebrate these global environmental days, we’ve pulled together key content resources including the “Practical Sustainability” podcast, interviews with experts in the field, and the latest research, tools & resources to share with your users.

Listen to Podcast on Practical Sustainability

How much impact can one person have on the planet? What changes can the individual make for a cleaner, greener life? what are some of the ways academic libraries and librarians are supporting sustainability research and goals?

In this four-part podcast series, Robert Brinkmann, Professor of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment at Northern Illinois University, author of numerous books including Practical Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability in a Time of Change and the blog On the Brink, discusses breaking down the complexity of sustainable living, the pitfalls of greenwashing, and why sustainability should be treated as a “no judgement zone.” In addition, Bob tackles complicated issues like corporate lobbying power and how income and race are inextricably linked to environmental policies.

Episode 1: Introductions and Changes in Environmental Studies – Practical Sustainability

In this first episode, Bob traces his path from diamond exploration as a geologist to his current work in urban sustainability. He explains how the environmental studies field and curricula has changed to its current emphasis on interdisciplinary work and human impact on the planet. Further, not only has the field transformed, but the students have too—Bob remarks on how researchers today care deeply about enacting meaningful environmental policy and engaging with local communities. Finally, our guest dives into why urban centers have more advanced energy systems and sustainable environmental policies than rural and suburban areas.

Episode 2: Translating for the Layperson - Practical Sustainability

Translating highly technical, precise, or conceptual research for the layperson is not an easy endeavor. When tackling the topic of environmental sustainability—and its many political, social, and existential undertones—the task nears impossible.

In this second episode, Bob explains his thought process in scaling down massive environmental issues into global, national, and local efforts, in addition to outlining individual and collective actions. Further, he discusses how to strike a balance between holding environmentally destructive companies accountable while also taking personal responsibility in cultivating a greener life. Last, Bob digs into the metamodernism of sustainability, the harm of greenwashing, and how the sustainability field developed out of the 1960s environmental movement.

Episode 3: What Difference Can One Person Really Make? – Practical Sustainability 

From metal straws to veganism, our choices impact the environment. But when large corporations make environmentally-damning decisions, it can feel like our choices don’t matter. How can we take back control in our own lives by building greener habits? Further, how does environmental racism and classism act as barriers toward making the world a more environmentally sustainable place?

In this third episode, Bob Brinkmann speaks to individual environmental responsibility in the face of corporate lobbying power, greenwashing, and generational apathy. He chats about the process and effectiveness of his Thirty-Day Sustainability Challenge, and the importance of representing sustainability as a “no judgement zone.” Lastly, Bob surfaces the national and global issues of environmental racism, and how communities can enact greater change through municipal appointments and local economic investments.

Episode 4: Unpacking Earth Sciences and the “Natural” World - Practical Sustainability

Human activity has undoubtedly impacted our planet’s systems. With deforestation, air pollution, and plastic waste, can we still call the natural sciences “natural”? Or have humans changed the planet so much that the “natural” and “human” worlds are now indistinguishable? Could seeing ourselves as part of the earth’s systems help bring more urgency to the climate crisis?

In the final episode of this four-part series, Bob Brinkmann, author of Practical Sustainability: A Guide to a More Sustainable Life, discusses the dynamic field of earth sciences. As humans continue to impact the “natural” world, the earth science disciplines must come together to study major issues like climate change and sustainability—not get bogged down by the silos or traditions of higher education. In addition, Bob digs into how librarians can assist in sustainability research through the available data in special collections and frequent communication with scholars. Last, he emphasizes the importance of measurable outcomes in the sustainability movement, along with becoming an advocate and evangelist for this kind of lifelong work.

Research highlights from 2021

The 21st Century is becoming known as the century of mega-challenges: Covid-19, climate change, resource scarcity, rising population growth, and urbanisation are all impacting humans and nature in a variety of adverse ways. 2021 saw an explosion of research published on these important topics. We have gathered highlights below, reflecting the year in Climate, Environmental Sciences, Aquatic Science and Energy.

eBook Highlights: focus on climate change, solutions and action

Highlighted Major Reference Works and Books

Invest in our Planet: key titles from nature.com

Launching in January 2023: Nature Water

EE_Nature water

Launching in January 2023, Nature Water is a bimonthly online journal publishing the best research on the evolving relation between water and society, covering natural sciences, engineering and social sciences. To face the challenges posed by climate change and increasing population, water research requires the integrated contribution of scientists from different disciplines, across the natural and social sciences and engineering. Nature Water aims to publish studies that can have an impact on fundamental understanding, on practical technological applications, and on the potential for policy.  

An introduction to Nature Water by Chief Editor, Fabio Pulizzi | Browse the “Waiting for Nature Water” Collection

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How the Review journals support your users

Reviews are an invaluable resource to get an in-depth update on a specific topic. Providing everything your users need to know on a subject in one place, they include clear and attractive figures that are an excellent resource for understanding and for using in talks and teaching. 

At Nature Reviews in particular, authors are asked to offer their own insights and to critique the data as well as describing the field. In that way, your user knows that they are getting a thorough, timely, expert-led view of the topic.