The study of environmental issues demands an interdisciplinary approach, particularly at a time when the development of responses to environmental challenges is gathering pace.
In this, the engineering disciplines clearly have a role to play. There is much evidence that engineering approaches to the problems of air, water and waste quality have been successful. There has been less progress in areas such as coastal management and river flooding, and in global environmental issues such as climate change.
Engineering approaches to river flooding have arguably caused more problems than they have solved, largely because of a lack of contact between engineering and other sciences. There is a need for a new breed of environmental engineer who has more than a passing knowledge of the interface between the engineering, natural and social sciences.
This textbook meets the interdisciplinary challenge by providing a timely synthesis of basic engineering principles relevant to "green" engineering. The principles are applied through a series of case studies focusing on the design and development issues associated with examples such as automobiles, batteries, refrigeration and electric power. The case studies are complemented by a section on environmental modelling that covers toxic metals, PCBs, global warming and ozone depletion.
Importantly, the book also addresses the wider contextual issues - including environmental economics, risk management and decision-making - that environmental engineers must appreciate if their solutions are to be widely adopted by society.
Few textbooks attempt to integrate often-isolated disciplines as this one does. Those that do exist tend to focus on the environmental sciences rather than starting from an engineering perspective.
This is a well-written and clearly structured textbook of value both to budding environmental engineers and to other environment specialists, including those whose main interest is in social-science or environmental policy.
Simon Gerrard is deputy director, Centre for Environmental Risk, University of East Anglia.
Introduction to Engineering and the Environment. First edition
Author - Edward S. Rubin
ISBN - 0 07 118185 7
Publisher - McGraw-Hill
Price - £34.99
Pages - 696