- Joel E. Cohen, How Many People Can the Earth Support?, (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1995).
Although some of this book’s statistics and information are now out of date, it is a good exploration of the history of population growth and the issues surrounding the state of the world’s human population in modern times. It might be particularly useful to assess the predictions and warnings offered in this book with the situation we’re seeing today more than 20 years later.
- Robert Engelman, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2010).
This work discusses how women’s autonomy is crucial for preventing unrestrained world population growth. The author argues that women don’t want more children, but more for their children. More does a great job of connecting women’s rights, world population, and our global society as a whole.
- Jorgen Randers, 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, (White River Jct., Vermont: Chelsea Green, 2012).
Synthesizing expert opinions from a wide variety of fields, this book is a global forecast of the future for life on Earth. The author discusses both the problems we will face in the coming years as well as the paths we can take as individuals and as a society to create a sustainable future for humanity and the planet.
- Stephen Emmott, Ten Billion, (New York: Vintage Books, 2013).
This book reads more like a PowerPoint presentation, offering concise facts, informative graphics, and telling photographs about what a world with ten billion people might look like. Emmott offers a grim, worst-case scenario outlook for our future, serving as an informed warning of our grave and immediate problems due to population growth.
- Carla Kweifio-Okai and Josh Holder, “Over-populated or under-developed? The real story of population growth” The Guardian, 28 June 2016
Discusses some of the main demographic trends we are seeing today, and includes some wonderful graphics to expand their arguments.
- Dennis Dimick, “As World’s Population Booms, Will Its Resources Be Enough for Us?” National Geographic, 21 September 2014
Gives great historical perspectives on population growth and resource use in relation to the problems we face in society today.
- “Human Migration” Nature, 01 March 2017
A special edition of Nature magazine that focuses on human migration and refugee issues with a variety of articles and studies.
- Paul Adams, “Migration: Are more people on the move than ever before?” BBC News, 28 May 2015
Still topical descriptions of different migrant crises/movements across the globe. Short with good visuals.
- “9.7 billion on Earth by 2050, but growth rate slowing, says new UN population report,” UN News, 17 June 2019
The updated 2019 UN population report shares data on the countries expected to have the biggest population increases along with associated challenges and life expectancy trends.
- Population Education: World Population History site
Watch a short video about the historic growth of the human population, and use the interactive map to explore population dynamics across time.
Organization that works to improve women’s access to reproductive healthcare and inform the public about reproductive health rights.
Provides information on population, global health, and the environment with powerful demographic data.
Produces population, demographic estimates and projections for all nations.
Explore trends and statistics on U.S. demographic trends across a variety of topics.
Visualize data on international migrants and subgroups like workers, family, trafficking, and more on an interactive map.
- World Population (Population Connection), 2015
A 5-minute animation of 2,000 years of population growth with dots lighting up a world map.
- 7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast? (NPR), 2011
Although the statistics are a little behind, this video is a quick and impressive visualization of the history of world population growth. It also introduces some of the factors and dynamics affecting growth.
- Population pyramids: Powerful predictors of the future (Ted-Ed), 2014
This video provides great representations of demographic pyramids and explains them very well with examples. It also touches on some important demographic patterns we see occurring over time.
- Migration – Why do people migrate? (Geographer Online), 2015
Short, informative video about human migrations and why they occur.
- How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth? (BBC), 2009
This class-length documentary (47 minutes) explores the problems our global society is already experiencing due to overcrowding and rampant population growth. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough and full of insights from experts around the world, this film grounds its arguments in science and enhances the narrative with real-world examples of communities dealing with population-related issues.
Learn about demographics and geography of the countries of the world with interactive maps.
Statistics on world population and population growth updated regularly from data collected by the World Health Organization.
- RAPID: Population Impacts
RAPID (Resources for the Awareness of Population Impacts) helps you learn about the effects of rapid population growth in the context of countries’ social and economic development.
- Mapping America’s Futures (on browser)
Look at different projections for U.S. population based on parameters you adjust, and use interactive map to focus on particular areas.
- Mary Robinson, Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018).
An urgent call to arms by one of the most important voices in the international fight against climate change, sharing inspiring stories and offering vital lessons for the path forward. Climate Justice is a stirring manifesto on one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time, and a lucid, affirmative, and well-argued case for hope.
- David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2019).
Wallace-Wells recounts in stirring prose what our earth might be like after suffering the ravages of toxic air, water shortages and melting ice caps become all too real. The chilling thought of our planet damaged beyond repair is a frightening prospect indeed but one that he hopes will motivate readers to action.
- Hope Jahren, The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here (Knopf Doubleday, 2020).
In short, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions—from electric power to large-scale farming and automobiles—that, even as they help us, release untenable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
- Paul Hawken, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (New York: Penguin Books, 2017).
100 of the most substantial solutions to reverse climate change packaged in a clear, concise, digestible way meant for anyone and everyone to read.
- Roy Scranton, Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the end of a Civilization (San Francisco, CA: City Lights, 2015).
Roy Scranton is a former soldier who fought in the Iraq war, and became a staunch conservationist as he began to see the effects of climate change after he returned home. This book is part memoir, part expose, and part philosophy as Scranton argues that to survive, we need to come to grips with our mortality as individuals and as a civilization.
- Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump, Dire Predictions, 2nd Edition: Understanding Climate Change (New York: DK, 2015).
This book is a great way to explore global warming and the science behind it with easy to understand graphics, charts and pictures.
- Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014).
In this book, Klein argues that combating climate change by restructuring our global economy and political systems is also the best way to bring about positive and needed social change.
- Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior: A Novel (New York: Harper-Collins, 2012).
This fictional work touches often on the effects of climate change large and small throughout the story.
- Adam Aton, “Scores of U.S. Communities Face Frequent Flooding in 18 Years” E&E News, 12 July 2017
Many people in the U.S. may feel that the effects of climate change won’t reach us for some time, but this article describes some telling examples of how it is affecting people in the U.S. right now.
- Deidre McPhillips, “Statistics That May Change Your Outlook on Climate Change” S. News & World Report, 6 June 2017
This articles uses statistics and graphical information effectively to talk about the facts, factors and trends of global climate change today.
- David Roberts, “The Paris climate agreement is at risk of falling apart in the 2020s,” Vox, 5 November 2019
This article gives an overview of the current state of the Paris climate agreement and the implications of the U.S leaving the agreement.
- Madeleine Stone, “Something Strange is happening to Greenland’s Ice Sheet,” National Geographic, 18 September 2019
This article discusses recent observations of changes in ice density, sea level rise, and ice thawing that has recently occurred in Greenland. Has helpful images and graphics that make it more accessible.
- Neela Banerjee, Lisa Song, David Hasemyer, “Exxon: The Road Not Taken,” Inside Climate News, 16 September 2015
This is a longer series of articles that talks about the energy giant Exxon’s own research into global climate change. Leaders of the company were told by their own scientists about the conclusive evidence for climate change, but went on to block solutions rather than promote them.
- Andrew Buncombe, “Honduras: Where climate change and mass migration have created a village of women,” The Independent, 26 July 2019
This article describes a village in Honduras where the majority of men have left for the U.S in search of work now that climate change has reduced rainfall and left the land unfarmable. They leave behind women and children. This shift has seriously affected the economy and health of the village.
Explore leading solutions to some of our planet’s biggest problems, including climate change, sustainable development, racial inequality, and threats of nuclear war.
Learn about environmental/climate issues in the Maryland, D.C., Virginia area.
- Defenders of Wildlife, Polar Bear
Basic facts about Polar Bear ecology and the threats they face due to global climate change.
Use NOAA’s data tools and information to understand climate change and how it affects us. Use their interactive map (linked below) to see how U.S. coasts could be affected by sea level rise.
Articles related to the science of climate and climate change written for a general audience.
News covering the latest research on global climate change and its impacts on Earth’s systems.
New reports on climate science, energy, sea level rise along with interactive tools like wildfire trackers.
Regular newsletter from the New York Times which includes articles related to climate change.
- Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye (National Geographic), 2015
Great overview of the basics of climate change, discussing factors contributing to the problem as well as the effects on Earth and its systems.
- The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See (WonderingMind42), 2007
A high school teacher presents a balanced, logical argument for the need to combat climate change here and now. Although the production is simple, the information and discussion is highly illuminating.
- 13 misconceptions about climate change (Veritasium), 2014
This video takes 13 myths or misconceptions about climate change and turns them around in a succinct and clear way while keeping the arguments grounded in good science.
Use this app to make environmental observations that supplement NASA satellite observations for studying Earth and its natural systems.
Helps users find and share actions to combat climate change.
View arguments from climate change skeptics and access what scientists say about the points raised. The app also updates as new data emerge.
- Devra Davis, When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales Of Environmental Deception And The Battle Against Pollution (Cambridge, MA: Basic Books, 2002).
This book discusses the rise of environmental epidemiology, and how we can use this science to explore the connections between environment, public health and disease like never before.
- Benjamin Ross and Steven Amter, The Polluters: The Making of Our Chemically Altered Environment (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).
Decisions about environmental issues are often heavily influenced by political and economic agendas. This book details the subversion of science by business interests, and how we are living with the environmental consequences.
- Chip Jacobs, Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Los Angeles (New York: Overlook Press, 2008).
Smogtown is an engaging and representative account of a real situation in the U.S. where air pollution was and continues to be a serious problem. It covers both the causes and effects of urban air pollution.
- Tim Smedley, Clearing the Air: The Beginning and End of Air Pollution (London: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2019).
Clearing the Air tells the full story of what’s happened to the air we breathe. Sustainability journalist Tim Smedley explains exactly what air pollution is, which chemicals are the dangerous ones and where they come from.
- Melody Rowell, “What It’s Like to Live in the World’s Most Polluted City,” National Geographic, 26 April 2016
This articles depicts people’s lives with pollution in India with great images and commentary. It also brings up some general points about how pollution affects different communities disproportionally.
- Edward Wong, “Coal Burning Causes the Most Air Pollution Deaths in China, Study Finds,” The New York Times, 17 August 2016
This piece focuses on China’s pollution catastrophe, using sound but harshly revealing statistics to outline a huge public health crisis.
- Feliz Solomon, “China’s Smog Is as Deadly as Smoking, New Research Claims,” Time, 22 December 2016
This article has a similar subject as the one above, but it has great images and video footage of what is discussed regarding the pollution in parts of China.
- Susan Brink, “WHO Report: Indoor Air Pollution Is Greatest Environmental Health Risk,” National Geographic, 27 March 2014
Indoor pollution is an important yet often overlooked public health concern, especially in the developing world. This article gives a great overview of the issue in a global context.
- Margaret Nagle, “The environmental legacy of acid rain,” University of Maine, 10 August 2016
This piece has great explanations about the many damaging effects of acid rain.
Many air pollutants interact with or are themselves greenhouse gases—this article describes how reducing air pollution can have both positive public health and climate effects.
- Beth Gardiner “Pollution made COVID-19 worse. Now, lockdowns are clearing the air,” National Geographic, 8 April 2020
Outlines the sharp decrease in air pollution due to the lockdowns prompted by COVID-19. Includes visuals of cities and data about what pollutants decreased and by how much.
Neutral forum for exchanging expertise and knowledge between environmental organizations, educators, professionals.
Provides lung health education and latest research on lung diseases.
Map of current air quality throughout the U.S.
Information on air quality trends and key air pollutants in the U.S.
Covers air pollution topics: what it is, causes, effects, protecting your health.
Statistics on the effects of harmful air pollution globally.
- Air Pollution (Bozeman Science), 2015
Very informative video covering the topic of air pollution broadly, including the science and chemistry of air pollution as well as its effects on the environment and society.
- Melissa C. Lott, “Air Pollution from Energy is a Global Challenge” Scientific American, 30 June 2016 and Human Fingerprint on Global Air Quality (NASA), 2016
This brief article is a good introduction for the video linked above, which shows our society’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere on a large scale.
With live and forecasting data, you can use this app to see the varying levels of air pollution throughout the day in major cities around the world.
Air quality and weather information updated in real-time for more than 6,000 areas globally.
- Vandana Shiva, Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2016).
This book details the ecological water crisis, explaining its causes as well as how people are fighting back and seeking solutions. It also gives the reader a good perspective on current geopolitical conflicts in terms of natural resource disparities.
- Judith D. Schwartz, Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2016).
Driven by true stories and situations from around the globe, Water in Plain Sight talks about the water crisis broadly and considers a host of solutions focused on working within the water cycle itself.
- Cynthia Barnett, Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2012).
This work focuses on the U.S. and its water issues, arguing for an established ethic around water usage and explaining relevant solutions already implemented in communities around the world.
- Maggie Black, The Atlas of Water: Mapping the World’s Most Critical Resource 3rd Edition (University of California Press: 2016).
This book provides a valuable global perspective, and incorporates our historic use of water as a species. It touches on the many and varied ways our use and control of water is problematic for the environment and our society.
- Alexander Prud’homme, The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the 21st Century (New York: Scribner, 2011).
The Ripple Effect is a narrative picture of the water crisis, driven by the stories of a few real-life characters dealing with these issues.
- Adrian Dingle, “The Flint Water Crisis: What’s Really Going On?” American Chemical Society, December 2016
This article really gets into the chemistry of the issues with Flint’s water issues and how lead pipes affect the water on a molecular level.
- Bethany Caruso, “Women still carry most of the world’s water,” The Conversation, 16 July 2017
This article provides a comprehensive look at global water crisis and emphasizes the extra burdens women carry when it comes to water.
- Sophie Krause, “Going Green With Blue Roofs,” Discovery Magazine, 8 March 2016
This piece outlines one solution to solve some of the problems involving water distribution caused by our expanding urban landscape.
- Chris Woodford, “Water pollution: an introduction” Explain That Stuff! 4 June 2017
This is a great overview of water pollution in general and defines some useful terms to utilize in class.
- Pilita Clark, “A world without water” Financial Times, 14 July 2014
This article discusses different industries’ use of water as resource, and shows that while some companies are taking steps to promote sustainability, it might not be enough.
- Joshua Bateman, “China’s looming water crisis” The Ecologist, 25 February 2014
Speaking to China’s water problems, this piece gives the reader an idea of the breadth and depth of these problems as nations try to balance the needs of their populations and their water use.
- Jessie Yeung, “India has just five years to solve its water crisis, experts fear,” CNN, 4 July 2019
This article discusses how rapid urbanization, poor infrastructure planning, climate change, and the wealth gap intersect in India’s water crisis.
Provides a wealth of information about drinking water and common questions about our water supply.
Educates public about the importance of our groundwater resources and how we should use them.
Describes geologic and hydrologic characteristics of U.S. aquifers.
Understand the water resources of the U.S with data, maps, and publications from the Geological Survey.
Promotes awareness of water quality issues and impacts
Measurements, maps, and data on global water challenges as well as how to address these challenges.
Teaches water health education and basic research methods so that communities can recognize and solve water problems.
Learn about the global water crisis and how you can help provide access to clean, safe, reliable drinking water for communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Water Changes Everything (charitywater). 2011
This short video outlines the global water crisis very well with great information and production.
- Why Care about Water (National Geographic). 2010
A quick analysis by National Geographic that uses great imaging to explain the problems involving our use of freshwater.
- WATER our most precious resource (Robeco). 2014
Discusses the water crisis in the context of our growing population, and connects the crisis to health concerns and agricultural practices as well.
Helps users understand your water usage at home and what may be affecting it.
Track your inside and outside water usage, and find out what you can do to conserve more water.
Educational games help you learn all about groundwater, pollution prevention, water conservation/use, and the water cycle.
- Susanna Hecht and Alexander Cockburn, The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon (University of Chicago Press, 2011).
This book provides a historic perspective on our relationship with the rainforests. It focuses on the human lives and stories that surround and affect the forests (including the murder of Chico Mendes).
- Oliver Pye and Jayati Bhattacharya, The Palm Oil Controversy in Southeast Asia: A Transnational Perspective (Singapore: ISEAS Publishing, 2013).
There is constant controversy surrounding the global palm oil industry, and in this work the authors dissect the complex web of players and forces involved.
- Eric Rutkow, American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012).
This book is the history of America from the perspective of the forests. The author discusses how crucial forests were to our development as a nation and how treatment of forests has changed in the U.S. over time.
- Vaddey Ratner, In the Shadow of the Banyan (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012).
This is a fictional account of the upheaval and conflict in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge years. Throughout the story, the forests are ever present, underscoring their importance to life and culture in Cambodia and all humanity.
- Alan Weisman, The World Without Us (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2007).
The author describes a fictional version of our planet without the presence of human civilization. This setting helps the reader better understand that we need nature, and nature doesn’t need us.
- Alaric Sample, R. Patrick Bixler and Char Miller, Forest Conservation in the Anthropocene: Science, Policy, and Practice (University Press of Colorado, 2016).
This book is more like a textbook, but it explains solutions and management practices in a comprehensive way rather than just outlining the problem, and highlights the necessity for a transdisciplinary approach.
- Dominic Bates, “’It’s up to us’: why business needs to take a stand on palm oil,” The Guardian, June 2017
This article gathers discussions with experts and business leaders about the problems involved in palm oil production and what needs to be done to solve them.
- Marcelo Teixeira, “’Brazil Amazon deforestation soars to 11-year high under Bolsonaro,” Reuters, November 2019
This article describes the increased deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil since the election of President Jair Bolsonaro. The administration of Bolsonaro has eliminated or weakened many environmental protections which had previously protected the Amazon rainforest.
- Katie Valentine, “We’re Cutting Down One Of Our Best Defenses Against Global Warming,” Think Progress, April 2016
In this piece the author explains how deforestation has more than just a local effect on biodiversity, it has global ramifications on Earth’s climate.
- Steve Schwartzman, “3 ways the marketplace could end Amazon deforestation,” Environmental Defense Fund, March 2016
This article delivers solutions to stopping global deforestation from an economic perspective.
- Julian Smith and Jill Schwartz, “Deforestation in Peru,” World Wildlife Fund Magazine, September 2015
This is a comprehensive look at deforestation in Peru, outlining the problems and solutions as well as how communities can get involved to improve the situation.
- Richard Schiffman, “After a Decade of Declines, Amazon Deforestation Sharply Rises,” Discovery Magazine, April 2015
The author focuses on the historic and global trends of deforestation as well as the methods we are employing to monitor forest loss today.
- Chris Mooney, “The solution to climate change that has nothing to do with cars or oil,” The Washington Post, February 2016
This article talks about forests in context of climate change and biodiversity in Brazil with great pictures to enhance the information.
Interactive map for learning about deforestation around the world.
Current events, issues, and actions taken regarding global forests.
The latest news about rainforest ecology and conservation efforts.
Learn about rainforests and how important they are to both local communities and our planet as a whole.
Champions the health of rainforests and the communities that depend on them. Also provides information on deforestation drivers.
Explore The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to save forests around the world.
Provides information on U.S. forests and management actions.
Scores 137 companies on their use of sustainable palm oil.
- Deforestation (National Geographic), 2017
This National Geographic video has great images and information about global deforestation, and includes the problems as well as potential solutions for deforestation.
- What is Deforestation? (Students, Malayan Colleges Laguna), 2013
This video quickly and effectively explains the effects of deforestation and briefly discusses some possible solutions.
- The Deforestation of the Amazon (A Time Lapse), (The Daily Conversation), 2012
This very short video is based on data from NASA that shows what deforestation actually looks like on a large scale.
- Reforestation: Impact on Climate (TED-Ed), 2015)
This TED-Ed talk really focuses on the need to reverse deforestation, and the ways that can be accomplished.
- How to grow a tiny forest really, really fast (TED), 2014
This forest expert explains an incredible plan for growing forests back as fast as possible. It might even inspire some school forestry projects!
- Forest Watcher (Global Forest Watch)
View deforestation and fire alerts in areas around the globe.
Field guide for trees that uses visual recognition software to help you identify tree species from images of leaves.
Explore and appreciate the forests in your area by finding great trails for hiking, biking, and running.
- Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (New York: Penguin Books, 1997).
Through the history and story of this single species of fish, the author takes a hard look at the triumphs and tragedies of modern society with a particular emphasis on environmental disasters and overfishing in the oceans.
- Ray Hilborn, Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
As often as it’s talked about, overfishing is broadly misunderstood. This book provides a balanced, scientific, and comprehensive explanation of the issues surrounding overfishing, incorporating case studies of fish species to demonstrate its effects.
- Paul Greenberg, American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood (New York: Penguin Books, 2014).
This work takes an in-depth look at the fishing industry in the U.S., and how it has been affected by pollution, politics and economics among other factors.
- Callum Roberts, The Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea (New York: Penguin Group, 2012).
This book has been called “the Silent Spring of oceans”. It is a compelling call to arms to save ocean life through its exploration of overfishing and other marine environmental issues.
- Sylvia Earle, The World Is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s Are One (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2009).
This work outlines the current and future perils facing Earth’s oceans. The author emphasizes the different ways that our society is connected to the oceans, and why we need to care about their fate.
- Iain McCalman, The Reef: A Passionate History: The Great Barrier Reef from Captain Cook to Climate Change (New York: Scientific American, 2013).
This book presents different perspectives of Great Barrier Reef from historical figures, detailing our changing relationship with a vitally important biodiversity hotspot.
- Adam Aton, “CO2 Benefits the ‘Rats and Cockroaches’ of the Marine World,” ClimateWire, 7 July 2017
This article talks about some of the effects on ocean ecosystems from global climate change and human activities not often discussed.
- Christie Wilcox, “Changing Oceans Breed Disease,” The Scientist, 1 July 2016
This article is clearly written, very informative, and covers many of the important ocean environmental issues. The author ties everything back to real-life situations in the Great Barrier Reef ecosystems.
- Dermot O’Gorman, “Overfishing is as big a threat to humanity as it is to oceans,” The Guardian, 15 February 2016
This article explains the threats facing people who depend on fisheries as well as the fish species themselves.
- “Nine years later: What’s ahead for the Gulf?” Environmental Defense Fund, April 2017
This short piece tells you a lot about the current status and far-reaching impacts of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico seven years after the event.
- Robinson Meyer, “The Arctic Ocean Is Clogging With Billions of Plastic Bits,” The Atlantic, 20 April 2017
This piece explains a recently discovered impact on the ocean and its systems from the massive amounts of trash and plastics humans deposit there.
- Christopher Joyce, “Pollution Has Worked Its Way Down To The World’s Deepest Waters,” NPR, 13 February 2017
This article discusses the incredibly far-reaching effects of human activities and pollution in the oceans.
Learn about human impacts on the oceans, how those impacts connect to other global issues, and the practice of sustainable ocean governance.
Explore the diversity of oceanic life and read about the aquarium’s conservation efforts.
NOAA provides information on a range of U.S. ocean and climate topics.
Read telling stories of marine conservation, and learn more about the threats facing species of sharks and rays around the world.
Campaigning to protect our oceans now and in the future, Waves of Change provides information on the importance of the Earth’s oceans and what each of us can do to help conserve them.
Oceana works to restore and maintain biodiversity in the oceans, emphasizing science-based fishery management and community conservation.
Learn all about the ecology and significance of coral reefs, and the threats they face today.
This site provides comprehensive measurements of ocean health on local and global scales.
- How to Care for the Ocean (National Geographic), 2011
This short video outlines the main problems facing Earth’s oceans and how we can care for them better.
- Conserving our spectacular, vulnerable coral reefs (TED-Ed), 2013
This video delivers a practical perspective on marine conservation solutions for today.
- How Whales Change Climate (Sustainable Human), 2014
We usually don’t think of wildlife as having large-scale effects on Earth’s systems, but this video demonstrates whales’ massive influence on the oceans and Earth’s climate.
- What Is Ocean Acidification? NOVA (PBS), 2015
This work explains ocean acidification, and why it’s a problem for marine life with great information and narration.
- Why the Ocean Matters (National Geographic), 2013
This video outlines the services that the ocean provides and the threats that it’s facing.
Learn about the seafood you’re eating, get recommendations and share businesses that offer sustainable seafood options.
Provides more than 1,600 high quality images for over 600 species of marine life to help you identify and learn about ocean wildlife.
Food and Hunger
- Joel K. Bourne Jr., The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World (New York: Norton & Company, Inc., 2015).
This book is a journalist’s inquiry into the future of food in the face of a growing human population, climate change, and ecological devastation. The author explores the different ways people around the world are trying to increase our food supply, and what’s at stake whether we succeed or not.
- Lisa Palmer, Hot, Hungry Planet: The Fight to Stop a Global Food Crisis in the Face of Climate Change (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017).
Lisa Palmer is a journalist who goes across the world to talk to people about their solutions to a host of food-related problems. The stories of real people grappling with these issues drives the narrative and provides a global perspective.
- David Rieff, The Reproach of Hunger: Food, Justice, and Money in the Twenty-First Century (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015).
This book looks at different approaches for conquering global hunger, and assesses where they succeed and where they fall short.
- John Mandyck and Eric Schultz, Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change (New York: Carrier Corp, 2015).
This work discusses the effects and extent of food waste in our society, and connects the issue to population and climate problems.
- Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System (New York: Melville House, 2012).
This investigation into the global food network reveals a broken system in dire need of repair. The author goes further to propose solutions to create a more sustainable and fair food system for the world.
- Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (New York: Penguin, 2007).
Michael Pollan investigates how our simple, everyday choices about the food we eat have enormous consequences on our health as individuals and our survival as a society.
- Wayne Roberts, The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food (Oxford: New Internationalist, 2013).
This piece is a very readable overview of world hunger issues and how they relate to the global economy and climate change.
- Jonathan Foley, “Feeding 9 Billion,” National Geographic, April 2014
This article outlines a comprehensive five-step plan to feed the planet in 2050 despite a growing population and a host of environmental issues.
- Tracie McMillan, “The New Face of Hunger,” National Geographic Magazine, August 2014
This piece details the multifaceted problem that is hunger in America, and talks about the effects of actions from the public and private sectors, all within the context of real Americans’ stories.
- Amy Harrison, “Nigeria’s food crisis: by the time famine is declared, it’s too late,” The Guardian, 12 June 2017
This tragic story is tough to read, but it gives the reader a sense of the interplay between conflict, hunger and poverty. These are real stories of real people dealing with a food crisis.
- Max Bearak and Laris Karklis, “Starving to Death,” The Washington Post, 11 April 2017
This article explores the extreme dangers of hunger with convincing information and effective graphs and imagery.
- Adrian Shirk, “Farming in the Sky” The Atlantic, 22 May 2015
This informative article details the practice of sustainable farming and the stories of people who are actually doing it.
- Ron Nixon, “Food Waste Is Becoming Serious Economic and Environmental Issue, Report Says” The New York Times, 25 February 2015
This work provides a great overview of the many interconnected problems associated with food waste around the globe.’
- Georgina Gustin, “2017: Agriculture Begins to Tackle Its Role in Climate Change” Inside Climate News, 4 January 2017
This article talks about agriculture’s role in climate change and how it’s finally beginning to change.
- José Graziano da Silva, “We Can End Hunger. Here’s How,” National Geographic, 16 October 2015
This piece discusses several practical solutions to hunger and poverty on a large scale.
- Denise Chow, “Climate change threatens world’s food supply, alarming UN report says,” NBC News, 08 August 2019
This IPCC report concludes that a global 2 degree Celsius temperature increase would very likely threaten the world’s food supply.
FAO works on global food issues like hunger and malnutrition, food security, eliminating poverty, and sustainable agriculture.
Learn about The Hunger Project’s efforts to end hunger around the world by promoting sustainable, women-centered strategies in development and agriculture.
Learn about improving nutrition and resilient food security in communities around the world.
Read about the latest research, innovations, and actions in sustainable agriculture that’s helping meet society’s needs for food and nutrition.
Search for sustainable, healthy seafood options in stores and restaurants around the world, and learn how to be a better seafood consumer.
Learn about organic agriculture in North America and where you can buy organic produce and products in your area.
See how legislators in the U.S. feel and vote about food/agriculture issues.
- Why do we need to change our food system? (United Nations), 2016
This video gives a broad overview of the problems imbedded in our food system with great facts and statistics. It also connects these issues to population and environmental concerns.
- Rethink Zero (United Nations), 2015
This short movie discusses the challenges we face regarding food and population now and in the future.
- Empowering Women Would Help End World Hunger (VOA), 2017
This video advocates for empowering the women of the world in order to end global hunger.
- Why do people still go hungry? (The Guardian), 2017
This very short video uses good visuals and information to explore the different factors and effects associated with global hunger.
Provides information on the food you find in stores, and rates them based on their company, sourcing, and production.
Share a meal to combat world hunger with just a tap on your smartphone, and follow where meals are being distributed by the World Food Programme.
Connect with neighbors and local stores to share surplus food and other items instead of throwing them away.
- Edward Humes, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash (New York: Penguin Group, 2013).
The author is a journalist who through this book examines our society’s relationship with trash from all angles, and reflects on civilization’s future in the process.
- Heather Rogers, Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage (New Press, 2006).
This work takes a historical perspective on how humanity has handled its waste from the 1800’s to the present. The author explores controversies surrounding waste management such as recycling politics and the exporting of trash to poor countries, and ends with a strong argument for changing this status quo.
- Curtis Ebbesmeyer, Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science (Washington, DC: Smithsonian, 2010).
This book provides a holistic view of ocean science, ocean health, and the treatment of waste in our society through the strange stories of floating garbage.
- Susan Freinkel, Plastic: A Toxic Love Story (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011).
Freinkel’s work deals with our relationship with plastics in the past and present, and explaining why plastics present a huge problem for all of us even as we grow more and more dependent on them in our daily lives.
- David Naylor, Trash Backwards: Innovating Our Way to Zero Waste (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2012).
This book goes far beyond outlining our problems with waste to present concrete, practical solutions to our trash troubles today.
- Elizabeth Grossman, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2007).
An environmental journalist details the dirty side of our heavy use of technology: electronic waste. The book argues that we need to design electronics that are more recyclable or safely disposable.
- Nathaniel Scharping, “Here’s How Much Plastic Humanity Has Produced,” Discover Magazine, 19 July 2017
This piece is very short and to the point, with impressive numbers and graphics that help readers understand the magnitude of our plastic waste.
- Ellen M. Gilmer, “Court Orders EPA to Address Landfill Emissions,” Scientific American, 7 May 2019
This article discusses waste dumps as the third-largest emitters of methane and other harmful pollutants.
- Syed Faraz Ahmed, “The Global Cost of Electronic Waste,” The Atlantic, 29 September 2016
This looks at the depths and causes of our difficulties with electronic waste, and outlines some of the ways we can be better as consumers and in business practice to combat these problems.
- Rick LeBlanc, “An Introduction to Solid Waste Management,” The Balance, 18 May 2017
This article provides a broad overview of the different categories of solid waste and how they should be managed.
- Alana Semuels, “How to Stop Humans From Filling the World With Trash,” The Atlantic, August 2015
This piece explains how to combat trash accumulation as individuals and as a society.
- Austin Ramzy, “A Remote Pacific Island Awash in Tons of Trash,” The New York Times, 16 May 2017
A Very short article that helps readers understand the direct effects of our solid waste on the planet and its systems.
- Matthew Teague, “Opponents of huge Alabama landfill fight company’s $30m defamation suit,” The Guardian, 2 June 2016
This is a sobering perspective on the politics and social injustice involved in waste disposal, and the lengths some companies will go to dodge responsibility for their waste.
- Daiane Scaraboto, Alison M Joubert & Claudia Gonzalez-Arcos, “Using lots of plastic packaging during the coronavirus crisis? You’re not alone,” Solid Waste Magazine, 5 May 2020
This article explains how in light of Covid-19, sustainability practices have decreased; despite people’s best efforts it has become more challenging during this health crisis.
Explore a wide variety of topics on waste management, environmental hazards from trash, and what we can do to reduce waste.
This organization works to promote improved recycling and clean communities through education and inspiring action.
Learn about marine debris in Earth’s oceans, including how it affects human health, harms wildlife, and damages economies.
This site explains how bottle bills (or container deposit laws) help reduce bottle and can waste, and how you can start a bottle bill for your own community.
Read how to make economically and ecologically smart decisions about waste in your home, job, and community.
This organization provides information, news, and education about solid waste, recycling, organics and sustainable communities.
- Preventing Our Oceans from Becoming Dumps (United Nations), 2015
With impressive imaging and narration, this video provides great information about the trash in our oceans, explaining some unlikely sources of trash and also the UN’s potential solutions for the future.
- What really happens to the plastic you throw away (TED-Ed), 2015
This explains the different outcomes of waste after it is thrown away. It explores associated environmental issues and science of the waste along the way.
- What Is E-Waste? (OPBWEB), 2016
This is a very quick and general overview of e-waste and its consequences for humans and the environment.
- How Do We Solve Our Trash Problem? (Forward Thinking), 2013
This video discusses our waste management problems and some modern solutions for them.
This video discusses why recycling is only part of the solution to our vast amounts of trash.
Find local recycling options in the U.S. for over 350 materials.
Get answers to your recycling questions, set reminders for collection days, and earn reward points for great deals at nearby stores.
- Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (New York: Henry Holt, 2014).
This book explains the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth that is happening today before our eyes. The author takes an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates a lot of specific examples to help us understand this phenomenon and why humanity is at the center of it all.
- E.O. Wilson, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life (New York: W. W. Norton, 2016).
Renowned sociobiologist and conservationist E.O. Wilson argues that we need to convert half of Earth into a human-free nature conservancy to preserve biodiversity. Wilson discusses the current levels of biodiversity loss and champions the positive effects of biodiversity as well.
- Richard Pearson, Driven to Extinction: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity (New York: Sterling Publishing, 2011).
This work explores the complex picture of how exactly climate change directly and indirectly affects wildlife on Earth.
- William C. Burger, Complexity: The Evolution of Earth’s Biodiversity and the Future of Humanity (New York: Prometheus Books, 2016).
This is a very readable history of biodiversity and the rise of humanity. It provides an important evolutionary perspective on our society and discusses the problems we create for Earth’s systems.
- Charles J. Krebs, Why Ecology Matters (University of Chicago, 2016).
This book explains the importance of Earth’s ecology and illustrates ecological principles with real examples. The author also emphasizes the central role that humans hold to affect the environment.
- Simran Sethi, Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love (New York: HarperOne, 2015).
Through the stories of common foods many humans enjoy, this book details our growing dependence on a small number of food species. Readers learn why it’s a problem that 30 species of food account for 90% of our diet, and what can be done about it.
- Steve Volk, “Buzzkill: Will America’s Bees Survive?” Discover Magazine, 16 February 2017
This article describes the problems for the American Honeybee and their dismal prospects as a species if these issues persist.
- Paul Ehrlich, “You don’t need a scientist to know what’s causing the sixth mass extinction,” The Guardian, 11 July 2017
This piece focuses on how human population growth is causing biodiversity loss and major extinctions around the world.
- Jo Setchell, “New Study: 60 Percent of Primate Species Threatened With Extinction,”Sapiens, 8 February 2017
This article highlights a particular extinction crisis in our own order of primates that has been studied intensively.
- Robert Thompson, “Scientists warn of ‘unsafe’ decline in biodiversity,” BBC News, 15 July 2016
This piece describes biodiversity trends up to the modern day, and includes a very useful map to help us understand the extent and magnitude of recent biodiversity loss.
- Tessa Koumoundouros, “Humans Are on Their Way to Annihilating 50 Billion Years of Evolutionary History,” Science Alert, 27 May 2020
This provides a convincing and scientific argument for the importance of conserving individual species for the overall health of their ecosystems.
- Dave Hone, “Past extinctions point to a current and future biodiversity crisis,” The Guardian, 19 July 2017
This article gives readers a historical perspective on mass extinctions. It compares and contrasts the mass extinction happening today with those in the ancient past, and argues that it is important for the world to understand and act against these trends.
- Stephen Leahy, “One million species at risk of extinction, UN report warns,” National Geographic, 06 May 2019
A landmark UN report warns that one million species may become extinct in just a few years, signaling serious ramifications for Earth’s ecosystems.
- Ferris Jabr, “How Humanity Unleashed a Flood of New Diseases,” The New York Times, 17 June 2020
This article provides a terrific explanation of zoonoses – diseases that jump from animal hosts to humans (including the current COVID-19 pandemic) and how the expansion of the human population and urban areas have led to greater instances of zoonotic infections in recent years.
This organization uses science, law, and creative media to advocate for biodiversity and protect wildlife habitats.
Read the latest news on biodiversity and wildlife populations, and look up the conservation status of species around the world.
The NRDC fights to protect wildlife and wild places through litigation, science, and policy work.
Explore the WCS’s focused conservation efforts in 16 regions that represent more than 50% of the Earth’s biodiversity.
Learn more about the status of wildlife species, habitats, and conservation management in the U.S.
WWF provides great resources and information on biodiversity, wildlife conservation, and ecological threats around the globe.
The Natural History Museum maintains great, accessible data on biodiversity, and allows you to discover new tools in science for documenting biodiversity.
The NWF works with a diverse network of individuals, businesses, groups, and organizations to protect wildlife and habitats in the U.S.
- How Wolves Change Rivers (Sustainable Human), 2014
This video teaches us about the importance of cascading effects in ecosystems by discussing the crucial roles wolves play in their environment and how they are necessary for other parts of the system to function.
- The threat of invasive species (TED-Ed), 2016
This discusses invasive species, an important and often overlooked cause of biodiversity loss. It provides great information based around actual examples of environmental devastation caused by non-native animals.
- Why is biodiversity so important? (TED-Ed), 2015
This work provides a short but broad overview on the significance of biodiversity with great narration and visuals.
- The Sixth Extinction (Fusion), 2017
In this video, an environmental journalist gives us a general and informative description of mass extinction events and their various causes.
Put biodiversity in the palm of your hand with this app that lets you identify and learn about biodiversity anywhere in the world.
Contribute to a citizen’s science project aimed at helping scientists document global biodiversity, and discover incredible organisms from around the world.
Get to know 16 endangered species by learning about their ecology and doing activities through the app.
- Lester Brown, The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy (New York: W. W. Norton, 2015).
This book discusses the recent and rapid shift towards clean, renewable sources of energy around the world. The author argues we are seeing the beginning of an energy revolution away from fossil fuels to wind, solar, and geothermal energy.
- Gary Sernovitz, The Green and the Black: The Complete Story of the Shale Revolution, the Fight over Fracking, and the Future of Energy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2016).
This work provides a historical, balanced perspective on the costs and benefits of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and what it means for the future of energy and the environment.
- Paul Ekins, Mike Bradshaw, and Jim Watson, Global Energy: Issues, Potentials, and Policy Implications (Oxford University Press, 2015).
This book outlines past and current issues surrounding energy policy/global use. The author goes further to describe predictions about our energy future and potential solutions for producing efficient, sustainable energy for our society.
- Edward Humes, Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation (New York: HarperCollins Publishing, 2016).
Focusing on the complexity of global transportation, this piece discusses the costs, truths, and challenges of moving people and things from point A to point B today. The author also argues that we are on the edge of a mobility revolution that will affect every part of our transportation system and society at large.
- Richard Heinberg, The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises (Healdsburg, CA: Watershed Media, 2010).
Each article in this collection focuses on one of the major forces shaping the 21st century, from renewable energy to social justice. All of the pieces connect to the larger sustainability problems facing our society and suggest potential solutions for them.
- Satoshi Kambayashi, “Can the world thrive on 100% renewable energy?” The Economist, 13 July 2017
This article discusses an economic perspective on renewable energy and problems we will and could have using only renewable energy sources.
- Kate Aronoff, “Utilities companies won’t let you sell your own solar power. Why not?” The Guardian, 1 August 2017
This piece looks at the ways utility companies are blocking efforts to transition to renewable energy.
- Johnny Wood, “Renewable energy could power the world by 2050. Here’s what that future might look like,” World Economic Forum, 28 February 2020
This article explores the possibility of renewable energy becoming the norm, suggesting that it’s possible to switch to a fully sustainable global energy landscape within the next 30 years. This could decrease worldwide annual air pollution deaths by four to seven million.
- Drew DeSilver, “Renewable energy is growing fast in the U.S., but fossil fuels still dominate,“ Pew Research Center, 15 January 2020
This piece underscores our continued dependence on fossil fuels and what energy use looks like in the future in the U.S.
- “How We Use Energy: Transportation,” National Academy of Science, 2017
Detailing U.S. energy use and the problems with fossil fuels used, this article highlights potential solutions more specific to the U.S.
- Rob Davies, “Global demand for energy will peak in 2030, says World Energy Council,” The Guardian, 10 October 2016
This discusses a recent report by the World Energy Council about our future global energy needs.
Information on energy, energy use and impacts, and clean energy in the U.S.
Read the latest news on all things energy in the U.S., and use interactive maps to further explore energy consumption.
This organization promotes clean and renewable energy for all communities to combat climate change.
Explore the systems, science, innovations and economy of U.S. energy.
This page provides information on the effects of energy consumption and energy disparities around the world.
- A guide to the energy of Earth (TED-Ed), 2014
This video gives us a helpful overview of energy, its movement and sources, and some of its societal impacts.
- 300 years of fossil fuels in 300 seconds (Post Carbon Institute), 2010
This is a great historical view on fossil fuel use that also summarizes some solutions for moving towards alternative energy sources.
- How does fracking work? (TED-Ed), 2017
This video describes the practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and gets into the controversies associated with it.
- Energy 101: Solar Power (Energy Now News), 2011
This video is a good mix of science and society information about solar energy.
- Energy 101: Wind Power (Energy Now News), 2011
This video is a good mix of science and society information about wind energy.
- Renewable energy, explained (National Geographic), 2019
National Geographic’s video discusses the pros and cons of different renewable energy sources, including biomass, geothermal, and hydropower.
View, track, and manage electricity use in your home and learn about energy reduction strategies to improve your efficiency and usage.
Understand your energy usage in a user-friendly format with infographics and illustrations to help you make better choices about home energy use.
Hunt down the best rooftops for solar panels in your area and help map out clean energy potential in your area.
Rich and Poor
- Branko Milanovic, Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization (Harvard University Press, 2016).
This book provides a historical, cyclical perspective on inequality that discusses both the complex causes of inequality and how we could redistribute global resources effectively.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs, Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (New York: Penguin Books, 2009).
This book describes the pressures our society faces from rapid population growth, environmental damage and poverty, warning of the impending crises if we do not chart a course to sustainable development and global cooperation.
- James M. Stone, Five Easy Theses: Commonsense Solutions to America’s Greatest Economic Challenges (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).
This work presents solutions to five problems in the U.S.: fiscal balance, inequality, education, health care, and financial sector reform from the author’s perspective as an insurance executive.
- Anthony B. Atkinson, Inequality: What can be done? (Harvard University Press, 2015).
This author moves away from traditional solutions for solving the problem of inequality like taxing wealthy alone, presenting a different set of solutions in the forms of policies in technology, employment, social security, sharing of capital, and taxation.
- Thomas Piketty, The Economics of Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2015).
This small book offers a concise and thorough introduction to the economics of inequality, written especially for students and non-economists.
- Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2001).
This work describes the experiences of a journalist who travels to different cities across the U.S. and tries to survive on “unskilled” jobs that she is offered. Working as a waitress, a cleaning woman, a Wal-Mart sales clerk, and more, Ehrenreich uncovers the exhausting, anxious, desperate, tenacious lives led by minimum-wage workers in the U.S.
- J. D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (New York: Harper, 2016).
This memoir follows the story of the Vance family, a white middle-class family living in Kentucky and Ohio, from postwar America to today. Through their eyes, we glimpse the struggles of a culture and class in America, and what upward mobility really feels like.
- Thomas Sowell, Wealth, Poverty and Politics (Cambridge, MA: Basic Books, 2016).
This work has a holistic perspective that discusses intersections of cultures, policies and economies between nations that lead to inequality, and explores some popular solutions and their own problems.
- John Upton, “The Injustice of Atlantic City’s Floods,” Scientific American, 14 May 2017
This article demonstrates the unfair reactions to increased flooding in East Coast communities along socioeconomic lines.
- Christina Pazzanese, “The Rich and the Rest,” S. News Report, 9 February 2016
This piece details the causes and effects of 30 years of inequality in the U.S.
- Jason Hickel, “Global inequality may be much worse than we think,” The Guardian, 8 April 2016
The author helps readers learn about the methods for measuring inequality and what they’re telling us about the current global disparities.
- “Quality of life indicators – measuring quality of life,” Eurostat, 5 November 2015
This short piece details the various quality of life measures used in international assessments and their strengths and weaknesses.
- Jason Zweig, “The Anti-Poverty Experiment,” The Wall Street Journal, 5 June 2015
This article talks about new movements in anti-poverty work based on recent or expanded findings by behavioral economists in the 21st century.
- Alana Samuels, “Poor at 20, Poor for Life,” The Atlantic, 14 July 2016
This piece discusses a recent study finding that social mobility is generally in decline in the U.S.
- Amy Lieberman, “COVID-19 will push 130 million into poverty by 2030, UN report shows,” Devex, 14 May 2020
In light of Covid-19 the UN estimates that there will be an additional 130 million people living in extreme poverty by the year 2030, a major setback for the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Casey Quackenbush, “The World’s Top 26 Billionaires Now Own as Much as the Poorest 3.8 Billion, Says Oxfam,” Time, 21 January 2019
This article discusses the widening global wealth gap—the poorest half of humanity saw their wealth decrease by 11% in 2018, coming at the expense of women and children who are pulled out of school and work.
This nonpartisan research group works on policies to reduce poverty and wealth inequality.
This bank provides credit to some of the poorest people in Bangladesh, especially women, to help them improve their livelihoods and positively impact their society.
UNICEF helps children around the world, defending their rights and providing emergency humanitarian action among other work.
Learn about the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN to solve a host of problems and improve life for people around the world by 2030.
The World Bank works on sustainable solutions to decrease global poverty and improve mutual prosperity in developing countries.
Explore wealth inequality through books, reports, and creative media.
- How wealth inequality is dangerous for America (Vox), 2014
This video explains the huge amounts of wealth disparity in America and what it means for the nation.
- Poverty & Our Response To It (PBS Crash Course), 2017
This provides a moral and philosophical outlook on global poverty in the context of overpopulation.
- What is poverty? (World Vision Australia), 2015
This vide is a simple, broad overview of what poverty is and the factors contributing to global differences.
- Global Wealth Inequality (TheRulesOrg), 2013
This informative video examines the reasons we see global wealth inequalities within and between countries around the world.
If you can afford $1 a day to help defeat global poverty, this app will show you where you can send it, introducing you to a new charity or cause that’s working to alleviate poverty.
- James H. Spencer, Globalization and Urbanization: The Global Urban Ecosystem (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014).
This book compares a wide variety of aspects of four different cities around the world and how these cities are connected to each other. The author also examines the contrast between rural and urban communities across countries.
- Richard Florida, The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class – and What We Can Do About It (Cambridge, MA: Basic Books, 2017).
This is an impassioned and researched argument for more inclusive, sustainable cities as urban centers continue to grow incredibly fast around the world.
- Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream (10th Anniversary Edition) (New York: North Point Press, 2010).
This book explores the problems associated with urban sprawl broadly and specifically in the U.S. while also offering solutions.
- Jeff Speck, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time (2013).
The author argues that for a variety of reasons walkability is what makes cities great and what we should strive for when we’re designing and planning urban spaces. This book also describes generally how urban change happens and what we need to do to stay on top of it.
- Stephen Destefano, Coyote at the Kitchen Door: Living with Wildlife in Suburbia (Harvard University Press, 2011).
This provides a great outline of the increasing number of human-wlidlife conflicts involved in expansion of urban areas.
- John Mandyck, “Beyond the Jetsons’ Dreams: The Future of Urbanization,” The Atlantic, 10 March 2016
This article discusses the challenges that face cities in the future, as well as the solutions and attitudes we should adopt.
- Mark Swilling, “The curse of urban sprawl: how cities grow, and why this has to change,” The Guardian, 12 July 2016
This article has great descriptions and examples of the major growing pains experienced with city growth, and the importance of embracing densification in urban areas to cut down on urban sprawl.
- Tony Barboza, “White roofs could curb warming from urban growth, study finds,” Los Angeles Times, 12 February 2014
This piece emphasizes the need to address the many issues facing big cities, and the relative importance of certain urban complications as climate change worsens.
- Brendan F.D. Barrett, “Five lessons from Tokyo, a city of 38m people, for Australia, a nation of 24m,” The Conversation, 10 July 2017
Comparing the country of Australia to the city of Tokyo, the author outlines five concepts that are great starting points for discussions about solutions and measures for ensuring healthy urban growth.
- Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard, “Caring for Our Common Home: the Challenge,” Making Cities Livable blog, 2017
This article speaks about the challenges of urbanization in an effective, thorough way, and discusses what can be done to ensure the livability of cities for all.
- Michael Totty, “Five Cities That Are Leading the Way in Urban Innovation,” The Wall Street Journal, 21 April 2016
This piece describes what these five cities across world are doing to solve their crises, and what made them seek solutions in the first place.
The APA provides research and policy recommendations to create communities and cities that are safe, sustainable, and affordable.
Find out what it takes to make safe, well-designed city streets that take health, equity, and transportation needs into account.
This organization advocates for better urban development by working with planning professionals, real estate developers, and every level of government.
Learn more about environmentally and socially sustainable urban development efforts around the world through this branch of the UN.
This organization is a network of partners that promote sustainable, economic urban growth that enhances human and natural communities.
Learn about smart growth strategies that promote human and environmental health while also increasing economic opportunities.
This page talks about the need for sustainable urban development for both people and nature.
The Urban Institute conducts research in economic and social policy to improve the lives of people and the communities they belong to around the U.S.
- Dehli’s Urban Sprawl (The New York Times), 2013
This video allows us to see the conflicts involved in urbanization on both sides: the difficulties experienced by people migrating to cities and people caught in the path of growth.
- Urbanization (Khan Academy), 2014
With rich and informative narration, this video explores the complexities of urbanization.
- Urbanization and the future of cities (TED-Ed), 2013
This video presents general information about cities and urban growth and introduces a lot of good ideas for further discussion.
- The Future of Cities (Oscar Boyson & The Nantucket Project), 2016
Comprehensive, well-done exploration of the future of cities and solutions that people around the world are implementing to improve urban life.
Learn about global urbanization by comparing economic and demographic statistics across time and between different cities around the world.
- Streetmix (on browser)
Design your ideal neighborhood street and learn some of the basics of city planning.
- World City Populations 1950 – 2030
Visualize the massive amounts of urbanization and population growth in major cities around the world during the last 60 years, explore more detailed demographics, and look at projections for these cities in the future.
The World’s Women
- Nalini Visvanathan, Lynn Duggan, Nan Wiegersma and Laurie Nisonoff, The Women, Gender and Development Reader: Second Edition (London, UK: Zed Books, 2011).
This is a collection of different pieces contributed by leading experts in a variety of fields discussing women in the development process, and a large range of associated topics including migration, climate change, structural discrimination, and global recession.
- Joni Seager, The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World: Fourth Edition (New York: Penguin Books, 2008).
This book describes the status of women in different areas of society and the key issues they face around the world.
- Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns (New York: Riverhead, 2007).
Set in Kabul, Afghanistan around the turn of the century, this novel focuses on two women who form an incredible friendship and love after being brought together by a drastic series of events. Beyond the characters and story, readers learn about life in a war-torn nation, the struggles of women and families in a patriarchal society, the complexities of ethnicity and culture, and much more.
- Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (New York: Vintage, 2010).
This book is a call to arms to fight against the prevailing oppression of women and girls in the developing world. The authors guide us through the struggles and triumphs of real women and girls, showing that with just a little help to reach their potential they can rise above injustice and suffering.
- Jenny Nordberg, The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan (New York: Broadway Books, 2015).
This book follows a journalist as she uncovers a hidden custom that changes our concepts of childhood and gender. The author also takes great care to illuminate the lives of women in a raw patriarchy, dealing with inequality and oppression on a daily basis.
- Minky Worden, The Unfinished Revolution: Voices from the Global Fight for Women’s Rights (2012).
Taken together, this anthology is the story of the struggles for women’s basic rights around the world. The authors-who include Nobel Prize laureates, leading activists, top policymakers, and former victims-touch on the deep issues surrounding gender inequality and horrible acts perpetrated against women and girls.
- Ann Simmons, “Gender equality? It doesn’t exist anywhere in the world,” Los Angeles Times, 8 March 2016
This article provides a great overview of the problems facing women around the globe, and highlights some interesting and relevant data from World Economic Forum.
- Al-Jen Poo, “How Women Are Demanding Gender Equality in 2018,” Time, 8 March 2018
This article sheds light on the shift in the women’s movement in the U.S., and highlights some of the major issues facing them even today.
- Liz Ford, “Families, fertility and feminism: landmarks in women’s rights,” The Guardian, 27 July 2017
This explains historic points of victory for women around the world, and discusses which areas of society we need to see more progress for women today.
- Anup Shah, “Women’s Rights,” Globalissues.org, 14 March 2010
This piece does a great job of compiling different resources and perspectives on the myriad of problems facing the world’s women.
- “Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment,” UN Women, April 2015
This is a fact sheet about the various aspects of women’s economic empowerment around the globe, including the economic issues associated with gender inequality as well as the economic benefits that come from equality.
- Dina Medland, “Today’s Gender Reality In Statistics, Or Making Leadership Attractive To Women,” Forbes magazine, 7 March 2016
Discusses study about women’s leadership (mostly in business contexts) around the world, and what it means for equality.
This UN agency provides support for women’s and children’s reproductive health care in more than 150 countries.
This advocacy organization promotes human rights, gender equality, and environmental justice for humans and nature.
- Women’s Health (U.S. Government)
Learn more about a host of women’s health issues by topic.
- World Health Organization, Women’s health
This page describes the impacts of gender on health, emphasizing the cultural and biological concerns that affect women’s health.
- United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals
Read about the fifth Sustainable Development Goal from the UN: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
This page focuses on the importance of gender equality in education, and the factors that contribute to the inequality present today.
- To Be a Woman in the Senate (The Atlantic), 2016
This video centers on an interview with Amy Klobuchar, a female senator from Minnesota. The video and Amy herself do a great job of explaining the challenges faced by women in politics, and the general, daily adversity females experience in the U.S.
- What people miss about the gender wage gap (Vox), 2016
This is an in-depth exploration of the gender wage gap of the past and present in the U.S.
- Global Oppression of Women (TED Talks), 2010
Sheryl Wu Dunn (author of Half the Sky) discusses the plight of women in a variety of global contexts through a series of stories, and argues that gender equality is the war of the 21st century.
- Gender Equality: NOW (WorldFish), 2014
This video discusses gender inequalities in general, and explains the vicious cycle of disempowerment experienced by women around the world.
- Hear Kids’ Honest Opinions on Being a Boy or Girl Around the World (National Geographic), 2016
Just by asking boys and girls from around the world simple questions, this video brings up a lot of great points for discussion about what it means to be a boy or girl, the varying influences of gender, and what people value in different cultures.
Access key documents pertaining to women’s rights from the UN and different regions of the world.
Record and share the gender imbalances (or balances) you see on a daily basis, whether that’s in the media, at a conference, or in the classroom.
- David Quammen, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (New York: W.W. Norton, 2013).
This book explores the mystery of recent pandemics, including AIDS, and explains how emerging diseases develop, evolve, and spread.
- Amanda Glassman and Miriam Temin, Millions Saved: New Cases of Proven Success in Global Health (Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development, 2016).
This book is a collection of case studies in global health work that succeeded in implementing effective public health policies and programs.
- Randall M. Packard, A History of Global Health: Interventions into the Lives of Other Peoples (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016).
This is a historical perspective on global health, examining its overall successes and failures to ensure care for people around the world and making recommendations to overcome the present shortcomings in the field.
- Nigel Crisp, Turning the World Upside Down: The search for global health in the 21st Century (Ashland, OH: Royal Society of Medicine Press, 2010).
This author draws upon his diverse experiences in the fields of global and public health to illustrate the ways other countries can learn from each other in this area.
- Russell Lopez, Building American Public Health: Urban Planning, Architecture and the Quest for Better Health in the United States (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
This work examines how reformers in the past have improved the health and lives of urban residents with urban planning and architecture, and what we can learn from them to tackle public health problems in the 21st century.
- Michael Marmot, The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015).
Discussing global health disparities and their causes, this book outlines the problems with our health systems and what we can do now to fix them.
- “10 facts on the state of global health,” World Health Organization, May 2017
This global health fact sheet has great talking points and stats for discussion in the classroom.
- Lauren Weber, “The Deadliest Form of Tuberculosis Is Snowballing In Countries That Are Already Hard Hit,” The Huffington Post, 9 May 2017
This piece outlines a current/looming global health crisis, and touches upon some important core concepts in public health.
This article discusses the operations of a health NGO in Madagascar, highlighting what makes them successful as well as the kinds of data they collect.
- David Heymann and Chatham House, “Global health: How prepared are we for the next crisis?” BBC News, 5 May 2015
This is a brief examination of the recent Ebola outbreak and the lessons in health we can learn from this crisis.
- Greg Mercer, “The Link Between Zika and Climate Change,” The Atlantic, 24 February 2016
This article draws connections between climate change and global health.
- Lucy Lamble, “Can we ever achieve the greatest aspiration – healthcare for everyone?” The Guardian, 28 July 2017
This is a balanced, informative discussion of universal healthcare and what it means in different places around the world.
- Kevin Berger, “The Man Who Saw the Pandemic Coming,” – Issue 83: Intelligence, 12 March 2020
This article discusses zoonotic diseases and how Covid-19 is an outbreak that experts saw coming.
- Jeneen Interlandi, “The U.S. Approach to Public Health: Neglect, Panic, Repeat,” The New York Times, 9 April 2020
This opinion piece sheds light on the shortcomings of the public health system of the U.S.
The CDC works to protect public health in the U.S., and offers research, insights, and considerable information on a wide variety of public health topics.
This page provides a wealth of information and resources to understand the environmental hazards that can damage human health.
Explore environmental health issues that affect children and their development, and learn about preventative strategies for ensuring healthy children.
This organization fights for rights, health, education, and justice for women and girls around the world.
Learn about a variety of issues, actions, and news in global health.
This online platform seeks to facilitate collaboration and share research and knowledge about global health.
- What is public health? (Global Health with Greg Martin), 2014
This video provides an overview of public health and how it works.
- What is Global Health? (MinuteVideos), 2016
This could be a good start to discussions about global health.
- What is Health Equity? (Health Equity Institute), 2014
This video talks about the injustices associated with many health systems, as well as the social factors that affect people’s health.
This short-animated video explains what zoonotic diseases are, how infection can spread from animals to humans.
Official app from the World Health Organization that provides updated news and information about global health.
Provides a wealth of information on progress made by UN nations toward meeting the Sustainable Development Goals associated with health.
- Andrew Winston, The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World (Harvard Business School, 2014).
This book explains practical strategies that can make big corporations sustainable, and helps consumers understand what they can do to contribute as well.
- Pietra Rivoli, The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade (2nd Edition) (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2015).
Readers learn about the workings of the global economy by following the journey of a t-shirt from its production to its purchase.
- William McDonough and Michael Braungart, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance (New York: North Point Press, 2013).
This book discusses how we can reduce our consumption and use of Earth’s resources, as well as ways to design our lives and the products we use to help the planet grow.
- Alan AtKisson, Sustainability is for Everyone Second Edition (New York: AtKisson, Inc 2017).
In just 49 pages, this guide tells us how to live more sustainable lives and conduct our own research about sustainability.
- Annie Leonard, The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And How We Can Make It Better (New York: Free Press, 2011).
The author of this journalistic work pulls from her personal investigations into factories, dumps, and other facilities to understand how overconsumption threatens the Earth and our society.
- Kimberly Nicholas, “A Hard Look in the Climate Mirror,” Scientific American, 12 July 2017
In this article, an expert climate scientist talks about how you can change your life to cut down on your ecological footprint.
- Meg Jacobs, “America’s Never-Ending Oil Consumption,” The Atlantic, 15 May 2016
This is a historic view of the U.S.’s oil consumption, and how the nation’s energy use can progress in the future.
- Jane J. Lee, “Is Your State Consuming More Than Nature Can Provide?” National Geographic, 14 July 2015
This piece is a great analysis of state-by-state resource use in the U.S., with informative graphics that could be good opportunities to practice data interpretation.
- Juliana Rose Pignataro, “5 Worst And Best Countries For The Environment Ranked By Ecological Footprint,” International Business Times, 2 May 2017
This short piece has great graphics and information to help us understand international differences in resource consumption.
- Mathis Wackernagel, “Are the Sustainable Development Goals Already in Trouble?” Impakter, 7 February 2017
This provides a general discussion on sustainability in the context of the United Nation’s efforts around the world to achieve their development goals in the future.
- Madeleine Somerville, “You know you’re consuming too much – how to stop before it consumes you too,” The Guardian, 3 November 2015
This article looks at the psychology of personal overconsumption, and provides a useful lens to evaluate our own consumption.
From the Worldwatch Institute, this site helps us understand the massive, collective impacts our society’s consumption have on the Earth, and what we can do to become more responsible consumers.
Provides environmental knowledge and educational resources to promote sustainability in the daily lives of people in the U.S.
Use this page to calculate your personal ecological footprint based on your everyday actions and use of resources.
Learn about how our society uses more of Earth’s resources than the planet can renew each year.
Read about the UN’s 12th Sustainable Development Goal: ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Help make your school more environmentally friendly and sustainable with the information and resources from this site.
Take these surveys to see how you, your family, and your community can be more sustainable and reduce personal consumption.
- What would happen if the world went vegetarian? (TED-ED), 2016
With impressive statistics, this video outlines the positives and negatives of becoming a vegetarian society, and connects our diet choices to other issues like climate change and land use.
- Ecological footprint: Do we fit on our planet? (Sustainability Illustrated), 2013
This discussion of Earth Overshoot Day introduces the idea of global footprints and how humanity is “spending” Earth’s resources.
- How Do We Use Energy at Home? (The Atlantic), 2013
This video provides an overview of household use of energy in the U.S.
- Why natural resource use matters? (UN Environment), 2016
This video helps us understand what resource use means and how it affects the people and the planet.
Create more eco-friendly habits and practices to earn rewards, and compete with your friends and neighbors.
Described as an “ecological living pocket guide,” this app is especially helpful in learning about sustainable food production and choices.
Find more sustainable products with science-based ratings through the app’s catalogue, or scan barcodes on items to learn more about them.
Track your climate impacts with this carbon footprint calculator, and receive personalized tips to show you which actions will help reduce the most pollution and save you money.