The 10 Best Environmental Science Textbooks

video play icon 10 Best Environmental Science Textbooks

This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in July of 2018. Everything humans do affects the planet, and it is precisely these interactions that are the main concern of environmental science. On this list you’ll find textbooks to get you started in this field, whether you’re learning on your own, in a high school classroom, or on a college campus. Some are challenging, some are entertaining, but all of them will make you more knowledgeable. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Environmental Science: Toward A Sustainable Future

2. Principles of Environmental Science

3. Environmental Science: Earth as a Living Planet

Editor's Notes

January 28, 2020:

Environmental science is an interdisciplinary subject that combines topics from Earth science, biology, agricultural and energy sciences, economics, chemistry, and more. It is a versatile choice if you're looking for diverse career opportunities, as well as a fascinating subject for the autodidact who wants to know more about how our world is changing and how humans are participating in that change.

If you're a non-science major or a layperson, then accessible introductory volumes like the newly-added Principles of Environmental Science and Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, as well as Environmental Science: A Global Concern are all great places to start. A Global Concern is also suitable for high schoolers taking AP classes. For a deeper dive into the subject, Chemistry of the Environment and Energy and Civilization: A History both offer excellent takes on two facets worth exploring, chemistry and energy, respectively.

Today we removed A Self-Teaching Guide, which is out of date having not been revised since 2005, and Silent Spring. Silent Spring is a seminal work that sparked revolutionary change and alerted the masses to the many dangers of indiscriminately polluting our environment. That being said, it is not formatted like a textbook or contains any student-driven pedagogy, which makes it a great supplemental read for further understanding but not a contender for this list.

Every item in our selection has been brought to its most current edition.

4. Environmental Science: Systems and Solutions

5. Energy and Civilization: A History

6. Environmental Science 10th Edition

7. Visualizing Environmental Science

8. Environmental Science: A Global Concern

9. Chemistry of the Environment

10. Environment: The Science Behind the Stories

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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