Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
Yes, the text covers most of the areas and ideas of this challenging subject appropriately. Looking at the organization of the text, it incorporates the topic of Climate Change as one of the first Chapters. I think this is key to help the students to understand the importance of the environment and to achieve a sustainable development. Looking at other textbooks there is a topic, soil, which is quite brief and more importantly a discussion on food production and distribution that could be considered for new editions. One of the strengths of the textbook is the discussion on sustainable energy. Its glossary is outstanding. In many chapters there is a focus on policies, which helps us to understand the evolution of the American Conservation movement. For a Canadian audience there would be the need to include cases relevant for this country. These cases could be incorporated as part of the case studies.Overall, it is quite complete and effective.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
Yes, the content is accurate and unbiased. In some occasions the discussion of different points of view can lead to interesting in class discussions. In this textbook and field it is absolutely necessary that the students are confronted with different ideas that will help them to develop their critical thinking skills. One of the strengths of this textbook is that it clearly outlines its learning objectives, which will help instructors to guide discussions to achieve these objectives. One aspect that can be considered it to update some of the stats and figures. Also some of the figures would benefit with the addition of a figure legend. One interesting fact about the textbook is that it has been written by more than twenty experts in the different areas. This allows for different voices to be heard/read and offers different perspectives of some topics.
Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
Yes, the content is up-to-date but in a couple of years it will benefit of modifying some figures to represent the current data. One aspect that is of interest is that some of the figures contain simulations and projections of processes into the future. It would be interesting to know how these predictions differ from the actual data, now available. One important aspect of the course is its modular design which allows to study individual chapters; this will also facilitate individual update of modules. In summary, any necessary updates will be relatively easy to implement. One aspect that will help the textbook to be up-to-date is that most of cases are historical. It would be important for the instructors to incorporate current events that would help in student engagement. It would also stress the relevance of studying this field as a tool to tackle current affairs that effectively affect the student's world.
Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
Yes, the text is written in clear prose. The writing style is consistent, despite the large number of contributors. Each module contains references to a glossary, links to resources, review questions and case studies. The glossary is quite helpful to check any unfamiliar terminology to the reader. The fact that the textbook is written in a clear, lucid way is key as it may be applied not only to an introductory class but may complement specialist courses, with students from different backgrounds like economics or politics. One aspect that I found very attractive from this textbook was the discussion of the contribution of artistic expressions on our understanding of our environment.
Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
Yes, the terminology and framework are consistent. As pointed out before there is a uniformity in the style (four main pillars). A point for future consideration could be the use of fewer topics for the case studies. It may be interesting to examine one topic from different angles. This way a topic can be examined in depth and the concepts can be integrated.
Consistency Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
Yes, the text is divided in modules that in general, are self sufficient and do not require an examination of previous modules. This is a key feature considering that it is a comprehensive textbook and probably you will have to pick only a certain number of chapters to develop in a one semester course. The organization of the different chapters follows current trends in environmental sciences textbooks. The case studies and the discussion questions can be examined in a tutorial or lab environment.
Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
Yes, the topics are presented in a logical fashion, both within the modules and the flow of the different modules as a whole. The last chapter on sustainable infrastructure, in particular, builds on the concepts discussed in the previous chapters and it is a nice ending to help us to understand how sustainability can become part of our lifestyle.
Organization Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
Yes, the text is free of significant interface issues. I would suggest to add some legends to figures and tables which are missing them. There is also a figure which is pending authorization for use. In general, the quality of images and charts is very good.
Interface Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
The text contains no grammatical errors to the best of my knowledge.
Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. The examples include different continents, ethnicities and backgrounds. The use of this textbook with a Canadian audience would benefit with the discussion of the interaction between the First Nations and the rest of the country and how they may have been affected by federal and provincial policies directed to the exploitation of their natural resources.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
In summary, this is an excellent textbook which can be adapted to be used in Canada. As pointed out previously, the use of this textbook in a Canadian institution would require the discussion of Canadian issues. For example, the textbook describes the impact of the Atlanta Olympic Games. This could be replaced by a discussion of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and how still shapes our city development. In the last chapter on Sustainable infrastructure, we can discuss the efforts of the University of British Columbia in becoming a zero waste institution.
The discussion of current environmental issues in the light of historical cases, could help the student participation and integration of the extensive knowledge provided by this textbook.