Environment, Power, and Society for the Twenty-first Century: The Hierarchy of Energy

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Columbia University Press, 2007 - Science - 418 pages

Howard T. Odum possessed one of the most innovative minds of the twentieth century. He pioneered the fields of ecological engineering, ecological economics, and environmental accounting, working throughout his life to better understand the interrelationships of energy, environment, and society and their importance to the well-being of humanity and the planet.

This volume is a major modernization of Odum's classic work on the significance of power and its role in society, bringing his approach and insight to a whole new generation of students and scholars. For this edition Odum refines his original theories and introduces two new measures: emergy and transformity. These concepts can be used to evaluate and compare systems and their transformation and use of resources by accounting for all the energies and materials that flow in and out and expressing them in equivalent ability to do work. Natural energies such as solar radiation and the cycling of water, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen are diagrammed in terms of energy and emergy flow. Through this method Odum reveals the similarities between human economic and social systems and the ecosystems of the natural world. In the process, we discover that our survival and prosperity are regulated as much by the laws of energetics as are systems of the physical and chemical world.

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About the author (2007)

Howard T. Odum was Graduate Research Professor at the University of Florida's Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences from 1970 until his death in 2002. He won the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Prix de l'Institut de la Vie awarded by the French government. He is the author of numerous books and papers, including Ecological and General Systems: An Introduction to Systems Ecology, Environmental Accounting: Emergy and Decision Making, and, with Elisabeth C. Odum, Modeling for all Scales: An Introduction to System Simulation and The Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies.
Howard T. Odum was professor and director of the Center for Environmental Policy at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He was a winner of the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1987 for his contributions to ecology and environmental science. His student and colleague Mark Brown completed the revisions.

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