The straightforward title of Li Lizhi and Bao Xinhua’s book -- Environment -- makes the volume almost possible to overlook, but it’s a pleasant surprise to read. While there has been a lack of accessible popular-science writing on environmental science, Environment helps to fill this gap. It is the ideal book for those hoping to familiarise themselves with the basics on the field.
Books on environmental science tend to be dull, impenetrable tomes of policy interpretation, or highly scientific and therefore unsuitable for the general reader. But the public, which is becoming increasingly aware of worsening pollution, is keen to learn more about the environment.
This book is comprehensive, with chapters covering the atmosphere, water, soil, the biosphere, the geographical environment and the urban environment. For example, the chapter on the atmosphere explains its make-up and function, the sources of atmospheric pollution, the issues of sulphur dioxide and photochemical smogs, the threat posed by greenhouse gases, how the greenhouse effect works, the formation of acid rain, the grave state of the ozone layer and ways to deal with these problems.
The language is easy to understand, with clear explanations of common environmental terms. The authors aim to popularise knowledge about the environment to give people a firm footing when they come to protect it. Li and Bao have achieved that goal, and the reader will be left with a greater grasp of environmental issues and the dangers mankind faces – and also, potentially, the motivation to act.
This book is one in a series of scientific readings from China’s Chemical Industry Press. The other two volumes cover the basics of new energy sources and of biotechnology, and therefore also can be considered relevant to the environment. The books are all similar in style and will appeal to the same readers.
Li Lizhi and Bao Xinhua
Chemical Industry Press, 2008
-- By Li Siqi