Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, 7th Edition, AP® Edition © 2021

Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, published by Pearsons, builds upon its student-friendly narrative style to provide an experience that seamlessly integrates the tools and resources they need to succeed in AP Environmental Science.

  • Engaging new features open students’ eyes to environmental issues
  • New infographic-style illustrations help clarify concepts
  • Deeper integration of digital tools into the curriculum
  • This program is accompanied by Pearson's Mastering® platform with eText

Environment: the Science Behind the Stories

Environment: The Science Behind the Stories turns solving today’s environmental issues into an engaging AP curriculum.


Current Thinking

Environment’s Case Studies focus on contemporary people and issues that keep students invested in figuring out solutions.


Critical Awareness

Weighing the Issues questions help students develop critical-thinking skills and grapple with ethical decisions then apply what they’ve learned throughout the chapters.


Diverse end-of-chapter features

Reviewing Objectives summarizes each chapter’s main points and relates them to the chapter’s learning objectives, enabling students to confirm that they have understood the most crucial ideas.


Structure and Flexibility

The Mastering® platform from Pearson allows instructors to build auto-graded assignments and watch real-time tracking of student progress, so the course can meet everybody’s needs.

AP® Environmental Science Teaching Solutions

  • Real People, Real Places, and Real Data
  • Hands-on Data for Students
  • Develop Students’ Scientific Literacy Skills
  • Instructor Support and Active Learning Resources
  • Learner Empowerment

AP® Environmental Science Teaching Solutions

  • Success Stories
    New Success Stories highlight forward-thinking solutions with one featured per chapter.
  • Addressing Environmental Problems
    Success Stories present successful efforts to address environmental problems. New data-analysis Mastering Environmental Science activities complement each story.
  • Central Case Studies
    Updated integrated Central Case Studies begin and are woven throughout the chapter. They create a contextual framework that draws students into learning about the real people, places, and data behind environmental issues.
  • Sustainability Coverage
    Campus sustainability coverage appears throughout relevant chapters, showing how students are helping to forge sustainable solutions on campuses across North America.

Hands-on Data for Students

  • Datagraphics
    New Datagraphics are infographic-style illustrations that allow students to see the data behind complex issues and understand how to tie it all together in the context of critical issues of our time.
  • Interactive Data Analysis Activities
    New Interactive Data Analysis Activities give students a different way to interact with data and graphs to deepen understanding of environmental science. They are embedded in the Pearson eText for seamless access and assignable in Mastering Environmental Science.

Develop Students’ Scientific Literacy Skills

  • Ecological Footprint Activities
    Calculating Ecological Footprint activities at the end of every chapter allow students to quantify the environmental impact of their own actions, then scale these up to the societal level.
  • FAQs
    FAQs examine common misconceptions students often hold about environmental issues.
  • Science Behind the Story
    Updated Science Behind the Story essays provide a current and fascinating selection of examples of real research that delves into environmental issues. Each essay highlights how scientists develop hypotheses, test predictions, and analyze and interpret data. These fascinating profiles of current research help students understand “how we know what we know” about environmental issues.

Instructor Support and Active Learning Resources

  • Optimized Reading Experience
    The Pearson eText is a simple-to-use, mobile-optimized reading experience available with Mastering. Students can easily highlight, take notes, and review vocabulary. Seamlessly integrated videos and rich media engage students and give them access to the help they need.
  • Connect and Continue Section
    New Connect and Continue section provides in-text active learning opportunities including local connection activities.
  • Sample Answers
    New sample answers to Calculating Ecological Footprint activities are available in the Instructor Guide.
  • Active Learning Suggestions
    Revised End-of-Chapter material focuses on active learning suggestions.
  • Dynamic Study Modules
    Dynamic Study Modules are assignable modules posing a series of question sets about a course topic. The questions adapt to each student’s performance and offer targeted feedback to help them master key concepts, build confidence, and perform better.
  • Learning Catalytics
    With Learning Catalytics, teachers pose questions to help recall ideas, apply concepts, and develop critical-thinking skills. Students can respond via computer, smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Teachers can monitor real-time responses to see where and how understanding can be improved.

Learner Empowerment

  • Coaching Activities
    New Success Story Coaching activities pair with the new in-text Success Story. Students have the opportunity to explore the data behind each sustainable solution.
  • Video Tours
    Case Study Video Tours use Google Earth and striking images delivered in highly engaging videos to bring each chapter-opening Case Study to life. Video tours are embedded in the Pearson eText to encourage student immersion in each chapter’s theme. Instructors can assign the experience through Mastering.
  • Video Field Trips
    Video Field Trip activities offer fascinating behind-the-scenes tours of real environmental concerns and the strategies and solutions employed to address them.
  • GraphIt! Coaching Activities
    10 GraphIt! Coaching activities help students read, interpret, and create graphs that explore real environmental issues using real data.
  • Graph and Data Interpretation
    Interpreting Graphs and Data activities help students develop basic data analysis skills and practice applying these skills by interpreting data about environmental issues.
  • Process of Science Coaching Activities
    Fifteen Process of Science coaching activities help students think critically about environmental research presented in the in-text Science Behind the Scenes stories.
  • Everyday Environmental Science Video Activities
    Everyday Environmental Science video activities connect environmental science course topics with current stories in the news. The can be assigned for pre- or post-lecture lecture homework or shown in-class for student engagement with the topic.

Take a deeper look into Environment: The Science Behind the Stories’s features



Get to know Environment: The Science Behind the Stories with Mastering® Environmental Science with Pearson eText.

Mastering® Environmental Science from Pearson

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Environment: The Science Behind the Stories fully integrates with Mastering® with Pearson eText so students have full access to all the resources they need to succeed.

Test Prep for AP®

Created specifically for Environment: The Science behind the Stories, Seventh Edition, the Test Prep workbook introduces students to the types of questions they will find on the AP® exam. This print only item is available for purchase.

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Correlation for AP®

Our solutions for AP® are designed to support and correlate the College Board's Course and Exam Descriptions for each corresponding course.

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More About Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, 7th Edition

  • Jay Withgott Author Bio

    Jay Withgott has authored Environment: The Science Behind the Stories as well as its brief version, Essential Environment, since their inception. In dedicating himself to these books, he works to keep abreast of a diverse and rapidly changing field and continually seeks to develop new and better ways to help today’s students learn environmental science. As a researcher,

    Jay has published scientific papers in ecology, evolution, animal behavior, and conservation biology in journals ranging from Evolution to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As an instructor, he has taught university lab courses in ecology and other disciplines. As a science writer, he has authored articles for numerous journals and magazines, including Science, New Scientist, BioScience, Smithsonian, and Natural History. By combining his scientific training with prior experience as a newspaper reporter and editor, he strives to make science accessible and engaging for general audiences. Jay holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Arizona. Jay lives with his wife, biologist Susan Masta, in Portland, Oregon.

  • Matthew Laposata Author Bio

    Matthew Laposata is a professor of environmental science at Kennesaw State University (KSU). He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in biology from Bowling Green State University, and a doctorate in ecology from The Pennsylvania State University.

    Matt is the coordinator of KSU’s two-semester general education science sequence titled Science, Society, and the Environment, which enrolls roughly 6000 students per year. He focuses exclusively on introductory environmental science courses and has enjoyed teaching and interacting with thousands of students during his nearly two decades in higher education. He is an active scholar in environmental science education and has received grants from state, federal, and private sources to develop innovative curricular materials. His scholarly work has received numerous awards, including the Georgia Board of Regents’ highest award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Matt resides in suburban Atlanta with his wife, Lisa, and children, Lauren, Cameron, and Saffron.

  • Table of Contents

    1. Science and Sustainability

    • Our Island, Earth
    • Environmental Science
    • The Nature of Science
    • Seeking a Sustainable Future

    2. Earth’s Physical Systems

    • Matter, Chemistry, and the Environment
    • Energy: An Introduction
    • Geology: The Physical Basis for Environmental Science
    • Geologic and Natural Hazards

    3. Evolution and Population Ecology

    • Evolution: The Source of Earth’s Biodiversity
    • Ecology and the Organism
    • Population Ecology
    • Conserving Biodiversity

    4. Species Interactions and Community Ecology

    • Species Interactions
    • Ecological Communities
    • Earth’s Biomes

    5. Environmental Systems and Ecosystem Ecology

    • Earth’s Environmental Systems
    • Ecosystems
    • Biogeochemical Cycles

    6. Ethics, Economics, and Sustainable Development

    • Environmental Ethics
    • Economics and the Environment
    • Sustainable Development

    7. Environmental Policy

    • Environmental Policy: An Overview
    • U.S. Environmental Law and Policy
    • International Environmental Policy
    • Approaches to Environmental Policy

    8. Human Population

    • Our World at Nearly 8 Billion
    • Demography
    • Population and Society

    9. The Underpinnings of Agriculture

    • Resources and Services for Agriculture
    • Soil: A Foundation of Agriculture
    • Water for Agriculture
    • Nutrients for Plants
    • Pollination for Farming
    • Preserving Genetic Diversity
    • Conserving Soil and Land Resources

    10. Making Agriculture Sustainable

    • The Race to Feed the World
    • Raising Animals for Food
    • Controlling Pests and Weeds
    • Genetically Modified Food
    • Organic Agriculture
    • Sustainable Food Production

    11. Biodiversity and Its Conservation

    • Life’s Diversity on Earth
    • Benefits of Biodiversity
    • Biodiversity Loss and Extinction
    • Conservation Biology: The Search for Solutions

    12.Forests, Forest Management, and Protected Areas

    • Forest Ecosystems and Forest Resources
    • Forest Loss
    • Forest Management
    • Parks and Protected Areas

    13. The Urban Environment

    • Our Urbanizing World
    • Sprawl
    • Creating Livable Cities
    • Urban Sustainability

    14. Environmental Health and Toxicology

    • Environmental Health
    • Toxic Substances and Their Effects on Organisms
    • Toxic Substances and Their Effects on Ecosystems
    • Studying Effects of Hazards
    • Risk Assessment and Risk Management
    • Philosophical and Policy Approaches

    15. Freshwater Systems and Resources

    • Freshwater Systems
    • Human Activities Affect Waterways
    • Solutions to Depletion of Fresh Water
    • Freshwater Pollution and Its Control

    16. Marine and Coastal Systems and Resources

    • The Oceans
    • Marine and Coastal Ecosystems
    • Marine Pollution
    • Emptying the Oceans
    • Marine Conservation

    17. The Atmosphere, Air Quality, and Air Pollution Control

    • The Atmosphere
    • Outdoor Air Quality
    • Ozone Depletion and Recovery
    • Addressing Acid Deposition
    • Indoor Air Quality

    18. Global Climate Change

    • Our Dynamic Climate
    • Studying Climate Change
    • Impacts of Climate Change
    • Responding to Climate Change

    19. Fossil Fuels and Energy Efficiency

    • Sources of Energy
    • Fossil Fuels: Their Formation, Extraction, and Use
    • Reaching Further for Fossil Fuels
    • Addressing Impacts of Fossil Fuel Use
    • Energy Efficiency and Conservation

    20. Conventional Energy Alternatives

    • Alternatives to Fossil Fuels
    • Nuclear Power
    • Bioenergy
    • Hydroelectric Power

    21. New Renewable Energy Sources

    • Shifting to Renewable Energy
    • Solar Energy
    • Wind Power
    • Geothermal Energy
    • Ocean Energy Sources
    • Energy Storage

    22. Managing Our Waste

    • Approaches to Waste Management
    • Municipal Solid Waste
    • Industrial Solid Waste
    • Hazardous Waste

    23. Minerals and Mining

    • Earth’s Mineral Resources
    • Mining Methods and Their Impacts
    • Toward Sustainable Mineral Use

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