Environmental Science: A Canadian Perspective

November 30, 2018 | Updated: March 5, 2020
Author: Bill Freedman, Dalhousie University

This textbook is intended to provide the core elements of a curriculum for teaching environmental science at the introductory level in Canadian colleges and universities. This book is suitable for students beginning a program in environmental science, environmental studies, or sustainability. It is also appropriate for arts students who require a science elective, and for science students who require a non-major elective. This book was written from the ground-up to provide Canadian information and examples. This national context is integrated throughout the text, along with North American and global data that provide a broader perspective.

Subject Areas
Earth and Ocean Sciences, Environment

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Environmental Science cover image by Dalhousie Libraries is under a CC BY-NC Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).

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Environmental Science: A Canadian Perspective by Bill Freedman, Dalhousie University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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Reviews (1) Avg: 3.8 / 5

Dennis Klick

Institution:Langara CollegeTitle/Position: InstructorCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The textbook provides an appropriate amount of information. However the author missed important topics that are specific to Canada. For example, the author could have covered topics such as light pollution,

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

This unbiased textbook contains accurate and unbiased content with citable sources. The content is reflective from a Canadian perspective compared to many general environmental science books available on the market. The content is relevant and up-to-date. The textbook has several supporting diagrams and colorful charts to support the learning outcomes in each chapter. A significant shortfall throughout the textbook is that pictures and diagrams do not contain a description. Majority of pictures are simply placed into the textbook without proper text reference or description. It is difficult for the reader to understand what the author is trying to convey with the pictures given the lack of reference or description.

Content Accuracy Rating: 4 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


Majority of the textbook content was relevant from a Canadian perspective. Unfortunately the author dedicated a large chapter titled 'War' discussing the environmental effects from human warfare. While there are significant environmental impacts from human warfare, it is difficult to understand the authors rational relating to Canadians. The author could have focused on other environmental concerns with greater relevance from a Canadian perspective such as light pollution, contaminated sites and Canadian environmental laws.


The author presented the text in a format that would make the information relevant for the next several years. However the author could have elaborated on emerging topics such as Climate Change. The author could have discussed how Climate Change impacts Canada.

Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The author used easy to understand language with minimal jargon or complex terminology. The author used clear and concise language that makes the book easy to read for first year science students or readers with limited scientific background. The glossary at the end of the book is helpful for readers to understand important scientific terms.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

The chapters were well laid out starting with the Biosphere and Ecosystems followed by more specific topics. Overall the author's text and layout is consistent. However, the author could have focused on other topics that maybe more relevant from a Canadian Perspective such as groundwater contamination, liquid waste, and hazardous waste management.

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.

At the end of each chapter, the textbook contains chapter review questions. In addition, at the end of each chapter contains 'Questions for Discussion' which are structured to allow for group work. Lastly, at the end of chapter is supplemental group work opportunities to further 'Explore Issues'. Further exploring environmental issues allows for additional group work and using the authors knowledge to a higher understanding level.

It would be nice if the answers to the provided questions would be provided at the end of the textbook or have a separate answer textbook to ensure that the reader has understood the chapter concepts.

Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

Overall the author presented the information in a logical and clear fashion. Topics within each chapter are presented in a logical sequence. The author could have left out certain chapters such as 'War' and include more topics relevant to Canadians such as contaminated sites, hazardous material management and liquid waste.

Organization Rating: 4 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

The layout of text could use improvement. The font size of some of the headers is small, thus making it difficult to follow. In addition, line spacing is inconsistent throughout. Lastly, the pictures and diagrams should be centered in the page improving readability.

Interface Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

There are no grammatical or spelling errors. The author used language that is clear to understand.

It is important to note that throughout the textbook, the author switches between Canadian and American wording. For example, the author uses the word 'analyze' (American version) where the author should have used 'analyse' (Canadian version).

Grammar Rating: 4 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 author used neutral and sensitive text. However, the author failed to acknowledge Canada's Indigenous People and Aboriginal communities. The author could have provided information on Canadian Aboriginal communities impacted by various environmental factors such as Climate Change and loss of Biodiversity in Northern Canada. In addition, the author elaborated too much on Birth Control options under the 'Human Population' Chapter, which is taking away from the theme of environmental science. In the Chapter title 'War', the author discusses in detail Nazi Germany and the environmental impacts of war. Unfortunately the author spends too much time discussing World War Two. If the author decides to include a chapter dedicated to the environmental impacts from War, the author may wish to mention other wars. As this textbook is titled for a Canadian perspective, the author should have focused on North American or Canadian battles.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 2 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?

Overall, the author provided a detailed coverage of environmental science topics, and in some cases, does an excellent job of covering the issues. Information in the text is accurate and easy to understand and would be highly recommended for first year environmental science students. This book could also be recommended for readers with limited scientific background as the information is supporting diagrams are well presented. The book should be considered for instructors teaching environmental science as the author covers several important environmental aspects with a Canadian focus. At the end of the each chapter, the textbook provides follow up questions, Questions for Discussion and exploring topics further. The questions make it possible for smaller group discussions.

Overall this textbook can be recommended for instructors teaching first year environmental science students.