We spent 27 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Everything humans do affects the planet, and it is precisely these interactions that are the main concern of environmental science. On this list you’ll find textbooks to get you started in this field, whether you’re learning on your own, in a high school classroom, or on a college campus. Some are challenging, some are entertaining, but all of them will make you more knowledgeable. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.

10. Chemistry of the Environment

Anyone who already has foundational learning in this area and is ready to go deeper might consider Chemistry of the Environment. The themes it looks at include sustainability, the hydrosphere, and biospheres, as well as an explanation of chemical cycles.


  • Useful end of chapter problems
  • Logically organized material
  • Some chemistry knowledge required















Brand Univ Science Boo
Model pending
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. A Self-Teaching Guide

You could wait for a professor to assign you a book about this topic or you could pick up A Self-Teaching Guide and get started learning for yourself. It covers all of the basics, and it includes quizzes and self-tests to help cement what you’ve learned.


  • Useful for homeschooling
  • A comprehensive overview
  • Index of key terms















Brand A Self-Teaching Guide
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Visualizing Environmental Science

For all those learners out there who dread dull, long-winded blocks of writing there’s Visualizing Environmental Science. It’s packed with photos, graphs, illustrations, and more, all designed to open this subject up through visual pedagogy.


  • Loose-leaf and spiral-bound versions
  • Holds a reader’s attention
  • Info is shallower than other picks















Brand Wiley
Model pending
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. A Global Concern

A Global Concern was created with non-majors in mind, with writing that is accessible to both undergrads and high school students in advanced placement classrooms. A practical choice, it pushes readers to envision solutions to common environmental woes.


  • Chapter on ecological restoration
  • Focuses on civic engagement
  • Feels too basic at times















Brand A Global Concern
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Energy and Civilization: A History

If worldwide energy use is on your mind, then you might enjoy Energy and Civilization: A History, which creates a deeper context for the introductory knowledge that can be gleaned from more traditional textbooks. You may even gain a new appreciation for human society.


  • Fully updated and expanded
  • From an award-winning professor
  • Too technical for some















Brand MIT
Model pending
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Environmental Science

While the title might not win any awards for creativity, Environmental Science by Daniel Chiras is nevertheless a relevant introductory text for undergraduates. It’s also been noted as a fair choice, as it attempts to offer both sides of contentious issues.


  • Includes go green tips
  • Info about economics and ecology
  • Author has penned over 25 books















Brand imusti
Model pending
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Silent Spring

Anyone studying this topic half-heartedly would do well to read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, which has been hailed as a classic that’s both informative and eye-opening. In fact, this work played a key role in getting the environmental movement underway.


  • Also available as an audiobook
  • Anniversary edition
  • Some find the prose to be dry















Brand Houghton Mifflin
Model pending
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Earth as a Living Planet

Earth as a Living Planet not only expands subject matter knowledge thanks to chapters covering a wide number of topics — including nuclear energy, ecosystems, biological diversity, and climate change — but it also challenges students to develop critical thinking skills.


  • Fosters interest in this field
  • Covers basic chemistry
  • Pushes readers to engage















Brand Earth as a Living Plane
Model pending
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Systems and Solutions

With an eye toward examining the big picture, Systems and Solutions offers a potent starting point for students exploring this subject. The authors show how various facets of the science fit together, from the historical to the political, with strong evidence-based info.


  • Resource use and management section
  • Intriguing case studies
  • Colorful charts and photos















Brand Systems and Solutions
Model pending
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Toward A Sustainable Future

The authors of Toward A Sustainable Future have created content that is accessible to newcomers to the field, with a focus on the three key themes of science, sustainability, and stewardship. This makes the text current and important as it builds a useful foundation.


  • Readable and relatable
  • Units of measure appendix
  • Covers pollution prevention















Brand Toward A Sustainable Fu
Model pending
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0