Visualizing Environmental Impact

I just received an evaluation copy of Anthony N. Penna’s The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History (Wiley-Blackwell) in the mail today. It looks fantastic, at least from my cursory first glance: an environmental studies text from a historical/anthropological point of view. I also like Andrew Goudie’s The Human Impact on the Natural Environment (also Wiley-Blackwell), so I’m keen to see whether Penna’s historical view or Goudie’s systems approach would add more to our Intro to Environmental Science and Science of Sustainability courses.

Along those same lines, I just came across a few collections of tools for visualizing environmental subjects: 21 (eco-)visualizations for energy consumption awareness and 10 more infographic reasons why you should go green, both from FlowingData. These, along with SERC’s collection of environmental science visualizations, the metacollection from the EGOVIZ workshop (see the conveners’ personal sites for some great links), and all the great graphs from Good magazine (see their “who owns what” chart, for example) provide some great fodder for activities in environmental science/studies courses.

[I've always wanted to do a "bang for your buck" visualization of building maintenance based on, among other things, the Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components: given how long particular components last and the "green" options available, what home repairs are the best from an embodied energy/resources point of view? A graph of per annum energy savings vs. age might be a start...]