WRTG: Environmental Research


IC Library Print & Media Resources

Energy Concerns

Power resources
Power resources United States
Energy policy--United States
Energy consumption--United States
Energy conservation--United States

Fossil fuels--Environmental aspects
Petroleum industry and trade
Petroleum industry and trade--Environmental aspects
Petroleum industry and trade--Government policy--United States
Petroleum industry and trade--Middle East
Petroleum industry and trade--Political aspects
Petroleum industry and trade--United States
Petroleum industry and trade--United States--History--21st century
Petroleum reserves
Petroleum reserves--Forecasting
Petroleum pipelines  [IC material is mostly dated, but heading may work in databases]
Petroleum pipeline industry--United States

Coal--Environmental aspects
Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region
Coal mines and mining--Environmental aspects--Appalachian Region
Coal mines and mining--Environmental aspects--Kentucky
Strip mining--Environmental aspects--Appalachian Region
Strip mining--Environmental aspects--West (U.S.)
Mountaintop removal mining--United States
Mountaintop removal mining--West Virginia
Mountaintop removal mining--Environmental aspects--West Virginia--Blair
Mountaintop removal mining--Environmental aspects--Appalachian Region

Energy development
Energy development--Environmental aspects
Renewable energy sources
Solar energy
Wind power
Hydrogen as fuel
Biomass energy
Nuclear energy
Nuclear power plants--Accidents
Nuclear power plants--Environmental aspects
Radioactive pollution
Hazardous waste sites--United States
Hazardous waste site remediation--United States 
Gas--Law and legislation--United States--History

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska)  [ANWR]
Oil and gas leases--Alaska
Petroleum industry and trade--Environmental aspects--Alaska--Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
North Slope (Alaska)
Alaska--Environmental conditions
Trans-Alaska Pipeline (Alaska)
Ecology--Arctic regions
Ecology--Arctic regions--Congresses
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Alaska, 1989
Exxon Valdez (Ship)
Oil spills--Alaska--Prince William Sound
Oil pollution of the sea
Oil spills--Environmental aspects
Oil spills--Risk assessment
Wilderness areas--Government policy--United States
Wilderness areas--United States
Conservation easements--United States

Note: IC does not yet have many book resources on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so be sure to run these Subject searches in WorldCat for interlibrary loan purposes.

BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill, 2010
BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill, 2010--Environmental aspects
BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill, 2010--Health aspects--Congresses
Offshore oil industry--Economic aspects
Offshore oil industry--Environmental aspects
Offshore oil well drilling

Nature & Wildlife Conservation

Philosophy of nature
   For discussion of how nature is perceived and/or portrayed, also try
     Nature--Psychological aspects
     Nature--Religious aspects
     Nature--Social aspects
     Nature in literature
     Nature in motion pictures
   And note: you can try substituting more particular terms for "nature":
     Ocean--Religious aspects
     Wolves (in religion, folk-lore, etc.)
     Trees--Symbolic aspects--United States
     Animals in motion pictures
     Wilderness areas--Social aspects--United States
Nature conservation--Philosophy
Nature conservation--United States
Wilderness areas -- United States
National parks and reserves--United States

Conservation of natural resources
Conservation of natural resources--United States
Natural resources--Management
Nature--Effect of human beings on
Biodiversity conservation
Biological diversity conservation
Plant conservation
Plant diversity conservation
Ecosystem management
Landscape ecology
Landscape protection
Mountain ecology
Forest ecology
Forest conservation
Sustainable forestry
Rain forest conservation
Rain forest ecology
Deforestation--Amazon River Region
Wetland conservation
Water conservation
Stream ecology
Lake ecology
Coastal ecology
Marine ecology

Animals and civilization
Human-animal relationships
Animals (Philosophy)
Animals--Psychological aspects
Animals--Social aspects
Animal rights
Animal welfare
Wildlife conservation
Wildlife conservation--United States
Endangered species
Extinction (Biology)

For the use of animals in laboratory testing and research see my guide Bioethical Issues
For nature as a source of spiritual values see my guide Religion & Nature

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Articles: Gauging the Slant

     Environmentalism gives rise to many politicized public policy debates, so remember that magazines are more likely than either scholarly journals or newspapers to have distinct political affiliations, of which you should be aware to critically evaluate your sources. Below are some broad categorizations of my own:
Liberal journals include Mother Jones, Village Voice, The Nation, The Progressive, Washington Monthly, Utne Reader, Tikkum, Dissent, American Prospect, New York Review of Books, New Leader, Rolling Stone, Z Magazine, New Statesman (British), Guardian Weekly (British).

Conservative journals include American Spectator, National Review, Weekly Standard, American Enterprise, Commentary, American Outlook, Policy Review and The Spectator (British).

And if you don’t believe me, take a look at Yahoo’s lists of “conservative” and “progressive” magazines.

Recommended Databases

 General OneFile :
     The most user-friendly of our comprehensive databases, covering almost any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles and offering lots of full text.  Use the default Subject search to find the best subject heading for your topic (and when you find a good one be sure to look at the "Related Subjects" to see if there's something even better).
     When you settle on a subject heading, open the "Subdivisions" link below it.  Most General OneFile subject searchs produce very large retrievals and the "subdivisions" help you narrow your search to a particular aspect: "Economic aspects," "Energy use," "Environmental aspects," "Ethical aspects," "Forecasts and Trends," "Laws," "Political aspects,"  "Social aspects," and "Statistics," to name only a few.  Also note: one of the standard subheadings here is "Portrayals" which gathers articles on how the Subject is presented in art, literature, and mass media.
      If the best available subdivision is still too broad, open it and add your own Keywords in the "Search within these results" slot at the upper left.    
ProQuest Research Library :
     Another comprehensive database with substantial full text.  Use the "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to preview what Subject Headings are available.  Subect searching can be a more efficient way to search than with only Keywords, since it guarantees that the articles retrieved actually be about the Subject--not just use a particular word. 
     Note that to the right of your search results you can limit your retrieval by "Source Type" (including Magazines, Newspapers, Scholarly Journals),  "Document Type," (including Cover Story, Editorial, or Interview), "Document Feature" (including Photographs, Illustrations), and "Location."
     Above each set of articles you retrieve ProQuest will display related Subject searches to help either broaden or narrow your focus.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated search slot. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the "Person" slot; if a named group of any kind--Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Radiohead, the New York Mets--enter it in "Co/Org"; if a place enter it in "Location." 

Academic Search Premier :
     Like General OneFile and Proquest, a large comprehensive database with ample full text.  Note that you can browse the "Subject Terms" (above the search slots) and once you find a likely Subject Heading for your topic you can "explode" (double click) it for a list of related Subject terms.  And note that after you have retrieved a set of articles you can keep adding Keywords above or suggested Subject Headings listed on the left (though note that these Subject Searches are added to your old search--they will narrow your results.  Also note that with each retrieval set there is a "Geography" button on the left where you can narrow the results by country--for instance, the United States--as well as "Source Types" where you can choose to view only the "academic" (scholarly) journal articles.

GreenFILE &  SocINDEX with Full Text :
     As the names imply, excellent databases for environmental issues and their social ramifications. Click on the "Subject Terms" link above the search slots to find which Subject Headings will work here—for instance browse the Subject headings beginning with the word “Environmental,” including “Environmental ethics,” Environmental justice,” and “Environmental responsibility.”   Double click any Heading for a list of broader, narower, and related Subject Terms.

ScienceDirect :
     Because it’s a large database with a great deal of full text, the absence of Subject searching means that your Keyword searches will often retrieve large sets of articles, many of which mention but don’t discuss your search term(s). One way around this is to limit your initial search to the “Abstract Title Keyword” field. Once you have found an article that sounds on-target, click the “Related Articles” link beneath the citation. This will open a range of articles on the same topic.

LexisNexis Academic  News:  
    Offering a keyword search of 100% full text from a vast number of national and international newspapers, this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed with articles in which your search terms are mentioned anywhere—first
 or last paragraph—or any number of times—once or ten times—use commands to target articles in which your topic words are mentioned early or mentioned often.
     Use the hlead command (headline and lead paragraphs) to target articles in which your topic words occur in the prime news-story position of headline or first paragraphs. For example: hlead(fracking and pollution) will retrieve just the articles in which the words “fracking” and “pollution” are used in the headline or first paragraphs. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses after hlead, with no space between.
     Use the altleast command to target articles in which your topic words occur a set number of times. For example: atleast5(“gay marriage”) will retrieve only the articles where this phrase is used at least 5 times—indicating that it must be a main topic. You can plug in any number after atleast—atleast3 or atleast7. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

LexisNexis Academic  Law Reviews
    Offering a keyword search of 100% full text law reviews (publishers of scholarly articles on legal issues), this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed by articles in which your search terms are mentioned in passing but are not the prime focus, 
use the atleast command to target articles in which your topic words are required to appear at least a certain number of times. For example, atleast5(“gun control”) or atleast7(genes and patents) will retrieve only the articles in which those terms are used repeatedly. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

CQ Researcher :
     A weekly publication from Congressional Quarterly. Each report (approx. 20 pages) examines a single issue relevant to American public policy, including health, criminal justice, internaional affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. The non-partisan analysis always includes a "Background," "Current Situation," "Outlook," and "Pro/Con" section, as well as numerous charts and graphs of statistical data, maps, and a bibliography for further reading. 
     Note the "Issue Tracker" and "Pro/Con" browsers on the left of the home page: these provide an excellent way to find or brainstorm a topic. 
     The archives here extend back to 1991, and since many of these topics are time-sensitive, keep an eye on dates as you scan the reports.

 Philosopher's IndexATLA religion database with ATLASerials :
     Good resources for the ethical and/or spiritual aspects of environmentalism.

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared. 

  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to the IC Library's Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

Search Argos

Web Resources: General

Think Tanks & Research Institutes

Think Tanks & Research Institutes: A short collection of resources that can access these often influential contributions to public policy debate. 

Web Search Engines

Google Advanced Search:  Google, like most search engines, offers an advanced search mode which allows domain searching.  That is, you can limit your search to a specified domain and in this way weed out all the .coms.Try a domain limit of edu, org, or gov to help target the most substantial and authoritative information.

Web Directories

     Web Directories differ from search engines like Google in that all the online resources have been selected and annotated by editors, thereby promising a much higher degree of quality control.   

Environmental Research Sites

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Issue and Regulatory Topics: These provide topical indexes to the wealth of information available at the EPA site.

National Council for Science and the Environment: CRS Reports:
The NCSE collects the CRS (Congressional Research Service) reports on environmental topics. Take advantage of the “Browse Topics” links.

United Nations Environmental Program: There’s a great deal of integrated international research here. Use the “Six Priorities” to get started, and be sure also to open the “Other Thematic Areas.”

World Resources Institute: An “environmental think tank” that supports research with an emphasis on practical solutions to environmental challenges. Check out both their extensive “Publications” and their “News” sections.

Center for International Earth Science Information Network: At Columbia University, this organization posts extensive reports on a wide range of environmental issues. The link here is to their “Browse by Subject” page.

OFFstats: Environment: OFFstats is an international clearinghouse for statistical information.

Environmental Policy Sites

     Two sites that promote environmental activism and provide extensive online research are the National Resources Defense Council (open “Issues”) and GreenPeace International (navigate with "Issues We Work On" links). For two conservative and skeptical sites, try the Cato Institute’s “Energy and Environment” research page or the Heritage Foundation’s “Energy and Environment” issues page.

     National Center for Policy Analysis: Environment: Leading think tank that takes a “free enterprise” approach to public policy issues. 

     Brookings Institute: Topics: Another leading think tank, sometimes characterized as liberal, with information on a wide range of social/political issues. See in particular their reports on Climate Change, Environment, Environmental Justice, Environmental Regulation, and Global Warming.

Environmentalist Sites

  • Environment & Society Portal: German site--in English--that provides a gateway to a good number of online resources. Start with either a Search or the Timeline Tool.
  • The International Society for Environmental Ethics has this "On the Net" section of Web resources. Note that when you scroll to the bottom the list is continued under the "Older Posts" link.
  • Ecofem is a leading Web site for feminist ecology.
  • Envirolink: categorized links to a wide range of Web resources.
  • Living on Earth: Weekly NPR show on current environmental topics. Check out the "Show Archive."
  • Earth Times: A Web newspaper on man and nature. Scroll down to the "Environmental Issues" section.
  • Environmental Arts & Humanities: Links to online resources provided by The Association for the Study of Literature & Environment. You might also be interested in the Association's set of articles introducing the field ofEcocriticism
  • Overview of World Religions and Ecology: Part of the Forum on Religion and Ecology, hosted by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, navigate by using the index of religions on the left.  And note: when you click on a religion you will first access the "overview," but there is much additional material available in the sub-sections that will appear under the religion's name on the left, for example, Bibliography, Sacred Texts, and Links. 

Web Resources: Issues

Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)

Fracking Controversy: Thirty-page overview published December 16th 2011 by CQ Researcher (IC Library database log-in required).

Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States--A Primer: A 2009 report from the Department of Energy.

Hydraulic Fracturing: Web resources from the EPA.

Sourcewatch: Fracking: Sourcewatch is an online encyclopedia of the Center for Media and Democracy, who describe themselves as "non-partisan" but also as a "consumer watchdog group."  Also see their entry for the Marcellus Shale.

Hydraulic Fracturing 101: This is an anti-fracking site from Earthworks with a wide range of information.

Hydraulic Fracturing and the Marcellus Shale: 90 minute video of an "event" at Cornell, featuring a public discussion/debate of the environmental issues.  Also check out the Fracking Web site of the  Associate Dean of the Engineering School at Cornell, Rick Allmendinger.

Resources: pro-fracking documents from Chesapeake Energy.

Toxic Chemicals on Tap: How Natural Gas Drilling Threatens Drinking Water: online monograph from Environment Illinois Research and Policy Center.

Keystone XL Pipeline Project

One way of putting this controversy in a broader context is to read the CQ Researcher from June of 2012,  U.S. Oil Dependence, which discusses Keystone XL. This is a Library database, so log in required.

BP Oil Spill

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: from Yale Environment 360.

Oil Spill: from the Rosenstiel School at the University of Miami.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response: from University of Southern Florida.

Putting BP's Oil Spill Into Context: a statistical approach from TheGreenGrok at Duke.

Assessing the Effects of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human Health: An online monograph from the the National Academies.

Alaska, Oil & ANWR

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: An excellent gateway to Web resources on ANWR from the Justice Center at the University of Alaska, covering both sides of the controversy.

To Drill . . .

Alaska Pipeline Service Company: The word from BP, Exxon, and other big players in Alaskan oil.

ANWR.org: They describe themselves as a "grassroots" citizens group, but if you look at the main sponsors you will see that this is the voice of Alaska Oil & Gas, the Alaska miners' and truckers" associations, and the Alaska Chamber of Commerce. Accordingly, they make the case for opening the refuge to drilling.

. . . or Not To Drill

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: A Special Report: Part of the Arctic Circle Web site, sponsored in part by the University of Connecticut. A good overview of the refuge under "Natural Resources" and coverage of both pro-drilling and anti-drilling positions under "Controversy and Debate."

Defenders of Wildlife: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Their name is also their position on ANWR.

Chill the Drills: The Sierra Club's position.

Nuclear Energy/Waste

  • World Nuclear Association:  This is a nuclear industry organization where you'll find a trove of information supportive of  nuclear engergy and confident about the effectiveness of nuclear waste management.  See especially the Radioactive Waste Management page.
  • Greenpeace: Radioactive Waste: Greenpeace is opposed to nuclear reactors and highly skeptical about the management of radioactive waste.  Note the index of links at the lower right. 

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.