Resources for Sustainability Research

About this guide:

This resource has been created by the Luria Library faculty, in conjunction with Environmental Science students and the staff of the Center for Sustainability at Santa Barbara City College, to provide information about and access to materials on campus, online and in the community in the areas of sustainability. Use the tabs to navigate.
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Keywords to use in searches

The study of sustainability can be complicated by the many related subject terms. What follows is a list of standard terms to use when you are searching catalogs, databases and websites.

    Capitalism — Environmental aspects — United States
    Climatic changes
    Community development
    Conservation biology
    Conservation of natural resources
    Economic development — Environmental aspects
    Environmental Education
    Environmental justice
    Environmental philosophy
    Industrial management — Environmental aspects.
    Nature conservation — United States
    Population — Environmental aspects
    Population policy
    Social responsibility of business
    Sustainable agriculture
    Sustainable architecture
    Sustainable development
    Sustainable forestry
    Sustainable fisheries
    Sustainable development — International cooperation

Searching for Books

Search the library catalog for books on sustainability topics. Check the keywords tab in this guide for suggestions about how to search.

Reference Books

These books are available in the Luria Library Reference section. Find them at the call number listed.

    Mapping Census 2000 : the geography of U.S. diversity, 2000 — R 317.3 U58 2000 CENSR
    Encyclopedia of environmental issues — R 363.7003 A4346e 2011
    Encyclopedia of world environmental history — R 363.7003 K92e
    The water encyclopedia: hydrologic data and Internet resources — R 553.7 F465w

Print Books

Electronic Books

These electronic books are available online and require your Pipeline account information to access from off-campus.

Periodical Databases

Search your topic in these suggested periodical databases:

  • Academic Search Premier Provides abstracts for articles from nearly 13,200 periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) in all subject areas, and full text articles from nearly 8,750 periodicals, including more than 7,550 peer-reviewed journals. Searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,400 journals. Full text PDF content dates back as far as 1887.
  • Science Full Text Select Provides full text for more than 400 journals dating as far back as 1994. Subject coverage includes agriculture & agricultural research, atmospheric science, biochemistry, biology, biotechnology, botany, chemistry, environmental science, geology, marine biology microbiology, physics and much more.

Other databases of particular interest for sustainability research:

  • Opposing Viewpoints: is another library database of websites, books, periodical articles and much more, which focuses on controversial issues and covers environmental topics well.

Suggested Websites


    The Biomass Power Association is the nation’s leading organization working to expand and advance the use of clean, renewable biomass power.

    Energy From Shale This website was created by the American Petroleum Institute to offer “the truth about fracking and shale extraction.”

    Permaculture: Permanent Agriculture -This website is a complete resource for information on permaculture and the practicality of bio-fuels.

    Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air -a book by David McKay (downloadable PDF file) regarding sustainable energy and policy.

    The Thorium Energy Alliance is an educational advocacy organization. They are a nonprofit group composed of engineers, scientists, and concerned citizens interested in reducing the cost of energy and protecting the health of the planet and the future of the human race. Their objective is to lay the foundation for a Thorium Energy Future, which is a new type of sustainable energy.



    The Climate Institute has a mission to catalyze innovative and practical solutions for climate change adaptation, mitigation, and climate stabilization, contribute to scientific research and communicate the results of that research in an accurate and comprehensive manner. Create partnerships among policymakers, scientists, the public and environmental institutions at the local, national and international levels to address the climate challenge more effectively. Provide objective and comprehensive information on climate change risks and potential responses. This website provides accurate articles regarding climate change.

    Earth Policy Institute Cited by environmental advocates, as well as policymakers and journalists alike, the Institute is a nonprofit that provides articles, data resources, and select free downloads of their books on their website.

    Public Policy Institute of California Environment Pages -a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research.

    Waging Peace is a website created by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) organization, based in Santa Barbara, that supports the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Sustainable Consumption

    Story of Stuff is a site with accurate articles, movies, podcasts, and resources regarding sustainability and the environment.


Local Organizations and Agencies

The Learning Resource Center (LRC) across from the Library has many useful videos in their collection.

The following videos can be found online:


    The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, & Power. This film shows us how we got to where we are in the oil industry. Film adaptation of Daniel Yergen’s Pulitzer Prize winning book.


    Story of Stuff is a site with accurate articles, movies, podcasts, and resources regarding sustainability and the environment.


    Cadillac Desert (search for Pt 1-4 on youtube): about the drought in Central Valley and the disappearing groundwater and what Americans have been doing to preserve the water that is left.

    Someplace with a Mountain (Steve Goodall 2011) A film, recently reviewed by SBCC students, about the impacts of rising sea levels.


Podcasts can provide information on current social issues, and the following news interview shows often touch on issues in sustainability.


Keep the conversation going, online and in person:

    The SBCC Center for Sustainability Right here on campus, the Center for Sustainability is the continuation of a collaborative effort among Continuing Education led by Kris Power, several community organizations, The Environmental Studies program, the Student Sustainability Coalition, and several staff members of SBCC. Education in environmental and social responsibility has long been a focus of SBCC and the surrounding community.

    Second Nature‘s mission is to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education. They accelerate movement toward a sustainable future by serving and supporting senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just, and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.