Materials are at the core of our societies and of our economies. They are part of pressing environmental challenges but they also provide powerful answers. It is therefore no longer possible to think of materials from the restricted standpoint of Materials and Engineering Sciences and this book proposes a more holistic vision of their connection with the Environment and with Society.
The book is meant for students, researchers, engineers, and concerned citizens interested in how materials, nature and people interact: at the level of raw materials and energy resources, of innovation and emergence of new materials functions, of historical continuity with materials of the past, and of emissions to air, water and soil and thus in connection also with health and toxicology issues, climate change and collapse of biodiversity. The book examines how materials relate to society with complex metrics, but also, more deeply, how they generate eco-social services, and, finally, have agency along with the people who use them and invent them (Actor Network Theory).
This book is unique in its approach across so many fields. There are many excellent treatises on materials science and more on industrial ecology. However, the connection with the social dimension of sustainability is still rarely discussed and the pluridisciplinary cocktail of approaches used here is truly new.