I just finished reading a wonderful book geared towards children. The subject matter is a very important one in my opinion…global warming. It is The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming by Lauri David and Cambria Gordon. Quite simply it is an AMAZING book that really captures the interest of older children and teens, makes them laugh with clever wording and great pictures, and educates about an important environmental issue. It was also a blast for me to read as well.
Let me just give you a break down of what you learn and give you a highlight or two.
I loved the analogy the authors used to start explaining what global warming is. When you get too hot at night you might throw off the covers and when the cooler air hits your legs and body you feel refreshed and cool. Well, this is the same thing our planet is experiencing. A blanket of green house gases is surrounding our one home, but the earth can’t just toss off the blanket to cool off. That is global warming! This chapter also goes into the reason why “natural” green house gases are overwhelming our planet and how this onslaught coincides with human activity.
It goes on to name the greenhouse gases that effect climate and name the biggest culprit…CO2. It also shows how serious this warming trend is in simple terms…even if it is just a one degree difference.
Consider this: You know that popsicle in your freezer? At 32 degrees it freezes and stay solid enough for you to bite it. But at 33 degrees it falls off the stick.
Fossil fuels are explained and even I found that section extremely informative. It shows what they are, how they are formed, and why our usage makes them non-renewable resources. The Keeling curve is also explained in a way that kids will understand as is the correlation between CO2 and the temperature of the planet and some example are given of how climate has changed recently and the devastating effects of that. The ice caps are disappearing, permafrost is melting, forests that help with CO2 absorption are disappearing, hurricanes get a steroid like boost from the warmer waters, flooding occurs in some areas and others go into a drought, disease carrying bugs thrive, and of course…many animal species are struggling or becoming endangered. This is a BIG talking point with my son who is animal lover.
It discusses many animals that are suffering or that have gone completely extinct. On the complete extinction list is the golden toad that was last seen in 1989. Warmer climates caused their extinction.
On the suffering list are the walrus, the penguin, the blue whale, and the polar bear. The correlation between climate change and their suffering can’t be ignored. It is heartbreaking. At this point in the book there was a picture of a dead polar bear that I found rather disturbing. BUT the fact that these bears are dying of starvation or drowning as the ice caps recede is too important a thing to gloss over. Also mentioned are the plights of the coral reefs, butterflies, birds, and the red squirrel.
The last section of the book talks about what YOU can do to stop global warming. It goes on to list all the relatively small things we can do that make a big impact…changing out light bulbs, unplugging appliances, using reusable bags, etc. The illustrations are so funny that your kids will be rolling.
Some other ideas I LOVED:
* Write a letter to your city mayor (using the template they provide)
* Start a no-idle rule in the parent pick up lane.
* Suggest changing the paper in your school
* Start a no waste policy in the cafeteria
* Do your science project on global warming
* Ask that An Inconvenient Truth be shown in class.
* Ask if you can organize a climate crisis fund raiser and use the proceeds to “green” the school
The book then goes on to discuss some other ways to help that might be more within mom and dad’s ability to change for the time being such as driving a hybrid car, using biodiesel, using ethanol, using solar energy or wind power, etc. This section is followed by information on sustainable careers! Wonderful!
The last sentence in the book:
The earth is depending on YOU!
I suggest all parents pick this book up and give it a read and read it to their older children. What can be important than preserving the planet?
WIN IT!! – Stay tuned… on Eco Freebie Friday this book will be awarded to one lucky blog reader.
Interior text printed with soy inks on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper.