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Produced and directed by Julie Stanfel
National Film Board of Canada in collaboration with members of International Council for Educational Media, 1992. "Logging with Patience" (13 min.), "I'm Betting on Iceland" (14 min.), "Changing Mountains" (12 min.). VHS cassette, $26.95.


Produced and directed by Julie Stanfel
National Film Board of Canada in collaboration with members of International Council for Educational Media, 1992. "Run for Your Lives" (13 min.), "The Storks Will Come Back" (13 min.), "City Parks" (14 min.), "Rumbling into Our Future" (13 min.). VHS cassette, $26.95. Both distributed by the NFB.

Subject Headings:
Environmental protection-Juvenile films.
Ecology-Juvenile films.
Conservation of natural resources-Juvenile films.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up

Reviewed by Wendy Zwaal

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November/December

Protecting Our Planet is an international collaboration of short "stories" from various film agencies, presented here by the National Film Board of Canada. This two-volume set depicts children from seven different countries taking action to protect the environment.

In "Logging with Patience," from Canada, a girl demonstrates the environmental benefits of selective logging with horses versus clear-cutting. On her visit to Iceland, another girl discovers the country's beauty and tries to preserve and restore it by planting trees and plants in "I'm Betting on Iceland." "Changing Mountains" focuses on the French industrial and mining region of Calais, where slag heaps, mine shafts and abandoned factories mar the landscape. A girl and her school there are making a slag heap green by planting native plants.

Cars kill thousands of toads in Austria as they attempt to migrate to their breeding grounds. A boy and his school help maintain toad fences, transport toads and save thousands of toads in "Run for Your Lives." Development of Portugal's wetlands threatens the stork's survival. In "The Storks Will Come Back," a girl and her Scout group explore what is being done to help save the storks and what they can do to help. In Catalonia's "City Parks," a girl examines the importance of parks to city life. Through a school project where the students help maintain the park, they learn about nature and the interdependence of all living things.

"Rumbling into Our Future" informs us that cars and many other forms of transportation are major sources of pollution. Through the making of an animated film on transportation, Swedish students tell others about this problem and learn that if we all do our part, we can make a difference.

The stories are short and are told from the perspective of a young person. They demonstrate that kids can make a difference in protecting the planet. They are also intended to "help students see the interconnectedness of our world." They succeed, for although the stories are from different countries, these are all stories that children can relate to.

The videos come with a teacher's guide, which includes discussion questions and suggestions for follow-up activities.

Highly recommended for classroom use. Protecting Our Planet shows kids that they can make a difference and it would be an excellent springboard for their own environmental activism.

Wendy Zwaal is a children's librarian at Newmarket Public Library in Newmarket, Ontario

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