CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 34 . . . . May 7, 2010
The title may be long, but it expresses the essence of this book that strives to bring a fresh message to young people about sustainable living on Earth. The more we become aware of the need for conservation, recycling, ways to mitigate climate change, the more these huge problems can evoke a sense of helplessness. Kelsey’s goal is to rekindle wonder and optimism about the environment with examples of our close connection to nature that will inspire and empower young people.
The book has four well-researched chapters: a focus on eco-friendly clothing, an assessment of food production, the uses of technology that help sustain the environment, and new, surprising sources of energy. Each chapter looks at background of the topic, new trends, options for recycling and reuse, and presents fascinating links to nature. Comic strips highlight unlikely connections about everyday things familiar to kids, e.g. bike riding to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save species vulnerable to effects of ocean warming. The book is packed with ideas kids can adopt to become involved in changes that will give them a happier outlook.
Young readers will be motivated by examples of real people who are making a difference. The book describes scientists who have borrowed ideas from nature to help people, e.g. the tiny bristles on gecko’s feet inspired a new kind of adhesive bandage. Amazing news about green creations will encourage independent thinking: building bikes out of bamboo, or helmets with solar-powered headlights. Or how about a chair that transfers energy created when a person sits down into power for LED lights? There’s a challenge inherent in many of these examples: can you design something too?
This book is appealing for the tremendous amount of detail and up-to-date research. There’s so much to tell. One drawback is the small type size which some readers might find a bit daunting. While the graphic illustrations peppered throughout add humor, the tightly packed text makes the pages appear busy and may deter less capable readers. But this is a book that should be read: the illustrations alone provide a small part of the explanations. It’s a great book to read as a family, to discuss and interpret. It will open up new understanding about conservation and sustainable living.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.
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