________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 6 . . . . November 10, 2006


Climate Change. (Groundwork Guides).  

Shelley Tanaka.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi, 2006.
144 pp., pbk. & cl., $12.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (cl.).
ISBN 0-88899-784-1 (pbk.), ISBN 0-88899-783-3 (cl.). 

Subject Headings:
Climatic changes-Environmental aspects.
Global warming.

Grades 9 and up /Ages 14 and up.
Review by Reece Steinberg. 

*** /4  


Industrialized nations got rich by burning fossil fuels and creating the climate change problem in the first place. These countries continue to have higher per capita emissions of greenhouse gases than developing countries, because they are wealthy enough to consume wastefully. So shouldn't it be up to these rich nations to assume most of the burden of fixing the problem?  

Climate Change, part of the “Groundwork Guides” series, is an introduction to the issues, facts and unanswered questions surrounding global climate change. This concise paperback begins with a map of the world, pointing out a variety of places where effects of global warming have affected humans, animals and the environment. The book goes on to show proof that climate changes exists and to discuss humanity's involvement in the phenomenon. It describes how climate and climate change work before discussing the impact of climate change and also how to minimize the damage. 

     Climate Change is clearly written with a Canadian audience in mind, but it tries to take a global perspective by discussing the different responsibilities of countries at different levels of industrialization. The books tends to lay down the facts in simple, clear language, and employs many graphs and explanatory sidebars. The  initial chapters of the book focus on statistical and factual information, which works well. The writing has a casual tone, and concepts are explained thoroughly but with brevity. At the end of the book, the author tends to mix the facts with encouragement to the readers to help minimize climate change. Some readers may be motivated by the encouragement and welcome the challenge; however, it may come across as patronizing or clichéd to other readers. Unfortunately, the end of the book continues to suffer as the motivational statements are often backed up by statistical information that is not very convincing. Reassuring readers that individual change does make a difference with the fact that domestic consumption is 12% of industrialized nations' total consumption does not add up. 

     Overall, the book serves as a good introduction to the subject and will be useful for students doing projects on climate change and also as fuel for new environment activists. The information is current, and the author does a good job of relating the issues to daily life. The book ends with a map, similar to the map that started the book, but this one points out sustainable accomplishments that have been undertaken or planned around the world. This wraps the book up nicely. 

     Climate Change includes a detailed index, a glossary of key terms and also a page of regularly updated websites offering further information. The book is very attractively and appropriately designed, both inside and out. The cover suits the topic well, with edgy "stenciled" lettering and a three-tone picture of a traffic jam. On a display, this book will certainly catch the eye of people interested in this topic. 


Reece Steinberg, a librarian at Vancouver Public Library, currently works in the Business & Science, and Virtual Reference divisions. 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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