It's Earth Day and I've been saving my review of this book just for today! It's so good. Climate Change and How We'll Fix It by Alice Harman begins with the very first thing you need to know: What's the difference between weather and climate? As I read the beginning of the book, it occurred to me that already I found that it had defined climate change in a more palatable and easily comprehensible manner than any other book I've read (and I do enjoy reading about climate change), enough so that I couldn't help but think that a lot of adults could get a great deal out of Climate Change and How We'll Fix It.
From the introduction of Climate Change and How We'll Fix It:
In the first section of this book, we're going to try to answer the big questions you might have about climate change. Questions like "How do we know it's happening?", "What is causing it?", and "What will happen if we don't stop it.
Then, in the second section, we'll look at some of the problems getting in the way of fixing climate change. And in the third section, we'll try to figure out how humans — including you! — can help solve these problems and create a better, safer world for us all.
There's a pretty substantial list of contents but the first section, "What We Know" talks about the Greenhouse Effect, different types of energy/fuel and how they contribute to climate change or can reduce it, food and farming (impacts of farming on the climate and the reverse), "Too much stuff" (conspicuous consumption, particularly in advanced nations where advertisers try to convince everyone they need more, and how wasteful consumption adds to the problem), and how exactly scientists find the evidence and impact of climate change.
The second section uses talking heads (illustrated with little conversation bubbles) to show the two sides of various issues. For example, the "That's not fair" problem has a person from an advanced nation and a nation that is trying to become wealthier in discussion. The person from the wealthier nation tells the other that his country needs to reduce its carbon emissions but the other country's opinion is, "Hey, you did it to make yourselves wealthy and now it's our turn."
The third section, about solutions, goes into some interesting territory in that it tells the reader that there are ways to do your part but it's also important to understand that there are reasons people don't understand and act on climate change, that it's important to listen to others and learn from them, try to promote fairness in climate action, and not lecture people. I thought the bit about not lecturing because it doesn't work anyway but simply doing what you can was particularly great because, in fact, I've read an entire book about why people don't want to even think about climate change, much less accept it, and it makes a lot of sense to stick to simplicity — do what you can to help, but let others come to understanding of what needs to be done in their own time.
Geared for older elementary level, Climate Change and How We'll Fix It would be an excellent library resource and wonderful for use in classrooms or for science reports. Adults who don't want to read a more in-depth book but just want to know the basics will get a lot out of it, as well. Here's an interior image to give you an idea of the reading level (click on the image to enlarge).
Highly recommended - I've read quite a few books about climate change but this children's book is one of the clearest, most easily comprehensible books I've read. It does become a little repetitive in the latter half and I thought the fictional conversations were a tiny bit more complex than the text. Still, Climate Change and How We'll Fix It is an excellent primer about climate change: what it is, how scientists know it's not normal, why progress in reversing it has been slow, and what readers can do to help bring about change. It also contains a very nice glossary.
My thanks to Sterling Children's Books for the review copy!
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