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Humans and the Natural Environment
     

Humans and the Natural Environment

by Dana Desonie
 

In just 45 years, from 1961 to 2006, humans experienced an almost unfathomable population explosion: from 3 billion people to 6.6 billion people. Population growth has come with an increase in resource consumption, which has created a number of environmental problems. Farmland is being degraded, freshwater is becoming polluted, fish are being overharvested, forests

Overview

In just 45 years, from 1961 to 2006, humans experienced an almost unfathomable population explosion: from 3 billion people to 6.6 billion people. Population growth has come with an increase in resource consumption, which has created a number of environmental problems. Farmland is being degraded, freshwater is becoming polluted, fish are being overharvested, forests are being flattened, and fossil fuel emissions are driving global warming. Many scientists suggest that society now must develop sustainably by improving the current economic and social circumstances while protecting the environment for future generations. Humans and the Natural Environment presents the eye-opening facts behind the issue of humans versus the environment in a manner accessible to young readers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Rachel Hill
The recent history of humans has shown an increasing utilization and exploitation of natural resources. Humans and the Natural Environment explores the many areas of our environment that are being affected by human pressures. Population growth and overpopulation, water resources, energy resources, living resources, and the exploitation of these resources are some of the major topics that are addressed. Solutions to overpopulation and over-utilization, such as subsistence farming and limiting energy use, are noted. However the main focus is on resource exploitation and the cataclysmic situation in which humans are finding themselves, rather than ways to prevent this imminent doom. This book would be appropriate for advanced middle school and high school students, and it could be valuable for teaching environmental science topics. Part of the series "Our Fragile Planet." Reviewer: Rachel Hill
Children's Literature - Mary Ashcliffe and Thad Ashcliffe
This book is from the eight-volume "Our Fragile Plant" set. While we review only this volume here, if the other volumes in this series are at least equal to this volume, then the whole set is a stellar series more than worthy of purchase. Humans and the Natural Environment is uniformly well-done from the text to the charts, graphs, and sidebars to the drawings and photographs. Information was very current and well written. We especially liked the use of bolding new words/concepts for easy identification for the student reader. All the bolded terms appear in a glossary even though the content words are nicely defined in the text. The general organization of each volume, too, was student-friendly. The author started with the big picture/overview of the topic and the problems we as a species have caused and therefore must deal with—even discussing seldom mentioned topics, like the introduction of invasive species into an environment. In this review, we are speaking specifically about this volume. The general organization of the volume, too, was student-friendly. The author started with the big picture/overview of the topic and the problems we as a species have caused and therefore must deal with. The author does a singularly fantastic job of approaching concepts and topics in a way that is honest and simple for things that are technical, e.g. specific heat or ocean currents. This book has a different structure than the others in this series that we have seen. Rather than discussing one topic exclusively, it focuses on four major areas of environmental concern. Our only criticism is regarding discussion of growth and the predictions of growth regardless of the topic covered.What seems to be lacking is the portrayal of the ranges of possible outcomes when discussing a given topic. This is especially noticeable in the portion of the book that deals with population. The inclusion of uncertainty is not shown in some of these predictions where it is entirely appropriate to be shown. It is also appropriate to say what the differences in the predictions and why they are being made. In this way, the discussion of population is weakest topic in the book. The author talks about resources use and inequities of consumption and does address the growing impact of certain developing nations like China; however, this book seems more removed from the topic than the others in the series as if the author is using distance as a buffer. That said, the book is well done. It, like the others in the series, focuses on the theme of how the student reader lives and how resources are used. The information in this book, and the series as a whole, is presented in an approachable and understandable manner even though it is dealing with sometimes unpleasant topics. It is a road map of vitally important concerns humanity will face, so although this volume seems, to us, to be overly cautious and optimistic, it does a good job of dealing with fundamental concerns that will affect the reader. This book contains information and material that the author has chosen to present very factually. This is contrary to the usual means of presentation that is frequently presented to this audience in an emotionally enhanced manner, laced with hyperbole. We are impressed that, in addition to this informative and respectful manner of presentation, the author is eminently readable, never veering into the dry and boring or the patronizing. This allows the author to discuss things that are usually avoided because they are considered "too heavy." The illustrations, charts and graphs are uniformly excellent—each topic that could benefit from one has a highly pertinent and useful visual aid—nothing is for mere aesthetic padding. Additionally, the pictures do an excellent job of showing flow, structure, and correlation. All of this allows the student to first learn about the background and theory, which provides the cause in order for the student to understand the effects. The subject matter, while thorough, explains rather than being alarmist or forcibly overwhelming. It was necessarily harsh when appropriate. The list of references and websites was top notch and the index was thorough. The publisher cites these volumes as being appropriate for the sixth to twelfth grader, but we feel that those between the ages of nine and eleven would find much to absorb in this set. The information is not "dumbed down," so a younger audience would use these books on a topic basis rather than in their entirety. Although a textbook, this is the kind of nature book that many students (even the not-very-interested variety) would find fascinating to look through—pausing where interested—which is a wonderful way to pique interest in a subject. We gladly give each of this book, and the entire set, a cookie. Reviewer: Mary Ashcliffe and Thad Ashcliffe

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816062201
Publisher:
Facts on File, Incorporated
Publication date:
02/28/2008
Series:
Our Fragile Planet Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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