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We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change


Now in paperback! Every young person who cares about preserving the planet needs to know what’s inside this book—and follow the authors’ call to action.

First published for an adult readership, THE WEATHER MAKERS got kudos for its solid science and powerful message. Now this accessible edition speaks directly to young adults, offering a clear look at the history of climate change, how matters will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. ...

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Now in paperback! Every young person who cares about preserving the planet needs to know what’s inside this book—and follow the authors’ call to action.

First published for an adult readership, THE WEATHER MAKERS got kudos for its solid science and powerful message. Now this accessible edition speaks directly to young adults, offering a clear look at the history of climate change, how matters will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. Newly featured are twenty-five practical tips for living a greener lifestyle—at home, in school, in the community, and ultimately, on Earth.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Denise Daley
A great deal of research went into detailing the history of climate change. Aptly titled, it provides in-depth information on global warming and how human activities are contributing to changes in the carbon cycle which is causing changes in the climate. The first part of the book is about earth and its carbon connections. This section has seven chapters that discuss the carbon cycle, greenhouse effect, fossil fuels, and other factors contributing to global warming. The eight chapters in the second section discuss endangered habitats and provide specific examples of how changes in the climate are adversely affecting the Antarctic and Arctic, the Great Barrier Reef, and others. Changing climates are causing ecosystem changes and this is leading to floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events, as well as animal extinctions. The final section is titled "What's to come?" and it ponders whether this dangerous climate pattern can be halted. The cost of political inaction is discussed and energy alternatives are explored. Each individual chapter ends with a "call to action" that offers readers practical ideas for making a difference both individually and globally. This informative and enlightening book urges readers to act on global warming by being good citizens and smart consumers. Reviewer: Denise Daley
VOYA - Caitlin Augusta
Sibert Award-winner Walker adapts this adult-market title for a teenage audience here, and the result is a thorough look at climate change for the discerning teen reader. Part one introduces the earth and its relationship with carbon, followed by a look at the effect of global warming on organisms and weather and an examination of the future of life on a warming earth. The book takes a strongly admonishing tone created with a mixture of statistics, logical reasoning, and emotional arguments. Interspersed throughout the book are twenty-five suggestions for readers to reduce their carbon footprints. Walker presents Flannery's compelling research in fluid, readable prose. Although the combination of strong writing and formidable research makes the book an excellent choice for most institutions, there are a few points to consider. This book proclaims itself an adaptation, but it is still a technical text that requires a solid understanding of physics, chemistry, and earth science to fully comprehend. Nor is it a browsing book; it works best when read through. Use, therefore, is a question to be considered in purchasing this rich yet complex book. It is an excellent resource for high school or college research projects on global warming or for students with an active interest. For others, something less dense such as Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (Rodale/Viking, 2007/ VOYA June 2007) might fit the bill equally well. Reviewer: Caitlin Augusta
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This adaptation of Flannery's 2005 adult publication shows the results of meticulous research and superb grounding in scientific facts. It lays out, in great detail, the ways in which humans have changed our weather and the possible outcomes for us and our planet if we continue as we are going. Clearly labeled illustrations accompany difficult concepts and greatly aid in understanding the sometimes-complicated climate models. Each chapter ends with a "Call to Action" describing how humans can make relatively simple changes in our lifestyle to reduce our impact on the planet. Yet, despite the many great aspects of this book, one issue clearly reduces its usefulness. The research and issues surrounding global warming are changing at an incredible pace and the adaptation presented here, while doing some updates, is not sufficiently current. For example, Chapter 22 covers the Kyoto Protocol, which, though mightily relevant in 2005, is being eclipsed by the upcoming Copenhagen (December 2009) conference, where the United States is poised to play a much more involved role. The Copenhagen Climate Conference is not mentioned. Some of the research on animals (harp seals, for example) that are endangered does not update past 2005. Additionally, the sections entitled "Call to Action" are often aimed at adults rather than teens. Not many teens will be weatherproofing their homes, checking water heaters, or buying new appliances—just yet anyway—and this disconnect is jarring.—Denise Schmidt, San Francisco Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Arguing that climate change and global warming affect us all and that we can be part of the solution, this comprehensive look at the issue includes a clear explanation of the mechanism of the carbon cycle, the role of greenhouse gases on Earth, historical instances of climate change and their causes, descriptions of effects on a variety of habitats, future scenarios and suggestions-both personal and global-about what might be done. An adaptation for teen readers of Flannery's highly regarded and influential adult title (The Weather Makers, 2006), Walker's readable and convincing rewrite follows the original organization but tightens up the text, shortening chapters and addressing the intended readers with action suggestions between each chapter. It includes new research and four examples of institutions and groups whose actions have made a difference in greenhouse-gas emissions. Endnotes and an extensive bibliography support the argument. A copy belongs in every middle- and high-school library. (index) (Nonfiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763646561
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/9/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 803,457
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 1280L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Flannery is an internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer, conservationist, and author. A contributor to the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW and THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, he is also a familiar voice on ABC Radio, NPR, and the BBC. He lives in Adelaide, Australia.

Sally M. Walker is the author of more than fifty nonfiction books, including SECRETS OF A CIVIL WAR SUBMARINE, winner of both the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award and the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, and WRITTEN IN BONE: BURIED LIVES OF JAMESTOWN AND COLONIAL MARYLAND. She lives in Dekalb, Illinois.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Buzz about Global Warming xi

Part 1 Earth and the Carbon Connection 1

Chapter 1 Earth's Carbon Cycle and You 3

Carbon as one of the keys to controlling Earth's atmosphere

Call to Action: Lead the Green Charge 9

Chapter 2 The Ocean in the Sky 10

Layers in Earth's atmosphere and what is in the air we breathe

Call to Action: Energy Star 20

Chapter 3 The Greenhouse Story 21

CO2 in a positive-feedback loop, in carbon sinks, and as absorbed in the ocean

Call to Action: Start a Low-Carbon Car Diet Today 29

Chapter 4 A Grand Discovery 31

Milankovitch's theory of glaciation based on Earth's tilt, orbit, and wobble

Call to Action: Happy (Green) Holidays! 38

Chapter 5 Time's Gateways 40

Correlating events in the geologic record to environmental evidence found in ancient rock and ice cores

Call to Action: Plug the Leaks 48

Chapter 6 Markers of Change 49

Examining ancient evidence for shifts between ice ages and warm interglacial periods

Call to Action: The Sweater Test 59

Chapter 7 An Energy Blast from the Past 60

Obtaining and burning fossil fuels

Call to Action: Reduce the Hidden Oil in Your Life 68

Part 2 Endangered Habitats 71

Chapter 8 The Unraveling World 73

Julia Cole's magic gates mark changes in the patterns of EI Niños and La Niña, wind and water currents, and ecosystems on land

Call to Action: Time to See the Light 84

Chapter 9 Peril at the Poles 86

Changing ecosystems in the Antarctic and Arctic and effects on animal populations

Interview: Testament to Environmental Changes on Baffin Island 90

Call to Action: Choose Green Power 95

Chapter 10 Australia's Great Stumpy Reef? 96

Coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef

Call to Action: Urge Local Businesses to See the Light 104

Chapter 11 A Warning from the Golden Toad 106

Evidence of climate-induced extinctions from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica

Call to Action: Save the Animals 114

Chapter 12 Liquid Gold: Changes in Rainfall 116

Floods and droughts in Africa's Sahel, Southwest Australia, and the American West

Call to Action: Eat Locally 127

Chapter 13 Weather Gone Wild 128

The tropopause and extreme-weather events 128

Interview: Katrina Survivor Now Takes Hurricane Warnings Seriously 132

Call to Action: Energy-Smart Schools 138

Chapter 14 The Rising Ocean 139

Sea level rise caused by thermal expansion; melting sea ice, ice shelves, and land ice; and heat from changes to Earth's albedo

Call to Action: Is Your Home Adequately Insulated? 151

Chapter 15 Leveling the Mountains 152

Climbing temperatures, climbing habitats—what is the height of extinction? 152

Call to Action: The Phantom in Your House 157

Part 3 What's to Come? 159

Chapter 16 Model Worlds 161

Global circulation models and the science and accuracy of predicting Earth's climatic future

Call to Action: Computer Conservation 172

Chapter 17 A Dangerous Commitment 173

Can Earth's climate be stabilized?

Call to Action: Use Recycled Paper 177

Chapter 18 Fleeing Climate Change 178

Migration or extinction of flora and fauna

Call to Action: Stop the Junk Mail 184

Chapter 19 Three Tipping Points 185

Collapse of the Gulf Stream, collapse of the Amazon rain forest, and methane release from the seafloor

Call to Action: Celebrate Arbor Day 194

Chapter 20 Civilization: Big City versus Small Town 195

Relationship of climate variability to population size and sustainability

Call to Action: Stop Pouring Energy Down the Drain 202

Chapter 21 The Ozone Hole: A Success Story 204

Causes and health effects of a hole in the ozone and how the Montreal Protocol worked

Call to Action: Make Your Voice Heard—Make Your Vote Count 210

Chapter 22 The Kyoto Protocol 212

Setting limits on CO2 emissions, the U.S. stance, and the cost of doing nothing 212

Call to Action: Can It! 220

Chapter 23 What to Believe? 222

Findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Interview: Building a Portable, Eco-Friendly House 223

Call to Action: Read, Learn, Decide 229

Chapter 24 Engineering Solutions 230

Geosequestration, coal gasification, sustainable agriculture, and animal husbandry

Call to Action: Bag That Bag! 235

Chapter 25 So What's the Story with Fuel? 237

Oil to natural gas to hydrogen and effects on carbon emissions

Call to Action: Time to Hang Out 243

Chapter 26 Soar with the Wind—Bask in the Sun 244

Sustainable renewable energy sources

Call to Action: A Tip from Down Under 250

Chapter 27 What about Nuclear? 251

Expense, risks, and disposal of nuclear waste; geothermal energy alternative

Call to Action: The Virgin Earth Challenge: $25 Million Prize 258

Chapter 28 Hybrids, MiniCATS, and Contrails 259

Decarbonizing our transportation systems

Call to Action: Your First Set of Wheels 264

Chapter 29 We Took Action 265

Alaska Youth for Environmental Action 266

Portsmouth Abbey School 269

The Seattle Public Library 273

Northern Illinois University 276

Source Notes 281

Bibliography 289

Credits 298

Index 300

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Angela S. for

    WE ARE THE WEATHER MAKERS is a great book for pre-teens and teens to learn about our climate and how it is changing.

    Starting out with how the carbon cycle works and how to learn to offset your carbon footprint, to sustainable energy sources such as the sun and wind power - this book covers it all.

    If you want to teach your children to be responsible and help fix our ailing planet, then this book is for you.

    Filled with a lot of information and examples of ways that other kids have helped make a change, it is a great tool for either the classroom or at home.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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