You Are the Earth: Know Your World So You Can Help Make It Better

Overview


This lively collection of fascinating facts and fables, colorful cartoons, and dynamic illustrations explains how everything on Earth is connected. Since its original publication, concern for the environment has grown, and although environmental damage has increased, so too have "green" strategies. This new edition reflects these changes, with expanded discussion of environmental issues and new technologies, as well as many more activities. New sidebars offer extra facts, tips, and real-life examples of things ...
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Overview


This lively collection of fascinating facts and fables, colorful cartoons, and dynamic illustrations explains how everything on Earth is connected. Since its original publication, concern for the environment has grown, and although environmental damage has increased, so too have "green" strategies. This new edition reflects these changes, with expanded discussion of environmental issues and new technologies, as well as many more activities. New sidebars offer extra facts, tips, and real-life examples of things other budding ecologists have done to make the world a better place.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"From a less visionary thinker, such a broad range of subjects might be a confusing tangle, but Suzuki's accessible text, illustrated with useful diagrams and attractive paintings of plants and animals, skillfully emphasizes his basic message about the vital importance of interconnections." —Booklist

"...an outstanding title that can be utilized by teachers in science, health, and environmental studies classes or as a fun, inspiring read."—School Library Journal, starred review

“Incorporating content that varies from scientific to the personal to cultural—with folk tales juxtaposed next to scientific evidence—the book entices one to keep reading just to see what is on the next page.”Science Magazine

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
With major environmental issues looming before us, Suzuki says, "Everything depends on everything else." Explaining the interconnectedness of humans to everything in the world sounds like an enormous undertaking for middle grade nonfiction. However, Suzuki makes it accessible and fascinating. He divides the whole into its components and discusses each one in its own chapter: air, water, soil, the sun's energy, biodiversity, love, and spirit. He shows how each is critical for a high quality life. He discusses why we need each and every one, why each is important and necessary, and what each does. His explanations are clear and intriguing, with statements such as, "...the next breath you take will contain dinosaur breath" and when you sleep your body gives off "as much heat as a one-hundred-watt light bulb." Each chapter contains a simply told myth from the Greeks, Africans, or Native Americans. Sources are provided on the verso in the Credits. The illustrations are helpful in understanding the concepts presented. Things to Do section offers simple experiments and projects, and explanations of the outcomes. There is also a section that recounts how activist students are improving the world around them, and what each of us can do as activists in our own communities. This has been updated from the previous edition, including new art work, and is highly recommended for schools, libraries, and home reference. It is a good nonfiction read aloud. A Glossary, a Question and Answer section, and an index are also included. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—A handsomely illustrated, revised, and updated volume (2000) that examines the interconnectedness of life on Earth and the planet's resources. Seeking to instill conservation ethics in children, the authors of Eco-Fun (Greystone, 2001) discuss clean air, water, soil, the sun's energy, and plant and animal life. A highlight of this clearly written book is the inclusion in each chapter of a pertinent myth, tale, or legend from peoples across the globe. Each chapter ends with a "Things to Do" section that suggests three related experiments with easy-to-follow directions and follow-up questions. The final chapter, "It's Your World Now," encourages readers to take action to save the world's resources and includes many suggestions that young people can implement. Full-page and spot art and diagrams (all new to this edition) are found throughout the book. It concludes with a question-and-answer section to review the book's contents. Overall, this is an outstanding title that can be utilized by teachers in science, health, and environmental studies classes or as a fun, inspiring read.—Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781553654766
  • Publisher: Greystone Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 552,610
  • Age range: 6 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 960L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


David Suzuki is the acclaimed geneticist and environmentalist, the host of The Nature of Things, the founder and chair of the David Suzuki Foundation, and the author of more than forty books. He is the recipient of the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for Science, the United Nations Environmental Medal, and the UNEP's Global 500 award, and he has been named a Companion of the Order of Canada. He was selected as the 35th most important green campaigner of all time by the British newspaper, The Guardian. In addition, he holds eighteen honorary degrees and has been adopted into three First Nations clans. Suzuki lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kathy Vanderlinden is a writer and an editor with an extensive background in children's literature. She is the author or co-author of four previous children's books, including Eco-Fun (also written with David Suzuki), which was nominated for a Silver Birch Award. One of the many titles she edited, Transformed, won the prestigious Norma Fleck Award for children's non-fiction in 2006. She lives in Victoria, B.C.

Wallace Edwards was raised in Ottawa, and is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art. He is an award-winning illustrator and won a Governor General's Children's Literature - Illustration Award in 2002 for his book Alphabeasts. Wallace lives in Toronto and is working on a number of children's books.

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Read an Excerpt


From Chapter 1
Walking on Air
You probably don’t think much about air. You can’t see it, or hear it, or grab a handful of it. It’s almost as if it weren’t there. And yet it’s just about the most precious thing in the world.

Try holding your breath for five minutes. Can you do it? Of course not. Your body won’t let you. You can try to hold your breath until your face turns red and purple, but the muscles in your lungs and chest will soon force you to breathe. That’s how much your body needs air.

From your first breath to your last, you must have air. If you didn’t have air for just five or six minutes, you would die. All of us Earthlings—people, animals, and plants—need air to live. And the amazing thing is, not only does air keep us alive, it also ties us together. It’s as if we were all swimming in an “air soup.” when you breathe out, atoms—tiny, invisible particles—of air fly out of your nose and go right up the noses of all the people near you!

You’re Breathing Dinosaur Breath
Did you know that the next breath you take will contain dinosaur breath? It sounds weird, but it’s true. Here’s how it works. Air is really a mixture of several gases. A gas is a light, invisible substance that floats freely in the air—steam, for example. Two of these gases, nitrogen and oxygen, make up almost all of the air.

There is only a small amount of the gas argon in the air. Yet each breath you breathe out, or exhale, contains about 30,000,000,000,000,000,000 (you can call that 30 zillion) atoms of argon. In a few minutes, the atoms you’ve exhaled in that one breath will travel right through your neighborhood. In a year, they will have spread all around the Earth, and about 15 of them will be right back where they started—in your nose.

Argon is always in you and around you. And not just in you but also in your best friend, your favorite pop star, the birds, snakes, flowers, trees, and worms. All of us air breathers are sharing in that same “pool” of argon atoms.
So here’s where the dinosaurs come in. An interesting thing about argon atoms is that they never change or die—they stay around forever. That means that thousands of years ago, an Egyptian slave building the pyramids breathed some of the same argon atoms that later Joan of Arc, Napoleon, and Napoleon’s horse breathed. And some of those were argon atoms exhaled by dinosaurs that lived 70 million years ago. They all breathed out argon atoms into the air—ready for you to breathe in as you read this sentence. And when you exhale your next 30 zillion argon atoms, some of them will one day find their way into the noses of babies not yet born.

What’s true of argon is true of air in general. Air joins together all of Earth’s creatures—past, present, and future.

From Chapter 8
It’s Your World Now
You will spend most of your life in the 21st century. This is your world, and it’s a wonderful world—but it has some problems. Global warming, pollution, habitat destruction, energy shortages—these are big challenges that require big efforts from nations working together. But smaller actions by individuals and groups—if there are enough of them—can be very powerful, too. Each one of us can do something to help.

“But I’m just a kid—I can’t save the world”
Young people often know more about what’s happening to the environment than adults do. And many of them are working hard to change things. The following stories are just a few examples to show what kids and teenagers can do.

The Idle-Free Girls
Katelyn Morran, Rachel Perrella, Neely Swanson, and Destiny Gulewich are grade 7 students at Stonewall Centennial School in Stonewall, Manitoba. The girls have spread their idle-free message throughout their town and in Winnipeg and the surrounding area.

It all started when we studied weather and climate change in grade 5 and we became concerned about global warming. We decided to choose a project that could have a big impact on the environment, so we started an anti-idling campaign.

Our goal was to make our community idle free, where people would not idle their vehicles for more than 10 seconds. We wanted to educate youth and adults about the harmful effects to our environment and our health caused by leaving a car’s motor running when you are not driving it. Idling not only adds to global warming but it wastes fuel and pollutes the air, which can cause asthma and other health problems. We created student and public awareness through presentations, media events, the Internet, displays, pamphlets, and Idle-Free Zone signs. Soon after making our presentations to the town council, Idle-Free signs were put up all around town, and we became known as the “Idle-Free Girls.” The support for our campaign has been incredible. People are always telling us they notice there is a lot less idling in town now.

We continue to learn more about climate change through research and by attending climate change events and communicating with experts in the field. Kids can make a difference. We can all help the environment by riding our bikes to sporting events, walking to school, or car pooling to work to reduce car emissions. Remember, every bit counts!

EcoTeam Works for Greener Schools
Alison Lee was a grade 10 student at Marc Garneau C.I. in Toronto, Ontario, when she started the EcoTeam club to raise environmental awareness at her school.

In our first year, we had only 10 members in a school of 2000. We started by taking a survey of students’ carbon footprints—how much energy they were using. We then made sure each class had a recycling bin and trays to stack paper for re-use. To reduce litter and promote school pride, we painted colorful designs on the hallway garbage bins.

The next year we had 30 members, and we added a “Lights Off” monitoring program to make sure lights were turned off when not in use. We also hosted an open house for secondary school groups interested in starting an environmental team. And we put on a Green Screens film festival of short environmental films created by students.

Another project we started was an annual student cleanup of Toronto parks. We met regularly with students from five other schools to plan it out. There were four cleanup events around the city for Earth Week 2008. The cleanup by my EcoTeam happened at Sunnybrook Park and attracted students from three other schools. Local schools working together to improve our community was a great example of city-wide teamwork!

This year, our third year, we have 50 members. I have encouraged many smaller groups to form and take on more projects, which has broadened our impact. I am also part of a city environmental council. We tackle environmental issues in secondary schools on a larger scale. We work with the people who provide resources and services for Toronto schools to develop more sustainable habits that increasingly reflect what students want.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments and Credits
About This Book
Introduction

Chapter 1 Walking on Air
Chapter 2 Welcome to Planet Water
Chapter 3 Getting Down to Earth
Chapter 4 Fire Power
Chapter 5 Depending on Our Relatives
Chapter 6 Love Story
Chapter 7 Beyond Awesome
Chapter 8 It's Your World Now

Glossary

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