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Montreal Families

Teaching kids how to save the Earth

Many of us talk about saving the planet for the sake of our children. But despite our best efforts, today’s children will still inherit a planet much in need of rehabilitation. The onus will be on them to continue the process of reversing damage already done and maintaining practices that will prevent further destruction. Through education, books, movies and discussions, we can show our children the need for environmentally-safe practices and we can help them understand the consequences of not taking care of the world they inhabit.

This year, Earth Day is on April 22, and it’s a perfect time to generate awareness by offering them a book on the topic. Here are some suggested titles that will make going green seem like the natural thing to do.

The Down-to-Earth Gude to Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria GordonThe Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming (Scholastic, $19.99)
by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon.
Global warming is one of those catch phrases that children might recognize but not truly understand. Now kids can explore what it means with this handy guide, recommended for children ages 8 to 11, which explains global warning, its causes and main effects. The book defines in easy-to-understand terms environmental lingo such as the greenhouse effect and gas emissions. It also gives concrete examples, such as how a Popsicle melts if it is exposed to even one degree of warmth, to demonstrate the changes caused by global warming. Kids will also learn how global warming affects things like animal habitats and food sources. Fortunately, it is not all doom and despair in the book as the authors also offer possible solutions such as hybrid cars and alternative energies sources like ethanol.

50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save the Earth (photo above – Andrews McMeel Publishing, $12.50)
by the Earthworks Group.
Saving the environment can seem like an insurmountable challenge but this book makes it fun and simple. Recommended for children 8 and up, it touches on a multitude of environmental subjects from acid rain to the ozone layer. The book helps children become pro-active by giving them plenty of easy ways to make the world a more environmentally-friendly place. Some of the suggestions include checking on leaky faucets, turning off lights and other energy-conserving tips. Also included are eco-experiments that encourage children to gain a better understanding of pollution, recycling and other environmental issues. The book lacks a bit of visual appeal but makes up for it by being well organized, having an abundance of ideas and presenting clear and concise information.

Trash Action: A Fresh Look at Trash by Ann Love and Jane DrakeTrash Action: A Fresh Look at Trash (Tundra Books, $22.99)
by Ann Love and Jane Drake.
Like global warming, recycling is another term that gets used a lot, but whose meaning sometimes get lost in all the discussions about the environment. Most Montreal children have been exposed to recycling and most likely understand that paper and plastics don’t go in the same bin as the rest of the garbage. But it is important for them to understand why that is the case and to learn what else can be recycled. In this book, targeted for ages 7 to 10, readers explore the immense world of garbage and how we can create less of it by being aware of what we use and re-use. The book manages to make garbage fascinating and create excitement over reducing, reusing and recycling. As an added bonus, kids can download a garbage game on the Tundra Books website at www.tundrabooks.com.

An Inconvenient Truth: Teen EditionAn Inconvenient Truth: Teen Edition (Viking, $20)
by Al Gore.
American politician Al Gore brought much-needed attention to the issue of global warming and climate change with An Inconvenient Truth, a film that examined the effects of pollution on the air we breathe and the world we live in. Gore has now published an accompanying book for teens, appropriate for ages 10 and up, that further explores many of the issues presented in the film. Filled with provocative photos and illustrations of a world transformed by pollution and environmental damage, it paints a disturbing portrait of the world if action is not taken. It will spur teens to start taking steps towards being more ecologically conscious. The book also makes teens aware of the political implications of environmental decisions and the impact they can one day have as voters. It helps them learn how to think not only as individuals but as citizens of a living, breathing planet.

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