Early on in this excellent examination of the state of one of the earth's most important resources, Dolan (Our Poisoned Sky, 1991, etc.) warns readers not to take on faith doomsday scenarios, and later reminds them that the not-yet-hopeless fight for clean water requires a lifelong commitment. In between, he outlines the tolls of irrigation, salinization, and the burning of fossil fuels (leading to acid rain); he discusses the depletion of aquifers, the ruining of the great European rivers—the Elbe, the Danube, and the Rhine, which have become open sewers—and the Everglades, the US's most threatened wetlands. Dolan spells it all out, without making more sordid than necessary the contributions of greed, stupidity, and unrestrained population growth to the damage. Balanced and objective, this is a good overview of an impending global calamity, driven more by statistics and common sense than fear. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-525-65220-5

Page Count: 122

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1997

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Immediately actionable: use less, think more, and do something.



A youth activist’s blueprint for mitigating climate catastrophe.

Although Sandford, a 17-year-old Extinction Rebellion Youth London coordinator, knows the relevant research, she isn’t concerned with making the case for anthropogenic climate change in her authorial debut. Per scientific consensus, ecological collapse is a pressing reality that demands action, and writing—or reading—a manifesto isn’t akin to activism. Indeed, it’s a form of greenwashing: making a superficial improvement (taking a reusable tote to the grocer) while perpetuating systemic issues (purchasing unsustainable products). To make meaningful change, one must acknowledge complicity and take ultimate responsibility for individual decisions. This concise, personable, and unpretentious book contains three illustrated sections, each concluding with a self-questionnaire to aid readers in gauging their own engagement. The first, on combatting big business, shares primers on boycotting, petitioning, and conscientious consumption relative to agriculture, beauty, fast fashion, and travel. The second, on inadequate governmental responses, urges civic participation and outlines procedures for protesting, striking, and taking nonviolent direct action. The third models self-sufficiency through reclamation and rewilding; scavenging for food and goods; community-building; and consuming art, the natural world, and human experiences rather than commodities. Throughout, Sandford implores readers to constantly interrogate and amend their own beliefs: question what you’re told, choose your own morals, and know that your opinions matter. All merits aside, a bibliography is sorely lacking.

Immediately actionable: use less, think more, and do something. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84365-464-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Pavilion Children's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Unlike doomsayers who paint a stark picture of no-win choices between eating and breathing, Aaseng carefully teases out facts and trends to answer his subtitle's question in the affirmative. Artfully beginning with a history of conflict over the implementation of environmental regulations, he shows how unemployed people came to blame environmentalists for job losses and outlines the agenda of the Wise Use Coalition, a group opposed to environmental regulation. Then, point by point, he counters their arguments and concludes with a chapter on how environmental stewardship can create jobs while solving other problems as well. He also balances viewpoints on the merits of government regulation vs. individual initiative. His writing style is particularly well adapted to these topics, conveying the passions involved while remaining fair to each side. An evenhanded summary of some truly vital concerns. Includes source notes, bibliography, index, illustrations not seen. (Nonfiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-89490-574-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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