Between her well-tempered writing style and her atypical subject, Young will have readers enthralled.

READ REVIEW

SPACE JUNK

THE DANGERS OF POLLUTING EARTH'S ORBIT

Humans have polluted the land, the seas, the top of Mount Everest—next stop: outer space.

Well, surprise, writes science journalist Young in this limpid and engrossing (two words not normally associated with trash) overview: we’ve been leaving our junk in space for over 60 years now, even on the moon. Fortunately, we never got to the point of launching our nuclear waste into low orbit as once proposed, but we have sent over 6,600 satellites into space—some as big as your head, some as big as a school bus—for a number of scientific and military reasons. Their current status: 1,000 are still at work; 3,000 entered orbital decay and hurtled Earthward, mostly to burn up in the upper atmosphere due to friction, though some found terra firma. That leaves 2,600 “zombies.” Young delivers a concise history of our flinging objects into outer space—along with some excellent illustrations and photographs—and explains the numerous terms such as zombies (“nonoperational satellites”) and space junk (“any human-made debris in space,” with about 20,000 pieces at the moment and an anticipated 60,000 in 15 years). Young also looks into work being done on NASA’s Visual Inspection Poseable Invertebrate Robot to retrofit the zombies. In addition, wonder of wonders, countries are working on projects simply to go pick up the trash.

Between her well-tempered writing style and her atypical subject, Young will have readers enthralled. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5600-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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

CHALLENGE EVERYTHING

THE EXTINCTION REBELLION YOUTH GUIDE TO SAVING THE PLANET

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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A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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