The Blurb On The Back:
Planet Earth is facing BIG challenges. As the population steadily grows, we’re creating more and more waste, using up natural resources, polluting our seas and skies and even changing our climate. To save our precious home, we all need to learn to live more sustainably.
SUSTAINABLE PLANET looks at what sustainability is, why it is so important and how we can all help to create a better, more sustainable world for the future. It explores some effective and achievable ways of improving sustainability, both with global actions, such as investing in renewable energy and protecting biodiversity, and individual ones, such as avoiding fast fashion, eating less meat and even planting trees.
SUSTAINABLE PLANET was released in the United Kingdom on 14th April 2022. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Anna Claybourne is an experienced writer of non-fiction for children. This book about sustainability for children aged 9+ is part of a series on issues related to the planet and gives a solid summary of what is currently happening to the planet re pollution and climate change and how readers can make changes in their own lives to counter the effects but could be more explicit on how some changes reduce opportunities for younger generations.
Claybourne does a good job of summarising how we ended up polluting and bringing about climate change to the planet, including setting it within the context of human and industrial development. She also does a good job of setting out what sustainability is and what it means in terms of your daily behaviour. There are plenty of illustrations to emphasise the points she makes and I enjoyed how she inserts little case studies to bring forward key messages (e.g. on the development of the combustion engine).
The emphasis in this book is very much on the changes that readers can make in their own lives, e.g. riding bikes or walking rather than taking the car, reducing your personal consumption (and where you do need stuff, going for sustainable and more durable items), pushing for use of renewable energy, encouraging biodiversity and the use of local produce. There are hints in the book about how these changes will impact on the life of young readers going forward, e.g. having less choice, potentially travelling less and I would have liked that to have been brought out more. I would have also liked to have seen more of a focus on public transport as being an option rather than car transport (especially given that some countries like the UK are pushing for greener public transportation).
There are some parts of the book where I think the messaging is a little misleading, e.g. I completely support the use of renewable energy but this is not always possible and with some options (e.g. tidal power, which gets a special mention in the book), the technology can be expensive and requires battery technology to be sustainable. Equally, I would have liked some contemplation of the role that corporations play in making things unsustainable because although she touches on how profit motives can drive undesirable behaviour, she doesn’t tackle the elephant in the room of how corporations have long pushed environmental issues as a matter of personal responsibility when they’re the ones who account for the bulk of polluting, non-sustainable behaviour.
All in all though, this is a solidly produced book that gives young readers a good grounding in what sustainability is and the benefits it can bring to the planet and as such, is worth checking out if you have a child with an interest in the topic.