Earth Day is right around the corner, April 22, but there are plenty of things teens can do to help the environment year-round. Find some inspiration in these picks for young adults, which can be checked out at the Abington Community Library and other Lackawanna County Library System locations.
• “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth” by the Earth Works Group
Explains how specific things in a child’s environment are connected to the rest of the world, how using them affects the planet, and how the individual can develop habits and projects that are environmentally sound.
• “Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots” by Abby McDonald
Seventeen-year-old Jenna, an ardent vegetarian and environmentalist, is thrilled to be spending the summer communing with nature in rural Canada, until she discovers that not all of the rugged residents there share her beliefs.
• “Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines” by Paul Fleischman
We’re living in an “aha” moment. Take 250 years of human ingenuity. Add abundant fossil fuels. The result: a population and lifestyle never seen before. The downsides weren’t visible for centuries, but now they are. Suddenly everything needs rethinking - suburbs, cars, fast food, cheap prices. It’s a changed world. This book explains it. Using politics, psychology, and history for attitude, Eyes Wide Open shows how to see the principles driving events and attitudes, from vested interests to denial to big-country syndrome. Here’s the briefing you need to comprehend the 21st century.
• “Flush” by Carl Hiaasen
With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home.
• “An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming” by Al Gore and adapted for young readers by Jane O’Connor
This young readers’ version of the recent documentary film’s companion adult volume cuts the page count by about a third, but preserves the original’s cogent message and many of its striking visuals. After explaining that his interest in the environment predates even his mother’s reading of “Silent Spring” aloud to him as a teenager, Gore proceeds to document steeply rising carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere, and then to link that to accelerating changes in temperature and precipitation patterns worldwide. Using easy-to-grasp graphics and revealing before-and-after photos, he shows how glaciers and ice shelves are disappearing all over the globe with alarming speed, pointing to profound climate changes and increased danger from rising sea levels in the near future. O’Connor rephrases Gore’s arguments in briefer, simpler language without compromising their flow, plainly intending to disturb readers rather than frighten them. He writes measured, matter-of-fact prose, letting facts and trends speak for themselves but, suggesting that “what happens locally has worldwide consequences,” he closes with the assertion that we will all have to “change the way we live our lives.” Like the film, this title may leave readers to look elsewhere for both documentation and for specific plans of action, but as an appeal to reason it’s as polished and persuasive as it can be.
• “My Life in Pink and Green” by Lisa Greenwald
When the family’s drugstore is failing, seventh-grader Lucy uses her problem solving talents to come up with solution that might resuscitate the business, along with helping the environment.
• “Protecting the environment” edited by Sherman Hollar
Introduces conservation, discusses its goals, and details protection efforts of the past and present.
• “Smart Shopping: Shopping Green” by Jeanne Nagle
Concepts include sustainable consumption, buy green, do more with less and become a green consumer advocate.
• “They came from below” by Blake Nelson
While vacationing on Cape Cod, best friends Emily, age 16, and Reese, 17, meet Steve and Dave, who seem too good to be true, and whose presence turns out to be related to a dire threat of global pollution.
• “TimeRiders” by Alex Scarrow
Rescued from imminent death, teens Maddy, Liam, and Sal join forces in 2001 Manhattan to correct changes in history made by other time travelers, using a “time bubble” surrounding the attack on the Twin Towers to hide their journeys.