Sunday, March 21, 2021

How Did This Happen? Secrets of Pollution and Conservation by Andrew Solway

Humans have lived on earth for several hundred thousands years, but only in the past 10,000 years has the population increased rapidly. Mastering tool-making, farming, herding, and manufacturing of goods beyond one family's needs pushed human population into rapid growth. Along the way, some forests were obliterated, some becoming deserts, some species, such as the mammoth, were hunted to extinction, and with Industrial Revolution and its invention of steam engines, powered by wood and coal fueled exponential growth of populations. And long with the benefits came pollution of air, soil, and water and loss of species and habitats forever.

Noted children's science writer Andrew Solway's Secrets of Pollution and Conservation (Science Secrets (Hardcover)) (Cavendish/Brittanica) is a well organized and straightforward exposition of how all that happened and what we are trying to do about the problems of too many humans competing for what is now too few, diminishing resources.

Solway introduces middle readers to the processes and vocabulary of human efforts to conserve the resources that support human life on earth--food chains and food webs, ozone and other greenhouse gases and the role of pollutants such as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS), acid rain and ozone layer--to cite a few, and what they have to do with the survival of our species in a future threatened by global warming. With simple experiments that illustrate problems such as particulate pollutants from burning fossil fuels, for example, early earth science students meet hands-on with the problems produced by population growth and the waste products--smoke, heat, and the detritus of human wastes, from greenhouse gases to oil spills and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The author of Food Chains and Webs: What Are They and How Do They Work? (Let's Explore Science), Solway's direct writing, set-in boxes, "Science Secrets," and dozens of illustrations, graphs, and charts illuminate the text, which is accompanied by an appendix with a glossary, bibliography, and index, make this nonfiction book good for science reports, science fair activities, and just plain learning about the world students live in now and in their future.

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