CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 9. . . .October 29, 2010
During this past summer months, newspapers were filled with articles about forest fires in British Columbia and Russia, flooding across the Canadian prairie provinces and Pakistan, the unprecedented rate as which arctic sea ice is melting and the associated risks to arctic animals including the polar bear, the calving of Greenland’s ocean-bordering glaciers, brutal heat waves and periods of unusually warm weather in locations around the planet. All of these events are indicators of global climate disruption, and, as author Chuck McCutcheon makes clear, “global warming is real” - the impact isn’t coming in several decades, it is here. What are Global Warming and Climate Change?, however, is not written to frighten the adolescent and teenage readers – it hopes to inform. McCutcheon wants his audience to understand the difference between global warming and climate change, the human activities and natural changes that continue to contribute to global warming, how living organisms will be affected by warmer climates, and what needs to be done by politicians, law makers, adults and youth to counteract the warming of Earth’s climate system.
What are Global Warming and Climate Change? is the most recent offering in the Barbara Guth “Worlds of Wonder Science Series for Young Readers.” It is divided into seven chapters, and these chapters follow a 10-page introduction that is focussed on explaining what the book is about. McCutcheon uses a question-and-answer format throughout the book and poses questions that are necessary and likely for an inquiring learner to ask. Using Chapter 2 “What’s the Greenhouse Effect? as one example, McCutcheon begins by offering answers to the following questions: “Is the greenhouse effect the same as global warming? Why is it called the greenhouse effect? How does the greenhouse effect work? He then responds to questions about greenhouse gases, water vapour, smog, and ozone. The chapter ends with answers to three questions that require him to look at the history of scientific work beginning with Fourier’s recognition of a greenhouse effect in 1827, the presence of a greenhouse effect on Venus and Mars, and why a greenhouse effect is a problem on Earth. Subsequent chapters focus on human contributions to global warming, the consequences of not changing human behaviours, a discussion of what politicians and people are doing about climate change, and a list of measures that youth and their families can do to “fight climate change.”
Barbara McMillan is a teacher educator and a professor of science education in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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