Environmentalism

Help the Earth Every Day

How can you help the Earth?  There are lots of ways to get involved in conservation whether you're a kid, teen, or adult. Check out the local activities, Web sites and library materials listed below for some great ideas.

Molly Bang

Growing up with Books and Traveling the World

With a scientist/writer for a mother and a research physician for a father, it’s little wonder that Molly Bang grew up to be a writer and illustrator who would eventually make it her mission to create books that drawn children into the world of science. Her family kept a large library and would often give each other books illustrated by the famous Charles Rackham as gifts. Molly found these to be inspiring.

After she graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in French, Molly traveled to Japan to teach English at a university there for 18 months before returning to work on master’s degrees in Oriental studies. Then it was back overseas to illustrate health manuals for UNICEF, as well as Johns Hopkins and Harvard, working, among other places, in Calcutta and Bangladesh.

Plant a Tree for You and Me

Have you ever been in a place where there were lots of buildings but no trees? New housing developments or parts of a city that have been neglected for a long time may not have the shady spots and fresh air that trees give. As trees breathe, they let out oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Their roots hold the ground together, making sure the soil doesn't blow away in the wind. When a tree dies naturally in the forest, its wood becomes a home for insects and a cafeteria for the hungry birds who eat those insects. Trees provide so many good things for the Earth.

Your Own Little World: Create a Terrarium

Whether it's filled with mossy rocks and ferns or sands and cactus, a terrarium is an amazingly fun way to learn more about nature. With a terrarium in your room, something of the outdoors can always be inside.

Terrariums that feature plants (not animals!) lock water inside to keep the soil moist. When the plants transpire, they let out water vapor. When the soil gets warm, it lets out water vapor. All this vapor collects against the top and falls back as rain.

Water Pollution

Our rivers, lakes, and beaches are beautiful, but are they safe? Every day, the toxic runoff from parking lots, busy roads and quiet subdivisions makes its way into our streams and oceans. Even the oil burning off from cars on the roads gets washed into the groundwater and streams by way of the storm drain every time it rains.

The more houses we build, the more pollution we will add to our environment. Every time we lay down a new parking lot or piece of roadway, there is an impact on our environment.

River Recovery - Everybody Can Help

Boom!
One fine morning, the old wooden dam went up in clouds of smoke and broken timber. It was a huge thing—ancient and strong, built to tame the Rappahannock River. Once the power of the water pushing against it had provided electricity for the town. But that was years ago. The dam was falling apart, but so slowly that it was becoming dangerous. So the Army Corps of Engineers blew it up one morning.

Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children

By Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac (authors) and John Kahionhes Fadden and Carol Wood (illustrators)

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This environmental classic teaches children respect and stewardship for the Earth and for all living things. The Native American stories are accompanied by activities which encourage children to understand their influence on the Earth.
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Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds

By Scott Weidensaul

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For anyone curious about the lives of migratory birds this book is a great nest of information. The author has traveled all over the world banding and observing birds and talking to the experts--amateur birders and ornithologists who have made many of the important discoveries about bird biology. From Alaska to Lake Erie to the limestone forests of Jamaica, Weidensaul reaches not only for the scientific particulars but for the universal stories and humanizing, descriptive turns of phrase that keep this book from bogging down in statistics and jargon. By book's end the reader is unable to resist the heart of this compelling story, a plea for the conservation of habitat to keep these miraculous creatures on--or at least circling--the earth.

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Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature

By Linda J. Lear

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This biography shows how Rachel Carson, already a famous nature writer and determined woman, became an environmental reformer.

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Unbowed: A Memoir

By Wangari Muta Maathai

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The recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize describes her life as a feminist, political activist, and environmentalist in Kenya, detailing the 1977 establishment of the Green Belt Movement and her role in the transformation of Kenya's government.

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