Sunday, March 3, 2013

Green book review: Friends of the Earth by Pat McCarthy

Today we'd like to introduce you with a great book that takes on itself an important mission: Introducing American kids to the history of American environmentalism. And what a great job it does!

Our book for today is Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalism with 21 Activities by Pat McCarthy

What this book is about?

Friends of the Earth explores the history of American environmentalism with engaging profiles of men and women who contributed to preserving, conserving and educating others about our natural world. Introducing kids to the importance of a healthy environment, Friends of the Earth features inspiring stories of influential naturalists, artists and authors.

In addition to Audubon, Thoreau, Muir and Carson, young readers also learn about Gifford Pinchot, the first professionally trained forester in the United States; Aldo Leopold, whose nature writing and “land ethic” paved the way for the modern conservation movement; and Mardy Murie, “Grandmother of the Conservation Movement,” who helped establish Grand Teton National Park. Activities—making a compost pile, learning how the greenhouse effect works, making a bird feeder, planting a tree—help young environmentalists act on their concerns and demonstrate the impact humans have on the environment.

Our review:

Friends of the Earth, by Pat McCarthy, is quite the history of the environmental movement. The book covers not just the political side of the movement, although there does appear to be a bit of an agenda, but it also brings forward the real people themselves that were part of it. There are men, women, politicians, artists, writers, poets, and so many more, that bring the book to life. This book takes you into the full lives of so many people that you may have known were part of the drive, but not how much of their lives they spent as part of the struggle. A few names you will find in this book: John James Audubon, Marjory Stoneman Douglas; Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, and even President Roosevelt. The book gives you a nice timeline from the beginning of the movement up to today.

I enjoyed this book. It’s not a long read. There were times that I found it to be a bit dry and fact oriented, but it has loads of great photographs, which really helps to bring the people to life. It also has 21 different activities that you can do if you are so inclined. These activities include how to make a pinecone bird feed, and creating your own compost heap. Out of all the activities most are ones you can do in an afternoon for fun. Some are more in-depth and time consuming but they are all useful and family friendly. This is a good book to get the kids involved as well as a way to get a bit of history.

You can purchase the book on (both e-book and paperback formats are available).