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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Review: Environmental Disasters

Environmental Disasters by Michael Woods and Mary B. Woods.

Trivia Time: When was the first air pollution control law introduced?

Give up? 1272 when King Edward I made the law to reduce smog in London. 

Let’s face it. Studies on the environment are not receiving enough attention in the U.S. right now. When you learn how important green studies are in Australia and other parts of the world, you may be embarassed at our lack of concern. Earth Day is recognized, but thanks to the intense focus on achievement tests, teachers are too busy to keep current with environmental efforts. There are no consistent curricular efforts nationwide. If they’re not on the test, do green studies matter to the administrators who are concerned that the state will take over their school if students test poorly in math or have poor attendance?

We encourage our middle school and high school students to study "social issues" and debatable items in government/history classes. Perhaps your school should consider purchasing a class set of Environmental Disasters.

Part of the Disasters Up Close series from Lerner Publications and written for middle school grades 5 up, Environmental Disasters presents a surprisingly large and varied number of incidents world-wide. There are times when I want to demand more details, but have to settle for further investigation with my students. The source notes provide examples for the students who are writing their own reports. The Selected Bibliography and the extensive list of Further Resources are very well done so I have starting places for my students! Thank you, Woods! 

I particularly like the timeline in the back (where I found the info for the trivia question). I even appreciate the index which enables me to search for FIRSTHAND ACCOUNTS. Don’t you include primary sources in your curriculum? 

With gas prices rising and scientists studying the effects of Global Warming, shouldn’t we be producing more knowledgeable citizens?

Speaking of being environmentally conscious: The Earth Hour campaign was held Saturday March 29 at 9:00 p.m. local time to promote energy conservation world-wide. Everyone around the world was encouraged to turn out their lights for that hour. Thanks to Amy Bowllan I learned about this campaign in time. I enjoyed seeing Google’s homepage all darkened as a visual reminder (even though they acknowledged what’s on your monitor doesn’t change the energy consumption).