Keeping Our Earth Green by Nancy Castaldo is a textbook, activity book, and a retelling of current events that have had an impact on our environment, all in one. The back cover of this resource identifies it as appropriate for "kids ages 8 to 14 - and their families". Our family would definitely agree. The factual information contained in Keeping
our Earth Green is appropriate for the older elementary to middle school child. However, the concepts can be understood on a more general level by those younger and used as an impetus for further study by high school students through adults.
This resource is broken into the four major components of our environment: air, water, land, and energy. Textbooks provide the factual knowledge regarding the conservation of these aspects of our world. Activity guides provide a multitude of action steps that we can take to be more environmentally responsible citizens. Often times, the steps proposed are on such a grand scale that it is difficult for most children to implement them with a sense of accomplishment without extensive parental involvement. This is not so with Keeping
Our Earth Green. Over 100 hands-on projects and activities are interspersed throughout the text.
Within each of the four major sections of the text, there are several subtopics. When addressing conservation issues surrounding our water, the topic of the purity of our water is one of several issues explored. Within this subtopic, the student is presented with information about the importance of pure water, discussion of aquifers with an accompanying text box that provides a definition of an aquifer, and a legislative review of The Clean Water Act of 1972. The stage is set for the discussion of this legislation as a summary of the burning of the Cuyahoga River outside of Cleveland, OH, in 1969, is provided. The Investigate! Evaluate! Section provides your family with a family-sized hands-on demonstration of how to filter ground-water. This investigation uses common household items as do the majority of activities in the book.
While the Investigate! Evaluate! Sections help to reinforce the conceptual knowledge contained in the Science Speak sections of facts regarding our environment, the Try This! boxes provide action steps that the individual can do to impact their environment on a day to day basis. When studying water shortages, then Try This!
"Fill a clean, one-gallon jug (4L) with water and challenge yourself to use only that water for a day. See if you can use that water to brush your teeth, wash your hands and face, and drink."
Most parents, however, may want to encourage their children to choose a project that they can provide as a community service project or community awareness program. The Take Action dialogue boxes that are interspersed through the text provide these types of community minded action steps. How about a paper recycling program for your homeschool group? Did you know that you may even be able to do this as a fund raiser? To further inspire you and your children, Castaldo includes "Green News" boxes that provide information on programs and initiatives from around our land and "Earth Hero" biographies to familiarize us with some of the most notable figures in the area of conservation.
The final section of Keeping Our Earth Green is a resource directory for those that would like to become involved at an even greater level. This resource directory provides references to environmentally minded organizations, Green Camps for Kids, and web site links to aid in recycling and other community based initiatives.
I must admit that my first concern in reviewing this text was the amount of the material that was going to be dedicated to the issue of global warming. There are definitely references to global warming in the book and a complete section devoted to it. What if you don't buy into all the hype surrounding this issue? My advice would be to "not throw the baby out with the bath water". Regardless of your position on global warming, God has entrusted us with this world that we live in. He requires our stewardship not just in our finances, but in everything that He has provided to us, including the air we breathe, the water we drink, the energy sources we consume, and the land we live on. Keeping
Our Earth Green will be a wonderful guide for your family in being better stewards of the natural resources our Creator has provided to us.