Small Gases, Big Effect is a short, clear guide to climate change. When students David and Christian struggled to find a book that explained climate change that was clear and enjoyable to read, they decided to write it themselves. With meticulous research from over 100 scientists, this book summarises all the latest findings on the causes and effects of climate change. Combining clear thoughtful writing with illuminating graphics, this little book presents complex scientific evidence, in a way that anyone will find easy to understand.
It’s found its way into more than 350,000 German homes. It’s been read by Merkel’s agriculture minister and at least 37 MPs in the Bundestag. It’s a set text in universities, engineering conglomerates and the European Central Bank. Yet the most remarkable thing is that in an age of hardening political battle lines, it is really changing minds. Oliver Moody, The Times
Climate change has triggered a hurricane of contradictory claims that obscure the facts. Unbiased, clear and evidence-based explanations are a shield against fake news. This amazing book delivers them. Dr Claus Kleber
About the Authors
David Nelles and Christian Serrer are students at the University of Friedrichshafen, Germany. They hope that with this book, they can inspire people around the world to prioritize environmental protection.
Cranky Uncle vs Climate Change is a fun book for anyone who has a family member or anyone else, who thinks they know better than the world’s climate scientists. This book delves into the psychology of why some people reject climate science, and dissect the typical arguments your ‘cranky uncle’ might use at a family gatherings (you know the ones – why is it snowing etc?)
Guided by research into how to communicate and refute misinformation and get heard, this embraces a creative approach using cartoons and visual analogies, to make the facts engaging and accessible to readers.
People are always asking me ‘what’s the best source for debunking the claims of climate change deniers?’ Now I have an easy answer: buy a copy of John Cook’s book. Prof. Michael E Mann
Because the book is so humorous and well written, it’s easy to forget that you’re learning a lot of climate science as you read it. I highly recommend it. Prof. Andrew Dessler
Cook is one of the world’s foremost communicators of climate science, and this delightful book fully lives up to its promise to shine a disinfecting light onto the moral and rhetorical morass that is climate denial. Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol
I’ll be talking with my own uncle after reading this book ! Dr. Sarah Myhre, Founder, Rowan Institute
About the Author
Dr John Cook has an honours degree in physics, and is a research assistant professor at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. He has published scientific papers on climate change and developed a Massive Open Online Course at University of Queensland on climate science denial, which had over 25,000 enrollments.
Climate change is something that we hear so much about, and it can be worrying. And indeed, it should be. We only are a few years off from irreversible climate change, which is why Greta is so angry, as the powers that be won’t listen to her. They just pat her on the head, and send her on her way. But the reason she’s angry is because she has much better scientific knowledge than them. If more action is not taken soon (putting the planet before economic growth and encouraging people to ‘buy and spend to help the economy’), we will have a world full of drought, wildfires and floods. Species will go extinct, we ourselves will lose a huge chunk of England to rising sea levels, and life will never be the same as we know it (COVID is just a fraction of what would happen).
Although our earth has naturally heated at times, 97% of climate scientists (and it’s been found the other 3% had vested interests) say that the earth has now warmed by 1°C since the Industrial Revolution, due to human activity. Also read Small Gases, Big Effect (an easy to understand guide to climate change and Cranky Uncle vs Climate Change!
The main causes are:
- Greenhouse gases are emitted from all beings (apart from trees, they take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen). The huge meat consumption of humans means that there are over 1.5 cows often on factory farms. On land that is cleared of trees, to provide beef for fast food and other restaurants.
- Deforestation happens in the Amazon rainforest (the ‘lungs of the planet’). But also trees are torn down in Indonesia (to provide cheap palm oil plantations, which kills orangutans). And the northern Boreal forests are chopped down for timber and to make toilet paper). All this means less oxygen (trees gone) and more carbon dioxide (greenhouses gases).
The rising temperatures means we are losing around 9% of Arctic sea ice each year (so it will all be gone in 10 years). This means polar bears will go extinct, as they will have no ice to live on. And rising temperatures also mean more droughts and floods, which cause harvests to fail. This means more chemicals on food, and an increase on the 1.7 million children already dying yearly, due to climate change consequences.
Most governments and big business just want to carry on as normal, but create different kinds of energy to fossil fuels (so they retain profits). Others want us to eat lab-grown meat, and others want the changes to only come at a slower rate, than climate scientists say is necessary (the UK Conservative’s aim of zero carbon by 2050 is way too late). So in summary, living a simple lifestyle is the best way to help:
- Have less children
- Eat less meat
- Walk more, drive less
- Save energy & water
- Fly less
Save the World: There Is No Planet B is a nice little book packed with ideas on how to help, without scaring or being doom-and-gloom. The simple tips can be incorporated into daily life, and shows just how small tips can have a huge positive effect on the world around us. Also read There is No Planet B by greenhouse emissions expert Mike Berners-Lee (including 14 ways MPs can help). This book combines expert advice with a really entertaining read, you’ll be stoked by the end of this book.
- How to Save Your Planet (one object at a time) is a nice little book by environmental scientist Dr Tara Shine. It’s packed with tips to save the planet, by making simple daily swaps. Rather than feel overwhelmed, learn how sustainable living can be fun and convenient. See toxic plants and mulches to avoid near pets.
- Being the Change is by climate scientist Peter Kalmus, who uses satellite data to study the rapidly changing Earth, focusing on ecological forecasting (in other words, he’s brainer than most of us). After becoming alarmed at climate change stats, he took up cycling, grew his own food and took a crash course in meditation. Today, he and his family have the same lifestyle, but live on a 10th of the average fossil fuels.
How to Save the Rainforests
Want to know how to help save the rainforests? It’s good to protect our forests, but the rainforests are ‘the lungs of the planet’ and once lost, difficult to grow back again (the land is not that fertile). If it were a country, the Amazon rainforest would be the 10th largest country on earth (it’s around the same size as Russia). It’s also the world’s main defence against climate change, as there are so many trees that absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. This keeps our temperature stable and play a role in maintaining fresh water (if trees are cut down, this removes the moisture released to the air, so it rains less).
Over and Under the Rainforest is a lovely book for children to meet slender parrot snakes, blue morpho butterflies, toucans, pale-billed woodpeckers, capuchin monkeys and slow-moving sloths. Yet rainforests cover just 3% of our planet. And we are losing them at the rate of 40 football fields a minute: mostly due to rainforest beef farming, soy (often used to feed livestock) and timber logging. Here are ways to help:
- Give up palm oil (food & beauty products)
- Use recycled stationery, greetings cards & gift wrap.
- Buy recycled furniture (or at least FSC-certified)
- Buy sustainable perfumes (without rosewood oil)
- Ensure eucalyptus oil (toothpastes, cleaning products) is from certified organic and koala-friendly resources, as some koalas have been harmed, during harvesting in Aussie rainforests.
- Eat meat? Try some fakeaways, instead of supporting companies that farm livestock or soy
- Buy shade-grown coffee that protects songbirds & native tribes (same for chocolate and nuts).
- Buy recycled jewellery
- Ensure crystals are sustainably-mined.
- Use green building materials (straw bale, cob)
- Choose willow or banana leaf coffins (over mahogany)
- Ensure musical instruments are from sustainable wood.
- Buy ‘native crafts’ free from fur, feathers, tortoiseshell etc.
- Report suspected bones (rhino, tiger) in herbal medicine to National Wildlife Crime Unit (you can do this anonymously).
Fun Facts about Rainforests
- ‘Veiled stinkhorn’ fungi smells like rotting food!
- Asia’s durian fruit (loved by orangutans) smells so bad that there are laws not to take it on public transport. People differ in describing its taste – from vanilla caramel cheesecake to vomit-flavoured custard! Food writer Richard Sterling says the odour is like ‘pig-sh*t, turpentine and onions – garnished with a gym sock!’
- South East Asia’s rhinoceros hornbill bird has a horn so big on its head, it looks like an extra beak.
- Black howler monkeys (Latin America) can be heard for miles.
- The ‘Jesus lizard’ is so-called, because he can walk and run on water. Just like Jesus Christ!
- The capybara is the world’s largest rodent. If you’re scared of rats, wait till you see this guy: he’s about the same height and weight as an older child and roams in groups of 20!
- Aye-ayes live in Madagascar. These lovely creatures are unique, yet do no harm (their main predator is humans).
- The glass-frog is so-called, because he has a see-through tummy. Dart frogs often wrestle each other, for 20 minutes.
- Pink dolphins get their colour from blood capillaries, near the skin surface. They have 40% more brain capacity than us. They swim in smaller groups than most dolphins.
- Sloth bears can teach us to slow down. They have poor digestion so can’t move very fast, and mostly live in trees.
- Green anacondas are some of the largest snakes in the world. Although clumsy on land, they quick and nifty underwater. Even the babies are 2 feet long. Yet although they could – apparently there is no evidence of this snake eating humans.
- Mountain gorillas live in African rainforests. The giant silverbacks are pretty solitary, but make excellent parents.
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint is a useful book on what you can do to help reduce the climate emergency, without feeling overwhelmed. Do you want to live an eco-friendly life, but don’t know where to start? This non-preachy book is packed with simple and achievable ways to reduce your carbon footprint, from reducing plastic use to shopping sustainably.
The book begins with a global snapshot of the problems: 2019 was the hottest year on record and temperatures are set to rise still over the next few years, with floods and heavy rain having quadrupled in the last years, yet snow cover reducing also. In 2019 there were over 120 extreme weather records worldwide, including snow in Hawaii and heatwaves in Alaska. But nothing is yet set in stone, and following the tips in this little book can make a big difference, if we all enact them together. You’ll also learn about climate change crusaders, and how to make a difference.
4 Best Ways to Reduce Carbon Footprint
The experts all says that these four changes together make up far more difference, than anything else combined. A carbon footprint is simply the emissions that you emit: how you live, what you buy (or don’t buy), how you travel etc. Industry emits most emissions, but we will be waiting a long time for business and politics to change, so we need to do this ourselves. A study in Environmental Research letters found the most effective ways to reduce our carbon footprint are:
- Have less children
- Drive less
- Eat more plants
- Stop or reduce flying
Just these four changes to your daily lifestyle does more than all the recycling in the world. Of course, you may wish to have children (or already have them), so just do what you can to raise zero waste children. And eat more plants, if you won’t commit the whole way. And if you have to fly, then choose a greener airline, and take your own books and reusable coffee cup, rather than use all the plastic trash at the airport.
Start by taking Mukti Mitchell’s free carbon calculator. Voted the best in the world, this can reduce your carbon emissions by up to 10%, with no major changes to your lifestyle (Mukti is the son of ecological writer Satish Kumar, and once built himself a micro solar yacht and sailed it around the British Isles). He and his friend Darren Hall have created the beautiful site Carbon Savvy, where you have 10 steps to take to reduce carbon emissions, focused on health, nature, communities, transport, heating, holidays and shopping. Some of their suggestions include:
- Insulate your home to be warmer & save bills
- If you fly, visit closer places (or visit less often).
- Downsize your car to a fuel-efficient vehicle
- Walk or cycle to work, or share lifts
- Buy high-quality items that last
- Switch to a greener energy company
- Buy local seasonal organic food
- Eat more plants – less meat & dairy
- Learn to repair goods yourself
- Take public transport (trains, buses)
We need a world of little environmentalists now, because it is going to be the next generation clearing up the mess. Most teens and youngsters are great, but we do now have a younger generation who don’t seem to know enough about how the world works, to avoid chucking plastic rubbish and nitrous oxide inhalers down storm drains, and care more about designer labels of leather (often made in horrible conditions in the far east) than caring for our planet.
Did you know we have an ‘England version’ of Greta Thunberg? Her name is Bella Lack, and after getting involved in banning wild animals for circuses, now campaigns against climate change. She works with Born Free and already has almost 200,000 followers on Twitter, so hopefully she’s go into politics or something similar after she has finished her studies. There are many more like her around the world – so there is hope.
Palm Trees at the North Pole is a book on the hot truth about climate change. Written for children ages 8 to 12, it shares the science and history of climate through through awesome facts and detailed colourful illustrations that will make youngsters feel part of the solution. An uplifting book so that children will become experts on climate change, and feel empowered to share their knowledge with the world. The science and facts are accompanied by vivid illustrations, from a history of our climate (exploding volcanoes and extinct mammoths) to how humans are creating climate change today. Educational but never scary.
C is for Carbon Footprint is a beautiful A to Z guide for children, each letter includes a lesson on how to help the planet. With beautiful artwork, find simple fixes to lifestyle changes across 26 tips for readers of all ages. Author Robert Donisch is an international science and outdoor educator, who after 9 years of teaching, decided to draft the different ideas for books that had been rattling around in his brain for a few years. This is the first.
Plasticus Maritimus (an invasive species) is by marine biologist Ana Pêgo who reports a new invasive species at the beach: Plasticus maritimus . After explaining how it ends up in rivers, lakes and oceans, she offers an ID guide (fishing nets to water bottles) and how to help. Teachers can download a companion education pack.
The Bear in the Stars is a timely fable on climate change for children. The Great Bar leaves her snowy home in search of food, friends and a new home after she finds the world is growing hotter. But hearts are getting colder..A story of loss, kindness and new beginnings.
Probably the most well-known young female activist is Greta Thunberg, a young teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome, who started a climate strike in her native Sweden, and started a global movement. This sensitive child was so upset when she realised the urgency as a child, that she temporarily stopped speaking. And was baffled why governments were not taking the issue seriously. Greta names Rosa Parks as inspiration (the quiet tired seamstress who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus, sparking the civil rights movement, led by Martin Luther King Jr).
- A group of friends in Canada are suing the government, for not protecting them against climate change (the Prime Minister promised he would stop the annual baby seal cull, but still hasn’t, well into his second term). A friend of Greta (who stayed with her, while visiting Canada), Sadie is spurred on by her father, an emergency doctor/eco activist in Calgary. Indian teen Ridhima Pandey is also suing her government over climate change.
- India Logan-Riley in New Zealand is not just fighting climate change, but ensuring that indigenous people are not affected by the policies set up by government.
- Hilda Flavia Nakabuye in Uganda is organising peaceful campaigns in Kampala, Africa’s 2nd most polluted city. Age just 12, she watched her grandmother’s vegetable gardens dry up and her grandfather’s livestock die, when a severe drought hit.
- Luisa Neubauer is a well-known climate activist in Germany. A geography student whose father died the year the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, she was offered a seat on an energy company’s supervisory board, but refused it, due to controversy over a new coal mine in Australia.
- Shalvi Sakshi is campaigning to stop climate change, as she lives in Fiji, one of the world’s most low-lying places so (like the Maldives) the most at risk from rising sea levels.
- Isra Hirsi is a young black teen in the US, who is one of the top voices in North America, combining both causes – saving the planet and Black Lives Matter.
These books to teach children about planet Earth are ideal, to instill a sense of love and wonder, which helps all children to grow up into adults that protect the earth and all its beautiful creatures. These books are not really about climate change, more about ‘making the science interesting’ on how our planet forms, and why it’s here. And why we need to protect it.
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth is up there with the classics. Written and illustrated by a Northern Irish artist, this book and CD edition of the best-seller includes an audio read by the author. ‘Well, hello. And welcome to the Planet. We call it Earth’.
With a lovely ethos of being kind to the planet, and to ‘remember to leave notes for everyone else’, children will learn about the land and sky, people and time, and what makes our planet and how we live on it. The Guardian calls this ‘a heartfelt hug of a book that ought to become a classic’.
A Really Short History of (nearly) Everything is a beautiful illustrated guide for younger readers, of the best-selling book by American writer Bill Bryson. Perfect for readers age 8 to 80, uncover the mysteries of time, space and life. A journey from the centre of the planet to the dawn of the dinosaurs, and everything in between.
Blue Planet is a stunning guide to the beautiful blue marble, suspended in a sea of stars. 71% of our planet is covered by ocean, home to the greatest diversity yet least explored diversity of life on earth (we have better maps of Mars, than of the ocean floor). Take a deep breath, and dive into a wondrous world beneath the waves.
Explore coral reefs that shimmer in a kaleidoscope of colours. Venture to the bottom of the ocean where creatures beyond your wildest imagination live in the dark. Chase sea otters through kelp forest seas, and glide the open ocean with humpback whales.
These books for little environmentalists, are sure to go down a treat, at bedtime. Educational yet never scary, they are ideal to instil a love of the planet and all creatures. They are also (and this is important) by very good writers and illustrators. There is no point just churning out stories about saving the planet by people who can’t keep a child’s attention.
The Fog is the story of Warble, a small yellow bird who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human-watching. But one day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don’t notice. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female appears, Warble discovers that he’s not the only one who notices the fog… Author Kyo Maclear began her career as a writer for adults, but has since won many awards for her children’s books.
Winston of Churchill (on recycled paper) is a story of one polar bear’s fight to stop global warming. This is a really lovely and interesting way to teach your child about climate change and endangered polar bears, which are losing their sea ice, as the planet heats up.
Winston lives in the town of Churchill in Canada. Upset that the humans are not listening, he decides to hold a protest march in his Canada home, using the language of his famous namesake ‘we will fight them on the beaches!’ But his wife gently reminds him that if he wants others to change, he must too – and give up his beloved cigars!
The Curious Garden is a lovely bedtime story of one boy’s quest for a greener world. Starting with the book itself, it’s printed on recycled paper, so that’s tree-friendly already. Set in New York City, the story tells the tale of red-headed Liam (who children can have fun spotting his bright hair through the book), who grows up a grey urban world. But after finding a forgotten garden behind a door to abandoned railroad tracks, he cares for the planets and helps them flourish. Gradually spreading through the city, New York is transformed into a lush, green world. Peter Brown is a writer and illustrator of many children’s books. He is a recipient of children’s book awards.
Want to know how to protect the Arctic Circle? It’s the ‘top of the globe’ and covers 8 countries (including US, Canada, Russia, Greenland and most of Scandinavia – Newcastle is about 800 miles from the southern point. The coldest town on earth (Russia) leaves car engines running, to avoid freezing.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has millions of acres of land that is home to polar bears and other wildlife, which President Trump just signed an order to open for drilling (it could take years for Biden to reverse this, hopefully not). The North Pole is the ‘top of the world’, where nearby you’ll find aurora borealis (the beautiful ‘northern lights’, caused when charged particles from the sun strike air molecules in the earth’s magnetic field).
But 75% of sea ice volume in the Arctic has gone. Polar bears are at risk from climate change and could go extinct, as sea ice melts. So it’s important to also stop drilling for oil and minerals in the Arctic Sea, to help endangered species. International peace politics is needed. Surprisingly despite his policies elsewhere, President Putin (strange considering his reputation and the fact that he hunts) has recently signed up to strict animal welfare laws, so let’s hope he loves polar bears.
- Read how to reduce your carbon footprint, and campaign against HS2 which is killing nature and wildlife, and the money could be spent instead on upgrading public transport.
- Be a greener driver and switch to clean energy.
- Boycott Shell. After abandoning Arctic drilling a few years back, but recently stated it will start again.
- Support organisations that are filing lawsuits, to stop Arctic drilling. Plaintiffs include include Friends of the Earth.
This is our nation’s last great wilderness. Adam Kolton, Alaska Wilderness League
These books for little earth heroes are ideal reading for the younger generation. They are the ones who will have to pick up the mess from climate change, but these books use experts and positive attitudes, to see how we can all help.
- I Have The Right to Save My Planet is a beautifully illustrated gift book on what happens when we cut down forests, destroy animal habitats, throw plastic in the garbage and spray pesticides on fruits and vegetables. This vibrant book has suggestions to help: raise awareness of endangered animals, send a letter to your MP and peacefully protest.
- This Pretty Planet is a beautiful illustrated picture book, to celebrate the beautiful place we call home. Winds blow. Tides flow. Shooting stars descend. Our lives begin, middle and end – on this pretty planet. From icy tundras to sandy beaches, lush forests to tall mountains – this book journeys around the earth to present the natural wonders.
- Guardians of the Planet is a positive book (printed with waterless inks) that profiles Guardians of Green Energy, Food-Waste Fighters, Freshwater Friends and Friends of the Forests. It’s written by environmental law charity ClientEarth (which recently prevented illegal logging in European forests, to protect lynx, bison and other endangered species).
- United We Are Unstoppable shares 60 stories from people changing the world. Aditya (16) stopped 26 million straws from polluting oceans, Cecilia (15) filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government for contributing to global warming and Delphin (19) makes eco-charcoal from organic waste in Burundi. Author Akshat Rathi has a great blog.