Book Talk

Climate Change: Three Must-Have Books

May 7, 2014

So climate change is front page news in the US. Anyone surprised? If you want to raise awareness aboutcurseofakkadThumb this topic with your students, I have three must-read books for you. One looks toward the past and one toward the future. And one is for free.

The Curse of Akkad: Climate Upheavals that Rocked Human History by Peter Christie is most timely as scientists are aiming to understand and predict the impact of humans on our plane. Christie provides a unique and powerful glimpse into our past and perhaps a foreshadowing of our future, tracing climate change from 4,000 years ago when Sargon of Akkad created the world’s first empire. A disastrous drought in Mesopotamia helped topple the Akkadian civilization. Similar climate-related events rocked other civilizations. Ancient Rome experienced a catastrophic 18 months of darkness, possibly from a volcanic eruption half-a-world away. Mayan society in Mexico began to crumble when fresh water became scarce. And both ancient Egypt and ancient China were transformed by failed crops and starving citizens. Peter Christie shows that the prevailing weather of a place is not simply a backdrop to important events, but often a critical player. For more info, click here.

Empty, by Suzanne Weyn illuminates what our human actions do to create damaging and even EmptyThumbirreversible environmental impact that can exacerbate climate change. The timeframe of this science-rich novel is the future, 10 years from now. The once reliable supply of natural resources has been depleted, fossil fuels are running out, and the United States may be headed for war with Venezuela. For teens in the small town of Sage Valley, New York, life will never be the same. This tranquil community now faces life and death struggles as individuals and families face untold challenges and must reevaluate choices and how to pull together as a community. More info available here.

And now for the free book: A Kids Guide to Climate Change and Global Warming by Cathryn Berger Kaye (me) has gone out of print so Free Spirit Publisher and I offer it for a free download! Read KidsGuideClimateThumbabout this and the other free publications here. This particular title includes information about carbon footprints, “foodprints” (how food we consume affects climate change), the greenhouse effect, alternative energies, deforestation, water conservation, severe weather, and numerous examples of what young people are doing around the world. All resources are included to guide students toward developing a plan of action. Includes an exclusive interview with Reid Detchon, Executive Director of Energy and Climate Division of the United Nations Foundation.

If you are reading this, I predict you are of the mindset that we are long past the time to sit idly by. Our youth deserve the information as a means for them to be empowered for action. Read. Think. Plan. Act. It’s our planet.

Please let me know your favorite resources for addressing climate change at

All the best in service,

Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A., CBK Associates

Go deeper with reflection and more–register now for the July 14-16, 2014 Summer Service Learning Institute: Meeting the Needs of 21st Century Learners in upstate NY at an all-inclusive setting led by Cathryn Berger Kaye, international service learning expert and author of The Complete Guide to Service Learning. During these comprehensive three days, explore ideas with colleagues from all over the world. Deepen understanding of best teaching practices applied to service learning and 21st century competencies. Make links to Common Core, IB or whatever your school priorities are during sessions designed with you in mind. Share ideas, grow possibilities and extend your connections with colleagues well beyond the event. Questions? Contact Register here.

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