A Children’s Climate Text Review

Peter Turner’s Climate Change (Redback Publ. 2019)* is a colourful, informative and fairly accurate 32 page book aimed at “Upper Primary – Lower Secondary’ students. It is part of a series on ‘Australia’s Environmental Issues’ and the book description states “Climate change is one of Australia’s biggest environmental problems. Why is climate change occurring and how does it affect Australia? Climate Change explores the problem, as well as explaining the steps that need to be taken to combat it.” I would agree with most of this except perhaps the understatement that it is only ‘one’ rather than by far the biggest problem.

Generally the book is very good but has a few minor factual blemishes such as having 2 pages on nuclear energy (pp26-7) which is now probably priced out of consideration in any future energy mix. The exception to this is that existing plants have only small amount of emissions – all from the mining and processing of the ore. Some statements such as “Solar energy is currently more expensive than standard fossil fuel electricity” (p.21) are already outdated and no longer the case. But perhaps the major defect of the book is that the recent advances in battery storage are absent, although they get a brief mention under ‘Cars of the Future’. Nor is there any mention of pumped hydro as energy storage. This however remains a problem with any work dealing with the ‘cutting edge’ of solutions.

Normally I would not review a children’s book. But it is important because of the burgeoning youth movement across the globe and their need to be well informed and know that their cause is right. I have no doubt that those student strikers are already better informed than many adults. For the young activists this would only be a primer but works like these can be very helpful in the process of persuading friends and relations of the need for urgent action. Also often the clarity of works such as this can sometimes better inform adults as I have found from experience in my own family. It is a pity that some of our ill-informed or uninformed politicians cannot grasp the basics that are presented in this book. At most it would take them, or their minders, an hour or two.

*copy in the East Gippsland Shire Library