From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 5 Up—Wrapped around Arthus-Bertrand's magnificent aerial photographs from around the world, Delannoy's text is organized thematically, covering fresh water, biodiversity, oceans, land, cities, people, food, and climate. Each category is divided into three to five subtopics. For instance, "Food" looks at industrialized agriculture, the use of pesticides, the issues involved in monoculture, and the problems associated with meat. The pages provide snippets of information and address the myriad challenges of sustainability. Whether it is the discovery that 15 percent of the world's people own 80 percent of its wealth, or that women do two-thirds of the world's work yet earn 15 to 20 percent less than men, even in rich countries, readers will find surprising information and images to ponder. Almost every page supports the overarching theme that social justice and environmental protection are inextricably related. The book also offers hope. While the dramatic oversize photographs, reproduced with sharp resolution, highlight the enormous damage that has already been done to the environment, they also celebrate the beauty of our world. The text and spot illustrations interpret the photographs and give information on ways that individuals and nations can reverse the trends. Overall, this volume raises awareness, and the striking images, astonishing statistics, and brief explanations will stimulate readers to investigate further and possibly to take action.—Judith V. Lechner, Auburn University, AL
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Arthus-Bertrand’s stunning aerial photographs, collected in his internationally best-selling series of Earth from Above books, illuminate both the planet’s extraordinary diversity and humans’ devastating ecological impact. In this volume, broadly themed chapters introduce a multitude of issues, all related to a single basic question: how do we sustain life on Earth? The eye-catching spreads center around statistics about each subject, from figures on salary disparities among men and women in wealthy countries to the amount of water needed to produce a single pound of commercial beef. Combined with clear definitions of concepts such as NGOs and fair trade, the statistics, fascinating on their own, show the profound connections among the issues. It’s both disappointing and surprising that no source notes are included for any of these numbers, greatly diminishing both the credibility of the statistics and the book’s potential as a student reference source. Still, the photographs are exceptional, and the range of subjects will give young readers a captivating, highly browsable overview of environmental issues that they can research further in better-documented, focused titles. Grades 6-12. --Gillian Engberg