Thanks to The Food Think Tank for providing this comprehensive list of books that teach kids ways to create a better food system.
1. Lidia's Family Kitchen: Nonna's Birthday Surprise by Lidia Bastianich
Nonna Lidia is responsible for planning the menu for a birthday surprise feast for Nonna Mima. Through the course of the evening's preparations, Nonna Lidia reminisces about her youth on the farm where she grew her own fruits and vegetables. The book includes 18 recipes featuring ingredients that are abundant during each season and suggestions for including kids in meal preparation.
2. Green Smoothie Magic by Victoria Boutenko
Young Nic is an inquisitive child with a fondness for magic. Nic learns from his father about the "magical green juice," called chlorophyll, that helps to power the growth of plants and trees. Eager to grow as big and strong as the oak trees that fascinate him, Nic determines to eat more vegetables and he is challenged by the bitter taste of greens to come up with a raw-food green smoothie that makes vegetables taste as good as they are for his health.
3. How Did That Get in my Lunchbox?: The Story of Food by Chris Butterworth
Readers are presented with an engaging examination of how some of the most common foods that they eat are produced and eventually make their way into their lunchboxes.
4. In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby
In the early 1900s, many rural Alabama communities were struggling to produce food from soil that was drained of its nutrients because of cotton production. In the book, Dr. George Washington Carver arrives to help the farms and school garden in the community grow food again.
5. First Peas to the Table: How Thomas Jefferson Inspired a School Garden by Susan Grigby
Maya is excited to participate in the planting of a school garden and her school's "First Peas to Table" contest. With help and inspiration from Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book, Maya plants pea seeds while keeping track of their progress in her garden journal.
6. Grow Your Own! by Esther Hall
Sidney and his mom live a busy city life, where meals come mainly from the microwave. Not the most avid eater of vegetables, Sidney's outlook toward eating greens changes after a visit to is grandmother in the country.
7. Molly's Organic Farm by Carol L. Malnor
Molly the cat, a curious wanderer, finds herself in an organic farm one day, where she plays, rests, and hunts among the vegetables. As she becomes a regular visitor in the garden, Molly witnesses the interplay of natural forces that come together to produce organic, healthy food
8. Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Farmer Will Allen, a former basketball star, sees an opportunity to turn an abandoned city lot into a table big enough to feed the whole world. Through hard work and creativity, he transforms a barren urban space with poor soil into a flourishing source of nutrition for the community.
9. To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure
A mother and son go to the weekly farmers' market where they make their way through their grocery list. As they travel through the market, they learn how each food they come across was grown or produced.
10. The Good Garden by Katie Smith Milway
Eleven-year-old María Luz and her family struggle with poor conditions on their small farm, forcing her father to leave home to find work. A new teacher at María's school introduces her to sustainable farming practices that she begins to implement in the garden at home. Through using these techniques, Maria gets better yields, allowing her family to rid themselves of the middlemen who previously took most of their profits.
11. Sylvia's Spinach by Catherine Pryor
Sylvia, a picky eater who hates eating spinach, discovers the joy of growing food in a garden. Sylvia also learns to love the spinach she once hated and the joy of trying new foods.
12. My Mom Eats Tofu by Robyn Ringgold
In this book, a girl named Summer explains to her friends about her mother's environmentally sustainable eating habits, including growing her own food, eating organically, and composting.
13. The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families by Susan L. Roth
The people of the village Hargigo in the country of Eritrea once struggled to grow enough food for themselves and their animals. Their homes were built on desert land near a large body of saltwater--the Red Sea. Doctor Gordon Sato, a Japanese American cell biologist, helps them change their lives by planting trees that made the most productive use of the arid land.
14. Our School Garden by Rick Swann
New-kid-on-the-block Michael witnesses the changing seasons at the school garden, where he discovers not just how vegetables grow, but how a community can start and nurture a garden.
15. Farmers Market Day by Shanda Trent
An enthusiastic little girl makes a bit of a mess as she explores the colors and textures of all the food at the farmers' market on her quest to find the perfect treat.
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The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.
A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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