A Planet Full of Plastic and How You Can Help by Neal Layton
A Planet Full of Plastic and How You Can Help
by Neal Layton
(Not Available in the U.S.)
U.K. edition published by Wren & Rook, an imprint of Hachette
Purchased from Book Depository
By now, most kids know who Greta Thunberg is and what she is fighting for in a global context, but how many understand sustainability on a personal level and how (and why) they can work toward it in their everyday lives? With clarity, simplicity and the smart use of collages of photos and art in his illustrations, Neal Layton introduces young readers to the dangerous realities of plastic and how they can begin to make a change. Starting with a brief history of this manmade material and the many things that are made from it, Layton moves on to a definition of the word "biodegrade."
Plastic is useful, but it also ends up where it's not supposed to be, most often the ocean. From the North Pacific Garbage Patch (which is currently three times the size of France) to the effects of plastic on ocean life, including microplastics and the toxins they carry, Layton makes clear the extent of the damage we have done and the urgency needed to address it, telling readers:
Well, we all need to reduce how much plastic we use every day. The less we use, the less we have to clean up! And people who make stuff for us need to think carefully about what they do with plastic. Creating things that will be thrown away in minutes, but stay in the environment for ever, isn't right.
Layton closes his book with simple suggestions young readers can embrace immediately: reuse and recycle (which is a whole other issue). And, he gently broaches this, telling readers that plastic can (when it actually IS) be "recycled a few times before it stops being useful, and not all plastic can be recycled." Ending on a hopeful note, Layton tells readers that scientists are coming up with ideas to address the plethora and degradation issues surrounding plastic. The final pages show an anthropomorphized Earth thanking readers for listening, saying, "It'll take each and every person working together to stop the planet filling up with plastic. It's a big job, but I reckon we can do it."
Back matter includes further suggestions on how we can help solve the plastic problem, a section highlighting young people (Hannah Testa, sustainability advocate, Boyan Slat: The Ocean Cleanup, Melati and Isabel Wijsen: ByeByePlastic Bags) who have worked to call attention to the plastic problem and offer solutions and a glossary.