Your Plastic Footprint
The Facts About Plastic Pollution and
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Footprint
by Rachel Salt
Firefly Books, 2020
ISBN 978-0-2281-0310-3 (sc)
$19.95, 160 pp, age 14+
Rachel Salt, a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Masters in Environmental Biology program, has written a detailed and informative account of the origins, uses, and problems associated with plastic. Described by the author as a “call to action,” this work shows how users can reduce their reliance on this ubiquitous substance so that carbon emissions and health effects are minimized. Produced by converting coal, natural gas, or oil through a variety of chemical processes, plastic is literally everywhere (some two million metric tons were made in 1950, with 380 million metric tons processed in 2015) and two thirds of whatever has been produced has already been thrown away. So whether one is speaking of single-use straws, or items that are lifetime possessions, most of us have a “footprint” (related primarily to packaging, clothing, construction materials, and consumer products) that is increasing exponentially. Salt investigates both small- and large-scale solutions (from reducing consumption to outright bans) and offers many alternative products and practices which individuals can utilize. The author advocates that everyone calculate their own footprint, and then track the waste they produce, so that first steps to real reductions can begin.
Classroom Connections: Your Plastic Footprint is an up-to-date work that includes sections on Covid-19 impacts and activists like Greta Thunberg. It also boasts an engaging layout with numerous colour illustrations, additional resource links, and a comprehensive index. Based on about sixty recent scientific articles and books, the reading level of the content means it is probably best suited for secondary-level courses taught in most regions (e.g., British Columbia’s Environmental Sciences grades 11 and 12, and New- foundland and Labrador’s Earth Systems).
Review by George Sheppard.
This review is featured in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Fall 2021 issue.