Gaia Warriors

Brainfood, Inspiration

Gaia Warriors

Product details

Product name: Gaia Warriors

Reviewer: Kate Arneman

Author: Nicola Davies

Publisher: Walker Books

Price: $24.95

G Rating:


You might be familiar with Gaia as the Greek Earth goddess, or have heard of the Gaia Theory, a description of how the Earth functions as a giant organism, developed by British scientist James Lovelock.

In the context of this book, a Gaia warrior is someone fighting climate change. People like Casper Ter Kuile and Emma Biermann, co-founders of the UK Youth Climate Coalition; Duncan Gibson, who runs an organic food delivery service; and paleoclimatologist Nerilie Abram, who collects ice cores from the Antartic to gather information about the Earth's climate history.

Gaia Warriors was written by UK zoologist and children's author Nicola Davies for readers aged 9-12. It's based on the work of Lovelock (who contributes an afterword) and Davies effectively conveys complicated concepts such as the measurement of atmospheric gases and carbon sequestration in a clear and engaging way.

Yet this is more than a textbook on the science of climate change translated into kid-friendly language. Davies draws on scientific, historical, political and personal perspectives to inform and motivate her audience to get involved.

It's one thing to read that climate change is causing Arctic ice to melt; quite another to hear the story of a reindeer herder whose home is in the Norwegian Arctic and whose livelihood and culture is under increasing threat from climate change.

Much of the book is made up of profiles of Gaia warriors of all ages. There are interviews with scientists, lawyers, architects, campaigners (including kids), business owners and a fashion designer. These help introduce concepts ranging from climate modelling to green building design, organic food, recycled clothing, sustainable transport and clean energy.

The visually vibrant and colourful presentation of the material is appealing and underlines the positive "you can make a difference" tone of the writing.

I was less impressed by James Lovelock's afterword, which seemed rather gloomy and heavy-handed considering the age of the intended readers.

There are a couple of instances of UK-specific information and language (lorries and swimming trunks) that will be unfamiliar to young Aussie readers, but this is a minor drawback.

Printed on 100 per cent recycled paper (inside pages) and FSC-certified paper (cover).

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