Monday, May 31, 2010

Here today, gone tomorrow (well, maybe not tomorrow but soon, geological speaking)

With recent explosions from the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, I was reminded of how often and to what extent the Earth reshapes itself.

Two books, Fragile Earth: views of a changing world (550 Fr 2006) and Earth, then and now: amazing images of our changing world (551 PeaE 2007) are a couple of my all-time favorites because of the visual impact they have demonstrating the ever changing face of the Earth, from both natural and human forces. The books provide an absorbing look at how growing cities, war, pollution, climate change, resource exploitation, earthquakes, and tsunamis affect and change landscapes.

The books display on opposing pages, two pictures of the same place but from different times to demonstrate how the landscape has changed.  Take Mount Kilimanjaro for example.  Both books show the same 1974 photo of a snow-capped mountain peak.  On the opposite page, each shows (with different photos) a more current photograph that demonstrates how little snow now remains.

Both books dramatically illustrate, with the same satellite photos, the extent of deforestation in the Bolivian rainforest.  The picture from 1975 has a lot more green (intact rainforest) than the picture from 2003, showing how agricultural activity has affected the rainforest.

Earth, then and now also includes photos of how landscapes have been improved over time.  Take a clay quarry in Cornwall, England, for example, as it has been revitalized with the Eden Project. This once open pit is now built up with space-age looking geodesic domes and terraced gardens.  Looks beautiful.

The Lens of Time : a repeat photography of landscape change in the Canadian Rockies (971.1 WhL 2007) is similar but with a local focus around Calgary, Alberta, the nearby foothills, the Bow Valley corridor, Banff National Park, the Columbia Icefields, Field and Golden, B.C. and into Jasper National Park. I love the photo of Main Street, Banff in1886 that shows a man and cow walking down the middle of the ‘street’ with Cascade Mountain in the background. Some of the changes are more subtle where forests have been removed or grown, river-ways  altered slightly, or glaciers have receded.   A fascinating trip through time.

Though the reading level for all three books is appropriate for high school (maybe junior high, too) the pictures speak volumes and I think all kids would enjoy them and get a lot from pursuing these resources.

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Lori Calabrese said...


They both look like fascinating books. Ones to remind us how small we are in the whole scope of the world!

Thanks for sharing!

PeachyTO said...

These books sound fascinating. I love to look at how landscapes or streets change over decades. I have seen this in Toronto, where I am from, and I'm always shocked. I also love to see aerial shots of cities that have been developed over years and notice the vast differences.

I have made my first Non-Fiction Monday post here if you're interested.

Happy Reading!

Tammy Flanders said...

Thanks so much so your help today, Lori. Just when I think I've gotten the hang of things...

Tammy Flanders said...

PeachyTO - Thanks for the recommendation. Though I'm in an education library at a university, we do get requests occassionally for books that deal with safety issues. Sounds good.

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