What is a human footprint?
How big do you think our family’s footprint might be?
What choices do we make every day that impact our human footprint?
A new book put out by National Geographic Kids looks at all those questions and more in Human Footprint: Everything You Will Eat, Use, Wear, Buy, and Throw Out in Your Lifetime by Ellen Kirk. It can definitely be difficult for children, and even many adults, to understand that their seemingly innocent daily choices can have an effect on the world around them, sometimes for years to come.
The great thing about this book is that there are no judgements. It simply shows what consumption of various items is for the average American in the United States in their lifetime. What to do with that information is up to you and your child. Each page has a number and a photograph giving visual representation of that number.
For instance the average American will:
- use 3,796 diapers
- drink 13,056 pints of milk
- take 28,433 showers
- eat 14,518 candy bars
- spend $52,972 on clothing
Each page then includes suggestions on each page for ways to make small changes that would have a positive impact on their human footprint. From taking extra weight out the car to fixing leaky faucets, these are all simple things that can start our kids down the going green path.
When National Geographic sent me this book to review, I was really curious to see how my kids would like it. They really did, although it had the greatest impact on my oldest. I would suggest this for age 5 & up with the expectation that older children will have a greater understanding of the content.
I was able to ask questions while we were reading, see what facts interested them more (cows that burp and fart are always a hit with little boys!), and see what they understand about our impact on the world around us. I believe that the way the suggestions are presented gives a wonderful opportunity to discuss choices your family makes now and what they could continue to improve on to make a difference.
It ends with ‘How To Shrink Your Human Footprint: 7 Important Tips’ which are simple enough for kids to understand and can be expanded on easily as well. We were able to talk about the reasons why we make certain choices: walking to the library versus driving the car or turning electric and battery-operated toys off when we are done using them. We talk about these things all the time, and yet my 7 year old was still able to see it in a new light after reading “Human Footprint.” I love that.
The message, “Use only what you need, and have fun doing it!” is something that will hopefully resonate with your kids as it did mine and lead to more interesting conversations down the road.
You can purchase Human Footprint: Everything You Will Eat, Use, Wear, Buy, and Throw Out in Your Lifetime by Ellen Kirk at affiliate Amazon now.
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See my disclosure policy here. This book was sent to me for review. All opinions are my own. Amazon is an affiliate.
Congratulations to our winner, Pat! The winner was chosen via random.org.