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NOAA Planet Stewards Book Club

The NOAA Planet Stewards book club has a great line-up of books slated for discussion for this academic year. Scroll down to see the titles, brief descriptions, dates and connection links for each Book Club meeting. Discussion Questions will be posted approximately one week before each meeting.

To see previously selected books and associated discussion questions, have a look at our Book Club Archive Page.

To make sure you receive reminder announcements about our Book Club, sign up to our mailing list.

Here’s the general information for participating in our Book Club. We hope you’ll join us as we explore new and thought-provoking topics.

  • All book club meetings begin at 7:00 pm Eastern Time.
  • Anyone can participate. Just read the book prior to the discussion.
  • On the day of the meeting, click on the Video Meeting Link noted for that event. You may need to wait briefly to be let in by the facilitator.
  • If you prefer, you may dial into the meeting with your telephone using the meeting specific number noted for each event, then entering the meeting event specific PIN.
  • Before each meeting we will send out a reminder note through our email list with discussion questions prepared by the meeting facilitator.
  • There are a limited number of “seats” available for each meeting. Plan to dial in just a few minutes before the official start time.
  • Have questions? Contact: oceanserviceseducation@noaa.gov

2022 -2023 Academic Year Book Club Selections & Meeting Dates

Book cover for Escape Greenland book

October 11, 2022 7:00 pm ET

Escape Greenland by Ellen Prager

Video Meeting Link: meet.google.com/sze-mdtt-dtm
To Dial in Using Phone Only: +1 413-308-2184
Pin: 424 267 521#

Two young travelers, 13-year-old Ezzy Skylar and her younger brother Luke, find wonder and terror on the spectacular Kangia Icefjord. No sooner do they arrive with their dad in Ilulissat on Greenland’s western coast than they are embroiled in eco-themed bad behavior. Ezzy and Luke find themselves shot at, left in a locked room, forced to make their way through a deadly iceberg field (once on foot and later by boat), and, most thrilling of all, kayaking wildly through the glacier’s interior down a meltwater tunnel. At last, however, they uncover an unethical plan to stimulate the local trade in tourists eager to see melting glaciers. Encounters with fetching sled dog puppies, impressive humpback whales, and enormous mosquitoes add lighter notes to these misadventures, and frequent references to climate change and its effects supply a unifying theme.

  1. Is anyone from Greenland, or has anyone visited Greenland?
  2. Escape Greenland is a middle-grade fiction book. Although it is fiction, it contains a wealth of science knowledge. How would you use this book with students? How might you adapt it for younger or older students?
  3. Escape Greenland is full of science and interesting facts. What new information did you learn from the book? What information do you think your students would find most interesting? What topics would you and/or your students like to explore further?
  4. Geothermal energy plays a key role in the book. How is geothermal energy used in Greenland, and where and how is it used in the United States?
  5. The Skylar family is trying to reduce their carbon footprint: Dr. Skylar’s eating less red meat, Ezzy is eating more vegetables, and Luke is eating “sustainable species.” Have you, your family, or your students made similar changes? What other activities have you taken to reduce your carbon footprint?
  6. Greenland dogs are an important part of Greenland Inuit History and culture. The Greenland dog is a large breed of husky-type dog that loves to run and is used as a sled dog. As Malik said, “These are working dogs, not pets.” Do you think it would be a good idea to have the dogs pull sleds that have been modified with all-terrain wheels during the summer months? What affect might the melting of the permafrost have on this idea?
  7. Ezzy and Luke learn how climate change is affecting ice melt: less food for polar bears, harder to find seals which Katya’s culture depends on for food, and losing sled dogs because the dogs fall through the thin ice. What other examples of climate change did you find in the book?
  8. In the first part of “Note from the Author” at the end of the book are 23 statements asking the reader if the statements are real or make-believe. In the second part of this section Dr. Prager answers the questions and explains why the statement is real or make believe. How would you use this section of the book?
  9. Escape Greenland is fiction based on science. After reading the book has your perspective of climate change or Greenland changed?

Book cover for A Terrible Thing to Waste book

November 15, 2022 7:00 pm ET

A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington

Video Meeting Link: meet.google.com/nvs-ehoq-vsw
To Dial in Using Phone Only: +1 347-201-4316
Pin: 568 022 004#

Middle-class African American households with incomes between $50,000 and $60,000 live in neighborhoods that are more polluted than those of very poor white households with incomes below $10,000.

When swallowed, a lead-paint chip no larger than a fingernail can send a toddler into a coma — one-tenth of that amount will lower his IQ.

Nearly two of every five African American homes in Baltimore are plagued by lead-based paint. Almost all of the 37,500 Baltimore children who suffered lead poisoning between 2003 and 2015 were African American.

From injuries caused by lead poisoning to the devastating effects of atmospheric pollution, infectious disease, and industrial waste, Americans of color are harmed by environmental hazards in staggeringly disproportionate numbers. This systemic onslaught of toxic exposure and institutional negligence causes irreparable physical harm to millions of people across the country-cutting lives tragically short and needlessly burdening our health care system. But these deadly environments create another insidious and often overlooked consequence: robbing communities of color, and America as a whole, of intellectual power.

In A Terrible Thing to Waste, award-winning science writer Harriet A. Washington argues that IQ is a biased and flawed metric, but that it is useful for tracking cognitive damage. She takes apart the spurious notion of intelligence as an inherited trait, using copious data that instead point to a different cause of the reported African American-white IQ gap: environmental racism — a confluence of racism and other institutional factors that relegate marginalized communities to living and working near sites of toxic waste, pollution, and insufficient sanitation services. She investigates heavy metals, neurotoxins, deficient prenatal care, bad nutrition, and even pathogens as chief agents influencing intelligence to explain why communities of color are disproportionately affected — and what can be done to remedy this devastating problem.

Book cover for A Terrible Thing to Waste book

December 12, 2022 7:00 pm ET

Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have by Tatiana Schlossberg

Video Meeting Link: meet.google.com/wqg-hcay-nkb
To Dial in Using Phone Only: +1 307-527-0783
Pin: 381 870 027#

This urgent call to action will empower you to stand up to climate change and environmental pollution by making simple but impactful everyday choices.

With urgency and wit, Tatiana Schlossberg explains that far from being only a distant problem of the natural world created by the fossil fuel industry, climate change is all around us, all the time, lurking everywhere in our convenience-driven society, all without our realizing it.

By examining the unseen and unconscious environmental impacts in four areas-the Internet and technology, food, fashion, and fuel - Schlossberg helps readers better understand why climate change is such a complicated issue, and how it connects all of us: How streaming a movie on Netflix in New York burns coal in Virginia; how eating a hamburger in California might contribute to pollution in the Gulf of Mexico; how buying an inexpensive cashmere sweater in Chicago expands the Mongolian desert; how destroying forests from North Carolina is necessary to generate electricity in England.

Cataloging the complexities and frustrations of our carbon-intensive society with a dry sense of humor, Schlossberg makes the climate crisis and its solutions interesting and relevant to everyone who cares, even a little, about the planet. She empowers readers to think about their stuff and the environment in a new way, helping them make more informed choices when it comes to the future of our world.

Most importantly, this is a book about the power we have as voters and consumers to make sure that the fight against climate change includes all of us and all of our stuff, not just industry groups and politicians. If we have any hope of solving the problem, we all have to do it together.

Book cover for The Intersectional Environmentalist book

January 10, 2023 7:00 pm ET

The Intersectional Environmentalist by Leah Thomas

Video Meeting Link: meet.google.com/ntg-ebqg-xfc
To Dial in Using Phone Only: +1 470-735-3415
Pin: 893 497 585#

The Intersectional Environmentalist examines the inextricable link between environmentalism, racism, and privilege, and promotes awareness of the fundamental truth that we cannot save the planet without uplifting the voices of its people — especially those most often unheard. Written by Leah Thomas, a prominent voice in the field and the activist who coined the term "Intersectional Environmentalism," this book is simultaneously a call to action, a guide to instigating change for all, and a pledge to work towards the empowerment of all people and the betterment of the planet.

Thomas shows how not only are Black, Indigenous and people of color unequally and unfairly impacted by environmental injustices, but she argues that the fight for the planet lies in tandem to the fight for civil rights; and in fact, that one cannot exist without the other. An essential read, this book addresses the most pressing issues that the people and our planet face, examines and dismantles privilege, and looks to the future as the voice of a movement that will define a generation.

Book cover for Saving Us book

February 21, 2023 7:00 pm ET

Saving Us: A Climate Scientists Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe

Video Meeting Link: meet.google.com/xtr-mrud-htd
To Dial in Using Phone Only: +1 612-361-0505
Pin: 576 707 89#

Called “one of the nation's most effective communicators on climate change” by The New York Times, Katharine Hayhoe knows how to navigate all sides of the conversation on our changing planet. A Canadian climate scientist living in Texas, she negotiates distrust of data, indifference to imminent threats, and resistance to proposed solutions with ease. Over the past fifteen years Hayhoe has found that the most important thing we can do to address climate change is talk about it — and she wants to teach you how.

In Saving Us, Hayhoe argues that when it comes to changing hearts and minds, facts are only one part of the equation. We need to find shared values in order to connect our unique identities to collective action. This is not another doomsday narrative about a planet on fire. It is a multilayered look at science, faith, and human psychology, from an icon in her field — recently named chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy.

Drawing on interdisciplinary research and personal stories, Hayhoe shows that small conversations can have astonishing results. Saving Us leaves us with the tools to open a dialogue with your loved ones about how we all can play a role in pushing forward for change.


March 14, 2023 7:00 pm ET

Book Selection TBD - Soon

Video Meeting Link: meet.google.com/ysi-wwhz-dku
To Dial in Using Phone Only: +1 219-515-4315
Pin: 427 896 819#

Book cover for Climate Champions book

April 11, 2023 7:00 pm ET

Climate Champions by Rachel Sarah

Video Meeting Link: meet.google.com/bzd-jysy-ccu
To Dial in Using Phone Only: +1 402-744-0240
Pin: 204 040 572#

They are climate scientists, journalists, professors, academics, researchers, and policy makers from around the world who draft policies with real-life solutions, run science labs to find new solutions to old problems, and lead organizations at the forefront of change. These women do not shy away from showing how racial and social injustices lie at the root of so many climate-related issues.

Their stories are accessible and energetic, with spotlights on the triumphs and struggles of women who are working to protect the planet.

As young readers learn how these champions are rising up around the world, they will learn how to be part of the solution.

Book cover for All We Can Save book

May 9, 2023 7:00 pm ET

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson

Video Meeting Link: meet.google.com/cae-ewah-gtj
To Dial in Using Phone Only: +1 786-886-2384
Pin: 716 396 812#

All We Can Save is an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.

There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they are too often missing from the proverbial “table.” More than a problem of bias, it’s a dynamic that sets us up for failure. To change everything, we need everyone.

As young readers learn how these champions are rising up around the world, they will learn how to be part of the solution.

NOAA Planet Stewards Workshops

To receive the latest announcements about upcoming distance and face to face learning opportunities as well as educator and student opportunities and resources, be sure to sign up to the Planet Stewards mailing list.

workshop logo

Preparing for Climate Change Impacts Through Stewardship

NOAA Planet Stewards, Elkhorn Slough and South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRS) are hosting a simultaneous three-day educator workshop about climate change impacts on estuaries and their adjacent communities along the Pacific Coast, and how to engage schools and communities to take action to address regional impacts of this global phenomenon.

Participants will spend three days at either Oregon’s South Slough or California’s Elkhorn Slough NERR learning about climate change and watersheds, taking part in field experiences, and learning how to incorporate these topics and stewardship actions into their classrooms and communities.

This workshop is planned for in-person learning. Depending on Covid-19 safety guidelines at the time of the workshop, an alternate, virtual experience may be required. All registrants will be kept apprised of programmatic changes.

  • Workshop topics include:
    • Climate change science and climate change activities that meet NGSS
    • Citizen science and hands-on stewardship to inspire youth to address regional environmental impacts, and mobilize action in their communities
  • Workshop features:
    • Opportunities to learn from and interact with subject matter experts
    • Hands-on field investigations with a NOAA researcher
    • In-depth information about estuaries and other coastal systems
    • Activities and lessons designed around climate change topics and issues
    • Light continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks are included each day of the workshop
    • Educators will receive resources for their class and field work
    • Stipends will be provided for all attendees upon full completion of the workshop.

workshop logo

Climate Justice: Exploring the Science of Climate Change in Your Classroom

NOAA Planet Stewards and the Detroit Zoological Society are hosting a three-day workshop for educators to explore how global climate change is affecting the metro Detroit region, and how they can engage their students in taking action to address this global phenomena.

Participants will attend:

This workshop is planned for in-person learning. Depending on Covid-19 safety guidelines at the time of the workshop, an alternate, virtual experience may be required. All registrants will be kept apprised of programmatic changes.

Workshop topics include:

How to incorporate weather and climate change activities that meet state curriculum requirements into existing curriculum; using citizen science projects to connect youth with their local environment; mobilizing youth to take action in their communities.

Workshop features:

  • Opportunities to learn from and interact with subject matter experts.
  • Hands-on learning experiences at the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center.
  • Light continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks are included for each day of the workshop. Beverages and appetizers will be provided at the special evening event at the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.
  • Detroit educators will receive resources for their classrooms, and a fully paid opportunity (including transportation!) to bring their students to the Detroit Zoo or Belle Isle Nature Center for a learning experience. A $450+ value!
  • When/Where:

    This event will take place on October 7-9 of 2022. There are a limited number of spaces available. We strongly urge you to Pre-Register and reserve your seat at the workshop today!

  • Who: Teachers in the Detroit area who work with upper elementary, middle or high school students.
  • Cost: $50 includes 14 SCHECHs (State Continuing Education Clock Hours), educational resources, tools and materials for the classroom, a special evening event in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, Light continental breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a fully paid for field trip for each classroom to visit the Zoo or Nature Center during the school year.
  • To register for the event and receive more information go to:: https://detroitzoo.org/education/teachers-and-schools/professional-development/
  • Questions? Contact: Claire Lannoye-Hall