Climate change and the effects humans have on its rise has been a media and community focus all over the world. Young people have been leading the call for positive change, and they’ve been demanding that their parents and grandparents pay attention. Even so, the enormity of the problem can feel overwhelming and hopeless. The new book PLASTIC SUCKS! by Dougie Poynter acknowledges that, but it also follows up with small and large impacts individuals can have every day. This informative, realistic, and energetic book makes sure to emphasize the gravity of how plastic affects our eco-system in all ways even as it infuses every page with optimism and ownership of making a positive difference.
PLASTIC SUCKS! is divided into sections that explain what plastic is, how it affects daily life (in good and bad ways), what types of plastic are the worst offenders, and what each of us can do to minimize its impact on wildlife and the future of the environment. Scientific information is condensed into digestible sections that don’t overwhelm or condescend. There are also “Meet the Experts” interviews with various environmental activists and scientists throughout the book. While there is a solid balance in genders represented, hopefully the next edition will feature more “experts” from varying ethnic and racial backgrounds. Overall, the sections come together to provide a supportive and inspiring response to the devastating impacts young people have grown up hearing about.
A particularly encouraging aspect of this book is the many suggestions for everyday impacts readers can take now and on an on-going basis. Instructions and tips for beach cleanups, how to minimize plastic in the kitchen and bathroom, tips for plastic-free excursions and lunches, and even a template for contacting local groceries and stores about plastic use are sprinkled throughout. Every topic is surrounded with background for why it matters, tips, and encouragement for when plans don’t work perfectly. Poynter shares his own journey, work, and successes as a way of letting readers know that change, even huge change, is possible on an individual level. Poynter’s successful efforts in banning micro plastics in the UK is a highlight.
Vegan families should be aware that beeswax paper is mentioned as an alternative to plastic wrap and sandwich bags.
PLASTIC SUCKS! is aimed at 8-12 year olds, and the illustrations suit that age group well. In stark green, black, and white, the simple graphics are easy to follow and they emphasize the information without seeming hyperbolic. They are also fun without being cartoonish in their attitude towards the subject matter. Both children and adults will learn a lot from this book, and everyone will be inspired to do better when it comes to plastic use.