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Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (Merloyd Lawrence Book)by Sandra Steingraber
"Sandra Steingraber's first book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, left reviewers calling her 'the new Rachel Carson.' It is an apt comparison. Not since 1962, when Carson courageously challenged the chemical industry in Silent Spring, has a scientist woven so much revelation and research together with such gorgeous and persuasive prose. In Raising Elijah, Steingraber makes a case for 'outspoken, fullthroated heroism in the face of the great moral crisis of our day.' She girds readers for the struggle we must take up if we are to wrest our world from the embrace of the suicidals." Laura Orlando, Ms. Magazeine (Read the entire Ms. Magazine review)
Synopses & Reviews
Nothing could be more important than the health of our children, and no one is better suited to examine the threats against it than Sandra Steingraber. Once called "a poet with a knife," she blends precise science with lyrical memoir. In Living Downstream she spoke as a biologist and cancer survivor; in Having Faith she spoke as an ecologist and expectant mother, viewing her own body as a habitat. Now she speaks as the scientist mother of two young children, enjoying and celebrating their lives while searching for ways to protect them — and all children — from the toxic, climate-threatened world they inhabit.
Each chapter of this engaging and unique book focuses on one inevitable ingredient of childhood — everything from pizza to laundry to homework to the "Big Talk" — and explores the underlying social, political, and ecological forces behind it. Through these everyday moments, Steingraber demonstrates how closely the private, intimate world of parenting connects to the public world of policy-making and how the ongoing environmental crisis is, fundamentally, a crisis of family life.
"Eco-biologist, cancer survivor, activist, mother of two, and author of books about environmental hazards and their effects (including Living Downstream and Having Faith), Steingraber applies her knowledge and philosophy to the challenge of raising children in our toxic, climate-threatened world. She connects many child health issues, including asthma, behavioral problems, intellectual impairments, and pre-term birth to hormone-disrupting, brain-damaging, and otherwise dangerous environmental factors. Chapters tackle weighty problems — diminished fertility; how chemicals infiltrate mothers' milk; air quality and the ozone hole; neurotoxicology; hydraulic fracturing — and how they affect children and families. Two major themes emerge: first, current environmental policies must change to safeguard and support the health of children and, second, we must end our dependence on toxic fossil fuels. Less a guidebook for conscientious parents than an alarming and sobering human rights polemic, the book's narrative is nevertheless a persuasive, personal call to action. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Steingraber writes passionately about the things that matter most to her, her family and the environment...smoothly shifting from events in her life to a broader view...Steingraber wants to change the world even as she remains firmly planted in the neighborhood, seeking a way to make life better than most of us have come to expect." Booklist
"Writing as both a scientist and mother of two children...Steingraber cites links between rising chronic childhood diseases and toxic chemical exposures. She takes a broad view, looking at increases in the prevalence of asthma, learning disabilities and autism, as she tries to understand her own household and life as a mom." Buffalo News
"Through her newest book...Sandra has once again provided us, through well-documented case studies, the opportunity to examine our lifestyles choices and our surrounding environments...Sandra and her stories are gifts: golden information for busy parents who do not have the time for months of research." Power of One Woman Blog
Book News Annotation:
Biologist and poet Steingraber has written previous books for general readers, approaching environmental issues from the perspective of family relationships: Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood and Living Downstream: An Ecologist's Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment. Here, she offers a conversational memoir about the environmental threats our children face. Each chapter focuses on one of the universals of childhood, such as milk, pizza, and homework, and explores the hidden social, political, and historical forces behind it. Facts and discussion are woven together with stories of her own family, with a focus on chronic childhood diseases that are linked to toxic chemical exposure, such as asthma, learning disabilities, autism, and early breast development and early puberty. Rather than giving advice about choosing different products, she charts a way out of what she calls "well-informed futility syndrome," based on a human rights framework for exploring policy solutions. Readers will find technical and scientific details in a section of full citations and detailed notes for all references in the book, along with an annotated list of websites and organizations. The author is a scholar is residence at Ithaca College. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Today's Rachel Carson looks at the toxic, ecologically fractured world children now inhabit.
About the Author
Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., biologist, activist, and author, is Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College in New York.
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Health and Self-Help » Child Care and Parenting » Children's Health