Nonfiction Monday: Human Footprint by Ellen Kirk

Human Footprint:  Everything You Will Eat, Use, Wear, Buy, and Throw Out in Your Lifetime
written by Ellen Kirk
National Geographic, 2011
Grades K and up
Reviewed from personal copy.

What is your human footprint? Well, it's 13,056 pints of milk, 28,433 showers, 12,888 oranges, 14,518 candy bars, and $52,972 worth of clothes, all in one lifetime. Makes you want to step more lightly on the planet! Perfectly timed for Earth Day, this book doesn't preach or judge, but simply shows kids—in an exciting, visual way—how humans interact with the environment and how we can lessen our impact. Astonishing photography captures the full picture of consumption, documenting all the diapers you wore as a baby, the bread you'll eat in a lifetime, and the cans you'll recycle, based on national averages.
This book is very eye-opening in terms of American consumerism.  It's easy to ignore the vast amount of food, goods, and services that we use.  The photographs are especially impressive. It would be hard to read this book and not feel a little guilty about all the stuff we, as Americans, use and throw out. I mean 43,371 cans of soda?!  Think of all that sugar. What's even more mind-boggling is the picture on page 20-21 that shows all those cans.  Each page also includes suggestions for becoming more environmentally-conscious consumers.  This book could be used in many curricular ways, such as math (lots of numbers and statistics), environmental science, and human geography.  In addition I think many students will be as fascinated by the information in this book as I was. Highly recommended.

Head on over to Apples With Many Seeds for today's Nonfiction Monday.


  1. This is one of those titles that has cross-curriculum connections, math, science and social studies. Yahoo! Fascinating reading.
    Thanks for taking part in today's Nonfiction Monday event.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  2. I recalled watching Super Size Me (was it by Michael Moore?) a few years back - I was just thinking that the film would be a good complement to this book. I usually plan a book and a film whenever I introduce a theme to my nine year old daughter. Will try to find this book in our libraries.

  3. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, this book does have a lot of curriculum possibilities.

  4. Both my kids (5 and 8 yrs old) love anything to do with conservation, recycling (my daughter points out the triangle on cans and bottles and promptly reminds me to recycle) - this book sounds wonderful and am definitely going to read it myself. thanks!


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