Library Columns Meaghan MacPherson

Powering a Brighter World by Meaghan MacPherson

Meaghan MacPherson
by Meaghan MacPherson

How can our society “Build a Better World?” This question will be answered in this year’s Summer Reading Program. As members of the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), libraries across the country will hold events and reading challenges to identify ways young people can build character, help our communities, conserve endangered species and natural habitats, and protect our environment.

The word “Build” is emphasized in this year’s theme to highlight technology and engineering as tools to build our future. One way is through renewable energy research and development that will create good jobs, make us energy independent, and protect our environment from climate change. The electric car and recently unveiled Tesla solar roof tiles are just a couple engineering feats that exhibit the potential renewable power has to transform how we produce, store, and consume energy. There are a number of great books about renewable energy and its benefits, as well as how to integrate these power sources into our communities.

Build a Better WorldIn “Unstoppable: Harnessing Power to Change the World,” scientist and TV personality Bill Nye examines a number of renewable energy sources, ways to improve storage capabilities and efficiency, and how we can provide for more people with fewer resources. This last factor will be important as our populations continue to grow. “The Plot to Save the Planet” by Robert Dumaine explores how corporations and entrepreneurs are creating “green markets” by investing in low-cost energy development. Other books that discuss how we can invest in green energy and its benefits include “Powering the Future” by Robert Laughlin and “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” by Thomas Friedman.

Achieving energy independence on a local scale is becoming more realistic as solar and wind energy become more efficient and cheaper to produce. “Power from the Sun” and “The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy,” both by Daniel Chiras, instruct homeowners on how to install green energy into their homes to improve efficiency and lower electricity costs. “Energy Build a Better WorldRevolution” by Howard Johns demonstrates how communities can design, fund, and implement green projects that create new businesses and provide electricity locally. He also provides examples of nations and municipalities who have successfully integrated such systems and cut their energy usage.

The Summer Reading Program is a great way for parents to address energy conservation with their kids in fun ways. Whether it is by participating in the reading challenge or attending an event, the program encourages our young people to engage in these issues and to get involved in their communities. The books “Renewable Energy: Discover the Fuel of the Future” by Joshua Sneiderman and “Catch the Wind, Harness the Sun” by Michael Caduto feature cool projects parents can work on with their kids to teach them about the different ways they can make a difference. You never know. Maybe one of these kids will become the next Ada Lovelace, Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Elon Musk. Now that’s powering a brighter world. For more information on upcoming summer reading program events, contact your local Heartland Cooperative library.