GPO’s Gift Guide Series: Books for the Environmental Enthusiast

November 28, 2018

It’s time to make a list and check it twice … so many gifts to buy, so little time! ‘Tis the season for over-crowded malls, stressful shopping sprees, and loads of self-doubt about what to get your family and friends. Before you go all bah, humbug on us, GPO is here to help. Give the gift of reading, knowledge and doing something good for the world this holiday season. From now until the end of the holiday season, we’ll be your little elves, bringing you a holiday gift guide series on our blog with unique ideas for everyone in your life, from the environmental enthusiast to the health nut to the great outdoorsman. Today, we’ll start with ideas for your favorite friend of the planet.

Toys, books, and clothes all make for great gifts for children. But what if your gift could offer that little something extra special … like a way to help save the planet! Pair environmental publications from the GPO Bookstore with other green and eco-friendly toys, games, school supplies and clothes (there are tons of options out there) for a cute, cohesive present that will put a smile on their face and teach them a valuable lesson about caring for our one and only planet. Published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the EPA Activity Book is the perfect educational yet fun holiday gift for kids … the ones who made the nice list, that is. The booklet provides a visual depiction of how the EPA protects our entire environment, the land where we live, and our ecosystems. With crossword games and puzzles, children will be spending their holiday morning educating themselves about good environmental practices. Another publication great for kids that features a favorite Dr. Seuss character is the Join the Lorax to Help Save Energy, Water, and Protect the Planet activity book. This book teaches children how to save energy at home and at school, how to keep pollution out of the air and keep the earth cool! A graphic and simple-to-understand activity book, this publication engages school children in learning and caring about the environment.

Need a gift for someone who is passionate about climate change? NASA and the Environment: The Case of Ozone Depletion published by NASA represents a critical case study in the history of NASA and environmental sciences. And Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States from the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a scientific assessment to enhance understanding and inform decisions about the growing threat of climate change to the health and well-being of residents of the United States. The assessment is part of the ongoing efforts of The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)’s sustained National Climate Assessment process and was called for under the President’s Climate Action Plan. USGCRP agencies identified human health impacts as a high-priority topic for scientific assessment. This assessment was developed by a team of more than 100 experts from eight U.S. Federal agencies to inform people on the potential negative impact that climate change can have on human health.

Finding the perfect present can be tough. A gift that makes a difference beats even the silkiest pajamas, most pleasant perfumes, or smartest speakers, especially for someone who takes an interest in the health of our planet and its people. And hey, Mother Earth deserves a gift, too! Good luck with your holiday shopping, and stay tuned for more unique holiday gift ideas right here on the Government Book Talk blog. Happy hunting!

Click here to shop our Holiday Gift Guides for everyone on your list.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications


Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at

About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.

Out in the Ozone

December 8, 2010

As usual, I’ve been rummaging through stacks of new Government publications to find inspiration for this blog. Today, Discoveries from EOS Aura caught my eye. It’s a colorful booklet about the Aura satellite, which is part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Observing System (EOS) program. I confess that I was a bit hesitant when I turned to the first page and saw a list of such things as the High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder (HIRDLS) and the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). I’m not a technophobe, but all of that sounded out of my league!

I shouldn’t have worried, though. Discoveries from EOS Aura is accessible to the layperson and touches upon a lot of the significant scientific and environmental issues of the past few decades. The Aura satellite uses HIRDLS, OMI, and two other instruments to measure levels of ozone, aerosols, and key gases throughout the atmosphere, and this publication features highlights from the past five years of research.

One highlight: according to Aura, thanks to the international agreement to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) from use in air conditioners and refrigerators, the notorious ozone hole in the stratosphere is closing due to a decline in the chlorine from CFCs. That means the ozone layer can perform its crucial role of protecting us from solar infrared radiation. Another less positive highlight: Aura data-generated maps show how sulfur and nitrogen dioxides, volatile organic compounds (VOC) like formaldehyde, and other human-generated intruders continue to pollute the air we breathe. Aura’s data are so good that they indicate a lessening of industrial pollution on Sundays over North America and Europe, and Saturdays over Israel. Aura also detected a lessening of pollution over China as a result of that country’s atmospheric cleanup prior to the last Olympics (it’s back up again, unfortunately).

I’m always looking for interesting facts in my reading material, and this publication has plenty. Some years ago, there was some discussion of the idea that trees cause air pollution. (I remember seeing a photo of a tree upon which someone had hung a sign that said “Stop me before I kill again”!) The basis of this theory was the emission of isoprene, a VOC that can increase surface (AKA “bad”) ozone, by some species of trees, especially in the Northeastern U.S. Scientists know that trees really do this, although they don’t know exactly why. The key point of the “trees cause air pollution” flap, however, is that without nitrogen oxides from cars, industry, and power plants, surface ozone would be low even when isoprene levels are high. The verdict: not guilty!

Discoveries from EOS Aura is just an introduction to the vast amounts of information that this little-known program is generating. On the Aura Web site, you’ll find lots more, including observations of the havoc wrought in the atmosphere by that Icelandic volcano earlier this year. I wasn’t able to find an online version of this booklet (I know some blog readers may regard this as a challenge!), but you can get a printed copy here.

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