Submitter: My submission is a short paean to nickel, called The Romance of Nickel. The cover does little to convince me, however, as it shows the desolate wasteland created by nickel mining. This slim volume (a mere 80 pages) was created by The International Nickel Company (motto: “Inco Nickel… Your Unseen Friend”) to sell its product, and the spin is a little much. Judging by the cover illustration, the environmental damage of nickel mining is extreme; no romance there!
Holly: That cover! It’s all bent up with peeled-off stickers, and I agree with Submitter that the image is less than romantic. It would work for the cover of a dystopian romance novel. This is too old to be useful to anyone. It was found in a community college in Colorado. Mining is of interest in Colorado, for sure, but I’m not sure a community college is the place for this little booklet from 1957.
Your Environment and What You Can Do About It
Submitter: So the topic isn’t bad, but the book and the outdated content definitely is for a high school library! When your non-fiction books still consider estimations on what emissions will be in the 1980s to be ‘projected’, it’s time to get something newer. The outdated list of committees and government officials to contact is also pretty bad. How many kids even know what a wave comb or an electronic swizzle stick even is?!
Holly: How many adults know what that is? I don’t…but then, this book was published before I was born.
Mary: Sadly, I do know about electronic swizzle sticks and wave combs. One is for cocktails and the other is for hair. Now, get off my lawn.
Submitter: I was weeding the reference section and found this shining example of 80’s eco-report books. It defines every toxic substance known in 1986–but that’s it. Hope you have your Tyvek suit handy!
Holly: Snore! Why do these books have to be so boring? Hazardous substances are dangerous and exciting! Ok, it’s a dictionary, so excitement is limited, but couldn’t they at least add some pictures?
In any case, in addition to covering lots of materials dangerous to the environment, it also talks about notorious hazardous substance disasters. Oops…Chernobyl happened in 1986, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was in 1989, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was in 2010, and Fukushima was just a few months ago. These are glaring omissions on the subject of hazardous substances. Plus, lots of new manufacturing processes have been invented since 1986 that come with their own hazardous materials and bi-products. This book is ok for a primer on the subject if you have nothing else. It’s probably not wrong information, just incomplete.