Living Light by Stephen Aitken


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Imagine. You’re surrounded by darkness, not a light in sight. You can’t even see the hand in front of your face. What do you do? You probably reach for a light switch, grab a flashlight or light the camp fire. Animals don’t have these options. So what do the brightest ones do? They make their own light!

Bioluminescence (by-oh-loo-mih-neh-sense) is light created and emitted by living organisms – “bios” means life in Greek and “lumen” is Latin for light. ‘Cold light’, as it is sometimes called, is remarkably efficient. A normal yellow (incandescent) light bulb loses 90% of its energy in heat while bioluminescence hardly loses any.

Light pollution threatens the survival of every living species on our planet, including people.

It started when Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb more than 150 years ago. Then, as electric light became more common, light pollution began to take over cities and towns. Today, in urban centers all over the world, the stars in the sky aren’t visible. Millions of people have never seen the Milky Way. In Saving the Night, young readers discover how plants and animals have adapted over millions of years to survive and thrive in the dark, and how artificial light can upset the balance of entire ecosystems. But there are ways we can take back the night for animals, plants and us. It starts with each one of us – and the flick of a switch.


The first book in an environmental fiction series that features two young characters helping to solve real-world problems.

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The sounds of nature are being drowned out by the clamor of human activity.

Every living thing emits sound—birds sing, whales whistle, streams burble and trees pop and fizzle. In Listen Up, young readers are introduced to all the sounds of the natural world, from the first Big Bang to the complex soundscapes of the rainforests.

Readers will also discover how the invasion of human sounds, from airplanes, traffic and machines, is threatening the survival of species that have adapted to their habitats over thousands of years. Conserving the sounds of nature is an important part of addressing the biggest challenges facing humanity today—protecting the planet’s biodiversity and the future of our natural world.

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