The World's Lumber Room

Selina Gaye (1840 - 1914)

If this book were written today, it would be called "The Story of the World's Rubbish".

That may not sound a promising subject for a book, but we are taken on a journey all over the world (and beyond) to explain the many varieties of dust and refuse - animal, vegetable and mineral - how it is made both by man and by nature, what happens to it, and why we need it. We find that recycling is nothing new: man has been doing it for centuries, and nature has been doing it for billions of years. As every schoolboy knows, 'matter is neither created nor destroyed', so it stands to reason that every particle of it must be somewhere.

This study of our knowledge of the earth was written for the layman before most of the -ologies were even a twinkle in a professor's eye. Geology, meteorology, hydrology, biology, glaciology and even sociology and anthropology all have their place in this readable and enjoyable tour of the earth's 'lumber room'.

Though some of the science is out of date - it was written, for instance, 80 years before the theory of plate tectonics was understood - the author admits candidly when the science of the day does not yet provide answers to some questions. The almost contemporary description of the eruption of Krakatoa still resonates with us - compare the effect on our modern world of Mount St. Helens and Eyjafjallajökull in recent decades.

Miss Gaye shows that far from everything in nature's lumber room being rubbish, every speck of dust has a purpose. The dust-cart (garbage truck) will never look the same to you again. (Summary by Ruth Golding)

Genre(s): *Non-fiction, Nature, Science

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 00 Preface Ruth Golding
Play 01 01 Dust Ho! Ruth Golding
Play 02 02 Dust-makers - Frost, Heat, Air and Water Ruth Golding
Play 03 03 Dust-makers - Wind, Waves, Rain Ruth Golding
Play 04 04 Dust-makers and Dust-carriers - Running Water Ruth Golding
Play 05 05 Dust-makers and Dust-carriers - Glaciers and Icebergs Ruth Golding
Play 06 06 Dust-makers - Earthquakes and Volcanoes Ruth Golding
Play 07 07 Dust-makers - Vegetables and Animals Ruth Golding
Play 08 08 What Becomes of the 'Dust' - Towns and Cities Ruth Golding
Play 09 09 What Becomes of the 'Dust' - Coral Islands, etc Ruth Golding
Play 10 10 What Becomes of the 'Dust' - Flint, Salt, etc Ruth Golding
Play 11 11 Vegetable Scavengers Ruth Golding
Play 12 12 Vegetable Refuse Ruth Golding
Play 13 13 Animal Scavengers - Termites, etc. Ruth Golding
Play 14 14 Animal Scavengers - Ants, Flies and Beetles Ruth Golding
Play 15 15 Animal Scavengers - Crustaceans, Birds and Mammals Ruth Golding
Play 16 16 Animal Remains and Ancient Dust-heaps Ruth Golding
Play 17 17 Household Refuse Ruth Golding
Play 18 18 Miscellaneous Refuse Ruth Golding