Interview: Meet the author of ‘Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet’
Title: Earth Matters: Loving our Planet.
Author: Carole Wilkinson
Illustrator: Hilary Cresp
Publisher: Wild Dog Books
Age Range: lower primary, middle primary, upper primary
Themes: climate change, global warming, earth, sustainability, environmental activism, nature, Science.
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I am so thrilled to be introducing this gorgeous and important book to you all. As you know, I make no secret of being an environmentalist and believe raising the next generation to love and look after OUR planet is one of our most important jobs – not only as parents, but also as teachers and creators.
I have asked Carole Wilkinson, author of ‘Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet’ a beautifully illustrated title which explains climate change to kids, to tell us more.
Thank you Carole for this interview, but also for your contribution to educating and inspiring young eco warriors.
‘Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet’
In Australia, around 300 million plastic water bottles end up in rubbish tips, or floating in rivers and seas each year.‘Earth Matters: Loving our Planet’
A chat with Carole Wilkinson
- What inspired you to write Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet?
I was motivated to write this book as firstly, I think caring for our environment and our atmosphere is extremely important. I have been an active member of a climate action group for some years. Secondly, as a children’s author, I thought I could write a book that would help teach children about climate change.
We can’t shield children from knowledge of climate change. They will hear about it at school, they might see it mentioned on television and see upsetting images of sick or injured animals. They will experience the effects of climate change as they live through heatwaves and bushfires (experiencing bushfire smoke even if they live hundreds of kilometres away). It’s understandable that parents and teachers want to protect children from distress but avoiding speaking about climate change could also lead to anxiety and fear as children struggle to understand the fragments of information they pick up. I felt that I had to write this book to help educators and parents explain climate change to children.
2.What does a healthy planet mean to you?
Clean air, both in the atmosphere where it affects our climate (as well as down here on the surface of the Earth where we live) where pollution from industry and transport can affect our health.
A healthy planet also needs clean waterways and oceans, free of rubbish, especially plastic waste. The United Nations estimates that, by weight, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050 if we don’t change our behaviour.
3. What do you think of a young person such as Greta Thunberg advocating for the planet, and do you think your book could inspire more children to follow in her footsteps?
I think she is incredibly brave and determined. I’ve been in a School Strike 4 Climate rally alongside thousands of school students who were all passionate about reducing greenhouse gases and getting control of our climate. It was a humbling and inspiring experience. Greta Thunberg was one of the main instigators of that movement of young people.
I would like to think that my book could inspire more children to advocate for a healthy planet. I hope it will give them the knowledge they need to understand the complexities of climate change, as well as strategies to take action themselves.
4. How important is it for kids to learn about our planet?
It is extremely important. I believe that we should give children clear information about climate change that they can understand, then give them the tools to do something about it! Empowerment through knowledge and actions enabling children to reduce the effects of climate change is what this book is advocating. It is a way of turning children’s concern about climate change into positive activities that can lead to hope.
The book also educates young readers about the weather and Earth’s atmosphere, and how human activities produce greenhouse gases, so there’s lots of scientific knowledge in this book for readers to lap up!
5. Will parents learn something from this book, too?
I hope so! Parents are busy people, and they don’t always have time to research and educate themselves, so I trust my book can help do that.
I hope that families will read it together and parents (and teachers) will gain some basic information to help them explain climate change to children, encouraging them to model sustainable behaviour at home and at school, so that children learn how to consume less, to make compost and think carefully about the things they buy and request for gifts. These shared activities can provide opportunities to explain how their actions will improve our environment and make the climate safer.
6. What do you want readers to get from reading Earth Matters?
I hope the knowledge in this book will have a ripple effect. Every person, young or old, has the potential to influence others to change their behaviour, and live more sustainably. Students who are eager to take climate action can convince their families and schools to reduce their own carbon footprints. A school with strong environmental and sustainability policy will influence students and their families. A family that is actively reducing its carbon footprint can be a model for others to do the same.
It’s our children’s and grandchildren’s future that is at stake. We need to do whatever we can to ensure that they, and future generations, can live a healthy life on a safe planet.
Fact 1: Without our atmosphere (the layers of gas that surround Earth) during the day the temperature would reach something like 122°C!
Fact 2: Greenhouse gases are actually important; they help keep our planet at a comfortable temperature. However, too many greenhouse gases make the planet overheat and this leads to Global Warming.
Fact 3: Methane is one of the main greenhouse gases. Cows produce 200 litres of methane per day, mainly from burping!
Fact 4: Coal formation began around 350 million years ago from ferns and mosses that were the only plants to exist on Earth back then.
Fact 5: Aluminium cans and glass bottles can be recycled over and over again to make new aluminium and glass products. However, plastic can only be recycled three times before manufacturers have to add in new plastic when making new plastic products.