Happy Stories for Nature Lovers
Dawn Casey and Domenique Serfontein
Watching the Earth Prom on TV today I heard Chris Packham say this: “Now is the time to ask what we need to do for wildlife. We know we are on the brink, … but there is still hope … we can stop the loss of millions of species but we have to understand the need to change what we do, to accept and celebrate that change – we need to do it together with tolerance and kindness, because ultimately we are one species on one very special planet with one very big problem and one last chance to sort it out. Now is the time for ALL of us to make a difference.”
Author Dawn Casey writes in her introduction to this book of an environmentalist, Joanna Macy, who talks of the fact that more and more people are indeed taking action in response to nature’s needs, calling this shift ‘The Great Turning’.
The eight narrative non-fiction stories herein are examples telling how individuals and conservation bodies have made a difference to wild life in various parts of the world. We read of young Anna who, on account of her love of trees, was responsible for the founding of the Children’s Forest movement by passing on her passion to her pupils.
A grandpa talking to his grandson outlines how the Humpback whales were rescued from the brink of extinction. In the 1930s only 440 were left but with the banning of hunting and killing of whales for commercial gain in 1986, their numbers have grown to 25,000.
Intensive farming methods with their use of pesticides and the destruction of hedges and trees have created green deserts in many parts of the world. However in Nature’s Plenty we learn how a farming couple in Normandy, Charles and Perrine followed their dream of growing healthy food for their family. Starting small, they bought a field and without the use of machinery, by feeding the soil only natural things, replanting hedges and planting crops for their mutual benefit, developed over the years a rich ecosystem of pastures, pools, orchards and hedges. This aroused the interest of scientists who came to see and were vastly impressed to discover the amount of food the farm grew on so small an area of land. Now the couple help others learn to farm in a similar low impact manner.
These and the other five examples, stylishly illustrated by Domenique Serfontein, should give young readers cause for hope and will surely inspire them to take action in whatever ways they can. The final spread offers some suggestions of how we might all walk more gently upon the earth.