New to the list of books that encourage young people to get involved in big issues, this pocket sized guide shows how they can make a real difference to the world. With sections on food production, biodiversity and plastic, it’s full of useful information, while other sections introduce campaigners who have successfully made a difference, and challenge readers to check the evidence before accepting something as fact. With colour photographs throughout, it’s attractive as well as informative and you can feel the urgency and passion of the creators.
Author Catherine Barr describes her journey to becoming an Eco Warrior below.
I was desperate to sail the high seas with Greenpeace when I was at school. So I made a plan. I studied ecology at Leeds University (there were just 12 of us in 1983…) and after a few globe-trotting adventures applied and to my joy, became the Wildlife Assistant in Greenpeace UK. I stayed, with different campaign roles in this global organisation for many years. It became an extraordinary journey in beginning to understand the world. I met my partner and I did sail the high seas, working with cetacean scientists researching whales. I also fulfilled all hippie cliches by knitting a jumper during this bumpy, Scottish campaign voyage.
I did not however, qualify to power the infamous Greenpeace inflatables… my driving was ‘too erratic’, which obviously, is absolutely no good at all on the high seas. But my passion for protecting and fighting for the natural world is not erratic… it is an enduring commitment that I am passionate to share. One of the most exciting and fascinating aspects of writing nonfiction is working in consultation with scientists researching the natural world. I am interested in finding ways to share their expertise with curious children, fuelling their excitement to get stuck in, explore and be brave enough to ultimately, stand up to change the world.
Haynes, my publishers for the Eco Warrior Pocket Manual came up with the idea of an eco guide – as a ‘back burner’ for next year. But a month later we agreed the contract and a tight copy deadline… because being an eco warrior just isn’t a back burner.
My aim in writing Eco Warrior was that it be a kickstarter for individual and collective action. Its readers will I hope, be inspired and empowered to do something when they have read it. That might be simply starting a conversation or reading a book or it might involve getting mucky to plant a tree, clean a filthy river or tracking down their MP.
Eco Warrior gives a brief overview of key environmental issues (pick one that inspires you), highlights eco heroes from Darwin to an award-winning teenage vegan cook (tune in to a story that fires your imagination), suggests a checklist of eco warrior skills you need (which best describe you?) and packs in ideas to get started (pick and mix to make a difference). Whether you are a book worm in a library or/and a rebel with a cause and loud hailer on a protest platform, there are so many different (and everyday) ways to protect our planet. That really, is the point of the book.
I hope children and adults will find it a helpful starter kit for change, to share. I hope its pages provoke questions, conversation, ideas and action, however small.
Many of my books are narrative nonfiction that children and their parents read together, like a story. I wrote my first book, The Story of Life: a first book about evolution because at the time, I was unable to find this incredible true story, written as a narrative. I could only find text books. But Eco Warrior is not a narrative. It is a fact-filled little pocket manual in the truest sense of the word. I hope it is useful and most of all, I hope it works. It is also of course, a perfect, poignant stocking filler for everyone you know!