The effects of climate change are being experienced around the world, and sometimes the negative results can feel so much bigger than any one person’s attempts to make a positive change, especially one young person. With the help of some wonderful children’s book authors, though, we hope to reverse that conclusion and demonstrate how young readers can make real changes in their community or in their lives that will affect the globe.
Hear from six kid lit authors whose books about animal habitats, human environments, and ecological changes are just one part of their expertise and one piece of their contributions to protect the earth’s environment. Each author shares their top tip on what individuals can do to combat the negative effects of climate change.
Mary Batten, author of Life in a Frozen World:
“Plastic is one of the worst environmental pollutants of both land and sea. Plastic debris has even reached Antarctica. The problem with plastic is that it is not biodegradable. Some plastic trash may last for a hundred years in the environment. Plastic that ends up in the ocean is broken down into tiny particles by sunlight and wave action. These microparticles are eaten by fish, seabirds and other marine animals and passed along in the food chain. One of the most important things you can do is to help your family reduce the amount of plastic that they use. Plastic water bottles make up a huge amount of plastic waste. Use sport water bottles instead of plastic water bottles. Take cloth bags to the grocery store. Use glass containers to store leftover food. Cover food with foil or wax paper instead of plastic wrap. Recycle plastic containers and bottles. Look for containers and food coverings made of recyclable materials.”
Melissa Stewart, author of the A Place for… series:
“A wildlife garden can provide birds, butterflies, and other small creatures in your community with everything they need to survive. The workers at a local garden center can help you choose native plants that provide cover and produce food, such as nectar, berries, and seeds, from spring to early autumn. Your garden will also need a water supply, such as a bird bath. As the garden grows, keep track of the creatures who visit it. Are there ways you can improve it to attract even more animals?”
Sandra Markle, author of Toad Weather:
“I value frogs and toads for all they do for us:
Eating lots of insects like mosquitoes and flies that would otherwise become pests.
Being food for lots of animals, such as birds, snakes, foxes, and some fish like pike and bass.
Plus they are just plain cool. Like the fact that they have a sticky tongue attached to the inside front of their mouth and it rolls out in less than a second to snag a bug. Or that to swallow their eyes sink to push food down their throat.
So how can YOU help frogs and toads? It’s easy! Join me in taking care of the Earth. Do all you can to Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse. Frogs need places to live and they need both clean land areas and clean water. So, helping to reduce the amount of land spoiled by becoming a landfill and reducing how many waste items and polluting liquids run into ponds, lakes, and streams is KEY. You can do it! YOU can make a difference. Now, HOP TO IT!”
Cathryn Sill, author of the About Habitats series:
“Many children are familiar with the 3 Rs of protecting the environment: reduce, reuse and recycle. Another thing kids can do is reduce waste by precycling. This is a way of protecting the environment by stopping waste before it happens. Some simple examples of precycling include bringing your own bags when shopping, having a reusable water bottle, using fewer disposable items, and buying items that use the least amount of packaging.”
Bill Harley, author of Night of the Spadefoot Toads:
“Young people are in the forefront of fighting to protect the environment and turn the tide, and my advice is to find some people locally active in groups like the Sunrise Movement (https://www.sunrisemovement.org/) But just as important is to get outside – find people in your community who know nature and hang out with them – teachers, Audubon Society, nature centers, etc. For me, one of the overwhelming, mysterious truths is that, despite our carelessness the planet cares for us and we become aware of that if we pay attention. Knowing the birds and trees and rivers and land around us makes us care more for the Earth. Becoming familiar with the natural world right outside your door is as important as watching a documentary. We have to feel this caring in our bodies, not just our heads. And if you’re thinking about books, get some pocket field guides of birds, trees, insects and animals you can carry with you when you step outside your door.”
Sneed Collard, author of Flash Point:
“There are so many things we can each do to help protect the planet, but one that is too often ignored is to keep all cats indoors. As adorable as they are, cats are killers. It’s not their faults. That’s just how they evolved. Bells, special collars, and other things do not work to keep them from killing birds, reptiles, and small mammals. Scientists estimate outside cats and feral cats kill between one and two billion birds each year. That is a tremendous toll—and one cat owners can easily do something about, so if you have a cat, talk to your parents about the problem, and help protect our planet’s wonderful wildlife.”