Over the years, my husband has challenged me several times to write a picture book about climate change. Each time, I responded with a long sigh. How can I possibly write about such a sad and overwhelming topic in a book for young children? Yet several months ago, working in a hot office during an unprecedented spring heat wave, I found myself thinking about the idea again and writing these lines: “The technology and planning we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, slow climate change, and adapt to our new reality already exists. We just need to be willing to try.”
June blazed on. Smoke blew down from Canadian wildfires, covering us in a blanket of smog. And I worried. Is it true… or just hopeful? Can we solve the climate crisis? Can we adapt? From my very hot office, I set out to try to answer these questions, at least for myself.
But what does a children’s book writer like me have to add to the climate conversation? It’s a good question and one that I have asked myself frequently. I’m not a scientist or a public policy expert… but here is what keeps me reading and writing. Climate change is a crisis that today’s children—wherever they reside, whatever their means—will be impacted by for the rest of their lives. Children deserve answers, and perhaps more importantly, they deserve hope.
So I set out to write a book for children that is both hopeful and true. I hope someone will decide to publish it. Until then, I wanted to share these reflections… There is, indeed, a different path forward on the climate crisis that could give our children the hopeful future they deserve. However, monumental changes are needed to almost every aspect of human civilization—from where we live and what we eat to how we grow things, get energy, go places, make and move goods, engineer our homes and cities, and conserve the world’s CO2-storing ecosystems. What is needed is positively Herculean—a transformation of all our values and ways and cooperation from every nation.
It’s overwhelming to consider, but it is also still possible…
This fact, our collective ingenuity, and (at our best) our shared capacity to care give me hope.
I highly recommend these books and the documentary, Climate Change: The Facts.