Make One Change a Week – 52 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet: Week 2 – Prep Your Plastics!

It’s not news. Plastics are everywhere – all around us, as waste and litter, and in our minds, thanks to lots of recent plastic pollution awareness campaigns.

And we’re all trying to reduce, reuse and recycle our plastic bottles and other plastics responsibly, so less rubbish ends up lying around or ending up in the oceans.

What more can be done?

Something simply really:

Prep your plastics!

What does ‘Prep your Plastics’ mean?

Let’s think, for a moment, about the wildlife whose homes are in the places our rubbish ends up.

Large and small critters suffer (see these examples in an article from Huffington Post) – because we don’t always consider our fellow creatures when we throw stuff away or recycle it.

Even the journey to the recycling plant could mean garbage blows away or falls off the recycling trucks and ends up harming animals.

So how do we prep our plastic waste and recycling?

The main plastic culprits are anything we throw away that has small rings, hoops or parts that could get caught around a bird’s foot, a hedgehog’s body, a fish’s fin or a turtle’s mouth, as well as anything long or sharp like plastic straws.

So get out some scissors and cut open any plastic hoops or enclosed parts, and cut shorter any long, jabbing plastics before disposing them in the recycling or rubbish bins.

Consider reusing plastic bags, bottles and containers, rather than tossing them into waste bins.

Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) can get their head stuck in discarded plastic can holder. Set-up shot with captive animal.
Image credits – Creator:Ann & Steve Toon / Credit:1
Copyright:Ann & Steve Toon / naturepl.com

Small things you do will make a difference!

Margaret Mead, a famous anthropologist, said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful [people] can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Why not explore the concept of plastic pollution further with our Planet Plastic Worksheet? Get if free here.

Acknowledgements

Photo of hedgehog caught in plastic rings from https://www.countrylife.co.uk/country-life/country-life-litter-campaign-71195 (Image credits – Creator: Ann & Steve Toon Credit: 1 Copyright: Ann & Steve Toon / naturepl.com)

Margaret Mead quote from http://www.interculturalstudies.org/faq.html#quote (used with permission)

Photos of rubbish bundle, seagull and butterflies from pixabay.com

Make One Change a Week – 52 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet: Week 1 – What’s Veganuary About?

What’s all this stuff about Veganuary?

Veganuary is a commitment to try the Vegan diet and/or the Veganism lifestyle for the 31 days of January this year or every year.

How do you pronounce Veganuary?

Almost like Jan-u-ary, except it’s Vee-Gan-You-Ary!

Why January?

Well that’s when lots of us make ‘New Year Resolutions’ to do better, eat better, be fitter, be more healthy, isn’t it?

And as a Vegan diet is plant-based, it’s recognised as one of the healthiest and kindest diets. It’s not only healthy for you, but it’s also healthier and kinder to animals (you’re not using or killing them for meat, milk and eggs) and to the planet.

What’s Veganism got to with the planet?

Where and how your food is grown, fed, harvested and killed affects the natural environment.

Bulldozer clearing forest

From the pesticides and herbicides used prolifically on our food crops and the crops fed to animals kept for meat, milk and eggs – to the slashing, burning, clearing and deforestation of large areas for grazing for those animals as well as space to grow crops for them to eat – to the loss of habitats and biodiversity, and the resulting species extinctions – to the large-scale disease, use of antibiotics, and pollution caused by keeping billions of animals confined – to the major impacts of animal agriculture on climate change

Anything and everything we eat and drink has an impact on the planet.

This sounds bad. But humans have to eat. So what can we do about it?

Commit to being mindful about where your food comes from, how animals were treated from birth to confinement to slaughterhouse, and what chemicals were used on your and their food.


Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese image thanks to viva.org.uk

Consider changing what you eat. Maybe try Veganuary (even if it’s already halfway into, or past January, it doesn’t matter). Or maybe try eating less meat, eggs and dairy, or having some meat-free or diary-free days every week.

Don’t do nothing! There’s plenty of support from groups on social media as well as websites with advice and tasty recipes (such as this Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese). You can do this! 🙂

What’s this about the Vegan ‘lifestyle’? Isn’t it just a diet?

Get the long and the short of all things Veganism here.

Sources and Further Reading:

http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

https://www.facebook.com/Veganuary

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/21/lifestyle-change-eat-less-meat-climate-change

https://www.veganrecipeclub.org.uk/recipes/easy-vegan-spaghetti-bolognese

https://www.viva.org.uk/

Interview with Environmental Author Sonia Faruqi

I’m always happy to find another author who uses the magic of words and the potentially powerful imagery inherent in them to bring awareness of environmental issues, animal rights and nature conservation to the world.

Sonia Faruqi is one such author, having written two books, both of which she says happened accidentally!

I interviewed Sonia in August 2018 about her work – you can view the video of this interview below.


Project Animal Farm, her first book, is a critically-acclaimed investigation into intensive factory farming. While volunteering at an organic dairy farm, in what Sonia imagined was going to be a short, idyllic holiday between jobs, she discovered that even organic farms treat their animals as commodities and that the peaceful, grass-fed existence we imagine for dairy cows is nothing close to the truth.

This experience led her on an unquenchable thirst for knowledge in eight countries around the world – to learn about how animals are treated in various types of farms around the world, why there isn’t greater transparency about the terrifying cruelty so often built into the intensive farming system, and what it might take to solve the unsustainable global crisis known as ‘modern farming’ for meat, dairy and eggs.

Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation, and often referred to as the ‘founder of the modern animal rights movement’, had this to say: “Let Sonia Faruqi take you on her courageous personal journey of discovery. I thought I already knew everything there is to know about modern animal production, but I learned many new things from this very readable book, and you will, too.

I like Sonia’s choice of title for this documentary book, which cleverly alludes to George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, about farm animals who symbolise proleteriat workers, and who don’t realise they are being controlled by sinister forces larger than themselves.

Sonia has a rare gift for description – the farm and slaughterhouse workers, managers and farmers she met along the way (she says they’re true to life except for their names which she’s changed for privacy) jump off the pages like characters you wouldn’t be surprised to find in a dystopian novel.

She includes research and statistics about the laws, policies and practices around factory farming, and this book, which could be emotionally challenging for some readers in places (I burst into tears when she described the slaughterhouse scenes), should, in my opinion, be compulsory reading for everyone aged 15 or over.

I feel very strongly that if more people know the truth about the often deceptive, corrupt and heartless world of factory farming, then many more consumers would shun meat, dairy and eggs, and farm animals might be able to live their lives in peace, just as they have a natural right to do.


The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi

Sonia’s second book, The Oyster Thief, described as “an underwater odyssey”, is an extraordinary novel about merpeople in the Atlantic Ocean. In the richly and accurately-researched undersea environment, Sonia immerses herself and her readers in a story about love, betrayal and destruction of the ocean.

Through the eyes of the merpeople, many fearful of humans through past experiences, we learn about real and current environmental issues affecting the Earth’s oceans, including undersea mining for minerals and oil, and how coral reefs, the lifeblood of the oceans, are suffering from human activities.

Sonia says she sat down to write The Oyster Thief one cold, January morning, when she felt frustrated that she couldn’t escape to a warmer place. So she began creating an imaginary world, which turned into a novel!

Painstakingly researched, and informed by Sonia’s experiences including diving with sharks, the story introduces you to the myriad of different types of corals and undersea creatures which inhabit the Atlantic Ocean, as we follow Coralline, a mermaid, and Izar, a human on a quest for a life-saving elixir.

You can watch the video interview with Sonia below.

Catch up with her at her website SoniaFaruqi.com or on social media: TwitterFacebook and Instagram.


Kathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children. In fact, her books are suitable for anyone who cares about animals and the planet.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream (a story to save caged animals), Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came (a story to save the Earth), and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves (fun and educational science fiction). Her next book will be a story to save trees.

Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, other Amazon websites and major bookstore websites worldwide.  Find out more


Original 1945 cover of Animal Farm by George Orwell: By Unknown author (-) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Veganism: How You can Save the Planet one Plant-Based Meal at a Time

Veganism: passing fad or here to stay?

Veganism is being embraced, especially by young celebrities and their followers, and the numbers of people adopting vegan diets have risen exponentially in the last 10 years.

Are they just trying to be trendy, or is there something else going on?

Matt Prior, vegan and vegan activist

 Matt Prior, a vegan and vegan activist in Hertfordshire, says there’s more to veganism than you might think:

“Veganism is a lifestyle, not just a diet. It’s about not supporting any forms of animal exploitation, whether that be in animals farmed for meat, dairy and eggs, or animals confined in zoos or circuses; or in clothing and fashion, such as items made from leather, wool or silk; or in cosmetics/cleaning products where ingredients are derived from animals; or in animal testing in laboratories”.

So let’s take a look at the different aspects of veganism.

Probably the strongest motivator for vegans is they don’t want to support any forms of animal suffering, and so take steps to avoid it with their consumer choices. Matt describes this as “aligning your actions with your morals and ethics”.

Vegans typically avoid any foods derived from animals, such as:

~ Meat (especially meat from intensively factory-farmed animals),

~ Dairy milk and products derived from milk such as cheese, cream and butter (did you know that most dairy cows also end up as meat?),

~ Eggs (most eggs come from tightly packed hens living in appalling conditions all their egg-laying lives, and when spent, they may also end up as meat),

~ Foods like honey (which is the bees’ own food for the winter months), Foie Gras (which means ducks and geese are force-fed with pipes down their throats to make them unnaturally fat, so that Foie Gras can be scraped from their livers when they’ve been killed for this purpose), and foods with ingredients like gelatine (thickening agent usually made from boiling bones and ligaments of cows and pigs).

Unfortunately even ‘organic’, ‘free-range’ or ‘grass-fed’ animal-based food products, which may be more nutritional for consumers, often come from animals which have had to die the same grisly deaths in the same slaughterhouses as factory farmed animals.

What do vegans eat, and is it healthy?

Essentially vegans have a plant-based diet, which when balanced, will give you everything your body needs, plus better health and more energy than meat-eaters and dairy-consumers!

More and more science is noting that meat and dairy consumption contributes significantly to the world’s major fatal diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, where as a plant-based diet leads to health and longevity.

But beware – not all ‘plant-based’ diets are necessarily healthy.

You could, for example, live on crisps, chips and soda drinks – usually all ‘vegan’ – but sooner or later, you’d get sick from your nutritional deficiencies.

However most vegans are much more nutritionally-aware than their meat-eating counterparts, and vegan food can be tasty, colourful, exciting and full of nutrition!

To get everything you need nutritionally as a vegan, make sure you eat a range of vegetables and fruits – the different colours and types all signal different nutritional benefits, as well as beans and pulses (like lentils, broad beans, black beans, kidney beans, endamame beans or aduki beans), nuts and seeds. Add grains and starches like potatoes, pasta, rice, cous cous, quinoa or bulgar wheat, and/or different breads like wholewheat bread, rye bread, pittas, wraps or tortillas – check the ingredients to ensure they’re all vegan – and you’re good to go.

Plus there are countless alternatives to meat and other non-vegan foods available nowadays – such as vegan burgers, vegan cheese, plant milks (such as soya milk, rice milk, almond milk or hemp milk), vegan pre-prepared meals and vegan snacks. So if you’re struggling with what to eat to appease your conscience, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

There are a lot of myths about the vegan diet.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to get all the protein, iron or calcium you need, except from meat or dairy products, I’m afraid you’ve been duped by the wealthy and powerful meat and dairy industries, who, like the cigarette industry, will do anything, including lie, deceive and commit scientific fraud to keep people buying and using their products.

A plant-based diet can provide all the protein, calcium and iron you need, and in more digestible, purer forms of these nutrients, than from meat and dairy. Think of any large, herbivorous mammals like cows, camels, elephants or buffalos – in the wild, they’re strong, healthy and get everything they need from eating only grasses and other plants!

And like anybody else who’s health-aware, if you’re concerned about getting all the nutrition you need, take vitamin and mineral supplements. Vegans are encouraged to take vitamin B12 supplements because this vitamin, naturally occurring in soil, is no longer available to us in our overly washed, soil-less vegetables and fruits.

Vegans know animal suffering doesn’t stop with the food industry.

Shearing sheepCountless animals are kept in unnatural conditions and undergo painful trauma and abuse in order for us to have things like wool (sheep and goats are often kicked, hurled and cut in order to remove their wool as quickly and profitably as possible), leather (leather is not always a by-product of the meat industry – many millions of cattle and other animals – even dogs – are bred and killed inhumanely just for their skins), and fur (did you know that 100 million animals are killed every year for their fur, and that some fake fur is actually real fur?).

Orca whales in tank

Most vegans choose not to buy products made from those and other animal-derived materials.

They also prefer to deliberately stay away from places like zoos, circuses, aquatic parks and animal rides, where animals are usually kept in impossibly tiny enclosures their whole lives, or are forced to work or perform unnatural tricks, and often suffer from mental illness, loneliness, disease and early death.

Monkey in a cage

Even the so-called ‘best’ zoos and parks, which brag about their ‘world-class’ animal welfare policies, cannot get away from the fact that they’re essentially keeping animals captive for profits. Gone are the days when zoos and aquatic parks helped conserve species from extinction – most captive animals are not endangered and it’s very common for zoos to cull their ‘excess’ animals.

What’s this got to do with the planet?

Essentially everything we do or buy as consumers on this planet has an impact on the environment. With seven billion human beings, it’s got to.

Whether that be filling up our cars with petrol or diesel and driving instead of walking or cycling, buying and consuming foods from supermarkets or local shops, using electricity or gas for light or cooking, or choosing and using household cleaners, pharmaceutical medicines, cosmetics or clothing…

All of the food and products we buy and use come from somewhere (often from factories or farms of industrial scale); almost all of these products and by-products generate waste, littler and pollution in their manufacturing, packaging and discarding after use; and many of them are full of additives, carcinogens, pollutants, toxins, pesticides, herbicides and contaminants which are bad for our bodies and bad for the planet.

Sows in crates - Factory Farming

Take factory-farming, for example.

This is how the vast majority of meat, dairy, egg and fur animals are farmed across the globe.

Factory farming involves keeping animals by the hundreds, thousands and more commonly by the hundreds of thousands, in confined spaces like crates, cages or barns. They are fed hormones, antibiotics and even ground-up flesh of other animals in order to artificially boost their growth and keep costs down, and their natural behaviours and movement are restricted.

At the end of their short, horrible lives, they are slaughtered in cruel ways, some of which are deemed legal and ‘humane’, but not all. Keeping and killing all those animals – 150 billion every year – happens behind closed doors, for a reason. And is there really a ‘humane’ way to kill any living being?

Big farming = big degradation and big hunger.

Bulldozer clearing forest

Not only do animals suffer from these barbaric, cost-saving policies, but the disease and pollution from the close confinement of millions of animals kept in mega-farms is through the roof. The emissions of greenhouse gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are on the rise, accounting for anything between 10%-65% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Those quantities are definitely climate-changing.

We haven’t even touched on the land grabbing, clearing and deforestation that occurs, such as in the Amazon rainforest, and resulting habitat loss, species extinction and desertification, in order to grow feed-crops for animals, including beef cattle, or to provide space for livestock or agriculture.

Starving children begging

Or the fact that we could feed many more humans with plant-based foods than we do now, by not producing meat or dairy (meat- and dairy-producing animals need humongous amounts of space, food and water compared to plants), and instead growing crops for human food consumption. For instance, it takes around 660 gallons of water to produce enough beef for ONE hamburger!

Eating meat and dairy is literally contributing to human starvation and planetary degradation on an industrial scale.

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of science and conscience.

We live in a world where we can buy, eat and use anything we want, whenever we want. Or at least those that can afford it, do.

But surely there’s more to life than just consuming whatever we like, regardless of the cost to ourselves, to other beings and to planet Earth?

Veganism is about being mindful of the fact that what we do has a consequence.

Like Matt says: “Once you know what happens in the meat, dairy and egg industries, and how bad they are for the planet, it feels hypocritical to support them. To live a vegan lifestyle is to consciously add more compassion and benevolence to the world, to establish a spiritual connection with it and its many forms of life. By minimising the negative impact we impose on the environment and our fellow earthlings, future generations have a chance to thrive.”

Never in history was it more true to say ‘you are what you eat.’


Watch this video interview with Matt about veganism, at a recent Cube of Truth demonstration by Anonymous for the Voiceless:

Vegan support websites:

Challenge22.com – https://www.challenge22.com/challenge22/

Vegan Society – https://www.vegansociety.com/

Films about animal rights, factory farming and veganism:

Cowspiracy – http://www.cowspiracy.com/

Dominion – http://www.dominionmovement.com/

Earthlings – http://www.nationearth.com/

Land of Hope and Glory – https://www.landofhopeandglory.org/

What The Health – http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/


Selected sources for further reading:

https://www.riseofthevegan.com/blog/going-vegan-biggest-trend-for-2018

https://www.riseofthevegan.com/blog/largest-study-to-show-link-between-meat-and-disease

https://vegetariannutrition.net/docs/Calcium-Vegetarian-Nutrition.pdf

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/things-vegans-dont-eat#section2

https://www.simplehappykitchen.com/protein-calcium-iron/

Eat Your Dirt: Natural Vitamin B12 And Where To Find The Best B12 Supplement

Is a Plant-Based Diet Right for You?

Factory Farming: Misery for Animals

https://www.ciwf.org.uk/factory-farming/why-does-factory-farming-still-exist/

10 Dairy Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

http://theconversation.com/five-ways-the-meat-on-your-plate-is-killing-the-planet-76128

http://www.cowspiracy.com/infographic

https://iskconnews.org/meat-eating-the-cause-for-world-hunger-criminal-waste-of-grains,3607/

https://www.thoughtco.com/is-foie-gras-particularly-cruel-127514

Fur Farming

http://www.adaptt.org/about/the-kill-counter.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26356099

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/farm/hsus-fact-sheet-greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-animal-agriculture.pdf

http://www.wri.org/blog/2014/05/everything-you-need-know-about-agricultural-emissions

 


Image sources:

Pixabay.com

FilmingForLiberation.com


Unique novels with environmental themes by Kathryn Rose NeweyKathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children. In fact, her books are suitable for anyone aged 8-88 who cares about animals and the planet.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream (a story to save caged animals), Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came (a story to save the Earth), and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves (science fiction). Her next book will be a story to save trees.

Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, other Amazon websites and major bookstore websites worldwide.  Find out more


 

Single-Use Plastic – 5 Ways To Reduce Yours and Save the Earth

plastic waste on a beach

Single-use plastic is what it says:

Plastic that’s been designed to be used once only, then thrown away.

What a waste!

We all know it’s a huge problem.

single use plastic - plastic bottles, cups, bags, tubes and lids

Billions of tons of waste plastic lies about as litter, clogs up the oceans, and animals get caught and injured or killed by it.

Plus plastic is made from fossil fuels (oil) and takes decades or centuries to decompose…

And even then, it doesn’t fully decompose – it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces until we have plastic micro-particles in the soil, water, air, and inside animals and humans!

Examples of single-use plastic are everywhere, in lots of things we buy everyday.

transparent plastic cup with pink liquid, with plastic lid and plastic strawHow many of these do you use?

  • Plastic water bottles and disposable cups for coffee, soft drinks or water,
  • Cling film or plastic wrappings around fresh fruit and vegetables or prepared foods like fresh pizza,
  • Plastic packaging like six-pack rings for packs of canned drinks, or sealed around other packaging like teabag boxes,
  • person walking, carrying plastic shopping bag with fruitPlastic straws and plastic spoons, knives and forks,
  • Plastic containers like yoghurt pots, laundry liquid bottles, toiletry tubes and bottles, and take-away/fast food containers,
  • And of course – plastic bags like supermarket bags, carrier bags or shopping bags from stores.

So what can we do about it?

Here’s 5 things you can do right now, to reduce your “plastic footprint” on planet Earth:

  1. We can’t always help buying plastic packaging for some things. So if you do, save the plastic bags or wraps. Then wash them if necessary and make sure to use them again.reusable coffee cup with yellow sun design
  2. Sometimes when you’re out, you can’t find a recycling bin for your waste. Take it back home and recycle it. Don’t put recyclable plastic waste into a normal rubbish/garbage bin, because it’ll unnecessarily end up in landfill, around an animal’s neck, or in the oceans.
  3. Plan ahead – take a reusable cup and your own set of reusable cutlery, including a reusable straw, with you.Mallard Duck with plastic six pack rings around his neck
  4. Use your own reusable fabric shopping bags (even reusable plastic shopping bags can end up as waste).
  5. Think of our wildlife – cut plastic six-pack rings, tear open plastic bags, cut straws up and open or tear up any packaging that might get caught around a bird’s foot, a fox’s head, a sea turtle’s flipper or a seal’s nose.

Speak up!

plastic waste and litter floating in lily pondWhen you’re paying for your food and groceries, make a comment to the staff, talk to fellow shoppers, or complain to managers about all the unnecessary plastic packaging.

Some people even unwrap their food and groceries while still in the store, and leave their plastic waste there – what better way to get the large supermarkets talking to manufacturers about reducing excess plastic?

Start conversations! 

glass cups with reusable straws

Say no in restaurants and coffee shops – is it really necessary to have a plastic lid and plastic straw with your drink?

When you’re out and about, be seen using your own reusable coffee cup, recycled water bottle, paper straw and washable cutlery – and talk to others about it. Many coffee shops offer a discount if you use your own mug or cup rather than one of theirs, so it’ll save you money too.

It’s a challenge, but worth it.

By NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Challenge yourself and your family and friends to use less single-use plastic.

Zero-waste challenges like Zero Waste Life, Apps like MyLittlePlasticFootprint.org, and Social Media groups like PlasticWasteInOceans or PlasticFreeSupport are an informative and fun way to get people involved and motivated.

You can investigate the issue of plastic pollution further with this interactive worksheet all about plastics, pollution and solutions, available to download here.

Here is an infographic from boomerangalliance.org.au – all about plastic pollution around Australia:

Let’s all start taking action today. Here’s to a plastic-free world!

Questions? Comments? Leave a reply below this post. 🙂


Unique novels with environmental themes by Kathryn Rose NeweyKathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream, Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came, and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves.

They are available on Amazon and major bookstore websites worldwide.


Sources:

https://www.waterdocs.ca/water-talk/2017/12/19/8-single-use-plastic-items-you-can-quit-right-now

https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/how-plastic-is-harming-animals-the-planet-and-us/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/crushplastic


Photo of litter on beach by hhach of Pixabay.com.

Photo of pink drink in transparent plastic cup by Alexander Kim from Pexels.

Photo of person carrying yellow plastic bag by cocoparisienne of Pixabay.com.

Picture of different types of single-use plastics by maria_johansson of Pixabay.com.

Photo of yellow reusable cup by Michael Frattaroli on Unsplash.

Photo of Mallard duck with plastic by Ian Kirk from Broadstone, Dorset, UK (Please take your litter home!Uploaded by Foerster) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo of litter in pond by Hagerty Ryan, USFWS of Pixnio.com.

Photo of drinks glasses with reusable straws by StockSnap of Pixabay.com.

Photo of planet Earth by NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Infographic “Plastic Does Not Go Away” from https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/boomerangalliance/pages/231/attachments/original/1464851954/MicroPlastic-Infographic-Final-2016.jpg?1464851954.


 

‘Animals in the Forest’ Review: Thought Provoking and an Absolute Pleasure to Read

Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came by Kathryn Rose NeweyThe Nature Conservation novel aimed at middle grade children, teens and young adults, ‘Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came‘, was recently reviewed by Education Otherwise, a major home education organisation in the UK. Kerri, the EO book reviewer, wrote:

‘Animals in the Forest’ is an absolute pleasure to read due to the superb descriptive detail and wide ranging vocabulary…It’s a really lovely and thought provoking addition for your child’s reading and English curriculum which I’m sure all children will enjoy and be inspired by.

She went on to say: “This is a beautifully illustrated,…delightfully written,…environmentally themed animal story with free supplementary worksheets,…[which] are the most interesting and varied I have come across.” [see the full review text below]

EducationOtherwise.org is a major home education / home schooling organisation in the UK, dedicated to providing “information and resources for home educating families and those considering home education for the first time, including guidance on home education and the law, SEN and disabilities; downloadable fact sheets covering many aspects of HE; and links to local HE groups across the UK.” They publish a newsletter for members a few times a year.


Here is EO’s full review of ‘Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came’ and the matching WonderWorksheets [spoiler alert!]:

“This is a beautifully illustrated, environmentally themed animal story with free supplementary worksheets… The story is set in a local forest where Dakota the Deer and her animal friends live until they are disturbed by machinery that starts destroying the forest to build new houses. The 9 chapters describe events from the animals’ point of view, describing their initial curiosity to the fear and then really that they would be forced to leave their homes. 

This text is an absolute pleasure to read due to the superb descriptive detail and wide ranging vocabulary, but also as it is delightfully written in ‘proper English’. The characters’ personalities come to life in each chapter as they try to make sense of what is going on, to the point that you desperately hope for a happy ending, which sadly, and realistically, there is not.

At the end of the book there is an Epilogue that provides information on the environmental reasons for each character’s name, some other related environmental issues for further thought, and a section entitled ‘What you can do to help?’ to protect the environment.

The book is a wonderful read on its own, but there is also a pack of WonderWorksheets for English Literacy with lots of questions, discussion ideas, writing tasks and discussion topics. Aimed for upper primary, these worksheets provide a very interesting and comprehensive set of exercises covering a wide range of activities including researching and designing your own non-fiction booklet about crows, drawing an impression of a worm’s-eye view of the animals’ discussion, writing stories from a given first line, and many more.

The worksheets are the most interesting and varied I have come across to date and show that the author has put a lot of thought and detail into each one.

‘Animals in the Forest’ is a really lovely, thought provoking addition to your child’s reading and English curriculum which I am sure all children will enjoy and be inspired by.” ~ from EO Newsletter, Spring 2018


Download a printable version of EO’s full review with weblinks here.

Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came’ is a unique nature conservation tale, told from the point of view of forest animals. They know that humans do things they don’t always understand and like, but one day, the humans start something more destructive…

The book honours environmental activists, defenders and indigenous tribes and includes info and websites to research these issues further.

Can one story save the Earth? It’s up to you…


Paperback, e-book & audiobook available from: Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com  

Plus, there are two complementary sets of WonderWorksheets, exploring lots of literacy and environmental themes in the book. 


Paperbacks, e-books and audiobooks are available from most Amazon websites and major online bookstores internationally, such as Barnes & NobleBooktopiaFoylesWaterstonesBlackwells, etc.

Note: the Kindle reader app can be downloaded for reading Kindle e-books on any device (such as PC, Mac, iOS or Android).


 

New Animal Rights Story for Teens to be Published Soon

UPDATE June 2018: ‘The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream‘ has been published! Find out more here.

If you or your kids are into reading about the natural environment, green issues, ecology, animals or saving the planet, then my next book, ‘The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream‘ is for you!

It’s a story about living behind bars, told from the perspective of zoo animals. Their experiences and antics are both amusing and tragic. Many of the zoo animals believe life will always be the same, but one day a travelling animal appears. This shocks and confuses them, and his presence seems to ignite a ‘faraway dream’ in the animals’ minds – is it just wishful thinking? Arguments abound, so some animals decide it’s finally time to take action…

This is a story to save caged animals. Information and website links about confined animals in zoos, farms, labs, crates and tanks are included at the back of the book, with suggestions on how readers can help to solve this global tragedy.

Sonia Faruqi, author of Project Animal Farm‘ (an award-winning investigation of the truth behind factory farming), has this to say:

“’The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream’ is a touching, beautifully written story with a heart-warming cast of zoo characters. The story makes you laugh and sigh, while also urging you to stop and think about the plight of many zoo animals in our world.

The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream‘ is suitable for all ages, young and old (little ones will need an adult to read it to them), but particularly those aged 9-14 years. It will be available in paperback and e-book from Amazon, other online retailer websites, and bookstores near you. Watch this space!

 

Get your paperback or e-book from:

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com 

Waterstones.com  BarnesandNoble.com

Paperbacks and e-books are available from most Amazon websites and major online bookstores internationally, such as Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, Foyles, Waterstones, Blackwells, etc.

Note: the Kindle reader app can be downloaded for reading Kindle e-books on any device (such as PC, Mac, iOS or Android).


 

Children’s Writing Workshops at Waterstones Bookstores

UPDATE May 2018: I’m offering more Kids’ Writing Workshops at Waterstones Hatfield, Waterstones Welwyn Garden City, and Harpenden Books during May Half-Term (28th-31st May 2018). Contact the stores to book your place!


UPDATE April 2018! The 2pm-3pm workshop on Monday 9 April 2018 is now fully booked, so we’ve added a second workshop at 11am-12noon. Hurry and book your place (ages 9+ years) by emailing welwyngc@waterstones.com


Why not let the kids come along to one of my interactive Kids’ Writing Workshops?

The next one will be during Easter school holidays, on Monday 9th April 2018, 2pm to 3pm, at Waterstones bookstore, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Book your child (aged 9+ years) in for this free, fun workshop by emailing welwyngc@waterstones.com

Children will meet me, a local children’s author, learn how to write stories to save the Earth, and find out about publishing their own books!

3 books by Kathryn Rose NeweyMy books will also be on sale on the day. Hope to see you there! 🙂

Radio Interview: Nature Conservation Novel ‘Animals in the Forest’

BBC 3 Counties Radio logoNick Coffer interviewed me live on BBC Three Counties Radio about my nature conservation / environmental fiction book ‘Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came‘ early in January 2018. Listen to the podcast of the interview here, or watch it now:


Here’s some more information about the ‘Nature Conservation Fiction’ genre:

What exactly is ‘nature conservation fiction’ or ‘environmental fiction’?

It’s a relatively unexplored genre of fiction, which encompasses anything to do with nature, the natural environment, nature conservation, green issues, and/or wildlife and animal rights, within a story.

Why is ‘environmental fiction’ important?

Books and stories, whether they are paperbacks, e-books, audiobooks, braille books or picture books, are a wonderful way to engage young readers into new worlds.

Usually environmental fiction and nature conservation stories have significant elements which are true to life, for example, the descriptions of wild animals, or the conservation/green issues that real or fictional characters may grapple with.

The authors, including me, usually want to make readers aware that animals and the natural environment are struggling from human actions. We feel that more than ever, now’s the time that everyone needs to become aware, change their habits and take action to save mother Earth.

So how does it work in a book?

Although the story itself, the characters and perhaps even the setting may be fiction, there will be parts of the story which will be realistic and accurate. Environmental stories successfully weave non-fiction into fiction.

Environmental fiction books are therefore educational and inspirational in terms of the information and motivation they give readers. Hopefully readers will want to take further steps by researching these important issues more and then choosing positive actions based on their new knowledge.

Read more about why I feel compelled to write in the ‘Environmental Educational Fiction’ genre here.


Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came‘ is available in paperback, audiobook or e-book from:

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com 

Available in audiobook from:

Audible.co.uk or Audible.com 


Paperbacks, audiobooks and e-books are available from most Amazon websites and major online bookstores internationally, such as Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, Foyles, Waterstones, Blackwells, etc.

Note: the Kindle reader app can be downloaded for reading Kindle e-books on any device (such as PC, Mac, iOS or Android).


 

What are ‘Animal Rights’ and why should we care about Animals?

Picture of animal rights activists at a rally. Picture credit: https://pixabay.com/en/rally-march-protest-signs-2712259/

The term ‘Animal Rights‘ is everywhere these days. To the point where perhaps it’s easy to dismiss, like the myriad of other things vying for our attention in the modern world.

But here’s why the rights of animals are important...

Now we could get into ethics and philosophy, but to me it’s simpler than that. 

Firstly we can often see the suffering of animals. It’s right under our noses: stray animals, animals being treated cruelly or neglected, and social media posts and videos of animals suffering in zoos, tanks, labs and cages.

We have to stop and ask – what kind of human beings are we, if we can see suffering, but do nothing to stop it?

Then there’s the animal suffering we knowingly or unknowingly cause through our actions. We’re all aware to some extent that animals are killed or treated ‘inhumanely’ so we can eat their meat, wear their wool, fur and skin (leather), and eat or consume materials or ingredients they produce.

These animal-sourced things include: eggs from hens and other birds, tallow in banknotes, honey from bees, and things like castoreum, bone char and animal fats in perfumes, sugar, plastic bags and frozen dairy products. Not to mention rennet (from the innards of dead baby animals) in many cheeses, or gelatin (from animal ligaments) in most chewy, jellylike sweets.

Or what about the millions of animals we kill or maim on the roads every day with our fossil-fuel-guzzling cars and trucks, or the countless animals some people hunt to purposely kill for ‘fun’ or ‘sport’?

So it is simple, really…

If we know we are actively causing suffering of animals (or any beings, for that matter) – why aren’t we doing something to reduce or stop our actions?

Cows going to slaughter. You complain about waiting in line at the grocery store - can you imagine the horror of the line they are waiting in? No living being wants to die. Picture from: http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/animal_rights_page.htmNow I can hear the usual, sometimes loud or sometimes just confused arguments we humans like to make – “but I like eating meat/eggs/honey”, or even “but animals are just dumb and put here for humans to use”!

Or perhaps “but we can’t simply stop eating cows/sheep/pigs/chickens because if we did, what would happen to the millions of these animals we have for this purpose?”

The answer to that is there’s no quick and easy solutions!

But surely if we work together, we can work it out! If each person just took one action, say to cut down or cut out meat-eating, that would make a huge difference.

There’s another reason why animal rights are important too.

Many of the things we do to keep, feed and kill the animals we feel we need, are causing very significant damage to the environment and to planet Earth. Our home, this planet, which is the only home we have, is being damaged by many of our everyday actions.

For example, factory farms are very common, even in countries you may not expect, for example, the UK (‘factory farms’ are where animals such as cows, pigs, rabbits and chickens are kept by the millions in very confined cages or enclosures for their whole lives, limiting their natural behaviour).

Not only does this intense farming mean animal diseases are more easily spread through the unhygienic conditions and proximity, which in turn leads farmers to overuse antibiotics, leading to the spread of super-bugs and the decline in effectiveness of antibiotics for humans, but the vast quantities of pollution from the animal waste of these facilities leads to serious environmental hazards and destruction.

Then all these millions of ‘kept’ animals need food and space to be kept. So we clear large areas of forests and other lands which are exceptionally important for ecosystems and environmental health, or those which belong to indigenous tribes, to grow food for the farmed animals we are going to kill and eat, while millions of humans on Earth are starving!

Ultimately it just makes sense to care about animals and be compassionate towards them, because by doing so, that will also save our home, planet Earth.

Okay, so ‘Animal Rights’ is more than just being kind to bunny rabbits! Why not change something in your life today, to make life better for animals, yourself and the Earth?

Questions? Comments? Leave a reply below this post. 🙂


I think it’s also really important that our kids – who are the adults and guardians of this planet in the future – get to engage in animal rights and environmental issues when they’re young.

That’s why I’ve written Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came, so our children can start thinking and acting for animals and nature, through reading a story (and the extra information included) about animals living through their own environmental crisis.

Get your copy here: Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com 


Unique novels with environmental themes by Kathryn Rose NeweyKathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream, Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came, and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves.

Paperbacks, audiobooks and e-books are available from most Amazon websites and major online bookstores internationally, such as Barnes & Noble, Booktopia, Foyles, Waterstones, Blackwells, etc.


Sources and further reading:

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/03/04/eating-meat-destruction-of-environment/

http://www.culturechange.org/issue8/roadkill.htm

https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-factory-farms-and-environment

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/24/health/flexitarian-diet/index.html

http://www.iep.utm.edu/anim-eth/

https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/11118956/Surprising-food-thats-not-suitable-for-vegetarians.html

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/10/bank-of-england-to-keep-animal-fat-in-banknotes-despite-complaints

https://www.thoughtco.com/how-many-animals-are-killed-each-year-127631


Picture credits:

https://pixabay.com/en/bees-honey-honey-bees-honeycomb-345628/

https://pixabay.com/en/bushman-indigenous-people-509239/

https://pixabay.com/en/cows-livestock-cattle-feed-foot-552947/

https://pixabay.com/en/rally-march-protest-signs-2712259/

http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/animal_rights_page.htm