Since its beginning in 1970, every 22 April is celebrated as Earth Day, a day for appreciating the beauty of our Earth and mobilising ourselves to protect it. Earth Day is credited with starting the environmental movement and is the largest worldwide environment event.
This year focuses on single-use plastic with the aim to End Plastic Pollution. The goals of the Earth Day Network “include ending single-use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 percent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behavior concerning plastics.”
While governments introduce regulations about the use of plastics, it is up to each of us to monitor and reduce our own usage.
Other Earth Day campaigns include combating climate change, greening schools and cities, and protecting forests, anything to help create a greener, more sustainable future.
Five of my favourite picture books that include these themes are:
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss demonstrates the effects of pollution and destruction of the environment and highlights the important role of each person in protecting the environment.
Window by Jeannie Baker deals with the effect of progress on wilderness areas as towns and cities are built. (All book by Jeannie Baker carry strong environmental messages.)
Leaf Litter by Rachel Tonkin helps children appreciate the smaller parts of our world and the way they are all interconnected.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown is about a boy who greens a dead part of the city.
One Less Fish by Kim Michelle Toft deals with dangers to marine life and suggests what can be done to improve the marine environment.
These are just a few of the many wonderful books available. Please let me know your favourite in the comments.
By the way, did you notice that each of these books is written and illustrated by an author-illustrator?
At the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills celebrated Earth Day this year with a little forest bathing or Shinrin Yoku. Developed in Japan in the 1980s, Shinrin Yoku is about “fostering deeper relationships and positive experiences with forested areas”. Charli challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about forest bathing. You can use the Japanese term, Shinrin Yoku, or you can make up your own ideas about the phrase. Go where the prompt leads.
A few weeks ago, in response to another prompt, I wrote this story about Crow and Mouse.
I presented the story to my local critique group and received some useful suggestions. One was to have Mouse explore the forest on his own in an attempt to fend for himself, rather than rely on Crow for food. I thought this fitted in nicely with the aim of Shinrin Yoku, and it is to that suggestion I have responded. I’ve changed the setting, for this prompt, from woods to forest. I haven’t quite managed to tell all I wanted in 99 words, which is usual for me, but I hope you like it.
We pick up the story from “In the darkness, Mouse trembled.”
Unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells assailed his senses. He dived into a pile of leaves.
“Would you mind!” squealed Skink.
“Sorry,” said Mouse, backing into Frog.
“Hey! This is my cockroach,” said Frog.
“Ewww!” said mouse. “Who eats cockroaches?”
Mouse’s belly rumbled.
Skink was eating a slug. Frog had a cockroach. Nothing for Mouse anywhere.
“Try mushroom,” suggested Frog.
Mouse hesitated, then began nibbling.
Flapping overhead sent Skink and Frog for cover. Mouse, oblivious, had been spotted.
Crow alighted and placed a gift of bread at Mouse’s feet.
“Thank you,” said Mouse. “I like bread, but I love mushroom!”
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.