UN Climate Change News, 13 February 2018- The Tantrum that Saved the World is a new book aimed at educating children about climate change. No doubt, a daunting task for any author. However, Megan Herbert and Michael Mann willingly took on the task. The result? A beautifully illustrated story that uses imagination and science to teach every child about the effects of climate change.
Megan, an illustrator and writer along with Michael Mann, Professor of Atmospheric Science (who contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports), are both passionate about the issue of climate change and were keen to partner up to educate the younger generation about the issue. “I’ve always been engaged in addressing environmental issues, when I became a mother, these feelings of wanting to do something tangible and practical to safeguard the environment only intensified,” said Megan.
The book is about the story of a young girl, Sophia, who receives a knock on her door one day, only to be faced with a Polar Bear who has nowhere to go because the ice has melted. Sophia continues to accept other animals and people at her door who have been displaced because of climate change. Sophia then feels compelled to get the adults at her city hall to listen to the issues they are collectively facing. When Sophia doesn’t get the attention she needs to make a difference, she throws a ‘tantrum’, that starts a movement to save the world.
When deciding to write the book Megan and Michael did not want to overwhelm children, but inform without over-simplifying. The book is intricately woven to cater from children 4 years and up; the scientific section of the book caters for children 7 years and older, and there is an additional action plan that can be used in schools and the home, appropriate for older family members, teachers and parents. Megan explains, “as challenging a topic as this is, the key is how we talk to children about climate change, so they feel empowered, rather than afraid and anxious”.
Megan is inspired by the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement, which was clinched in 2015 and is now being implemented by almost countries of the world. The accord contains temperature guardrails which guides the international community – and people at all levels of society - in taking climate action.
The Paris Climate Change Agreement aims to limit the rise of global average temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which Megan believes “is a good thing and we’d be in a far worse situation if it didn’t exist at all”. Megan points out that citizens, particularly in industrialised nations have enormous power to choose where they get their power from- in the form of clean energy, for example - they have the power to vote with their wallets and convince others around them to make similar choices.
The concept of both collective and individual responsibility can be daunting at times, but the author thinks it is then all the more important to reflect on it. “We all have a responsibility to do what we can, from the top down. The issue of climate change is a huge one, and it can feel overwhelming, but if we look around us, if we break the problem down into smaller, bite-sized pieces, there are things we can all do right now,” she says.
Megan and Michael’s deep-seated belief in the need to reduce carbon emissions is also reflected in the way the book is made. The book is manufactured in a carbon-neutral printing facility, with 100% recycled materials. It’s biodegradable, and shipped in recyclable packaging. Megan was not happy to go down the mainstream publishing route as she found it difficult to find a publisher that was carbon-neutral. However, there were many printing-houses offering carbon neutral services and Megan hopes that her choice encourages mainstream publishing houses to follow suit.
The e-book is already available for purchase, and the hardcover can be pre-ordered at https://worldsavingbooks.com/