Educational Environmental Fiction: Saving Earth one book at a time
‘Educational Environmental Fiction’ is amongst other things, a mouthful to say! So what is it and why is it an important literary genre?
What exactly is Educational Environmental Fiction?
In a nutshell, Educational Environmental Fiction encompasses stories with themes of nature conservation, the natural environment and/or animal rights — and in so doing, the stories have elements of both fiction and non-fiction, with the purpose of educating readers about those environmental issues.
In my case I write environmental stories from the point of view of wild animals, and how human activity affects them. For example, my first book ‘Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came’ tells the story of how wild animals living near to a farm are worried and terrified by some additional human actions: unbeknown to the animals, the humans are moving in to build houses for more humans and the animals will lose their homes.
The non-fiction elements are incorporated into the story both via implication and directly. As the story unfolds, various implied issues may confront readers about how we as humans go about our lives — often thoughtlessly and to the detriment of animals and the natural environment. At the back of the book I have included how I named the main animal characters — their names honour and show solidarity with certain young environmental activists, defenders and protectors such as Dakota pipeline activists and anti-fracking communities, and indigenous tribes.
I have also added information, guidance and website links, referring back to the environmental issues highlighted in the story — to encourage readers to look into these issues further with discussion, debate, research and writing.
Why books in this genre?
Besides the fact that reading and stories are important aspects of modern life, for both children and adults alike, it’s vital that humans learn to question and challenge what’s going on around them, in order to be proper guardians of our planet, and to ensure that nature can look after us and other life on Earth for many centuries to come.
We cannot hide the fact that human beings are — through countless things we do in everyday life which we often count as ‘normal’ and ‘necessary’ — having a devastating effect on planet Earth. From the way we use land, houses and cars with our own comfort and convenience utmost in mind, as well as our shopping and waste disposal habits, to governments’ and corporations’ shameless and arrogant destruction of Mother Nature in the name of profits, we are slowly killing off our planetary home, without stopping to pause.
Stories have always had power. Stories have always been an information medium, passing down key human cultural and survival knowledge over many eons. To me stories are therefore a natural instrument (pardon the pun!) for bringing the urgency of environmental crises caused by human interference to the very people who will be custodians of planet Earth in future — young people.
‘Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came’ by Kathryn Rose Newey is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook formats from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, audible and iTunes, and most other major amazon websites internationally. Kathryn Rose Newey has also published a young teens’ science fiction book: “Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves”.
Find out more at KathrynRoseNewey.com
First image thanks to bugent at pixabay.com.