Did you know that the world’s human population is expected to grow by two billion people in the next 30 years?1 If this happens, and we continue as we do, we will no longer have the natural resources we need to sustain our everyday lives. A population that large would require about three planet Earths in order for us to have all the resources we need.
Sustainability is no longer just something we should look at, but rather something we must focus on. Our lives literally depend on it.
That’s why it’s so important for us to educate young learners about sustainable practices and get them invested in protecting the environment. By bringing books about nature into our homes and classrooms, we can get young learners excited about nature so that later they go into careers that help support global sustainability.
Award-Winning Books About Nature
Last month, we discussed the importance of books about nature and how they can instill environmental advocacy among young learners. We mentioned the winners of two esteemed literary awards, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award and the Green Earth Book Award, given to books about nature.
In future posts, we will be discussing each of these books in detail. Today, we are starting with Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean by Sigrid Schmalzer.
About the Book: Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean
Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean received first place for the children’s book category of the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award in 2018. The book tells the story of a young farm boy (the narrator) who became interested in environmental science and sustainable agriculture. The boy’s main influence was a scientist and farmer called Pu Zhelong who helped farmers in his community get rid of pests without using toxic chemicals.
The narrator shares memories from his childhood of watching the pests invade, destroy the crops, and how the pesticides made people sick. He then goes on to explain how Pu Zhelong taught the farmers eco-friendly techniques for getting rid of the pests. The main techniques the scientist used were parasitic wasps and silk-moth eggs, which helped restore natural predator balance. Young readers engaged in this story are taught about Chinese culture, agricultural history, and sustainable farming.
The narration is accompanied by beautiful illustrations that are brought to life with watercolor paints. The drawings also help explain what the biological controls looked like and how they worked. Melanie Linden Chan is the illustrator responsible for these beautiful images.
Why It’s Important
This book discusses the importance of sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture not only helps protect human populations from diseases and health afflictions caused by pesticides, but it also protects the environment and the future of farming. Sustainable practices protect the soil we use to grow food, and help prevent the depletion of natural resources that we rely on.2
Young readers will eventually grow up and assume positions in the agricultural industry. It’s important to educate them from an early age about the importance of sustainable practices so they can advocate for and apply them later in life.
Stay Tuned for More Award-Winning Books
Are you interested in learning more about nature-themed books for children? Check back with us soon! Next month, we’ll be discussing another award-winning book!
1. “Population.” United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/population/
2. Pretty, Jules. “Agricultural sustainability: concepts, principles and evidence.” Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences vol. 363,1491 (2008): 447-65. doi:10.1098/rstb.2007.2163