OCEANS IN PERIL
Let’s face facts: our seas are in crisis. Of the 330 million metric tonnes of plastic consumed worldwide annually, over 12.7 MILLION tonnes of plastic – that’s everything from bottles and packaging to glitter – is dumped in our oceans. One truckload a minute, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. As a consequence, there are an estimated 1.8 trillion bits of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and an estimated 300 billion pieces of plastic adrift in the Arctic. A million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals die from plastic pollution annually. Turtles, dolphins, seals, albatrosses and even whales are being ensnared by nets and plastic bags. There are other marine conservation issues too. Over 60 million sharks are slaughtered every year for shark fin soup. Almost all turtle and tuna species are threatened or edging towards extinction. Line-caught tuna are not caught by a lone fisherman on a beach but by thousands of hooks on lines over 5kms long. Dolphins and orcas, which suffer huge distress in captivity, are being rounded up for the ‘encounter’ and bogus ‘therapy’ industry in record numbers. Mass extinction events are on the rise as the plastic soup clogging our oceans filters up through the food chain.
As authors and illustrators, we’re passionate about inspiring children, teachers and parents to love nature and wildlife. But saving our beautiful oceans for future generations is going to take action as well as words. It’s going to take radical, creative choices. It’s going to mean stepping out of our comfort zone at times. And it’s going to take a village. Literally. But if we come together as a book community, as writers, illustrators, booksellers, publishers, literary agents, festival organisers, teachers, parents and young readers and say ‘Enough!’, imagine what a difference we could make. Imagine if we stood shoulder to shoulder as a book community and resolved to make single-use plastic bags, cutlery, straws and bottles within our book spaces relics of the past. If we said that we will in no way be responsible for overfishing or pushing tuna towards extinction. That we will never endorse the buying of tickets to dolphin shows because we believe that dolphins and orcas should be free.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you’re a bookseller, publisher, literary agent, festival organiser, teacher, student and/or reader, we’re asking you to join us in doing everything in our power to stop the plastic tide. Sir Michael Morpurgo, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Quentin Blake, Chris Riddell, Katherine Rundell, Abi Elphinstone, Lauren St John, Dr Ben Garrod, Piers Torday, Gill Lewis, Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Tom Moorhouse, MG Leonard, Elizabeth Laird, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Natasha Farrant, Patrice Lawrence, Holly Smale, Nicolette Jones, Jonathan Stroud, Philip Ardagh, Liz Kessler, Catherine Hyde, Rachel Hickman, Marcus Sedgwick, Nicola Davies, Maz Evans, James Mayhew, Jacinda Bilan, Alom Shaha, Emma Carroll, LA Weatherly, Linda Newberry, SF Said, Tamsyn Murray, Catherine Barr, Christopher Edge, Elissa Elwick, Julia Green, Georgie Adams, Victoria Eveleigh, Laura Dockrill, Annabel Pitcher, Robin Stevens, Vivian French, Yaba Badoe, Geraldine McCaughrean, Hilary McKay and Chris Vick are just some of the authors and illustrators who’ve come together to ask you to stand with us to make a difference. If it’s within your capability to change the way you do things as a company, school, family or individual, we’re hoping to convince you to do just that. Be the change you want to see in the seas.
For more information go to: authors4oceans.org