Many young people and adults are rudely awakening to the fact that unchecked climate change and other widespread environmental issues paint a gloomy picture of their future. This knowledge can lead to
Many young people and adults are rudely awakening to the fact that unchecked climate change and other widespread environmental issues paint a gloomy picture of their future. This knowledge can lead to a sense of fear, helplessness or worse, apathy.
This book aims to help stem those concerns by shining an inspiring and entertaining light on the lives of daring, dedicated individuals whose great passion, talents, and heart are helping to tip the environmental balance away from destruction and collapse towards hope, healing and personal empowerment.
Based on personal interviews and extensive research, this book tells engaging stories about a wide variety of people from across Canada who share a great passion for the environment. But beyond a deep personal connection with nature, these "environmental trailblazers" are doing truly unique and amazing things to protect the environment, while leading others down greener paths full of hope and positive action!
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is a multi-genre award winning author who believes that change starts with the power of one. He lives in Yellowknife.
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"Protectors of the Planet shares reader engaging stories about a wide variety of people who share a great passion for the environment. But beyond a deep personal connection with nature, these "environmental trailblazers" are doing truly unique and amazing things to protect the environment, while leading others down greener paths.
"Critique: Comprised of twelve erudite, informative, thought-provoking, and ultimately inspiring essays, Protectors of the Planet: Environmental Trailblazers from 7 to 97 is especially and unreservedly recommended for middle school, high school, and community library Environmental Studies collections for young readers ages 12-18.
— Midwest Book Review
"'Trailblazer tips' at the end of each chapter provide the reader with actionable items to become involved in environmental activism. . . Protectors of the Planet| is an interesting and easy read. . . Bastedo has ticked all the boxes on an informative and entertaining read that should spur even the most apathetic to action.
— CM Magazine
"[Protectors of the Planet is filled with the passion and hope that fuels the work these amazing people do. What stories to share with your students about the stellar work being done to make our world healthier and safer for all... I am impressed beyond words with what I have discovered...You will be inspired!"
— Sal's Fiction Addiction
"Profiles 12 eco-heroes and how they remain steadfast in their environmental missions in spite of depressing messages of the Earth's deterioration ...[Protectors of the Planet pulls you in the very opposite direction towards hope and a sense of empowerment."
"Written for young people but just as interesting for adults... I would recommend this book to anyone interested in environmental issues and interesting Canadian biographies."
— Book Cellar
"Detailed profiles of 12 environmental activists prove that individuals can help save the world... Biologist Bastedo narrates his encounters with these heroes as a journalist might, describing each as a relatable person in their element. The profiles include many direct quotes, offering a sense of immediacy. The focus on concrete goals, successes, and challenges will keep readers engaged. The coverage of many different aspects of the climate crisis makes a clear case for the urgency of the situation while the change-makers' examples inspire hope that the human race, when informed and motivated, can meet the challenge... An encouraging handbook for action."
— Kirkus Reviews
"The stories of these Canadian environmental trailblazers rise from the pages as modern-day luminaries. . . Inspiring vignettes describing the positive activities achieved by ordinary individuals serve as exemplars that all readers can follow. . . Supplemented with suggestions for individual involvement in environmental problems...Packs both an amazing adventure story with an educational awakening."
— San Francisco Book Review
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"Superheroes live among us! This book will show you a few --; and inspire you to become one yourself!"
— Bill McKibben, Internationally acclaimed climate change activist
"This is so exciting and inspiring! Sharing peoples' stories is a powerful way to help youth realize that they have the power to create change and motivate them to take action now."
— Ella Kokelj, Teen climate activist, Yellowknife
"Celebrating young eco-heroes is what we do with Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 and what makes this book essential reading for all Canadians."
— Kyle Empringham, Co-founder of The Starfish Canada
"This book is powerful and inspiring for anyone who cares about the planet and wonders how one person's effort can make a difference. Highly recommend for all ages of humans on the planet who want to be part of the solution."
— Kate Armstrong, Author of Stone Frigate, Goodreads
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On Quill & Quire's 2020 Books of the Year: Books for Young People
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From Chapter 1: Magnificance Matters
I call them environmental trailblazers.
They are pioneers, carving new paths into the wild and unmapped terrain we call the future. They are heroic adventurers dedicated to a noble cause. They are role models and mentors, showing us where we can go when we really care about something. They are outliers, standing apart from regular mortals like you and me, but inviting us to join them. They are young and they are old. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things to safeguard life on Earth and preserve its magnificence.
This book shines an up-close-and-personal spotlight on the lives of some of Canada's best and brightest environmental leaders. But more than showcasing their exciting work and achievements, I explore the "making of" these trailblazers with a detective's curiosity.
How did they get this way? What factors shaped them as they grew up? Where did their passion for the planet come from?
Was it in their blood? In their brains? Was it where they lived? Their parents? Their teachers? Their friends? Maybe a pivotal book? Was it some random person they bumped into? Some lucky opportunity? A nothing conversation in the schoolyard? How about their past lives? (Just kidding, but who knows?)
These were fun themes to unpack with everyone I interviewed, whether a world-famous giraffe biologist in her mid-80s, or a twelve-year-old girl fighting for her future under the darkening cloud of climate change.
The colorful cast of real-life characters you'll meet in this book covers a fascinating spectrum of environmental topics—from wolves to whales—and places—from the frozen Arctic tundra to the searing savannah of Africa. Ranging in age from 7 to 97, they include global experts in their field as well as unsung local heroes, any of whom might just light up your inborn affection for nature and rouse you to protect it.
When I interviewed these changemakers, I made a special point to ask each of them what hands-on advice they had for young people like you who want to make a difference.
At the end of each chapter, I've distilled their answers into "Trailblazer Tips" to help you carve your own path.
For those of you who want to explore their lives more deeply, or the issues they are tackling, I've also included a "Digging Deeper" section at the back of the book, listing some key references, videos, and websites that helped me tell their story.
In following the trails blazed by these remarkable people, may you discover excellent adventure, deep inspiration, practical advice, and rekindled hope for the future—as I have.
Enjoy the journey!
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Click here to view Jamie Bastedo hosting a virtual book launch for the book. In it he discusses the background to the book, mostly via a Power Point presentation. At the end he has a question-and-answer session with people linked in from across the country.
Click here to here to listen to an interview on CBC Radio’s Trailblazers with host Loren McGinnis interviewing author Jamie Bastedo about the book.