N.W.T. author releases book on environmental 'trailblazers' across Canada
'These people are full of hope and optimism and working together and doing things,' author says
A long-time northerner recently released a new book about environmental leaders — young and old from across Canada — and where their convictions come from.
Jamie Bastedo, a Yellowknife author of multiple works of fiction and non-fiction, was a CBC North radio columnist for a number of years.
His new book, called Protectors of the Planet: Environmental Trailblazers from 7 to 97, is based on interviews and research with people from across Canada who are passionate about protecting the environment.
It features ecological ambassadors from Sophia Mathur, a 12-year-old climate change activist from Sudbury, Ont., to Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuk leader who has been recognized with several honours, including the 2004 United Nations Environment Programme's Champion of the Earth Award.
In a time where there are some troubling revelations about climate change, he says it's important to have positive discussions about the topic.
"We can get wrapped up in this daily dose of downers ... and get this kind of disaster fatigue," Bastedo said.
"This book I see as an antidote, it's basically going in the opposite direction. These people are full of hope and optimism and working together and doing things."
He said that's the kind of inspiration he hopes people get from reading the book, too.
While he wrote the book, Bastedo says some "Earth shaking" studies came out, including one from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UN biodiversity report.
But even now, over the last few weeks since the book was published, it has become increasingly relevant.
"It's a book about real-life stories about a dozen daring eco-heroes from across Canada doing extraordinary things to protect our troubled planet," Bastedo said.
"The context keeps changing as the headlines line up."
The book was written with teens and adults in mind, but Bastedo says it will likely spark interest in anyone from age seven to 97.
He asked each person he interviewed in the book for "trailblazer tips" for others who want to do something.
"It was remarkable to get this kind of nuts and bolts advice, whether it's affecting your attitude, or how you deal with politicians," he said.
"In a way, at the end of each chapter, each biography is a kind of mini manual of environmental activism that comes out of the experience and lessons of their own lives. And when you put all those tips together, it's a very exciting animating practical toolkit.
"In a way, you're hearing these people's voices," he said. "And, and it's coming from their hearts."
With files from Loren McGinnis