When doing research for another post, I discovered David Gershon's Journey for the Planet: A Kid's Five Week Adventure to Create an Earth-friendly Life. I wondered what children would be encouraged to do and how this compared to other books providing "eco tips" for young people. This book is unique, as it creates a game for the children to play alone or in teams as they implement actions as part of the climate change solution.
You are about to go on an amazing journey-one that will help you and the planet. It will be fun, challenging, and exciting. Over a five week period you will learn how to take action to use our Earth's precious and limited natural resources with greater care.
The journey begins with Earthy, a friendly earthworm. Each week has its own special animal guide that offers special knowledge to children. The five weeks are divided into:
- Dumping on Garbage
- Wasting Water Is All Wet
- Getting a Charge Out of Saving Energy
- Good Buys are Forever
- Watch Out Planet, Here I Come!
Each week children decide what actions they are going to take, get help from their parents, keep track of actions completed, and then get "Global Hero Points". These points could be used for children to compete against each other in teams in the classroom, a perfect unit for the approaching Earth Day. Suggested actions include:
- Bringing your own container for leftovers at a restaurant rather than accepting a "doggie" bag.
- Using a cup of water when brushing your teeth rather than running the tap water.
- Turn out the lights when you leave a room.
- Become a loaner and let friends borrow toys, books, etc.
I like how this book gives children choices and does not expect them to complete all of the actions. I also like how children earn points, thus making a game out of it which could easily be adapted for the classroom. Journey for the Planet is a kid-friendly book published by the Empowerment Institute.