Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Earth Day, Every Day

We recently invited award-winning Leap author Bonnie J. Doerr to share her thoughts on Earth Day with our readers. Bonnie's a passionate conservationist and an author with an amazingly generous heart. Her MG novels about adventurous teens helping rescue endangered species will soon be joined
by an exciting new novel called Tangled Lines. And it's because of Bonnie's devotion to our world's environment that we asked her to write this post.


Earth Day elicits mixed feelings for me. While it’s uplifting to see and hear people the world over appreciating the wonders of nature and the importance of protecting our environment, it’s sad that we designate one day to remind ourselves of what should be obvious every day. We depend on the environment for our existence. But we have become increasingly separated from nature, living a plugged-in life inside four walls, within cities made of boxes stacked side by side and on top of each other, rarely considering the source of our sustenance.

This boxed-in life leads to nature deficit disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods. One deficiency of this disorder is a careless environmental attitude. If a child  never experiences wonder at a seed’s transformation into a living plant, never truly sees it grow to provide food, raw materials for shelter or clothing; if he never contemplates the source of oxygen while breathing forest air or experiences the sensation of wading in a creek, or swimming in a lake or ocean; if she never touches, sees, smells, or hears the flora and fauna that provide food, energy, and fertilizer to sustain life... Well, truth is, if a child doesn’t interact and connect with nature, how can we expect him to care about the environment? To a child living inside four walls his environment may be fine. Especially if he controls it with a thermostat. Ecology? Conservation? Meh.


I  combine my ecological passion and love of adventure to write about teens who don’t spend all day in a box. They experience wild outdoor adventures. Like many teens, they have family, school, and friendship problems. They can’t often control trouble in their own lives, but they boldly fight to protect wildlife and their local environment.

 Readers who never venture outdoors can inside the pages of my novels safely explore the ocean, tropical forests, and rugged beaches. They can survive wild storms, heroically outwit dangerous criminals, and solve mysteries that baffle adults, all while protecting wildlife and the ecological health of their own community.

I write with the hope that my characters’ appreciation for nature will slyly leak from eagerly turned pages onto the skin and into the hearts of my readers—that they, like my characters, will realize their power and use it to protect and create a healthy, enriching, and sustainable environment.

Find out more about Bonnie's books and her mission at her blog.






Fan of coloring pages? Here's an Earth Day freebie for you! Select the image on the left and print it. When you're done enjoying your coloring page, please recycle it. 

24 comments:

  1. Oh, Bonnie, this is so true. None of the kids these days seem to like being outside, and you just never see them venturing through the little wooded area by my house. Wildlife is, to them, the stray cats.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Keena. I just spoke to a group of kids who hunt and fish though. So there are some kids who enjoy the outdoors!

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  2. I'm absolutely with you re: NDD Bonnie and I am hoping right along with you that your "characters’ appreciation for nature will slyly leak from eagerly turned pages onto the skin and into the hearts of my readers—" Your books are JUST RIGHT for this. Keep up the great work and happy Earth Day.

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  3. Three cheers for Bonnie Doerr and her troupe of heroic teens. Griping, whining, blaming someone else--not this group. Bonnie's characters step up to the plate and do what needs to be done. They aren't so busy trying to be cool that they dare not admit they care about the world we live in. Truth is: it's cool to be honest about what you care about. It's important to be willing to make your actions match your words. It's heroic to do what's right even when it's hard or not the most popular choice. We rally around for Earth Day, and that's terrific. But I greatly appreciate the intriguing stories that spread environmental responsibility by literary osmosis. Three cheers for Bonnie.

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    1. Literary osmosis! Love it. Thanks, Teresa.

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  4. Thanks for sharing, Bonnie! Your love for the Earth and its critters is shown beautifully in your stories. I'm happy to share them with my girls and gobble them up myself. :)

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    1. Thank you, Laura. It's great when mothers and daughters read the same books--a lovely connection.

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  5. You're so right Bonnie. It is a shame to relegate environmental concerns to only one day a year. Imagine what could be accomplished if that focus and attention was applied more frequently, maybe seasonal Earth Day celebrations. Your books are critical in helping to educate the younger generation about things that are happening outside their "four walls". Your characters, while heroic, are realistic and often deal with issues kids face such as teasing and bullying. It's not easy to be different in today's society and kids, especially, can be cruel. Thank you for sharing your passion and using your talent to educate kids on the impact humans have on nature. Your books are insightful and witty as well as informative. I've enjoyed reading them myself and am looking forward to the next one. Happy Earth Day and may we keep the wellness of our planet in the forefront every day!

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    1. Cathy Sumners wrote the comment posted April 22 at 2:02pm. I'm not sure why I'm posted as unknown.

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    2. No longer unknown, Miss Cathy... Thank you for your wonderful comment. Wow, just wow!

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  6. This is so very true. We all need to keep our focus on the environment everyday. On the first Earth day, back in April 22, 1970, people made promises to help the environment and make positive changes in their community. Bonnie, you demonstrate your passion and dedication to this mission through your books and your teachings. I know your books will continue to inspire young readers to do their part for the environment also.

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    1. I appreciate your comment, CC. You are right. I'm darn passionate about caring for critters and the Earth we share.

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  7. Bonnie, I wholeheartedly agree that Earth Day should be celebrated everyday, and your novels serve as a great reminders and activators! I can't wait to read your next one...

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    1. Thank you, Edie. I can't wait to see Tangled Lines myself!

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  8. Bonnie, your perspective always inspires me, and I was just thinking yesterday that every day should be (and is) Earth Day. In fact, I think this every day. I live beachfront, and it amazes me the people who supposedly love the beach (they pay big bucks to come here and visit), yet they leave their trash everywhere. I pick it up every day on my beach walks -- despite the fact that trash cans are provided every few yards the entire length of the beach. Yesterday,I watched three dozen people walk past some discarded plastic cups; they all saw them, but not one of them could be bothered to lean over and pick them up! After 15 minutes of this, I got up, walked the 50 yards to the surf line, and picked snagged them just as they were about to float out to sea.

    Your books give me hope that today's children will grow up to be more eco-caring adults than their parents are. It's impossible to read about Kenzie and Angelo and Anna and the rest of the Keys Teens Care kids and *not* be inspired. So glad to hear there's a new book coming. Keep writing them! People need to hear your message, and Mother Earth needs the help of each and every one of us.

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    1. Did the same thing to me. This post is from Bernadette Hearne.

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    2. Bernadette, so smart in how you got the goofy computer to recognize you. Thanks for your support. I spent time with a group of kids last week who are making and using fishing line recycling tubes out of tennis ball containers. Kids like that give me hope.

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  9. Bonnie. You continue to inspire with your passion and reason for the sake of our earth and our people. I am so grateful you found a publisher who shares your values. I wish you both great success with your next book Tangled Lines!

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    1. I really appreciate your comment. I have a great indie publisher.

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  10. Hi Bonnie, Dana D. here! I totally agree with your observations; many children are "boxed in" while growing up. Three of my own grandchildren spent so much time at school, in front of the TV, and in daycare that their grandfather and I had to take them outdoors and tell them how to play! Sad, but true. Often, parents are working, divorced or under financial constraints. Your wonderful books are a great "taste of nature!" Your passion for your subjects certainly does speak to your young readers!

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  11. Thank you for sharing what you did for your grandchildren. Yep, families are totally stressed. But I wish some parents who cart their kids from programmed activity to programmed activity would take them some place outdoors with no schedule at all. Just time and room to roam.

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  12. I agree with Ms. Doerr, that children must be involved in nature and be taken outside on a daily basis. I'm appalled at the children in new age who don't interact with plants and animals and each other, who don't make up games and imagine and pretend. As this author said, Earth Day should be every day, and books like this would encourage that. Reading these types of books would hopefully make children want to explore the area right around their own homes. Bravo, Ms. Doerr. We need more authors like this!

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  13. Thank you, Nancy. We can only hope to inspire. One child, one day at a time. I appreciate your comment.

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