“The Tantrum That Saved The World” is the world’s first carbon-neutral children’s book about climate change. Part storybook, part science book, and part action plan, it is designed to first spark children’s interest with an engaging and empathetic illustrated story, then explain to them the science and impacts of climate change in language they will understand, and finally to empower them to convert the strong feelings they have about the topic into positive action by following the World Saving Action Plan. This book is designed to start conversations about climate change in households by providing a resource that all members of the family can turn to. The aim is not only to demystify the topic and eliminate the sense of hopelessness and disempowerment that often prevents people from taking action, but also to act as a conduit for spreading the conversation and accompanying climate action into schools, workplaces, and the broader community. The book is a combination of the talents of two career communicators – Megan Herbert, writer/illustrator, and Michael E. Mann, award-winning climate scientist and science communicator – who created this project in response to a need to communicate about this topic to their own young children.

Objectives and beneficiaries

In writing this book, the authors hoped to break down the issue of climate change into smaller, individual stories that children could empathize with, understand, and feel empowered to act upon. The book’s protagonist, Sophia, is a young girl who inherits a problem when a series of climate refugees arrive on her doorstep. By showing Sophia developing empathy for these people and animals, and watching her navigate strong emotions, find her voice, and begin on a course of positive action, the authors hope to inspire young readers to do the same. In this way, the book will encourage grass-roots action in families and the broader community, inspiring a new generation of climate activists. Everyone stands to benefit from this – adults feeling concerned for future generations, and young people, who are already proving to be a powerful force in climate activism. A plan to translate the book into multiple languages will eventually spread this message to every corner of the globe.

Strong points of the solution

The book addresses an enduring problem of climate change communication – that when people are overwhelmed and frightened by, or feel disconnected from, the information being presented, they tune out. In order to get children (and the adults in their lives) to engage with the message, the authors created a narrative that would trigger an empathy response, break the broader topic of climate change into smaller, discrete stories, and offer actionable solutions to eradicate these feelings of hopelessness and disempowerment. The book offers a step-by-step approach, introducing younger readers to the topic gently through allegory, then offering more detailed information for older readers who would like to learn more, and actionable steps that involve the decision-makers of the household. In this way, the book speaks to all age-groups, in age-appropriate ways. The book also practices what it preaches, having been made in a carbon-neutral facility using 100% recycled and recyclable materials.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

The book is a jumping off point for discussion and action. It presents a problem and then offers answers and solutions. It turns an overwhelming topic into an allegory about compassion and friendship, which acts as a catalyst for change. The expected result of this is the development a grass-roots movement of people living in a way that eliminates climate-altering carbon emissions, and directly challenges so-called leaders who are failing to act on climate in any timely or meaningful way.

The next step is to publish translations and to build a community of young climate leaders (or “World Saving Heroes”) outside of the English-speaking world. In time, World Saving Books hopes to offer the community of readers an online portal where information can be shared, and local action organized, giving young climate leaders a platform.

Scalability potential of the solution

This book is scalable in an unlimited sense in that it can be translated into any language and published in any country. It can be distributed anywhere with a postal address or an internet connection (it also comes in e-Book format). Investments will be required to develop the online hub, but due to the nature of our connected world, the possibilities of building a community that nurtures young “World Saving Heroes” is really limited only by the imagination.

[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made for length and clarity.]