Fossil fuel industry in sights

Jan Johnstone, of Puerua, near Balclutha, checks a copy of her newly published climate change...
Jan Johnstone, of Puerua, near Balclutha, checks a copy of her newly published climate change-themed children’s book, Two Greedy Monsters, at her home yesterday. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
A South Otago environmentalist is taking aim at the fossil fuel industry with a new children’s book "for all ages".

Self-described environmental activist Jan Johnstone, of Puerua, near Balclutha, said she was inspired to write Two Greedy Monsters — illustrated by family friend and award-winning artist Bruce Potter — to counteract what she saw as "alternative facts" about fossil fuels promoted by the industry.

"I’ve been concerned with climate change for many years now, and even more so as big coal and big oil fight back with government lobbying and ‘fake news’ to undermine the scientific facts.

"My husband Roy is a geologist and, when you’ve had a chance to observe scientific methodology first hand, you appreciate how painstaking it is in discovering the truth of things.

"The book is my small way of defending the good science out there, and getting the word out to schools, children and their families about the problems we all face, and positive ways we can solve them by working together for the benefit of all."

The book considers the harmful actions of two monsters called Big Oil and Big Coal, and the efforts and eventual success of children, inspired by youth climate change activist Greta Thunberg, in transforming their behaviour.

Mrs Johnstone said she had tried to make the tone and themes of the book "universal", so it could be appreciated by a global audience of readers aged "3 and up".

"It’s not set in any particular country, and has international characters. And the content is aimed at parents and teachers as much as its core audience of children who are, of course, often the strongest advocates in changing relatives’ behaviour."

She said the book celebrated the power of children to make an impact on the world.

"We have six little grandchildren, so it’s hard not to be optimistic about the future, despite the current environmental situation."

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