I had been teaching Math and Science to 4th and 5th graders, and in the 2019-2020 school year I had a class that really wanted to save the planet! They wanted to talk about it, they wanted to learn more, they wanted to show their art, they wanted to teach other students, they wanted to clean up everything, they wanted to do whatever they could do be a part of our Earth’s health and longevity. I was there to support them on their journey, and in turn they inspired me to care even more than I thought I could. These kids were part of buying reusable plates and forks for the school!
A few months into the year, after beach clean-ups, boat trips, original songs, plays, keynote presentations, ocean models and plastic art collections, I sat down with my laptop and started writing a fictionalized story of a class who put their efforts into ending single-use plastics. There was decent momentum, and I started reading chapters aloud in class without telling the students that I was the author. I wanted to see what they thought, or if they were at all interested. Pretty soon after I started writing the story, the pandemic hit, and the writing was put to a halt with all the changes that were occurring. I didn’t revisit the project for one year. It took a while to get back into the groove of writing, and to simply find time.
Like the way our lives were changed because of the pandemic, the story also took on a new life. It morphed into one girl’s journey of ending single-use plastics, by learning to tap into her community and not being afraid to raise her voice, and lift others at the same time.
While the class that I had a few years ago was the inspiration to start the process, it was truly every single person in their generation, and those to come, who made the story what it ultimately became.
Writing this book was something that I felt compelled to do. It was important to me that I take my love for our natural world and put it into words that could be understood by a younger generation. I combined two things that I love: writing and environmental literacy and sustainability, and wrote We Have Something to Say!
“So we got together… We reached out to others and we shared our stories. Then others started sharing their stories with us. And, we found out that we have a lot of similarities. One of them is that we want a healthy plant to live on. We found out that we have more in common that what we disagree about.”We Have Something to Say!
We are all on a journey, and often times we’re scared. Sometimes we don’t know where to begin, especially when tackling something that is so BIG; Sometimes we’re too nervous to ask for help. It is through community collaboration, and empowering others that we can make great change. We see time and again that change cannot happen through the work of one person, and it will never happen when you stay silent. So, like Jenny, the main character in We Have Something to Say! speak up and reach out.