Terra Carta

“It’s Up To Us: A Children’s Terra Carta” by Christopher Lloyd

Geek Culture

I’ve reviewed several books by publisher What On Earth, including the fabulous Absolutely Everything by Christopher Lloyd. Now they’re back with a much slimmer volume, It’s Up to Us. A book about sustainable living that was inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales’ recent initiative, ‘Terra Carta’ (a manifesto for sustainable living) The book has been released to coincide with the COP26 summit in Glasgow

What Is It’s Up to Us?

It’s Up to Us is a slim hardback picture book, that explains the parlous state humanity finds itself in, and what actions we might be able to take to peg back the effects of climate change. It highlights the importance of working together and working with nature to continue humanity’s journey in a sustainable fashion. 

 

After an opening from HRH The Prince of Wales, in which he talks about the purpose of Terra Carta initiative, the book leaps into the story of our fractured relationship with nature. Each page in the book is illustrated by a different artist, with representation from across the globe. This highlights the global challenges we face, and the global solidarity needed to find solutions to those challenges. 

The book is broken down into 4 sections: Nature, People, Planet, and Terra Carta. Each subject heading is fronted by an illustrated icon, with each one incorporating the Fibonacci spiral; a nice touch for us geeks! 

  • “Nature” explores the proliferation of creatures and organisms around us and the majesty of ecosystems.
  • “People” looks at our relationship with nature. Our reliance on it and the consequences of just taking whatever we need. 
  • “Planet” examines the consequences of our actions, in particular in relation to the burning of fossil fuels and our carbon footprint. It’s the heaviest section in terms of science. It lays out the stark realities of climate change. 
  • “Terra Carta” – “But wait! We can bring Nature back into balance,” is the refrain at the start of this section. Terra Carta is a clarion call to action. The importance of working together, to agree as a planet to use sustainable energy; to live in a greener, more sustainable fashion.  

The book closes out with the original text from the Terra Carta manifesto. There are links to the program and ways in which we can live in harmony with the planet, as well as profiles of the book’s illustrators, and a word from the executive director of The Prince’s Foundation. There is also a brief glossary, an explanation of the Fibonacci spiral, and some data about the book’s carbon footprint, which has been kept as low as possible. 

Why Read It’s Up to Us?

This is a book with a single message, and by necessity, it is hammered home. There is no ambivalence. The message is unequivocal. Does this make the book preachy? Yes, it does. But then there isn’t really time to be anything else. 

The decision to use a host of different illustrators was an inspired one. If you’re going to be preaching, no matter how self-evident your message, it’s a great idea to have as many voices as possible singing from your hymn sheet. This is somewhat tricky in printed format, but the varying art styles come together to form a rousing visual chorus. 

If you’re teaching the importance of climate action to younger children, then this book is an excellent start. It’s also a great bed-time book to help your children understand the importance of a greener future. If you’ve read this far, you probably already know whether this book is for you and your family. You can tell by the images I’ve shown here, that It’s Up to Us is a lovely book. A book that sends arguably the most important message ever. 

You can pick up a copy of It’s Up to Us, here, in the US, and here, in the UK. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.

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