By Tyler Wright
A mother-daughter duo from Wantirna South have teamed up to create their debut children’s book in an attempt to educate young children about sustainability.
It was a passion for Mridula Chopra, who was an Arts Degree in English Literature, and daughter Raveena Grace co-wrote ‘Rosie Rescues Her Precious Planet’ as part of a university assignment during Grace’s Master of Environmental Science and Climate Change at Melbourne University.
“I did a subject called Environmental Education and you were tasked with communicating sustainability in a creative way and I decided to write a children’s book; my mum being the writer of the family, I definitely needed her help,” Grace said.
“We basically co -wrote this children’s book about the Dregs and the Treebles [characters] and we wanted to display the differentiation between nature and humans and how if we work together we can actually save the planet and look forward to a sustainable future in preserving a natural environment.
“We submitted it as an assignment but then my lecture was like ‘this is really good, you should submit it as a book’.”
The picture book’ focuses on the pristine world of the Treebles, while lies above the polluted world of the Dregs, and what happens once the Dregs venture to the fruitful world above them to find a new place to live.
But with the Dregs comes the toxic methods of polluting the earth and cutting down trees; before main character Rosie steps in to rejuvenate the world once again.
“Mum’s a huge animal lover and activist, so we just want to try and educate the next generation on how we can empower them to make a difference and communicate this important message,” Grace, now a sustainability engagement officer at Melbourne University, said.
“[Mum and I are] both very sustainability minded and we’ve always had a passion for wanting to educate others about sustainability.
“Us being sustainable, me studying sustainability, now working in sustainability, it’s our world.”
Published in March 2023, Chopra said people have commented on Instagram sharing how they are “loving the way [they] write” and how it is a “great story to tell children”.
“We do feel really good that in our own small way, [we’re] trying to help because we know how dire the circumstances are in the world,” Chopra said.
“We’re in an ecological and climate crisis,” Grace added, “so I think being able to communicate sustainability through a positive manner as well has really helped to bring light on sustainability and the fact that sustainability can be done and it’s not a tiresome topic, it’s a topic that’s really important to talk about.”
Despite Melbourne University trying to phase out plastic use, Grace said there is still a lot being thrown out in bins on campus.
“[People] do want to know how to recycle properly, for example, they do want to know like what new innovations they can do to use a keep cup instead of a disposable cup…so it’s nice to know that there are people that still want to learn and do as much as they possibly can,” she said.
“The other big topic that I see often is around the carbon neutrality debate and electrification, and people having a lot of climate anxiety unsure as to where we’re going and what they can do, but I think what’s nice to see that, especially in my work… people can can rely on each other and share resources on how to live more sustainably and what they can do, even as simple as changing your energy providers for a more sustainable one that that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels for example.
“These messages are just slowly being spread on and more and more people are just willing to get involved and do anything they can; they really want to do something they just sometimes don’t know how, so I think that’s the power of education to try and let them know.”
The duo are planning to hold readings at libraries, schools and the Readings book store, with a potential sequel on the cards in the future.
“It was so much fun doing this book, Rav[eena] and I were saying it would be so good to write a sequel and go into a little bit more depth about recycling ideas and so that kids can learn,” Chopra said.
“The children of today are our future, so if we can in some way encourage or instil hope that the world still can be saved, then it makes us feel good that we’re trying to give them hope as well as educating them so that they can carry forth in the future and recycle and replenish and do everything that they can in terms of improving our environment.
“Often when you give so many negative messages people switch off, whereas in our book we wanted to create it in a fun, positive way to keep the hope alive.”
‘Rosie Rescues Her Precious Planet’ is available in both hardback and paperback for purchase through Amazon Australia, and more information on the book can be found on Instagram at the handle raveena_and_mridula.