How Being a Children’s Author Helps Tackle Global Climate Destabilization (Plus a Workout)

Congratulations to Miriam for winning the $25 Gift Card

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Last weekend marked the largest collaborative Climate March in our world’s history. Over 2,500 events in 162 countries during which citizens marched in solidarity a few days before the UN Climate Summit.

Climate march 

And I wasn’t there.

To be fair, my household was represented by other members of my tribe. But, I still felt a bit guilty for not going. This is a huge deal and it was a great historical event.

I have attended rallies and marches in the past. Sometimes they simply overwhelm me. Other times I get inspired, and then the immediacy of life takes over and I get caught up in my daily to-do.

I was left at home wondering what more I could do. I’m not a scientist, but I can support those developing solutions for our climate problems. I’m not a politician, but I can support those making ethical decisions regarding our communities and planet. I don’t work for any non-profits (although I want to start a foundation some day), but I can support those doing the hard canvassing and clean-up work.

I am a children’s author. I write and perform and teach Imaginary Worlds classes to kids of all ages.

What does that bring to the table?

http://bit.ly/YVJPYx

by Gizem Vural

 

In the past few years I’ve read about several studies linking reading with empathy. These studies show there is a direct correlation between children who read frequently and their level of empathy for others. An article in Scientific American said that, in particular, reading fiction that focuses on “the psychology of characters and their relationships” teaches kids “values about social behavior, such as the importance of understanding those who are different from ourselves.”

Reading novels as a child — implying literary engagement with life’s social, cultural and psychological complexities — can have a positive impact on personality development and social skills. ~Why Everyone Should Read Harry Potter 

An article in Psychology Today suggests that the “simplest, easiest, cheapest thing we can do to build connection between people is to read to every child.” Because reading fiction opens us up to multiple perspectives, it improves our ability to navigate relationships.

Reading allows children to conceptualize a world beyond the world of “self.” ~Raising a Reader, Learning Empathy

These studies make complete sense to me, because I believe reading a wide variety of literature as a child helps us to realize how connected we all are, but still how unique each individual is. They can also inspire by demonstrating the resiliency of the human (or faerie) spirit.

This is what I was thinking about last Sunday, when I decided to stay home and write and prepare bulk meals for the week (I am dealing with an auto-immune disorder and must cook all of my own food from scratch) while the rest of my family attended the march:

No matter what we do for a living, there is always a way for us to make the world a better place through our vocation. 

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We’ve got a tough road ahead of us as world citizens, and addressing these serious challenges will take a lot of empathy, a lot of creativity, and a lot of cooperation.

It sounds cliche to say that the children are our future, but THE CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE! What part am I playing in creating the future of our planet? Through my writing, teaching, and performing I’m doing the best I can to leave the next generation with the tools to work together harmoniously, to inspire ingenuity and creative thinking, to expand curiosity, to encourage compassion and inclusivity, to support a world of love and possibility rather than fear and divisiveness.

And through the empathy, innovation, and willingness of our future generations will the problems compounding today be approached with more cooperation and a collaborative spirit.

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YOUR WRITING WORKOUT

Actions have consequences and ripple effects, some make major ripples and some affect only a handful of people.

How do your character’s actions create consequences not only for her, but for the people around her?

We can create empathy for a character whose small action sets off a chain of disastrous events beyond her control. We can also root for a character who redeems herself with a good deed that has a positive karmic ripple effect.

1) SET YOUR TIMER for 7-10 minutes.

Start with the line: Out of spite, my character decides to … and it causes …

While you’re writing, think of every single person this action could affect.

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

2) SET YOUR TIMER for 10-12 minutes.

Start with the line: In response to my characters actions, CHARACTER B …

Now think of all the responses / reactions that could possibly happen. GET BIG about it.

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

3) SET YOUR TIMER for 12-15 minutes.

Start with the line:  My character’s redeeming action happens when . ..

Now think about the ripple effect in the positive direction

Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.

And have a great weekend!

 

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