Red Deer Press

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Protectors of the Planet

Protectors of the Planet

Environmental Trailblazers from 7 to 97
also available: eBook
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From Chapter 1: Magnificance Matters

Blazing Trails

I call them environmental trailblazers.
     They are pioneers, carving new paths into the wild and unmapped terrain we call the future. They are heroic adventurers dedicated to a noble cause. They are role models and mentors, showing us where we can go when we really care about something. They are outliers, standing apart from regular mortals like you and me, but inviting us to join them. They are young and they are old. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things to safeguard life on Earth and preserve its magnificence.
     This book shines an up-close-and-personal spotlight on the lives of some of Canada's best and brightest environmental leaders. But more than showcasing their exciting work and achievements, I explore the "making of" these trailblazers with a detective's curiosity.
     How did they get this way? What factors shaped them as they grew up? Where did their passion for the planet come from?
     Was it in their blood? In their brains? Was it where they lived? Their parents? Their teachers? Their friends? Maybe a pivotal book? Was it some random person they bumped into? Some lucky opportunity? A nothing conversation in the schoolyard? How about their past lives? (Just kidding, but who knows?)
     These were fun themes to unpack with everyone I interviewed, whether a world-famous giraffe biologist in her mid-80s, or a twelve-year-old girl fighting for her future under the darkening cloud of climate change.
     The colorful cast of real-life characters you'll meet in this book covers a fascinating spectrum of environmental topics—from wolves to whales—and places—from the frozen Arctic tundra to the searing savannah of Africa. Ranging in age from 7 to 97, they include global experts in their field as well as unsung local heroes, any of whom might just light up your inborn affection for nature and rouse you to protect it.
     When I interviewed these changemakers, I made a special point to ask each of them what hands-on advice they had for young people like you who want to make a difference.
     At the end of each chapter, I've distilled their answers into "Trailblazer Tips" to help you carve your own path.
     For those of you who want to explore their lives more deeply, or the issues they are tackling, I've also included a "Digging Deeper" section at the back of the book, listing some key references, videos, and websites that helped me tell their story.
     In following the trails blazed by these remarkable people, may you discover excellent adventure, deep inspiration, practical advice, and rekindled hope for the future—as I have.
     Enjoy the journey!

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