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Cambridge author offers children hope – of sorts – for the future





Cambridge author and acclaimed environmentalist Cindy Forde’s first book, Bright New World: Building A Better Planet, is a brave adventure which takes children on a journey into the future.

‘Bright New World: Building a Better Planet’ by Cindy Forde, is published by Welbeck Editions, £18.99
‘Bright New World: Building a Better Planet’ by Cindy Forde, is published by Welbeck Editions, £18.99

It looks back at the story of how humanity learned living sustainably – and that presents all sorts of interesting challenges for children and adults.

Lavishly illustrated by Bethany Lord, the view from the future evokes a see-saw of emotions: grief and shock at what has been lost, and pride and a curious form of self-respect at overcoming the huge problems of survival that became apparent when the Earth turned against us.

Readers will enter a world of solar-powered vehicles, regenerated rainforests, skyscraper farms, insect-based snacks, recovering coral reefs, wave-powered electricity, and much more. But as much as there are great wonders of science and nature awaiting us, there is also a brutal core: the consequences of climate change are the saddest part of the book – as Cindy herself says on page 14.

This section is quite a challenge even for an adult – so many species disappear, so much land is reclaimed by the sea, and all the mechanisms which sustain life are severely stressed because “experts agree that, managed properly, Earth can provide a healthy diet for up to 10 billion of us” but, by 2100, global population is expected to be 11 billion.

Cindy Forde, author, ‘Bright New World: Building A Better Planet’
Cindy Forde, author, ‘Bright New World: Building A Better Planet’

But we’re not there yet, and what has to happen is that the current generation has to put its faith in – and properly educate – the next generations. As environmentalist and writer Sir Jonathan Porritt says in the introduction: “I really love Bright New World. It doesn’t ignore any of the problems – that wouldn’t help anyone.

“But then it invites us in to celebrate all the amazing things that are happening, all the brilliant campaigns (and young campaigners!), the stories of hope from around the world, and special places are protected, restored and loved.”

Cindy is the founder of Planetari, an organisation dedicated to worldwide environmental education. She has worked with leaders across sectors including the UN, government, NGOs, finance, business, technology and education. She was previously CEO of the Cambridge Science Centre and managing director of the Blue Marine Foundation, where she headed a global team dedicated to protecting and regenerating the world’s oceans.

‘Bright New World: Building A Better Planet’ by Cindy Forde is published by Welbeck Editions, £18.99
‘Bright New World: Building A Better Planet’ by Cindy Forde is published by Welbeck Editions, £18.99

Discussing the potential impact of the book, she said: “By inviting children to step into a not-too-distant future, they have the opportunity see what is possible – to visit a world where we collaborate with nature and our natural systems to create thriving cities, wild spaces and oceans; where we use our incredible technological abilities to enhance and support the genius of the natural world; where we have re-engineered our systems that currently cause the greatest problems, such as energy, food and travel to become the biggest part of the solution.”

Cindy continued: “There are many things that we can’t do anything about, but also much that we can. Bright New World strives to encourage children to focus on the possible and to give them the skills needed to be part of this transformation.”

Bright New World, author Cindy Forde (59821480)
Bright New World, author Cindy Forde (59821480)

The information and storytelling in Bright New World is presented in boxes, a few boxes per page, each around a paragraph – a soundbite of a story here, an anecdote or burst of information there. The realism of the commentary sometimes contrasts strongly with the wonder and joyfulness of the illustrations. The cumulative effect is very moving.

- Bright New World: Building A Better Planet by Cindy Forde is published by Welbeck Editions, £18.99.



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