Environmental Stewardship in Life and Literature

From scorching heatwaves in Nigeria, torrential rains in Kenya, to tropical storm in Mozambique, our environment reminds us of a phenomenon we can’t ignore. Climate change is reshaping our weather patterns, affecting agriculture, migration, and threatening communities. These aren’t just stories but severe realities putting lives at risk, and we all need to pay attention.

Despite being the regions contributing the least emissions, Africa and the Caribbean are said to be the most vulnerable. Within the context of climate crisis, the future of these regions depends on significant policy changes from global leaders whose industrialised economies directly increase carbon footprint and support from our concerted efforts as a collective. As we grapple with the ongoing climate crisis, it is crucial to reflect on what we are doing to shape the future and educating the younger generation is one of the ways to do so.

Presenting a complex subject as the environment and climate crisis to younger readers can be daunting, but this is where literature and the master storytelling skill of authors like Elizabeth-Irene Baitie comes in. Young climate activists like Greta Thunberg, Ugandan champions, Vanessa Nakate and Leah Namugerwa are already leading the charge, and demonstrating the impact of youth advocacy. Baitie’s books presents fictional environmental champions. In Crossing the Stream, the prequel of a two-part middle grade series with central themes around environmental stewardship, we meet Ato, Dzifa and Leslie, three friends who enter a school environmental competition for a chance to win a visit to Nnoma, a bird sanctuary Ato’s dad helped build before he passed.

The adventures of the trio continue in Flying Up The Mountain coming out this July! Now on the trip to Nnoma with other children from across West Africa, they are divided into teams and assigned missions to expand their knowledge of nature. However, the idyllic sanctuary is not what it seems. The adults at Nnoma act suspiciously, and Ato soon discovers a sinister plot to exploit the sanctuary. It’s up to Ato and his friends to uncover the truth and protect both the sanctuary and his father’s legacy.

Elizabeth-Irene Baitie masterfully intertwines themes of environmental conservation, family legacies, and friendship in this compelling sequel to Crossing the Stream. For many adults, the thought of delving into the middle grade genre might not be something to consider. However, we encourage you do so. Flying Up The Mountain not only offers an adventurous story but also serves as an inspiring call to action for young readers and adults alike to become environmental stewards.

You can get a peek of this thrilling story by reading the excerpt hereFlying Up The Mountain is available to pre-order.