Our Planet - and helping to save it!
1st Nov 19

Our Planet - and helping to save it!

Our Planet is a new documentary series from Netflix, which takes us to some amazing and beautiful parts of the world. You can now explore these further in a new book called Our Planet, published by HarperCollins Children's Books.

OUR PLANET: The official children's companion to the Netflix documentary series, is written by Matt Whyman and has a special foreword by David Attenborough.

We asked author MATT WHYMAN to tell us more about writing OUR PLANET:

Q: How did you become involved with the Our Planet project, and what attracted you to it?

A: It was a great honour to be asked, and a huge responsibility. The Netflix series, OUR PLANET, packs a powerful punch about environmental issues. This book is aimed at a generation who must act on a global scale to secure a future for the earth and every living thing that depends on it.

I needed to make it accessible, and also strike a balance between being honest about the environmental crisis we face. Ultimately, I wanted to flag up that it's not too late to take action. The future of our planet is effectively in the hands of the generation who read this book.

Q: How did you go about researching this project? Did you work with Colin Butfield, the scientific adviser behind Netflix's Our Planet show?

A: Colin is the ultimate guru when it comes to all things OUR PLANET. He is a fascinating individual who knows more about the issues facing our planet than anyone else. He's also a really nice man and a very fast runner.

Q: Did you discover anything during your research that surprised you?

A: Pretty much every page I wrote contains information that surprised or moved me. The rate at which the polar ice is melting, for example, is hard to ignore.

Q: Was it difficult to communicate the messages about the impact of global warming, without worrying us about our futures?

A: I wanted to be honest, which means there are difficult realities and hard truths in the book. At the same time, it isn't too late to act in order to save the planet and allow it to thrive. I just approached both sides as transparently as possible. This isn't intended to be a scary read. It's a springboard for action, and a signpost to a world in which we work together with nature - rather than against it.

Q: What message would you like young readers to take from the book?

A: We can all make a difference, but that's most effective when we join together and pursue the same objective. To do so, we need the facts. This book aims to provide that, and encourage readers to recognise that if we unite then it's not too late to save our planet.

Q: Has writing this book inspired any changes in how you live your own life?

A: I don't eat meat, but I do like fish. Since working on Our Planet, I have stopped eating fish from the high seas like tuna. It's completely unsustainable, and contributing to the destruction of a precious ecosystem. I can still enjoy fish, but it has to be from coastal waters and from stocks in abundant supply.

Q: If you could visit any of the places you feature in Our Planet, where would you go?

A: There's a lot to be said for cutting down on air travel, and a great deal to be enjoyed closer to home. You only have to go for a walk in local woodland to realise what a precious world we live in.

Q: And if you could campaign for any of the creatures included in the book, which won would it be?

A: All the animals featured in the book live incredible lives and have fascinating stories behind them. If I had to choose, however, I would be Team Narwal.

Q: Where is your favourite place to write, and what are you working on at the moment?

A: I am fortunate enough to have an office in my house. The windows are high up so I'm distracted by nothing but the sky (not a prison cell btw) and I have three colleagues - a Greek rescue hound, a sausage dog and a crazy Springer Spaniel. They're an odd-looking pack. When we get out for some fresh air, I look like a dog walker for hire. I'm currently working on an exciting book, but as ever I'm not allowed to talk about it.

Q: What are your top three tips on writing great non-fiction?

A: Be honest.

Be inventive in your approach

Use the facts to tell an exciting, unputdownable story.

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