Best-selling author Tom Rivett-Carnac has written a children's book to share a positive message of hope as we emerge from the lockdown. And it's now been turned into an animated poem, narrated by celebrated anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace, Dr Jane Goodall.
Set to beautiful artwork created by Tom's sister, Bee Rivett-Carnac, a noted illustrator with two decades' experience, the poem conjures an inspiring vision of the renewed, nature-rich world that's waiting for us as we emerge from isolation.
A former Buddhist monk, Tom has spent the last 20 years working on climate change. He is known as one of the architects of the landmark Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries in 2015, having served as the chief political strategist at the UN.
After being asked many times for advice on how to talk to children about climate change, Tom decided to use the lockdown as an opportunity to write a story for parents and children about what comes next, titled What Happened When We All Stopped.
"At this time of immense uncertainty, we have an opportunity to talk with our children about how to emerge from the health pandemic to build back better and to paint a future that is not mired in floods, fires and pandemics, as will be inevitable if we fail to tackle the larger, looming climate crisis," he says.
"As a father of two young children, I know how hard it can be to broach these subjects, which seem so abstract and alarming, but the fundamental message in this poem is one of hope. The future is unwritten. What happens next is up to us. We who are here now get to choose how the next chapter of the human story will unfold – and we must choose well."
Dr Jane Goodall was so inspired by Tom's poem that she agreed to provide the voiceover for the video inspired by the book, created by TED-Ed’s renowned animators. She said: "I've often considered it strange that the most intellectual creature ever to walk the earth is destroying its only home. This wonderful story helps parents and their children to overcome the disconnect between our clever brains and our loving, compassionate hearts.
"We must find a way of living in harmony with nature so that both may thrive. I hope this storybook inspires people of all ages to play their part in healing the harm we have inflicted so that together we can create a new future."