How long will it take us to make a difference to the amount of plastic waste?
You can make a difference today! Simply by NOT BUYING things wrapped in pointless plastic, you're helping the problem. But it will take much longer for manufacturers and consumers around the world to change their habits. Governments can help by introducing strict rules banning single-use plastics.
Where did you find the facts for the book? And... How did you know it was correct?
Documentaries were a really good starting point. There's a fantastic documentary called A Plastic Ocean produced by Jo Ruxton, who has also worked with David Attenborough. I contacted Jo and asked if she could be an expert adviser on my book and she was delighted to help. I found lots of useful information online, but sometimes it's hard to know what the REAL facts are, so then I would ask Jo and she would set me straight.
Are you trying to help plastic pollution and climate change?
YES! After starting work on my book, I wanted to do more in my local area so I set up Plastic Free Skipton. We hold events, write articles and give talks to explain more about the problems with plastic and how we can all make a difference. I'm now writing a couple of books on climate change and I've taken part in several climate strikes in Skipton. I also try to make changes in my own lifestyle. It always feels better to be doing something rather than nothing.
What made you think about the idea of the book?
I've written lots of books in the Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers series
, and it seemed like an obvious fit for the subject of plastic. People have so many questions they want answered - the book was my opportunity to help.
Did you write the book because you wanted to spread the word about us stopping using single use plastic?
Absolutely! But also because I wanted to explore the topic further. How did we get into this situation? It's fascinating to learn that plastic was originally invented to PROTECT nature. And even now, there are still some very good uses of plastic. But yes, it's the single-use plastic and our throwaway society which really has to be stopped.
How did you come up with so many great ideas for the book?
I'm lucky to have two inquisitive kids myself, who are the inspiration behind many of my books. I think kids are much better at asking questions about the world than adults. As people grow up, they stop questioning why things are the way they are and just go along with it. I think it's extremely important never to stop asking questions. How else are we going to make a better world?
Do you use more than or less than 100% plastic?
Much less! But rather than replace plastic things with non-plastic versions, I often try to use nothing at all. For example, I'd rather have no straw at all then use a paper one which gets thrown away. When I buy apples or onions or carrots I don't use a plastic bag or a paper bag - I just put them loose in my trolley, then put them all in my reusable fabric bag.
How much research did you do for the book?
LOTS! Not just for writing the text but also for finding references for the illustrator, so the images could be informative too.
How long did it take you to research facts for the book? And... How long did it take you to write the book?
Hmmm that's hard to say. It probably took a month to research and write the first draft of the book, but more like six months from start to finish to get the illustrations in place and working well with the text.
Do you want to get involved and help plastic pollution?
Yes, both by telling people about it through my books but also by rolling up my sleeves and trying to improve my local area, through litterpicks for example.
Why did you choose to make the book about plastic?
Because it's ruining our planet and books are a great way to educate people and empower them to make a difference.
Why did you make a pop up book, were you aiming it at a specific age?
Flaps are great because they're interactive. I mean, who can resist opening a flap! Flaps work specially well with the question and answer format. It makes the subject more attractive to children and helps them to learn. I'd say the book was suitable for anyone at primary school - but that most adults would learn lots from it too.