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When fairyland Lost it's Magic

Jacket for the book "When Fairyland Lost It's Magic," by Bijal Vachharajani
Photo courtesy of the author
Jacket for the book "When Fairyland Lost It's Magic," by Bijal Vachharajani

BV1: Rapunzel was having a tough time maintaining her hair, especially since the great Water crisis had hit fairy land. Now, the princess could only wash her hair once a week on Thursday between 6 a.m. and 6:25 a.m., when free flowing water came in the tap. 

That’s a hairy twist to an old fairy tale. Rapunzel in a time of climate change.
Bijal Vaccharajani is an editor and children’s book author in India. her book When Fairyland Lost its Magic climate change has changed the script entirely.
Forget a happily ever after ending. How do u even begin to talk about a world so out of whack with children?
This is Sandip Roy in Kolkata
Vaccharajani says you can give them hope, but not false hope

BV2: I feel like you can't magically solve climate change. Then I wrote a book that had magic in it, and then I still refused to use magic to solve climate change.

Because there is no magic wand. And while poor people in poor countries might face the brunt of it, rich people in rich countries are hardly protected by a magic blanket says writer Amitav Ghosh, author of books like The Great Derangement,

AG1: California is one of the richest parts of the world, right? And yet California is suffering terrible impacts not just from wildfires, but also from droughts, etc

Not exactly the stuff of children’s books.

AG2:I do feel very increasingly despondent because I really do feel that we have passed the point of no return, and it makes me feel, you know, for my children, for their possible future children. I think we are leaving them an utter dystopia.

But Vaccharajani says we underestimate the resilience of kids.

BV3:When you ask them these questions, they will answer with a certain anxious bent of mind. But, um, you know, um, there's also, uh, cricket practice after that. So children are fairly resilient and they will cope with it

And kids actually know more than we give them credit for.

BV4: 3  I mean, the number of times that children have come up to me and told me trivia about tigers and elephants and fungi also. Uh, so I love putting all that in.

Yet a PBS Newshour poll said 34% of 13-29 year olds said climate change would impact their decision to have kids of their own. Rohand Chakravarty who does Green Humour cartoons in India has decided to just be a dog parent

RC1:I am somebody who has chosen not to have kids because of one of the reasons happens to be because I see overpopulation as a burden to, uh, you know, on the environment.

Meanwhile countries like India rightly say Indians’ carboon footprint is just a fraction of Ameriva’s. And India says its priority is to lift millions including children out of poverty. But is it going about it the right way wonders Ghosh.

AG3:America is what they worship. They want to recreate India in the image of America. And it's such a disastrous project because actually the recreation of the land in America is itself coming undone.

America is dismantling many of its dams while India is building more even in the mountains.

AG4: even as the dams collapse, they push forward with more and more dams, more and more rude. To call this a disaster of climate change is inadequate. A lot of it is just a man made disaster.

So if there’s a message Rohan CHakravarty wants to get out, its not just about plastic straws. Its more long term

RC2: t the hope is that, you know, uh, communication, uh, persistent communication, persistent campaigning will push parties to be greener.  That's something I'm trying to do one comic strip at a time as well. 

But when you are talking to children you cannot let your messaging, your climate anxiety overwhelm the story, Instead start in their own backyards

RC3: children in the neighborhood who can identify cars, but not, uh, you know, butterflies and birds in their gardens. And that is a big problem.

BV4: if you don't know that tree outside your house or you're not going to want to protect it when somebody comes to, uh, you know, saw it down  and today it could be a tree. Tomorrow it's an elephant day after it's the planet. 

BTW Rapunzel didn’t get her prince. There was just too much smog that day in Fairyland.

BV5: She hastily shut the window and glowered at the gray smog whirling outside her tower. Meanwhile, the prince kept waiting and waiting. But there was a there was nary a sight of hair or hare

This is Sandip Roy in Kolkata for KALW