Article written by Helen Jacobs
Promoting and understanding conversation is one of the most important goals we can aim to achieve within our lifetime. In much of the western world there is a mistaken assumption that the main goal of conservation is the save the habitat of animals, and to protect animal life. However what many people do not realise is that conservation is integral to our own human survival too: without it, our life on the planet could well also be put in jeopardy. Climate change is directly correlated to a world without conservation, and the world as we know it could well collapse completely if our conservation efforts prove to be unsuccessful.
Beza, Who Saved the Forests of Ethiopia, One Church at a Time – A Conservation Story is a wonderful story to help bring this message into school and to educate children about the importance of conservation in an accessible way. Promoting conservation through literature is one of the easiest and most important ways that we can create a dialogue with young people about the often abstract and difficult concept of what conservation really means to them. By reading the story of Beza, its conservationist theme becomes immediately relatable, and anecdotal evidence suggests that children respond much better to important concepts such as these when they have a relatable and personal connection they can tie to the issue.
Understanding Beza’s Story
The story of Beza is a heart-warming but relatively straight forward one. Beza is a teenage girl from Ethiopia who is striving to conserve the last forests and biodiversity of northern Ethiopia. Within the story we see Beza working to save the forests within her community and the challenges that she faces throughout her journey.
Ethiopia is a country that is struggling with a major battle against deforestation: whilst many believe deforestation is a sign of progress, on the ground churches and community groups are working hard to conserve their environments and prevent more rainforest eco structures from being destroyed. Deforestation is considered essential for gas and electricity suppliers to enter more remote villages, and the book competently details the challenges faced by the junior conservationist (which replicates the challenges often faced by conservationists around the world) and invites young people to develop a wider understanding of the complexities such situations involve.
Between 1990 and 2005, Ethiopia lost 14.0% of its national forest cover, or around 2,114,000 hectares of tree-filled land, as a result of deforestation. The scope of deforestation within the country continues to increase, rather than decline, which is why raising global awareness of the issue through fictional stories such as Beza’s is so important. Beza, Who Saved the Forests of Ethiopia, One Church at a Time – A Conservation is a story which achieves multiple goals: to show how and why conservation is important, to demonstrate that children are not powerless in the face of global challenges such as these, and that they can make an impact, and to encourage girls to follow Beza’s lead and pursue science so that they can also affect change.
An Important Societal Role
Reading books such as this is integral in helping to educate the next generation about the importance of using our natural resources wisely. We currently live in difficult times, where the conservationist agenda is being largely overlooked. The only way we can hope to continue the positive work that has already been established in conserving our planets vital resources is if we can interest and inspire the next generation to continue this work. This means encouraging young women to pursue education within science subjects, and well as convincing young people of both genders that working within the global conservation arena is important and valuable work.
Literature has a proven and historic record in its ability to inspire and motivate, particularly within young people. This is the gift that Beza, Who Saved the Forests of Ethiopia, One Church at a Time – A Conservation gives to us: a literary outlet and template for encouraging children to think about a wider world outside of their own back yard and analyse how every decision they make impacts upon it. By sharing this book with the children in your life, you will be allowing them to visit Ethiopia in their imaginations, and this could influence significant decisions they make for the rest of their lives.
How to Purchase
Available for purchase via PayPal from TREE Foundation:
For every copy of Beza sold (cost $20 including tax and free domestic shipping), one copy will be distributed FREE in Amharic to an Ethiopian child! Amharic Edition is available for purchase here.