Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Imagine a New Reality with Donna Goodman


Donna Goodman has spent her entire life learning about and advocating for the protection of our Earth and its children. She is an activist, author, and a teacher of sustainability, who has worked in over sixty countries. In our recent conversation, I asked Donna why she focused on water. She described growing up in Connecticut, exploring nature and backyard streams. Later in life, Donna co-founded a science education company teaching preschoolers about the invisible forces of nature, like gravity, magnetism and water. Through her work at a peace and sustainability NGO, Donna began to understand that: “Water is a necessary component of sustainability and peace.” 
During her years in water education, Donna was inspired by the young voices in the sustainability movement. She worked 15 years for UNICEF, and founded Earth Child Institute (ECI), an international NGO in 2002. The idea for the Earth Child Institute, which engages children with climate education, originated from a young intern at Global Education Associates (GEA). ECI has blossomed into a center of sustainability studies and collective action. Today, the climate movement continues to be led by many young voices. Donna has learned from children that they need adults to respect them, and take their projects seriously. The children of today know they have a responsibility to fight for climate justice. The environmental crisis seems like an overwhelming issue however, investing in our young people, especially girls, is an achievable step in the right direction. Donna enjoys reminding people of the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Donna considers her “apple tree” to be her sustainability-driven fictional series, Ecomasters. 

Ecomasters is a girl-led series that brings the stories of a group of young, changemakers. The characters and settings are inspired by the real people and places Donna has encountered over the course of many years. Donna wanted to make her book accessible to children all over the world, which is why Ecomasters includes stories on every continent. The series possesses elements of magic, using the natural and scientific principles of water to create a world of magical realism. Donna believes reading is a fundamental process for young people to expand their dreams. She envisions a final series of five books and multimedia adaptation.

Donna writes in Ecomasters, “Everything here, and elsewhere is connected and dependent upon everything else and, at the heart of that connection, is the Earth’s Life blood: water.” We are united now more than ever because of our shared threat of climate change and our dwindling drinking water supply. Donna imagines Ecomasters to be a vehicle for social change and education by engaging and empowering young women with stories of courageous acts towards sustainability. 

By Grace Gallant

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