About us

Why write fiction to save our planet?

Human survival is dependent on the balance of our natural world but mankind as a species has become too dominant. We are witnessing mass plant and animal extinctions at a rate never seen before. What we do to our planet, we do to ourselves. We have to restore a just balance.

Restoring a’ just’ balance for life on our planet is a big challenge and one that is potentially overwhelming.  But there is a  difference we as individuals can make to our world for the better and there are ways to remain positive and energised by working together.

As a starting point in our own journey to make a difference, Voices for Nature writes bespoke literary eco-fiction to inspire others to care for and protect our planet. The royalties from our books  fund conservation.

Our fiction

The plots in our fiction are fast-paced thrillers which grip the reader and beg the question ‘what next?’ Our books stimulate learning, are positive and redemptive to inspire action to protect our planet but also firmly grounded in science and fact.

The eco-thriller novel Jabujicaba was first published in 2014. It has since been translated into Brazilian Portuguese. The setting is  an apocalyptic Brazil in the not too distant future. The country is bankrupt and the Amazon rainforest is up for auction…

Through the plot and characters of  Jabujicaba  we have  explored and debated complex  geo-political issues around rainforest conservation through the Jabuji Debates and our forum theatre.

Through the novel’s sequel, Caretta Caretta, set in Brazil’s recently discovered Amazon Reef, we have been able to examine the challenges facing our planet’s coral reefs in the Jabuji Debates.

Why write about Brazil?

Brazil is the country which ranks first in the world for the richness of bio-diversity. It is home to a large part of the Amazon rainforest and the Atlantic Rainforest. The recently discovered Amazon Reef has added to Brazil’s significance as a biodiversity hotspot.

Brazil has an equally vibrant and diverse culture, with its deep African roots, indigenous people and  some of the world’s last remaining uncontacted tribes. Its iconic cities also capture the imagination of readers.

Funding conservation

The royalties from Jabujicaba and Caretta Caretta help fund rainforest conservation projects in Brazil, through the World Land Trust. In the UK, the royalties from hardback sales have also supported the Isle of Wight Zoo and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and funded film and other creative projects which focus on conservation in the Amazon rainforest.

FIND OUT MORE about Voices for Nature on  www.voicesfornature.net or contact us E-mail Voices for Nature

Eco-thrillers as educational journey

Simultaneous emotional and fact-based learning

Literary fiction enables emotional learning through the reader’s empathetic identification with characters. There is a strong body of research (although not disputed) which supports this. As the reader identifies with characters and attempts to understand their motivations, he or she ‘lives’ their experience and learns from an experience which may not have been possible in his/her ‘real’ life. Empathy is a skill which is critical to  everything we do as humans because we are social animals .  In our multi-cultural, complex world, it is even more important to understand how others see the world.

The exciting plot of a thriller is also an immersive way to learn ‘hard’ facts about about subjects and issues which can sometimes seem complex or ‘dry’. It whets the appetite for finding out more.  In our novels (as for our outreach) we  join up academic disciplines across the sciences and arts.

Fiction as the start of a journey

Voices for Nature writes and publishes bespoke fiction which explores complex sustainable development agendas. The aim is not only to inspire and inform readers but also to serve as springboard and tool for our engagement work with young people .

The Jabuji Debates and some of our forum theatre  is specifically based on Jabujicaba and its sequel Caretta Caretta.

‘Jabujicaba’

Jabujicaba is an eco-thriller set in Brazil: the country is on the verge of bankruptcy and the president is auctioning off the Amazon forest. Carmen Macedo, a journalist from London is sent to investigate an environmental disaster for her paper. She finds herself on a mission to save the country of her birth and is forced to confront tragic events in her childhood.

Carmen’s journey takes her through the apocalyptic cities of Brazil, into the deepest Amazon and the darkest rooms of her mind. She meets colourful and challenging characters, encounters ‘savage’ Indians, faces nature’s wildest obstacles and finds herself drawn to the mysterious Braga who has links with the secretive Forest Liberation Front.

The plot weaves in and out of myths and legends, fact and fiction and the stories the characters tell about themselves and each other.  It asks fundamental questions about who we are in this world. In discovering her own answers, Carmen is guided by the eccentric Professor van Hooven.

This video shows the actress and poet Yrsa Daley-Ward telling our story – and how to pronounce the word ‘Jabujicaba’!

Buy and read Jabujicaba e-book on Amazon Kindle (all royalties go to conservation)

Sequel “Caretta Caretta”

Caretta Caretta is a novella and sequel to Jabujicaba. It is set on Brazil’s recently discovered Amazon Reef and plunges the reader into the deep murky waters of power, greed and political machination.  Carmen Macedo the heroine, risks her own life to prevent others exploiting the reef.

"Caretta Caretta"

 

Buy and read Caretta Caretta e-book on Amazon Kindle (all royalties go to conservation)

DISCOVER

The Jabuji Debates

Why debate?

The complex issues of environmental protection and indigenous rights addressed in the eco-thriller novel Jabujicaba and its sequel Caretta Caretta need greater discussion in our real world. We believe that lively debate can give rise to new insights and positive action.

Debates with a twist

In the Jabuji debates,  our debaters need to develop their role play from their reading of Jabujicaba and take the position of one of its fictional characters.

Some of these characters have value systems which are greatly removed from our experience in Western culture. The perspective of the Amerindians for instance in Jabujicaba and their relationship to the rainforests on which they depend, is incompatible with a capitalist perspective.

A pioneering competition

Our pilot debate based on Jabujicaba was hosted by  Eton College on 16 March 2015 and ran in partnership with Burnham Grammar. The concept was developed with Eton’s biology teacher Kerri Hicks who had read the novel Jabujicaba and met with the author to discuss how to work together.

Voices for Nature successfully tested the model of working across three Eton societies –  the Debating, Geography and Environment Societies. The boys from the Debating Society mentored and ran workshops with regards to argumentation skills. The debating motion for the Jabuji Debates 2015 was:

The workshops and public debate were seen as a big success in terms of energised and fast-tracked learning by participants, organisers and senior members of Eton College alike.

 

The winning team,   Jabuji  Debates pilot

The pilot was scaled up to a  debating competition open to other schools, again hosted by Eton College in 2015/6.  The London Academy of Excellence and Windsor Girls School also participated.

In 2016/7, the debates were based on our novella Caretta Caretta.  The theme was coral reefs which are often called the ‘rainforests of the sea’ on account of their biodiversity significance. We were joined by a new school, Simon Langton Girl’s Grammar school from Kent.

A further scale-up of the Jabuji Debates is now under development by Voices for Nature, called ‘Planet Parliament’.

Find out more

Watch the Jabuji Debates pilot video

Theatre and Film

Forum Theatre

Voices for Nature uses techniques of  ‘forum theatre’ which was first developed in Brazil during the last military dictatorship and used to change mindsets and empower people to challenge the status quo.

We too use forum theatre to challenge and change. Our focus is on current anthropocentric and geo-political environmental thinking. We want people to better protect our planet for all.

In 2016 we  specifically based the forum theatre performance ‘The Amazon Auction’ on our eco-thriller novel Jabujicaba.  In 2017 we more  loosely used the novel as inspiration for our theatre “The Garden’s Secrets”.

November 2017, ‘ The Garden’s Secrets’ Oxford University Department of International Development

In The Garden’s Secrets we explore the ethical consequences of human domination of our planet with regards to population growth.  Our forum theatre  took place in December 2017 as part of the Educere Alliance launch.  The role of the ‘reticent’ shaman was inspired by the shaman in Jabujicaba , as was the workshop’s focus on healing plants and their traditional use for fertility and contraception.

The  Shaman was played by Dr Felix Padel, anthropologist, Oxford University.

The role of the Keeper of the Herbarium was played by Dr Stephen Harris, Plant Sciences, Oxford University as himself

Here is a taster video with the pleas of the leaders:

And the Shaman’s reply:

 

June 2016, ‘The Amazon Auction” Oxford University Botanic Gardens with Wheatley Park School

In The Amazon Auction we explore issues relating to the exploitation, conservation and ownership of the Amazon rainforest, based on the plot and character roles in our eco-thriller Jabujicaba.

The Amazon Auction was written and produced by Yr8 and Yr9 students of Wheatley Park School and performed in summer 2016 in the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens to a participating, drumming public audience.

As part of the performance the performers form two teams. They ‘pitch’ to the audience in order to get them to  support their bid in the mock auction of the Amazon Rainforest. The performers play roles of characters from the novel ‘Jabujicaba’.

Jabujicaba the Movie

Our ambition is to make a movie based on the eco-thriller ‘Jabujicaba’ in order to inspire a much wider general public to protect the rainforest and our planet.

Work on “Jabujicaba the Movie” began in 2014, with the encouragement of a well known Brazilian director and the support of BBC Natural History contacts including Verity White.

In 2016 we raised raised early film development funds through Richard Branson’s #VOOM2016. Doors have been opened and script development is on-going.

The actress Yrsa Daley Ward supports Voices for Nature’s work and hopefully gets to play the lead role of Carmen.

yrsa-daley-ward-actress-jabujicaba

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Find out about

Planet Parliament Now