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 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
- The Jabuji Debates 2016/17
- What teachers and pupils said about the pilot debate
- Learn about rainforest issues