Sustainable Chat with Octavia Lonergan
Best-selling author, graphic designer and sustainability advocate, Octavia Lonergan recently launched her latest children’s book ‘Cats’ Eye View of Being Green’ to help children understand how to look after the planet.
Can you tell me about yourself?
I’m a graphic designer by profession and have had a passion for poetry since I was a child. I’ve always found writing poems to be cathartic, and have written about serious topics such as my postnatal depression, and the loss of my brother to suicide, as well as many poems about love and other happier subjects! A mother of twins, a singer, an artist and now an author – I wrote my first Amazon Bestseller during (and about) Lockdown. Tackling serious topics, like climate change, in a lighthearted manner has now become my trademark – plus the cute cats make everything seem more fun and easy to understand!
When did you start being eco-conscious?
It’s hard to pinpoint when I started being eco-conscious, to some extent I think it’s been since childhood. I was raised a vegetarian and was an avid reader of GreenScene magazine. A lover of nature in all its forms, I was aware of the impact our actions had on the environment. Since having our twins I’ve been even more conscious of the importance of trying to be more green – we can potentially produce a lot of waste, for example, so I’m always looking at different ways to avoid this. I’ve been using reusable sanitary pads for a few years now, as well as cloths rather than cotton wool pads, etc. and it’s just become normal!
When did you start writing children’s books?
I’ve always dreamed of writing children’s books – it just took a global pandemic to make it a reality!! During the first lockdown I pondered on what the nation’s pets must be thinking – and the idea of ‘Cats’ Eye View of Lockdown’ came to life! It started off as a poem, then people started asking where they could buy the book. I was aware of the option of self-publishing but had never really looked into it – I felt a sense of urgency of getting the book out there (what with us thinking lockdown wouldn’t last long!) so decided to investigate. It gave me the option to have full control over the entire process – I wrote, illustrated and designed it myself, with editorial help remotely, from my mum.
How do they help children learn about the environment?
My first book was ‘Cats’ Eye View of Lockdown’, but during the same time period I kept seeing photos on social media of overflowing park bins. I couldn’t believe people had become so thoughtless! So the idea of ‘Cats’ Eye View of Litter’ was born. One of the cats notices litter on her stroll around the park, and they all discuss the issues surrounding it. The book explains the impacts littering can have on animals, humans and the environment – and emphasises the importance of taking rubbish home if there are no empty bins available.
What’s your latest book about?
My third book is ‘Cats’ Eye View of Being Green’ and includes recycling, litter-picking, energy conservation, up-cycling and more. I wrote it with the idea that it can start many meaningful discussions. Whether read by a parent, care-giver or teacher, there are conversation-starting questions throughout, interspersed with a wonderful rhyming story. Sustainability is a subject that will become more important as children grow, so introducing the concept in a light-hearted and fun way is sure to help form well-rounded, thoughtful individuals.
To find out more about Octavia Lonergan and buy her latest book ‘Cats’ Eye View of Being Green’, please visit https://www.poemsbyoctavia.com