The role of ecological fairy tales
By Ioanna Panayidou, ideopsis Ltd
Many of us believe that the issue of climate change and the major environmental problems that have emerged more and more intensively in recent years have appeared recently. The fairy tales for our little friends of the 1970s challenge us, as from that time and onwards the environmental awareness-oriented writing had begun to emerge.
Nowadays, more urgently than ever, it is necessary to redefine the role of “ecological fairy tales” so that they are read more systematically to our children, aiming for a more optimistic future for our planet.
It is worth noting that research through a study of the urban environmental landscape with the help of a sample of infants showed that children from this age, can identify environmental problems and at the same time as active members of the community envision its sustainable upgrading (Brentas, 2021).
Consequently, the environmental awakening provided by reading thematic fairy tales, such as ecological ones, can help the flourishing of children’s minds and provide them with multiple stimuli towards a more ecologically friendly perception. This can be achieved with fairy tales containing an intelligible story with notes of optimism, which awakens curiosity and stimulates children’s imagination.
Adopting these communication techniques, the fairy tale acquires its own dynamic value in environmental protection issues, addressing the younger ages. During the narration of a fairy tale during preschool and early age, the world of emotions of the child is promoted and its ecological behaviour is qualitatively fermented. Depending on the “green content” that results from the fairy tale, such levels of pro-environmental attitudes are cultivated in young readers.
In traditional fairy tales, the ecological crisis that modern fairy tales narrate is not deeply integrated. However, with careful observation, it is found that in folk tales, people and the natural environment are placed in the same frame, interact and coexist harmoniously.
Today, children’s literature offers thousands of environmental books for educators, parents, and other storytellers, who need to learn how to evaluate them appropriately. Through research it is indicated that worthy fairy tales skilfully hide their learning lessons, they effortlessly convey their messages, whilst maintaining the authenticity of the entertainment and magic of the fairy tale. Knowledge is intelligently structured, and their content urges reflection, without giving the answers directly and which the child alone is called to perceive in the real world. Through these the narrative is considered generative and uplifting. This way a narrative can communicate with the recipient and then stimulate the environmental ethics of a particularly malleable audience, such as that of children.
Therefore, there is hope that if we properly provide the necessary sources for young ages, then as future citizens they will likely respect the environment and achieve the sustainable development of the planet. Besides, knowledge acquisition and challenging responsibility and care towards the environment, can activate environmentally friendly actions.
The stories of ecological fairy tales prove to be timeless, and the repetition of their narration reminds us, warns us and motivates us to love the environment that hosts us. At the same time, they are a source of inspiration and empowerment of environmental awareness for the new generation.