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Comes with the Territory: The Caribbean Environment in Children’s Literature


The idea of environmentalism in the Caribbean is complicated by history: a history which, until recently, envisioned the islands and territories of the West Indies as possessions of European or American powers. Even as late as the twentieth century, when the environmental movement became a global phenomenon, European and American authors continued to depict a Caribbean population unable to solve environmental problems or even, in many cases, to identify the problems in the first place. Caribbean writers have, in recent years, attempted to produce children’s literature depicting a uniquely Caribbean environmentalism, one in which the land matters for its own sake and the Caribbean have an active role to play. The difference is not accidental, but points to specific differences in world-views about the environment and the Caribbean.  This paper traces the history of and compares approaches to depictions of nature and the environment in children’s literature by European, American, and Caribbean authors.

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