by Wendy Gabriel
Marghanita Hughes is a children’s book author, illustrator and the creator of the award winning Little Humbugs. It was while observing her children revelling in the awesome wilderness of their new surroundings in British Columbia that the idea for the Little Humbugs was conceived. Marghanita is passionate about encouraging our children’s interest in the guardianship of The Earth we share. She strongly believes that children can influence change. Her Mission is to deliver this positive message to them through the delightful characters in her enchanting stories.
Marghanita lives on the edge of a forest, with her husband David, their three children and Prince, their faithful Flatcoat Retriever.
How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?
It’s all the small things that collectively make a difference. I love recycling so my yogurt pots become paint pots, tin cans become pencil holders, flower pots and decorative lanterns. We use only eco-friendly home cleaning products, all natural toiletries, eat local organic food whenever possible. We grow our own fruit, have extended our vegetable patch and added a compost bin. By composting it has cut our garbage by half. We shop with our reusable cloth bags and take our Klean Kanteen bottles everywhere.
Your company, Wildwood Media Ltd, tries to adhere to sustainable business practices. What are some of the things you do to accomplish this goal?
Our small company use local suppliers and business whenever possible. The Little Humbug books are printed in Canada on 100% Post Consumer Waste, Old Growth Free and Chlorine Free Paper using vegetable based inks. Our All Natural Humbug products are formulated and manufactured in British Columbia in a certified organic facility utilizing only all natural ingredients all of which are biodegradable reducing the associated aquatic toxicity upon disposal or spillage. We work with local farmers who provide us with organic seeds for the Humbug seed collection. We have just started working with a Fair Trade Organization that helps support women in work in Nepal. We designed our dolls so they come with no wasteful packaging. And our latest dolls are filled with 100% recycled material (recycled plastic bottles) and their hanging tag doubles as a pledge. In our office and studio we only use 100% post consumer waste paper and we shred most of our mail and reuse for packaging.
There is still a lot to learn and do but we believe we are making small steps to a more sustainable future.
You have written some very charming children’s books, The Little Humbug Series, with an awesome message. What are some of the ways the Little Humbugs teach children about being green?
The storybooks immerse the reader into the world of the Little Humbugs and reveal to the young child just how important it is to look after the natural world they inhabit and that they have an important role to play in caring for it too.
The first lesson the Humbugs teach children is to get outside and explore the wonders of nature. By instilling a love for nature in a child, they will want to protect it.
The little Humbugs encourage children to take an active role in making change with simple tasks they can do by themselves, for example: Use both sides of paper; make your own greeting cards with recycled card. switch off the TV and go for a walk or cycle; swap your old books and toys with friends; turn off the tap when brushing your teeth; switch off lights when leaving a room; attract butterflies and other wildlife to your yard by planting a Butterfly Bush (Buddleia); give a plant or tree as a birthday gift.
I love your quote on your blog, Marghanita, When children and nature mix, something magical happens – every child deserves that Magic! What advice would you give parents about encouraging their children to find that magic?
What’s so wonderful about nature and the outdoors – It’s FREE to all who want to experience it. The magic can be found in your own backyard, local park or even under a rock or fallen branch lying on the walkway.
By taking your child outside, they get to use all their senses. Together you can listen to bird song and spot the many different birds (borrow a bird book from the library). Follow a slimy snail trail, climb a tree, go on a bug hunt. Wade in the creek, let minnows tickle your feet, watch dragonflies perform acrobatics. Plant some seeds or vegetables, kids love to watch things grow and they can learn where food comes from at the same time. Smell the flowers, watch the bees buzz and the butterflies flutter from one flower to the next.
The magic is there to be discovered, at any time of year because each season brings its own magic!