Written by By Carma Hassan, for CNN
It took Carlos Bulosan the nine years and millions of dollars it took to write “Erma Bombeck: A Green Christmas,” one of the largest and most anticipated environmental books in years.
Part one of “Erma Bombeck: A Green Christmas” details how Bombeck-style comedy can help us turn the heart into the earth’s most precious resource. A second is lighthearted at times, which demonstrates how a we might inspire and challenge each other toward a greener future.
Both books are available for purchase in the United States, and the national distribution and author tours will happen in cities such as Honolulu, San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boulder, Colorado, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
“I do feel really proud of this book,” says 35-year-old Bulosan, who is traveling the country in December promoting the book. “I’m super excited about the whole concept. It’s a good book.”
The book stemmed from the premise that some stories need a kick to get them going. “Being an environmentalist — it’s like a dog,” said Bulosan. “You know you have to see the whole story before you can write the book.”
The lessons in the book are all there, starting with being compassionate towards animals, which Bombeck and Bulosan said matter to the heart of all humans. It’s our responsibility to take care of our neighbor’s, they said. But there’s another message in the book that the pair say offers hope for humanity’s future, the future of Earth.
They decided that they wanted to teach people to not just change their own behaviors, but teach each other and their neighbors how to change theirs. They feel that a lot of the stories they hear are so sad, and for the most part relate to greed, they said. “This book teaches the way to have a positive attitude to the environment.”
“Let’s Be Green”
Bulosan and Bombeck met in 2008 at a focus group for the book. She was casting around for a publisher, and he was casting around for a publisher who would cast a wide net, and not just for small NGOs or people who were chasing short-term causes.
“[I’m] not just telling people to buy the book.” added Bulosan. “I’m saying you should bring your kids, your friends, your neighbors and all these different people to all the bookstores and just read the book.”
The book started on Thanksgiving Day, 2013. The week culminated with the printing and shipping of the one million copies. The book was put on sale in November 2016.
Boroplan works with Kids Escaping Drugs, an organization he founded that teaches children about environmentalism and digital literacy through activities that teach them what they love. He was also an intern on the team that discovered the Curiosity Rover on Mars. (He coined the word “curiosity” when his dad used it to describe what happened on that trip.)
Boroplan now works with Children’s Environmental Action Network (CEAN), where he focuses on helping the organization find funding and save children from environmental disasters.
He says the two projects are both very personal for him, and the books are a reflection of the person he wants to be. For someone who grew up in Southern California, with an environment in balance between natural and human, it made sense for Bulosan to write a book about it.
“Everything in the book is mostly our ideas,” Bulosan said. “You have to believe in something and see it through.”
For Bulosan, the overwhelming response was a big surprise. “We’re the kind of people who have just given up hope in almost everything.”
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