On World Habitat Day Ian Mutch explains why we shouldn’t be looking to gain More and More and More

Debut author Ian Mutch’s picture book More and More and More is published today, on World Habitat Day.

And it’s no coincidence that this vibrant story about Henry, who loves collecting loads of stuff, is published on a day that encourages people to think about the places and spaces they live in, and how they can be preserved and looked after in the future.

In More and More and More, Henry Harper loves to collect things. He has bikes, shoes, balloons, guitars – anything he can catch in his net. But one day he collects Kate and as the pair start to gather more and more and more items, they soon begin to realise that the only thing they’ve gained of any value is each other.

The message of the book is clear – value people, not things. Mutch is also a staunch advocate for sustainability, lessening consumerism and respecting our towns and cities here in Western Australia.

‘Compared to other parts of the world I think we look after our towns and cities,’ he said, ‘but I think when it comes to recycling we need to catch up. I live in the South-West and the landscape and oceans here are beautiful. Mostly everyone respects the habitat here, but there are still a minority of people who litter and disrespect the environment.’

In a state as wild and diverse as Western Australia, how can locals and visitors respect these habitats?

‘It’s pretty simple really,’ says Mutch. ‘Abide by the rule “take back what you brought down”. So if you bring an esky full of drinks or food to the beach or park, then make sure all the litter and empties are carried back. I think we also need to recycle more, and need more education in our communities about what can be recycled and where items can go for recycling or re-use.

‘All of these are lessons that parents should be teaching their children. Or even letting their children teach them if they’ve heard about it in school. It’s really important that young people understand how issues such as sustainability and consumerism can not only affect the places we live, but the people we share that space with.’

But what can you do to help look after your habitat? Here are Ian’s 5 suggestions for small changes that could make a big difference:

  1. Donate a toy that you don’t play with any more to someone who needs it.
  2. Visit your local op shop. Donate as many items as you buy from there so you’re not ending up with too much stuff.
  3. Pack a waste-free lunch.
  4. Be grateful for what you have. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for in the place where you live and the people you’re with.
  5. Spend time with someone you love. It’s important to value people, not things, so why not send a letter to one (or lots) of your friends and family telling them what you like about them.

More and More and More by Ian Mutch is available in all good bookshops and online at fremantlepress.com.au. Ian will be launching More and More and More at a special event at Garage Co-Working, Dunsborough on Saturday 20 October from 4pm. Find out more.

You can also see artwork from More and More and More on display at a special exhibition at the State Library of Western Australia from now until 21 January 2019. Find out more.

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