The World Turtle is Dying – A New Take on an Old Myth – Writing Life

An Angry Earth, the latest book by author and illustrator Michael Poeltl (pronounced pur-tel – Yes, sounds just like: turtle) is a picture book which borrows from the myth of the world turtle. This story has several origins, touching multiple continents, but perhaps the best known is the Hindu telling of the gigantic turtle who supports the world on its shell.

Poeltl borrows the myth in order to get his point across – that the world is alive. Just as a living, breathing turtle carrying the world upon its shell, the earth too is alive, and the turtle acts as the metaphor.

Poeltl goes on to briefly explain how the world is alive and functions as a single entity supporting multiple species which each plays its role in sustaining the delicate balance the earth has created for us all.
So, the question he asks the reader is; “if you could not swim, would you kill the turtle whose back you lived on to live more comfortably?”.  Seems a no-brainer, right? Why would you kill the very thing which sustains you? And so, with a rather graphic illustration he captures the ugly side of man essentially sawing the head off a turtle.

Of course anyone can see the metaphor here; as intended. Poeltl is bringing our attention to the theft of our earth’s natural resources, the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting pollution which is choking the very life out of our delicate ecosystem.

So the answer is, Yes. Would we kill the turtle (the Earth) to further our greed? Absolutely, Yes! And climate change is our proof. Of course the Pacific plastic patch is an excellent reminder as well. Our disappearing rain forests. Our decimated coral reefs. There are numerous examples of man’s footprint on this earth, and with so many being negative, Poeltl decided to bring the story back in a picture book which is illustrated in pen and ink to depict the violent end which awaits us all if we continue on our path of self-destruction in the name of greed.

This cool for kids and parents’ rendition of a ‘tell it like it is’ environmentally-friendly story will offer a blunt and no-holds barred example of what happens when the earth says: “ENOUGH.”

Whether you read it to your kids or just keep it for yourself, it is sure to leave an impression. Poeltl takes the scared straight approach with An Angry Earth and says: “if a few kids get upset by it, maybe those kids will pick up the trash others are throwing down in an effort to reduce the damage we’re doing to Mother Earth. Maybe then the Earth won’t hate them.”

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