Fossil inspires 'Think Footprint' project

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:43 04 August 2019

Jo Earlam explaining her Think Footprint project. Picture: Chris Woodcock

Jo Earlam explaining her Think Footprint project. Picture: Chris Woodcock

Archant

A prehistoric relic is the basis of a new community project to inspire people to think about their environmental footprint.

The fossil in Sidmouth Museum inspired the whole project. Picture: Jo EarlamThe fossil in Sidmouth Museum inspired the whole project. Picture: Jo Earlam

Author Jo Earlam was inspired by a reptile fossil in Sidmouth Museum, which caused her to think about the changes in the area over 240million years.

The fossil was found by geologist Dr Rob Coram near Sidmouth.

Mrs Earlam launched the Think Footprint initiative, with the aim of setting up a not-for-profit organisation, and is working with the museum and Sidmouth Science Festival to raise awareness of harm being done to the planet by mankind.

The Tipton St John writer plans to create a children's story about a reptile which leaves a footprint for people to find so that they think about the marks they leave.

Jo Earlam explaining her Think Footprint project. Picture: Chris WoodcockJo Earlam explaining her Think Footprint project. Picture: Chris Woodcock

She debuted the project at the Sid Vale Association's cliff erosion exhibition on July 20, which marked 50 years since man first walked on the moon.

Mrs Earlam said: "Fifty years since man left the first footprint on the moon seemed an appropriate moment to look back at a reptile footprint left on earth 240 million years ago and ask people to Think Footprint.

"As a writer, when I first looked at the footprint I began to imagine who the reptile was that had left it, what kind of life it had, the knowledge that it had walked millions of years ago in the same geographic area where I now live. And all that remained to represent its time on earth was this one footprint, nothing more - but still a connection that it had once been alive.

"I began to reflect on this and the 'footprint' that our modern society leaves, as individuals and collectively, and the inescapable truth that however lightly we tread, we will all leave more than one tiny print.

"With the growing awareness of the harm that human behaviour is doing to the planet - climate change, plastic pollution, industrial practices, intensive farming and use of fossil fuels."

She has begun writing a children's picture-based story book and hopes to release it next year.

The story will be set 240million years ago, following a conversation between a young female reptile, Rosa, and her father, before concluding in modern times.

Mrs Earlam will collaborate once again with illustrator Mark Hannon who created the artwork for her previous books Tuamor the Turtle and Archie Space Dog.

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