This article appeared in the August 30, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Puns to save the planet

Courtesy of Walter Robinson
Fifth grader Merwan Robinson holds a fish sculpture he created out of shells. The T-shirt he's wearing, which appears on the cover of the books he and his family published, was designed by his father, Walter Robinson.
Trudy Palmer
Cover Story Editor

What do puns have to do with the environment? Lots, if you are rising fifth grader Merwan Robinson, who spent his summer writing, illustrating, and publishing – with help from his parents – the two-book series “Martha’s Vineyard Puns to Bring a Smile.”

His primary goal is to “start a PUN-demic where healing smiles are spread around the planet.”

But many of the illustrations and puns suggest a second goal, saving the planet. For example: “Our oceans deserve better protection. They are so kind and always wave.”

Earnest and animated, Merwan tells me what he’s learned – out of curiosity, not as part of his home schooling – about the Mariana Trench, where the goblin shark lives. 

The information is “a little bit scary and maybe a bit creepy,” he warns, before explaining how the shark “can extend a jaw and snap the prey.”

Why does this matter? In a word, hope.

Though he’s barely 10, Merwan is already pitching in to protect the environment. After completing the books, he and his father, Walter Robinson, met with Collin Ward, assistant scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, to introduce the idea of a puppet show using Merwan’s sea creatures to educate children about the ocean.

His message isn’t just for kids, though. In fact, Merwan and his dad are hoping that, through a friend, the books reach former President Barack Obama, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday on Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island. 

Speaking to everyone from preschoolers to presidents, on behalf of “Pure Seas the Sea Horse,” one of his sculptures, Merwan urges, “‘Sea’ if you might please kindly help ‘Pure Seas’ during this critical ‘sea’-son of planet earth’s history to ‘sea’-lect the best conservation choices for our oceans so they continue to happily wave to us in the future!”

This article appeared in the August 30, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 08/30 edition
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