As we become more and more passionate about the environment, perhapse the most important thing is to instill those same priorities in children and the most exciting and fun way to do that is to share the love of movies.
Indeed, what better way to educate a child to be respectful towards the world that surrounds him than through cartoons with loveable characters and an interesting story.
One the one hand, picture the planet without people, without plants, without life of any sort, save a small sized trash compacting robot and a whole lot of trash. This is opening scene of Pixar’s Wall-E (2008).
The story of a little robot that manages to make it to outer space, find love and at the same time the means to save our dying Earth – all in a hard day’s work.
While what’s left of the humanity have turned into robots or rather slugs, orbiting space indefinitely because the earth is inhabitable.
Carried in floating chairs so they don’t have to walk, doing nothing but drink food from a cup and stare at the tv screen they are permanently attached to.
On the other hand, animated drama/comedy Happy Feet depicts the life of free penguins in the Antarctica versus being trapped in a marine park exhibit.
Although director George Miller insists the story didn’t start off as an environmental message, he said: “In Australia, we’re very, very aware of the ozone hole and Antarctica is literally the canary in the coal mine for this stuff. So it sort of had to go in that direction.”
With a final taking of approximatively $198 million in the United States alone, about eight times the figure for the much-discussed Al Gore documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” environmentalists said “Happy Feet” provided a rare chance to spread their messages on global warming, overfishing, and the dangers of oil spills to an audience that doesn’t usually follow public policy.
“The generation that will be seeing this movie, the children, will be the ones facing the critical issues when the big problems are going to happen – possible global fish extinction in 40 to 50 years” for many species, said Matt Rand, director of the marine fish campaign at National Environmental Trust, a Washington-based advocacy group.
With takings of $224 millions in the USA only, Wall- E was an even bigger box-office hit. The movie became a real player in the environmental discussion.
Thanks to it children were interested by what was going on and started asking questions about how we should prevent the apocalyptical vision of the Earth we see in the animated movie. At the end Wall-E became a real learning tool, disguised as a fun, simple love story.
Svetlana Loschatova, mother of 9 year old Yvan said: “After walking out of the movie theater my 9 year old who obviously totally enjoyed the movie said: that was made to teach humans a lesson. I of course pushed him a little further and he explained, we can’t keep being mean to the Earth.”
So let’s hope that there are more environmental friendly movies for kids to come!