“Is It Easy Being Green?” by Dani-emma Richardson


As Maison Verte Don in Wood Residence, I like to think that I am fairly observant when it comes to walking around the building. I am sure there are quite a few people who may
have seen me popping my head into different bathrooms and Common Rooms to turn the lights off. Most of the time I don’t mind performing this small action, but the other day I found myself getting annoyed. The act of turning off the faucets and lights has become
second nature to me, and yet… there were other people who seemed to be oblivious.

From there, I began wondering how I could get the message out to others that conservation is not a difficult task, which led me to start contemplating the types of television shows/movies/messages that are being broadcast, and what they have to say about the environment.

Besides the insanely catchy songs provided below, what do the followings have in common?

Stop The Smoogies (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGlNEpBtQik)

Captain Planet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpXM9bj-WPU)

Fern Gully (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccURwir7C_o)

Sesame Street: On my Pond (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrQEWRUIFlw)

(You’re welcome for the blast to the past!)

Exactly! They all have very pro-sustainability messages. Quite a few of them utilize the “nature as a home” theme, which is very powerful for children. Below you will see a video that had gotten stuck in my head for years, which I am sure some of you will recognize it as well:

Sesame Street: Water Conservation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtcZbN0Z08c)

A few things to point out: Firstly, the length of the film- somehow the writers managed to fit a very moving message into less than a minute, which certainly takes into account the attention span of children. Secondly, although the writers were stretching it with the fish using the phone, the conversation is very telling. Frank the Fish addresses Carl in a pretty friendly way, so it’s obvious they have had some interaction prior to this conversation. Carl, on his part, is very friendly and asks how Frank is. The writers also used space in a very imaginative way- what allows us to see the actions in both the pond and the bathroom is the missing wall, which then lets Carl see what is going on as well. Finally from the reactions of both characters after the water has been turned off; Carl is genuinely distraught at what has happened and Frank instead of being angry, promotes water conservation, we can see they have a relationship they both value. All in all, a great watch!

The truth is our environment is in ruins. There are numerous problems, including but not limited to oil spills, tar sands, deforestation, mismanagement of water resources and waste, and other means of pollution. But, at the end of the day, if you do not recognize natural habitats as ‘home’ to other species, you will neither appreciate nor respect them.

Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets, especially took important steps in distilling in children around the world, not only the importance of family, but also the flexibility of that definition. Families doesn’t need two parents (or even two parents of different genders), and families may not include people all of one skin color. Families can even include non-human species. Homes may not be in houses or apartment buildings, but rather in nests, underground or in forests. And while there are a ton of huge ecological problems out there, the easiest step to take is to pick up after yourself and turn off water/lights/electronics when you aren’t using them.

Not a difficult message, but a very effective one.

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