Author's Note: How the hell do I have Mojo Level 4? I thought I was one of the most hated people on Daily Kos.
We all know it's coming. I mean, seriously, if you can't then you must be willing to close your eyes. In Florida we're seeing beaches disappear. We've got prolonged drought and raging forest fires. The world's oceans are heating up, acidity is ramping high, that hole over Australia isn't getting any closer to closing, hurricane seasons are getting crazier, and animal species are still going extinct.
I grew up in a conservative household by 1980s standards, though in today's environment it probably counts as moderate to slightly left leaning. Despite whatever stereotypes that might bring along, it gave me the chance to grow up into an environmentally concerned citizen. Here's how, and try not to laugh at this too much along the way.
Even as a kid, my brain was being trained for a future role as a professor. We read nonstop, and in a conservative household, reading began with the Bible. So messages like this:
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.All sort of set a tone for me. I've dabbled in and out of vegetarianism over the years, sometimes better, sometimes not. What I do know is as a kid I was convinced that animals were supposed to be treated kindly, that fruits and vegetables were the ideal diet for you and that man was supposed to take care of the world around him. These messages were just seeds, though. Leave it the 1980s to help them grow.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
Cartoons. The gateway drug children of the 80s used to access their imaginations, and leave it to Canada to bring us a show like The Racoons.
On the topic of cartoons, you know what else made me think "Well maybe we shouldn't be killing as many animals as we do?" Bambi. I know what you're saying already, raising your objections and going, "Whoah now Professor, Bambi came out like forty years before you were born." That might be true, but you know what else wasn't around in the 1940s, besides me? VHS Tapes. And the 1980s was exactly the era Disney had been waiting on to start pillaging that gold mine of classic movies to the fullest extent they could force the law to allow them to. So we got all these old classics "out of the vault" and onto the shelves. So yeah, my first experience watching Bambi was in my household. And guess what?
You know what else the 1980s gave us that was awesome, though? This guy:
There's tons more to be mentioned. One tv show I always think about that I can never remember is about a red haired girl who travels the world. I think it was a two part show, one in which she shrinks down to the size of bugs. In the one I'm thinking about, the red haired girl goes and talks to whales or something. I knew how much I loved sealife even then. And, I know how much many hardline environmentalist and animal protection people hate Seaworld, but I'm sorry. Seaworld was probably one of the single biggest influences in my life in helping me decide we had to think twice about the way we treated our oceans and its massive population. Because once you see this:
I haven't even begun to talk about the early nineties. We all remember this guy's debut in 1990:
And do you even remember this movie?
At any rate, I guess I don't know where kids are getting their environmentalism these days. I don't watch a lot of cartoon shows, but well into the nineties, I was still getting elements of it, especially from anime. I guess it makes sense the Japanese would be environmentally concerned, given they lived through two nuclear bombs and some of the worst environmental consequences in global history. Dragon Ball Z, as much as I hate it, constantly harped on the life of the planet. Games like Final Fantasy 7 discussed the lifeforce of the earth and depicted a battle between an industrial titan bent on sucking it dry of its resources, and a rag tag freedom fighter group determined to stop it. Also, weird clones and aliens are involved, but the planet saving part is the one I want to emphasize here.
Anyway, that was life in the 1980s and environmentalism, as well as a dash of early 90s material. Maybe I'll come back and do more on the Japanese influence on environmentalism later on, because I won't lie. If Final Fantasy 7 was your favorite game of the 90s, there's no way you missed the environmental message. Unless you were playing with your eyes closed.
So how are kids getting the environmental message these days, anyway? Guess that's another thing to ponder for a future diary.