I find myself reverting in to my childhood self as I watch a UK TV show, concerning the Miniature Wonderland, replete with tiny toy trains circling a long course with an audience of hundreds of people milling about at the Fremington Quay, UK district. All well known doco. makers are involved with this documentary, but I was so engrossed, I didn't get around to finding out the name of the programme. But what really matters is that the 'plucky bullet train' is certainly outdoing the rest.
What this programme does is remind us of the power of toys to inspire wonder in people, and that also includes children! When we are around toys we are removed from our day to day lives and transported to another place. Toys take us back to a time where we were an empty slate, waiting to be filled up with new ideas, inspirations and feelings. Toys inspire not just wonder but also, I think, a great deal of love and loyalty in those engaging with them. To see the adults staying up all night to see a tiny little train surging past, and getting emotional at Instow (7 miles in to the course) about their trains not getting past this point, is pretty good evidence of this.
Because of this empty slate aspect, both emotionally and intellectually, I think that toys might be used a lot more in inspiring devotion amongst the masses when it comes to climate change and the behaviour required to mitigate against it. Aside from engendering a sense of loyalty towards the toy (which can represent all manner of environmental personalities and themes) and inspiring wonder in the subject matter, too, the toy actually makes sustainability fun!
We were discussing other reasons why toys are potentially so inspirational where our ecology and climate change is concerned. First of all, the toy brings out in the audience a caring spirit. Therefore toys are excellent at drawing out empathy within the audience. This paternal instinct and empathic response stirs up sub-consciousness feelings and responses, which we might not have had, but for our engagement with the toy. This in turn makes us more susceptible for having a change of heart, where behaviour change is concerned. A change of heart can then in turn bring about a change in habits.
Think of mermaid toys with 'accessories/story books' representing the wonder of reefs and the fish and the actions the merpeople are taking to protect them. Think of how inspiring characterslike Wall E and Mo are. The use of toys, environmental heroes and childhood themes in the context of behaviour change - knows no bounds.
See also separate tagged topic - 'eco screen dream' on RHS blog labels and also this is discussed under the tag Green Humor - left hand menu.