150th anniversary of the wonderful Melbourne Zoo has lured the ABC radio announcers out of their broadcasting caves and today they are out at the Zoo, monkeying about with the orangutans, pottering about with the penguins, and chatting with the zoo keepers who sound like geniuses when it comes to their various animal genuses. John Faine and others were heard reminiscing about all the animal inspired TV shows we used to watch which would instil in viewers a sense of wonder and love for our natural environment. Some of the characters mentioned on air this morning were Flipper, Mr Ed - The Talking Horse, My Friend Flicker, Skippy, and these certainly brought back memories, for those of us who grew up in the 70s.
In shows, such as Big Brother where humans are seen literally parading about and behaving in a manner really befitting a human zoo enclosure (a lot of the time), we could have a Big Brother for animals entitled The Big Critter, where the animals compete to outdo each other - eg the giraffes compete to see who gets the most attention from the zoo-keepers (who's prepared to stick their necks out furthest) and the male tigers compete as to who has the cleanest teeth. The male birds would also get to flaunt their amazing plumages for the benefit of the females, of course. The animals and birds could compare notes about their skills ... who is fastest/flies the furthest, and the trees could even compete as to who gives out the most oxygen, and takes in the most CO2S, the plants that perform the best in terms of bio-filtration. This would be a fun animated quiz show.
Perhaps, tone it down, Nicolle, you are getting too carried away, again with your ideas for environmental media. There is bound to have been a satire done of Big Brother in this way! And a far more intelligible discussion of green humour occurs here.
Thought it was high time I mentioned the very interesting, and inspiring educational videos that were produced by Sustainable Gardening Australia, a wonderful organisation (entitled Footprint Flicks).
Well worth a viewing if you are a gardening officionado or aspirant or just wanting to know that your garden is ticking most of the boxes.
I also think these videos tick most of my Converse Conserve boxes, in that they are definitely eco-creative, and have an inspirational influence on behaviour change, in terms of social marketing.
What many people don't realise is that gardening with its 'holier than thou' healthy image is not always a benign activity, and that we can do much to improve our garden's health.
Footprint Flicks incorporate aspects of education, empathy, and action which I mention in my book, Green Spin - PGM.
Also, they are full of green fun, story-telling, well-ness and greening and loads of humour. Well done to every one at SGA.
So the question this month is to ask how do these make us feel? I think watching videos about gardening topics and sustainability make us feel that what we need to achieve is do-able, and also enjoyable. Great characteristics for any campaign.
There are some very funny environmental videos on this page.
I love the top one with the boy passing the note in class - promoting recycling.
I was in stitches with some of these Jim Carrey videos, but that man can make just about anything funny. However, the Jim Carrey videos (albeit very entertaining) don't tick the boxes as far as assisting to promote the green cause. Many people (though not me personally) might feel that this video drives a deeper wedge between greenieism, and the mainstream. But we should remember they were made to be funny not to promote a cause, so Jim has succeeded in his objective. Possibly, he is also making a point, that greenies can come across as too intense and opinionated for words, and the average person doesn't want to be made to feel guilty about eating a hot dog. In fact Jim Carrey is indeed a confirmed vegetarian (at last check) so he is probably just taking a dig at those who make too much fuss about the dog ... of the hot variety.
I have come up with a formula for environmentally friendly humour, which am happy for people to enlarge upon, and there are at least four ingredients: (1) the good-will factor - does the video, joke, slogan etc carry good-will input's towards environmentalism itself, as opposed to satirising or lampooning environmentalism as its main objective (2) in the case of videos, are the characters ones we can empathise or identify with (3) does the joke, video, slogan talk up the activity or message being promoted, rather than talking down a specific activity, and (4) is the video, joke, slogan memorable, catchy or uplifting?
I think the recycling video achieves all four of these aspects, it promotes the act of recycling a piece of paper (rather than talking about stopping the waste of paper) it's pro-environmentalism, it is memorable, and also the boy-girl classroom exchange (not necessarily in the form of letters!) is something most of us will have experienced as kids.
Will keep this post short, as it's too late to write much.
Alan Carr is a funny guy, and his take on free range chooks going out on the town in my view, quite adorable. Greenies may not appreciate the skit as he does get hot and bothered by the cost of organic vegetables and the cost of the onion is worthy of a few tears, he adds. So the formula I use for green humour probably may not be satisfied here, which includes backing up environmentalists in furthering the green message. Still, it's worth checking out this skit just the same.
A lot of greenies are worried that by making light of the woes of the world, this will mean the subjects of our causes are demeaned but, I really don't agree. We can re-energise our campaigns by using humour and introducing some fun in to what we say, and how we say it. A free range chook going out for a make-over doesn't mean we lose empathy for the chicken, but instead helps engender warm feelings for the chook and humanises (brings us closer to) the hen. I call this 'green cuteification' which cartoons, and stand-ups are so good at achieving. (Comics can bring happiness to the otherwise dreary or sad aspects of our lives. Comics should be commended for their ability to do this.)
Speaking of green humour, Rohan Chakrvarty's cartoon blogspot (since updated to greenhumour.com) is a must see site, for humour and conservation comic strips.
Nowadays we see humour being used in increasingly more social and behaviour change situations. I'm sorry I didn't get to see Alzheimer's The Musical, which was a live comedy production to get people seeing the lighter side of growing older and instiling preventive tips as well.
More discussion is had about green humour and my book, Green Spin (Or) Promoting the Green Message.
Us greenies could do with a bit of stress relief, and we can get a lot better at exploiting the communications opportunities for bridging the gap between the mainstream world and ourselves, and what better way than to use the occasional bit of humour in our messaging.
This is a Youtube video raising awareness about environmental weeds pests and action that can be taken about them, in an amusing way.
Today my son (almost 14) and I are at The Best of the Independent Games Festival at ACMI Federation Square, Melbourne which showcases (supposedly) some of the best of indie electronic game design. My son likes some of the games, and I'm particularly interested in 3 (for obvious reasons): Fez, Botanicula, and Lume. These three are particularly interesting for their eco-digitilization inspiration and content.
My son is playing on a game entitled Fez (2012) which has a little white critter sporting a red fez climbing up walls strewn with rambling vines and a digital snail pixillating across a vegetated roof (none other than an intensive roof garden).
The game is gently introducing eco-screen dreaming to the digitalized context. There is also Botanicula which as it sounds comprises botanic features, and Lume, the game (2011). This one describes itself as 'an illuminating puzzle adventure. Power to your Granddad's has failed.... Immerse yourself in Lume's photoreal world, solve perplexing paper puzzles to help restore the power ...' On one level you see a roof entirely covered with photovoltaic cells. Hmm, it isn't long and the place being full, we are being encouraged to let someone else have a turn, so I don't get to explore these games' horizons as much as I could.
It is inspirational being here, to see that game designers are factoring the eco-movement in to their visuals so that within the game you are encouraged heart and soul to remember there is a natural world in a parallel 'universe' to the electronic one, which is worthy of attention (oops my Doctor Who interest is obvious).
This is one example of what I call an eco-screen dream where creators of TV and film drama, and advertisers instil subliminal eco-signals whether it be a greener backdrop, a green product like a recycling bin, or someone taking part in a green activity like riding a scooter to the shops. Readers can scroll down to see other relevant topics such as visual imagery for screening up and eco screen dream topics on this Blog. Happy reading!
Contributors to Converse Conserve.Com
Nicolle K., Peter Nesbit, (cartoonist) Chris Palmer (film-maker), Jackie Eco (comedienne),
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