Enjoying roof garden
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.
On Blooming and Bold blogspot, there is a post I wrote today about hurricanes, floods and the role played by gardens. Now, anyone who reads that blog will see I have a strange fascination for dingey, arcane drains and love to be loquacious about landscapes and the way that our gardens link up with the wider landscape.
However, the trick is to write about the topic in a way that will engage the reader (with the use of humour or light-heartedness which infuses the topic with greater hope), and avoids putting the reader to sleep. So I hope I achieve that, adequately.
Speaking of rainwater, here is a link to another educational video for children viewed on the Groundwater Foundation site, concerning groundwater and keeping acquifers clean. In Australia, most of our water comes from dams or reservoirs, but similar principles apply in terms of groundwater pollution, and taking care with what we tip in to our sewerage and stormwater pipes and drains, organics in the garden, sediment and erosion control etc.
This video for children is another example of making sustainability education fun.
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.
Here is a link to the different types of humour and we can think about which of these can be useful in conveying climate change or other environmental issues. From memory, being ironic (using irony) wasn't mentioned.
I was wondering which environmental jokes can help serve the environmentalists cause. I think they need to be particularly clever in the way they arouse a sense of fun, and at the same time push home a green message, without poking a whole lot of fun at us greenies. (Okay a bit of poking fun is okay. Maybe us greenies have to get better at the dramatic arts, and build up thicker skins!) One thing that can be said about a green joke, is that, at least the green message isn't intended to be altogether depressing! To be fair, it's not easy to make a one-liner about the environment hysterically funny.
A while back I posted a link to Alan Carr's video when he makes a joke about a chicken being so free range, she might as well be out having a make-over.
Anyway, here's Ask Umbra's take on this topic, which is well worth a read: some definitely cute green jokes there. I'm not sure whether the jokes are just meant to be generally for our benefit or serve a behaviour change purpose, or both, but I don't think it matters very much.
Contributors to Converse Conserve.Com
Nicolle K., Peter Nesbit, (cartoonist) Chris Palmer (film-maker), Jackie Eco (comedienne),
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